Friday, 14 July 2017

How to Make Fruit Gin

How to make fruit gin

We recently took on an allotment, after a surprisingly short stint on the waiting list. I say surprisingly, but if you saw the allotment, you'd understand why the council might have struggled to find a taker. It's a bit of a dump, to put it mildly, but we love it and have big plans for it.

Being a dump, it needs a lot of work before we can start planting. We're currently in the process of removing tonnes and tonnes of mare's tail (hideous weed! Why had I never heard of this monster before?) and trying to clear all the rubbish, broken glass, smashed bricks and ancient, rusty garden tools from the plot.

Anyway, as I said, we love our plot, and can already see its potential. The huge, towering bramble bushes that take over the bottom quarter of the allotment? Think of all the blackberries we'll have! The overgrown cherry tree that should have been pruned to keep it manageable? Great place to sit in the shade on hot afternoons.

We also have an apple tree, a pear tree, a crab apple tree, and raspberry, blackcurrant, gooseberry and redcurrant bushes. Mainly redcurrants. Millions of redcurrants. I've never given much thought to redcurrants before, so set about researching redcurrant recipes. I'll be honest - I'm more of a vegetable girl than a fruit girl, and while I eat enough broccoli, kale and butternut squash to sink a ship, I don't eat that much fruit generally. Therefore, when I came across homemade fruit gin recipes, I was delighted.

I've only made redcurrant gin so far, but am excited to try it with raspberries in the next few days. Once the blackberries are ripe in a couple more months, any that don't get frozen or made into bramble jelly will also be getting the gin treatment. There are lots of fruits you can use to create fruit gin, and the method is usually pretty similar: simply seal your gin, fruit, sugar (if needed) and any other flavourings - such as herbs - in a jar and leave it from one week up to a couple of months. I used this Kilner Round Clip Top Jar 0.5Ml from Amazon. I've got non-branded jars too but always come back to the Kilners as they just seem better quality and more reliable!

For now, though, here's how I made redcurrant gin.

Redcurrant Gin Recipe


150 g redcurrants
75 g caster sugar
37.5 cl gin


1. Separate the redcurrants from the strig by grasping the top of the strig and lightly running a fork  down its length. The redcurrants should come off easily. Wash them thoroughly.

2. In a bowl, lightly crush the redcurrants with the caster sugar.

3. Place the mixture in a Kilner or other sealable jar, and add the gin.

4. Leave the sealed jar in a cool, dark place, shaking it once every day for a month, then a couple of times a week for another month.

5. After two months, strain the gin using a muslin cloth and decant it into a bottle.

Oh, and if anyone has any suggestions on mixers for redcurrant gin, I'd love to hear them! So far, I'm thinking ginger beer, but I'm open to suggestions...

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Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Say hello to my little friend: Deer Amigurumi

Last month the lovely Amanda (@pidgecrick on Twitter) posted a picture of an amigurumi deer pattern from June's Inside Crochet. A keen fan of cute and/or kitsch deer, especially the Babycham one, I knew I HAD to make it so eagerly awaited this month's issue. When I finally tracked down a copy this week (all the local shops stock an abundance of knitting magazines but never crochet  ones), I was a bit disappointed with the rest of the patterns. I had a flick through Simply Crochet and was delighted to discover the exact same deer pattern in there too. Yay! There were more patterns in there I liked so I plumped for Simply instead. 

I got straight to work on my little deer and was amazed at how quickly it worked up - it's a long while since I made anything this small! The pattern was pretty straightforward, although I had to improvise a bit as my first attempt at his ears were nearly as big as the deer himself. Once I had all the pieces completed, however, I remembered why I rarely make amigurumi: I do not enjoy assembling them. 

I think he turned out OK though and I'm pleased I actually managed to finish something for the first time in ages. My current list of ongoing projects is getting bigger by the week but I've come to realise that I need lots of different things on the go to stop me getting bored. Switching between two crochet throws, two knitted scarves, a crochet cushion cover and several hand embroideries seems to be working so far but it might be a while before I get any of them finished!


Monday, 10 June 2013

Summer's here!

Or at least, I hope it is. The last few years we've had a week of glorious weather only to be plunged into grey, drizzly misery for the rest of the year so I've been taking full advantage of the warm, sunny days and working mainly from my garden or the nearby beach. Ah, the benefits of working from home!

Glyn and I joined the National Trust on our visit to Lyme Park last month (hello middle age!) and I'm quite excited about the prospect of free days out for the next year.  This weekend, we headed into North Wales intending to spend a lazy day picnicking in the sun. We ended up in Bodnant Garden, just a short distance inland from Llandudno. I'm more of a wild, untamed nature lover than a pretty garden fan but oh my word! Bondant is without doubt one of the most beautiful places I've ever been. June is a great time of year to go, as the flowers are in full bloom, the trees are lush and green and the entire place is just a riot of colour, but pictures from autumn look pretty spectacular too. Covering 80 acres of land, we only made a dent in the gardens but I'm sure we'll be back before the summer is out. 





Friday, 31 May 2013

Lycian Jollies

I could literally talk about Turkey, and the Lycian Coast specifically, for days but will try to resist. Glyn and I had a slightly more luxurious and sedate holiday in Kalkan than usual as we were joined by my parents and stayed in a fantastic villa for 10 days. 

Highlights: Catching up with all our lovely Turkish friends, having tortoises in the garden, celebrating our friend Sarah's birthday with fireworks and sparklers, adopting lots of cats, drinking endless glasses of Turkish รงay and jumping out of bed and (literally) straight into the pool. 

Low points: Getting a little burnt for the first time in 10 years (the shame!), coming home.

"Smelly", one of our villa cats
Ataturk statue in Kas
Wheelbarrow o' towels
Pretty shop and a pretty cat
I want a pink shop!
Mediterranean Blue 

Turkish Cay is the new Yorkshire Tea

Lunch under the pergola
The view from my bed

Villa cat no.2, named Teeny

My mum and dad
Sarah's amazing birthday cake
Me and Glyn
Me and my lovely mum
Do you think it's dinner time?
Flaming veggie moussaka, bit scary on a breezy evening