Jam, Jelly & Rellish by Ghillie James

This book was a real find in a well-known remainder bookshop.  It is still available on Amazon but I urge you to check out The Works first as it is there at a much reduced price.

Not only is it full of fabulous recipes but it is beautifully presented and would make a truly wonderful gift to any foodie.  It is a cloth-bound hardback with exquisite photos and a ribbon bookmark.  Set out in seasons, Ghillie presents a recipe for a preserve and then suggests at least one way to use it with another recipe following.  This is such sensible advice and so helpful as frequently I have found myself enthusiastically making a batch of something obscure and then wondering what on earth I am going to do with it.

It was from this book that I got the idea for making the Bloody Mary Kit for my friend’s daughter.  Then there was Raspberrycello, from our own raspberries, and most recently there has been Sweet Thai Chilli Paste which made a tasty coating for some chicken.  I have also made Ghillie’s Strawberry and Rose Petal Syrup and testify to its deliciousness.  The recipe suggestion following this is Billowy Meringues with Rippled Strawberry and Rose Filling but so far I have just used it on humble vanilla ice cream.  As a taster, I’ll leave you with the syrup recipe:

Strawberry and Rose Petal Syrup

Makes 1 litre

Keeps for up to a year

900g strawberries

juice of 2 lemons

1 tbsp rose water

450g jam sugar per 600ml juice

handful of rose petals

Put the strawberries into a pan with 350ml water and the lemon juice and simmer over a medium heat until the strawberries have collapsed and softened.  Mash using a potato masher, then transfer to a jelly bag and strain.

Measure the liquid and pour into a large pan.  Add the rose-water and 450g sugar for every 600ml of liquid and stir over a gentle heat until the sugar has dissolved.

The next stage is a tricky one to give exact timings for as it depends entirely on the strawberries you are using and how ripe they are.  I have found, after various testings, that the easiest method is to bring the liquid to a rolling boil, then continue to boil for a further 5 mins.  Remove from the heat and pour a little of the syrup onto a cold saucer.  After 30 seconds in the fridge, it should feel thicker and look like a syrup, but should not wrinkle when you run your finger through it.  If it is still too watery, heat it up again and boil for a few more minutes and then retest in the same way.  It’s best to be cautious: you want the end result to be a thickened but pourable syrup, so it must not reach setting point.  Once the syrup has reached the right consistency, remove the pan from the heat and cool for 10 mins.

Put 4-5 rose petals in the bottom of each of your warm, but not boiling hot, sterilised jars bottles and pour in the warm syrup.  Seal and cool completely.

Thrilling times hunting bilberries

Growing up in my family meant I regularly heard tales of bilberry picking from my Mother.  As a child during the Second World War her father borrowed a friend’s cottage in the countryside to keep his family away from the bombing the heart of Manchester was experiencing.  Hattersley has now been completely swallowed up by Manchester’s expanding borders but when my Mother was living there, it was a tiny hamlet.  My Grandfather remained in Manchester during the week to be nearer his work while my Grandmother coped for over four years with a teenage daughter and twin girls of four or five at first in a tiny cottage that had no drinking water and no bathroom.  For my Mother, it was heaven on earth.  She loved the wide open spaces, the stream at the bottom of the garden, the woods, the fields, the flowers, the wildlife, the freedom and all that country living brought with it.  Bilberry picking was one of the many things that she indulged in and for years I believed that this allusive fruit was only available around Hattersley.  Something of a problem if you know Hattersley these days.  Not quite the rural idyl it used to be.

Then I realised that this could not possibly be true.  Bilberries were quite clearly available in other places to.  But I have to confess that I had no idea at all, until tipped off on twitter by @loafonline that bilberries grew close to me.  More than twenty years of home-made bilberry jam missed out on.  Bother.  You would think that calling a local landmark Bilberry Hill might have been a clue, wouldn’t you?  Then again, I do not know the Lickey Hills.  Not too bad a I defence I think.  Tis the only one I have and ’twill have to suffice.

So, yesterday the Captain and I went off in search of them.  Although to be frank, very little was required in the way of searching.  We drove to the Lickey Hills Country Park, and within about 400 yards of the car park we wading knee-deep in bilberry bushes.

