Fruity kitchen experiments

I feel like the season of preserving has started in earnest today. This morning I made 2kg of strawberry and rhubarb jam using this fabulous recipe from the Lovely Greens blog. If you are a bit scared of making strawberry jam (having had one of the all-too-common non-setting experiences) then adding rhubarb is the way to solve the problem. Don’t worry if you’re not keen on the green vegetable – you can barely taste the rhubarb in the final product. It really is delicious!

I have a LOT of raspberries to deal with (so happy about this, and hope to have more later in the year because I am trying double cropping with my officially autumn raspberries). I have plenty to make a raspberry version of my gooseberry and mascarpone layer recipe on Sunday, and there will be more for some jam next week, so with the leftovers I am making some raspberry vinegar. I got the idea for this from a fab book called Artisan Drinks by Lindy Wildsmith, which I reviewed for UK Handmade last year.

Raspberry vinegar in Artisan drinks

I have been dying to have a go at some of the recipes in this ace book.

Artisan drinks cover

Whilst flicking through for the raspberry vinegar info, I spotted a recipe for Cherry Brandy which immediate sang out to me because Sandy got some delicious cherries from the market last week. He picked up some more for me today, and I got cracking (literally!) this afternoon.

Oh the mess! You have to squish the cherries before adding them to brandy and sugar, and boy did they splash everywhere! Not to mention trying to smash some of the stones to get the kernels out to add to the steeping mix. Here’s the gorgeous photo in the book:

Proper cherrry branding staging


Here’s my version:

My cherry brandy shot


This is why I will never be a stylist!

Sadly, the hard and impatient part about making a lot of these drinks is the W….A….I….T….I….N….G. So I won’t be able to tell you how the cherry brandy turns out until Christmas time (another recipe in Artisan Drinks is for a cherry brandy cocktail with Prosecco – yum!).  I can tell you about the raspberry vinegar in a week or two. It does sound a bit bizarre doesn’t it, but apparently it is fab as a drink mixed with sparkling water, in salad dressings and in marinades – I am looking forward to the experimenting. If you are into this kind of mucking about in the kitchen, then I can’t recommend Artisan Drinks highly enough – I foresee many adventures ahead for us and our friends…!

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