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Apricot Liqueur

2 Jul

This terrific aromatic dessert liqueur is a real gem. It is so easy to make and quite stunning; rich, sweet and full of fruity, almondy flavours. My friend Maggie thinks it tastes like her favourite Baume de Venise, but packs a little more punch.

*½ kilo Fresh Apricots, halved stones reserved
*1 tsp Allspice*400-450g Sugar
*900ml Dry White wine
*475 ml Gin

Place apricots in a large preserving pan with allspice, sugar and wine. Bring to boil, stir until the sugar is dissolved. Remove from the heat and stir in the gin. Crack the apricot stones, skin the kernels and add those. Pour into a crock or large jar cover tightly and set aside for 5-6 days to infuse, giving it a shake every day. Strain the liqueur, I use a coffee filter paper, to get a clear liquid. Pour into sterilised bottles and seal. Allow at least 1 month for the liqueur to mature before serving. Best served chilled.

Cook’s Tip Keep the apricot pulp to use in boozy puddings or to make a fruit puree or ice cream. It can be frozen for later use and because of the alcohol content will keep well for months in the fridge.

 Recipe Source I came across it in an old preserving book and tried making it a few years ago with great success. This is the recipe unchanged from Home Preserving, 101 ways of preserving fruit, vegetables and herbs 1972.


Cherry Brandy

6 Jun

Cherries love the land here. There are wild cherry trees growing all over the mountain. We also have cultivated cherry trees that produce all the cherries we need for eating so to use the wild cherries, which are smaller and more acidic, we make cherry brandy. Of all the things in our pantry this is Rachel’s favourite. It is very easy to make and if its made when the cherries are ripe in June it will be ready for Christmas though we do usually start drinking it earlier because it is so yummy and we’ve usually run out of last years batch.

What you need
Jars with tight fitting lids (1.5L jars is what we used here)
*3-6 tablespoons of vanilla sugar per Jar (depending on the cherries are and how sweet you want the brandy)

How to make it

Prepare the cherries wash and drain the cherries and set aside to dry

Prepare the jars wash with hot soapy water, rinse and sterilise by putting them in an oven at 150c for 10minutes.

Fill the jars prick each cherry as you chuck it in the jar, so that the juices run out easily. When you get to a third full add 1/3 of the sugar, carry on adding cherries to 2 thirds and add another 1/3 of the sugar. When you get to the top leave a 2cm gap below the lid add the remaing sugar.

Add Brandy pour brandy over the cherries to fill the jar and seal. give everything good shake to make sure the sugra dissolves then leave it in a cool dark place to mature.

Wait, giving the jars a shake every now and then. It will be ready in 3-6 months depending on how patient you are.

Strain when its ready or when you can’t wait any longer, strain the brandy, the easiest way is with a coffee filter paper and holder over a funnel, into clean sterilised bottles, seal and label.

TIP Reserve the cherries for eating later, these really are delicious and can be used as fruit toppings and in puddings, but do go steady with them as they will have soaked up a lot of alcohol. Once drained they can be kept in the fridge for at least 2 years that i know of.

TIP use vanilla sugar for a better flavoured result. Vanilla sugar can be made by grinding a vanilla pod with 1kg of sugar, a more economical way, which is what i do, is to just put a bruised vanilla pod in the sugar jar it lasts and flavours the sugar and refills for ages.

Originally posted on  6/6/2006

Mulled Wine

15 Jan

This my mums’ recipe for mulled wine. It is a family tradition to drink this at Christmas time but since I’ve been back home and the weather has taken a turn for the worse a steaming glass of this stuff really does warm you up. It is also a great thing to make if you have an undrinkable bottle of red or two.

* 1 bottle robust red wine
* 1-2 sticks cinnamon
* 6 cloves
* peel and juice of one orange
* 2 glasses water
* 1/2 glass sugar

Put all the ingredients into a pan, except the red wine, and bring to the boil. Boil rapidly for 10 minutes or thereabouts to make an aromatic syrup. Pour in the wine and as soon as it is warmed through remove from the heat. If you let the wine boil it will start to evaporate the alcohol. Decant through a strainer into a heat poof jug and serve.

This recipe was originally posted on on 15/1/2008.