I have never picked bilberries before.  How can I have got to the grand old age of 45 and this be the case?  Then again, we became something of a spectacle for the many other visitors, absolutely none of whom were interested in bilberry picking.  It was masterful of me not to simply sit down and gorge myself on these divine weeny berries.  They are small, deep purple and sweet with a tart edge to them.  Delicious.

Within minutes our hands were stained purple as the berries were burstingly ripe and the juices ran down our fingers.  I decided it was not a good time to tell the Captain that in years gone by bilberries have been used for dye.  They were not easy to pick.  Partly because the bushes are low down thus much bending is involved and partly because the berries do not grow in clumps.  Just one or two berries hang on each stem.

We picked solidly for two hours.  They are tiny, these berries.  They frequently squished on picking but they are so delicious the effort was very worthwhile.  The Lickey Hills is a lovely area and with good weather it really was a delightful way to spend our anniversary.  The simplicity of gathering wild berries is a pleasure that is hard to beat.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our two hour’s worth of picking yielded 600g of berries which is not a lot.  But as I said, so worth it.

I spent the whole of the drive home pondering the best way to use our precious crop.  I discounted the various puddings, pies, crumbles and compotes I came up with, settling in the end for jam, as I wanted to make them last as long as possible.  It is possibly unimaginative, but it is very delicious.  It was also the easiest jam I have ever made and filled the house the most amazing aroma imaginable.

Bilberry Jam

600g bilberries

450g granulated sugar

Juice of 1 lemon

Pick over the bilberries to remove any stems or leaves and then wash very gently.  Place in preserving pan with the lemon juice and crush lightly with the end of a rolling pin.  Heat slowly until the juices begin to flow then add the sugar.  Stir until dissolved.  Turn up heat and bring to rolling boil.  Boil until setting point achieved – about 10 mins.  Pour into sterilised jars and seal.

Playing with Cherry Plums

Today the Captain and I are skipping off to celebrate our wedding anniversary by attempting to find our thrill on Bilberry Hill. You know you have been married for twenty-three years when that quite genuinely means finding vast quantities of bilberries. Or even just a few … *sigh*

While we skip forth, I am going to leave you with this very belated post. Belated as I have a horrible feeling that the cherry plums will be past their best by now. Those I found were at the peak of ripeness at the beginning of the month and I suspect their season is short. However, perhaps you will be lucky and find a retarded tree. If not there is always next year. Or simply substitute ordinary wild plums.

I have adapted this recipe from one I found on The Cottage Smallholder’s fabulous blog. Having picked the seven kilos while narrowboating to Droitwich, on top of the previous 5 kilos I picked two days before, I was desperate for suitable recipes.

Fiona’s recipe looked wonderful but, being boat bound, I inevitably did not have all the ingredients. Consequently I had to do a bit of experimenting. Seeing as I was at it, I decided to play around and make a spicy version too as I have a friend, for whom I am doing a birthday hamper, who is a chilli nut. First tastings were definitely favourable and I am very much looking forward to tasting proper, once the period of maturation is over.

The two recipes follow:

Wild Yellow Cherry Plum Chutney

1.5kg wild yellow cherry plums

500g cooking apples, cored

500g onions, chopped finely

300g dried apricots, chopped into small pieces

200g raisins

225g soft brown sugar

2 large cloves of garlic, crushed

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

2 tsp salt

1 tsp allspice powder

2 inch piece of root ginger, grated

500ml white wine vinegar

250mls cider vinegar

1 small hot chilli, finely chopped

2 tsp balsamic vinegar

10 black peppercorns

Place cherry plums in a pan and simmer for 20mins in 75mls of the vinegar then leave overnight to cool. The following morning, remove the stones by squeezing them a handful at a time. Next, chop the apples into small pieces and add with all the other ingredients into a large preserving pan and bring slowly to the boil. *Reduce heat and simmer gently for as long as possible – 5 hours if you can – stirring occasionally. My cooker burns too hot to allow me to simmer for this long and the mixture was thickened and ready in about 3 hours. You can tell it is ready when you can draw a wooden spoon across the base of the pan and the chutney stays apart for a few seconds. Pour into sterilised jars and seal. Leave for four weeks before using.

Wild Yellow Cherry Plum & Chilli Chutney

Using the above recipe, take off 4 generous ladles-ful of chutney mixture at the asterisk *, just after all the ingredients have begun to boil. To this add the following:

3 green chillies, finely chopped, with seeds

1 tsp cayenne pepper

1 inch piece of root ginger, grated

Bring back to the boil, then simmer very slowly for as long as possible as above. This version will be ready much sooner as the quantity is far less, but it should still be possible to simmer it for about 2 hours. Once thickened, pour into sterilised jars and seal. Leave for four weeks before using.

Gathering from the garden

For me, as a totally incompetent gardener, foraging starts the minute I step outside of my door.  That may lead me onto a canal towpath.  Not straight away.  I do not live on a canal.  Alas.  Unless we are aboard Wand’ring Bark and then I do not always have to even disembark as I outlined before when describing my Standing on the Roof of your Narrowboat method.  This, it has to be said, is my preferred option for wild food gathering.  But that is because I am inherently lazy.  However, this post is not about towpath foraging.  It is about back garden foraging.

I will grant you that foraging in the back garden does not have the thrill of discovery that foraging in the wild provides.  The buzz of surprise is not there as generally I know what to expect from my garden.  However, there is shock that it has grown.  This is bad of me because as I said before, I am not a gardener.  It is the Captain who gardens in our household.  So it should not surprise me when things grow, because he is quite good at it.

This year he is having tremendous success with cauliflowers, courgettes, carrots and red cabbage while I hesitantly bought a chilli plant and placed it on my window sill.  There it looked peeky and sad until the Captain whisked it off to the greenhouse and did some jiggery pokery to it.  It is now thriving and happy in its new home.  All this bounty has led to me being a little swamped and consequently, I have been doing ‘things’ with the assorted produce.

I am not a piccalilli fan, but after twenty-three years of marriage (it is our anniversary tomorrow.  What can I say?  I was a child bride … 😉 ) I have just discovered that the Captain is.  In order to use the various garden offerings I have adapted and in part re-written the recipe available in Pam Corbin’s Preserves to create something that I think is a bit new and a bit different.

I am not entirely sure if it has worked as it needs to mature for a few weeks before tasting.  But I am hopeful.  I would be very interested in your thoughts if you try it.  And so, without further ado, may I present:

Piccachilli

A version of traditional Piccalilli with a little more va va vhoom!

1kg thoroughly washed vegetables made up from: cauliflower, courgettes, green tomatoes and carrot thinnings

1 hot chilli, de-seeded and chopped finely

50g fine salt

30g cornflour

10g ground turmeric

10g English mustard powder

15g yellow mustard seeds

1 tsp crushed cumin seeds

1 tsp crushed coriander seeds

1 tsp crushed dried chilli flakes

600ml cider vinegar

150g granulated sugar

50g honey

Cut the vegetables into small even bite-sized pieces.  Place in a large bowl and sprinkle with the salt.  Mix well, cover with at tea towel and leave in a cool place for 24 hours, then rinse with cold water and drain thoroughly.

Blend the cornflour, turmeric, mustard powder, mustard seeds, cumin, coriander and chilli flakes to a smooth paste with a little of the vinegar.  Put the rest in a pan with sugar and honey.  Bring to the boil.  Pour a little of the hot vinegar over the blended spice mix, stir well, then return to the pan.  Bring gently to the boil, and simmer for 3-4 minutes to allow the spices to release their flavours into the thickening sauce.

Remove pan from the heat and carefully fold in the well-drained vegetables into the hot, spicy sauce.  Pack the pickle into warm, sterilised jars and seal.  Leave to mature for 4-6 weeks before opening.  Use within 1 year.

More alco-frolicking & Rhubarb Schnapps

This week has been a bit busy, what with maternal duties, hospital appointments and migraines taking up my time.  I had intended to post the recipe for my Cherry Plum Chutney which I will do soon, I hope.  In the meantime, I did manage to do some alco-frolicking and bottled three lots of spirits I have been steeping.

The Currant Shrub recipe which I shared here, was ready for having sugar added and then bottling.  I made two batches, one with dark rum and one with white to see whether either was preferable.  The bottles need to lie down in a dark room until Christmas (sounds like me!), but obviously I had to try some of the drips.  Both are VERY promising.

The Raspberrycello was also ready for bottling which was doubly exciting because unlike its late developing neighbour, it is ready for drinking now AND the vodka sozzled raspberries were begging to be eaten.  I made a rather grown up jelly with the drunken fruit and the Captain and I enjoyed it one evening in front of the telly.  Yum.

Finally, my Rhubarb Schnapps was also ready for bottling.  I set this to steep back in about March when the first rhubarb had just begun to be available.  It turned out to be the only and last harvest from my Mum’s garden which is very sad.  Long has she provided me with rhubarb but it seems her plants have finally given up the ghost.  However, I would like to think this tipple is a fitting tribute.  The recipe is a Nigella Lawson and is divine.  You may still be able to track down some rhubarb or just file it away until i is next in season.

Rhubarb Schnapps

Makes 1 litre

approximately 1kg rhubarb, to make 600g trimmed weight

300g caster sugar

1 litre vodka (cheaper the better)

Chop the rhubarb and place into a 2 litre jar.  Add the sugar, put the lid on and shake well.  Pour in the vodka to fill, adding more if necessary.  Close lid and store somewhere cool and dark for at least 6 weeks and up to 6 months.  Shake the jar every day or every other day for the first month or so.  Sometime between 6 weeks and 6 months, then, strain through scalded muslin and pour into sterilised bottles.

Wild Cherry Clafoutis

Having woken at the ungodly hour of 5:15 I have decided to bear with the rubbish signal and attempt a post. If I wave my phone above my head, it should just work.

We are moored on the Staffs & Worcs above Dimmingsdale Lock, just 4 hours cruising from home. It’s beautiful. All rural peacefulness and quiet. Apart from the rackety birds.

Yesterday we travelled from Woverley and had a gloriously sunny day with locks every mile or so. I was glad to have finally finished with almost all my foraged fruits as I would have struggled to fit any preserving in.

Proving that life sometimes IS a bowl of cherries, I had one last recipe to try. Wild Cherry Clafoutis. I found it in Hugh Fearnly-Whittingstall’s first book A Cook on the Wild Side’. Verdict? I liked it, the Captain loved it, the 18 year old was unconvinced. Having eaten up we proceeded to play Tinker Tailor and discovered the following: the 18 year old is to marry a Rich Man this year wearing a dress of silk so the Captain had better take to highway robbery or something; disconcertingly, I am due to marry a Beggar Man sometime while dressed in cotton; most worryingly of all, the Captain looks set to run off in a cotton dress and marry a Soldier sometime soon. I really would not have picked him out as a GI Bride! Lots of after dinner fun. So a pudding AND a game. A veritable twofer, that’s two for the price of one. Excellent.

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Wild Cherry Clafoutis

Serves 8

500g Wild Cherries
85g Caster Sugar
125g Plain Flour
Pinch of Salt
3 Eggs, lightly beaten
300ml milk
30g icing sugar

Preheat oven to 180c/gas 4.
Grease 25cm/10″ round tin/dish.
Rinse & destalk the cherries but do not stone them. Toss in 30g of sugar then spread them across the bottom of the dish.
Sift flour, salt and remaining sugar into a mixing bowl. Make a well in centre and stir in eggs. Beat in milk a little at a time till batter formed.
Pour over cherries and bake in oven for 35mins until lightly browned and puffed up like a Yorkshire pudding.
Allow to cool a little then serve lukewarm, dusted with icing sugar.

Boaters’ Foraging Tip

My gifts to you today are twofold. I am all bounteous munificence. It must be because Mother Nature’s generosity is rubbing off on me.

For my first present, I would like to pass on yet another reason why I love foraging while boating. To do this, I must refer you to my first foraging love, John Wright and his wonderful book Hedgerow. On page 15 in his How to Look section John writes, ‘Finally, a little-used hedgerow foraging technique that is my gift to you is the ‘standing on the roof of your car’ method. This is seriously effective – I once picked many kilos of plums from a tree whose lower branches had been stripped bare by less adventurous collectors. A proud moment.’ I have taken this technique to heart but adapted it for the narrowboater and I am delighted to present you with the Standing on the Roof of your Narrowboat method:

This tree was found as we left Worcester behind and headed back towards Droitwich once again. As you can see, I have tested Standing on the Roof of your Narrowboat and I think you’ll agree, it has the edge over the car roof method. For one thing, fewer traffic fumes. For another, the boat hook is to hand to bring even the highest branches within reach. Plus, the average boat roof is considerably sturdier than the average car roof. So hurrah for boaty foraging!

Of course, there’s also no distance to carry your harvest home. Which may be just as well. Within about ten minutes I had filled my basket:

In total I’d gathered over seven kilos! Some frantic recipe searching and adapting was in order. I decided to double the quantity of Cherry Plumbeena, make a batch of chutney, start a Narrowboat Rumtopf and bottle the remainder. The quantities involved have stretched my facilities and so I have had to improvise:

The end results promise to be good. Which brings me on to my second gift: the recipe for Cherry Plumbeena, adapted from Pam Corbin’s in Preserves.

Cherry Plumbeena

Makes about 1.5 litres

2kg cherry plums
600ml water
Granulated Sugar
Brandy

Place cherry plums in a large saucepan with water. Gradually bring to the boil crushing the cherry plums with the back of a wooden spoon, a potato masher or, as in my case, a pint glass. Cook gently until the fruit is soft and juicy – up to 45mins. Remove from heat.

Scald a muslin or jelly bag and set cherry plum mix to drip overnight.

Measure juice & pour into clean pan. For every litre of juice add 700g sugar. Heat gently to dissolve then remove from heat. Pour immediately into warm sterilised bottles adding 1-3tbsp brandy (depending on taste & size of bottle) to each bottle. Seal.

Will keep for for several months if sealed when hot & stored in a cool place.

Fuel for Tardebigge

After yesterday’s phenomenal catch, I was very glad of the stretch of cruising afforded us this morning. We had moored with friends in Central Birmingham and set off from here heading towards Tardebigge. First though, there were the three tunnels: Wast Hill, Shortwood and Tardebigge, and about four hours of lock free boating.

I took up my usual perch at the pointy end, and set to with a chopping board, sharp knife and two bowls. My Rosehip Bread called for the hips to be de-seeded which turned into a messy, marathon task. It also involved a fair bit of nipping in and out of the boat as when we entered the tunnels I could not see a thing. Given that freezing the hips had turned the softer ones to a mushy state I am not convinced it was such a good idea, as removing the seeds did not prove easy. Next time, I shall make this without freezing the hips first to compare. If it does prove to be as time-consuming and messy for you, all I can say is that the end result is so worthwhile so do persevere.

I had just managed to get the loaf into the oven when we arrived at Tardebigge Top Lock, which was pretty much perfect timing.

The end result gave more of a fruit loaf than a soda bread, but it was absolutely delicious slathered with butter. Thoroughly recommended. Will definitely be making this again.

Rosehip Bread

100ml orange juice

140ml water

100g raisins

100g seeded & chopped wild rosehips

30g melted butter

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 egg, beaten

300g plain flour

200g granulated sugar

1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

75g pine nuts or sunflower seeds or some such thing

Preheat oven to 170c/Gas 3. In a large bowl mix together the orange juice, water, raisins, rosehips, butter, vanilla and egg. Sift the flour and bicarbonate of soda into a bowl. Stir in sugar and salt and then fold into wet ingredients. Finally stir through pine nuts. Spoon batter into a well greased 2lb loaf tin. Bake for 50 – 60 mins. Loaf should sound hollow when tapped on bottom when done. Cool on rack. Serve in buttered slices.

The Urban Forager’s Dream

However unlikely it sounds, I truly believe that the Wolverhampton 21 flight of locks really does represent the urban forager’s dream. Since I began being interested foraging, I have travelled it three times and it has not yet let me down. I just wish my energy levels would keep up with its abundance!

Today must have been the best haul yet. The day dawned brilliantly sunny and the promise of bounty was in the air. I was eager to jump ship as no sooner had we entered Pendeford Narrows than I spotted some teeny tiny Wild Strawberries. But the Captain was a man on a mission and I was refused shore leave. I decided mutiny at this point in our journey was unwise so chose to bow to his authority. This was not easy. Submission is not a natural state for me.

However, my patience was rewarded as we pulled out of the first lock by a bank of Wild Raspberries. They were on the far side of the canal so impossible to reach without a boat. Handily, there was a boat in front of us meaning we had to loiter waiting our turn for the lock anyway. Joy was mine! Within minutes our hands were stained red as the juices ran down our fingers and the air was filled with the occasional yelp as we hit thorns rather than the gorgeously squishy fruit. During all the excitement, we managed to tip my berry picker over the side and discovered that it could not float. I say ‘we’ … Note to self: do not place anything you value on the sloping roof of the boat.

The raspberry haul was largely unaffected by this calamity so undaunted we carried on. By this time, the 18 year old and the Captain were into the lock groove and I was given foraging leave, so off I went. I left at Lock 20 and rejoined them at Lock 8 by which time I had a basket full of Red Clover, Japanese Rose Hips, Wild Raspberries and Rose Petals.

The rose petals were set to dry on a wire rack for use later in the year.

They are currently sitting in the shower tray which is the most out of the way place I could find, and is actually pretty dry. When not in use. Obviously.

The Japanese Rose Hips were definitely ready for picking – they were huge, soft and rapidly being eaten by the birds. There were also loads of them. I took but a mere fraction.

I have put them in the freezer overnight as I know the autumnal variety improve in flavour after the first frosts so it seemed like a good idea. Plus, I cannot deal with them today.

The red clover I have turned into a rice salad and I am not sure my family are going to be convinced. It looks pretty:

But I am bound to say that the flowers themselves are not overflowing with flavour. I think unless there is a very good reason for eating something for its own sake, it really should taste good to make it worth the while. However, I will reserve judgement until after tea tonight and pass on the family’s opinion tomorrow. If they hate it, at least we have the raspberries for pud! In the meantime, this is the recipe I used:

Red Clover Rice Salad

Serves 3

2 large handfuls of Clover leaves and blossoms

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 handful of freshly chopped mint (I used garden mint)

125g rice

4 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice

Cook the rice until tender in boiling salted water. Drain and mix with oil and orange juice while still hot. Wash the clover leaves, split into leaflets. Pick over blossoms and separate half into individual petals keeping the other half whole. Stir leaves and blossoms into rice.

Alco-frolicks

… or perhaps that should be frolicking with alcohol? Certainly my local Tesco thinks I have been making free with the spirits lately. And that would not be spirits of the supernatural variety. No. I have taken to buying vast quantities of the cheapest sorts of vodka, brandy, rum and even whisky. Which is a drink I despise. Coupled with my propensity to fall down, I am gaining something of a reputation. However, the truth of the matter is, it is not just things jam-like that I have been obsessing over.

Yesterday, I shared with you the adventures of my Currant Shrub. Well, they were not so much adventures, as consolation for valiantly wading through my self-pitying wallow. Thank you so much for your kind comments, both here and elsewhere. I enjoyed my misery. It was fun while it lasted but I will do my utmost to remain resolutely good-humoured in future. Excellent. Good to know. Back to the alcohol.

Having set the Currant Shrub to strain yesterday, I measured 500ml of juice so decided to experiment with two batches. One I have mixed with white rum, and for the other I have used dark. I would have used brandy but discovered that I used all that up in the Cherry Ratafia. I dare not return for more alcohol to Tesco just yet as on Monday I bought 2 litres of vodka, 1 litre of gin, 1 bottle of white rum, 1 bottle of sparkling wine, 6 mini bottles of rosé, 2 bottles white wine and 6 bottles of ale. I shall let you know of the results. Of the Shrub that is. The results of that amount of alcohol needs no feedback. Currently (pun intended!), it is sitting in its jars having turned to a sludgy gel. Something to do with pectin levels. And science stuff.

Anyway, more alco-frolicking was to be had in my garden. Along with the redcurrants in the garden, we also have some raspberry canes. They vary in their productivity but this year they have been pretty good so far with the promise of more to come. I am delighted with the following recipe for several reasons. First, because it only uses 200g of raspberries rather than a billion and one kilos which always seems to be the case when I am waiting, admittedly somewhat impatiently, for my fruit to ripen. Secondly, because it doesn’t need to lie down in a darkened room and be pampered for months, or even be ignored, before it is ready. It will be ready for drinking in a mere 7-10 days. Hurrah! My other reasons are very trivial. I like its colour. I love saying its name. Try saying it. It sort of explodes in the mouth like a fit of the giggles. It sounds frivolous and fun. In fact, exactly the sort of drink I would choose for a spot of alco-frolicking! I am looking forward to trying it with champagne cocktails. Yum.

Raspberrycello

200g raspberries

750ml vodka

200g granulated sugar

Put all the ingredients in a jar. Seal and leave to infuse for 2 weeks, inverting or shaking the jar every few days to redistribute the fruit and sugar.

Pour into a sieve and strain into a jug, putting the raspberries to one side. Taste for sweetness adding more sugar as required. Pour into sterilised bottles and store in the freezer for ice-cold drinking.

Use the vodka spiked raspberries as a pudding. Try on their own or as a base for crème brûlée.