Kitchen craft

IMG_0374the vinegar pot  – find a friend with a vinegar pot who can let  you have some of their ‘mother’ the liver-like sediment. We have a specialist ceramic pot with a lid and tap but as long as you keep the non metallic container somewhere cool, it isn’t necessary. Start the process by submerging your piece of mother in half a bottle of wine then top up with dregs of bottles bit by bit. It only takes a few weeks to have your own supply of wine vinegar on tap. Keep the circulation of wine in and vinegar out going so that you don’t either suffocate your mother in stale old wine nor rush things through.  Uses of vinegar; marinating, dressings, cleaning and on and on

blackcurrant cassiswith a chinese twist. Improvised recipe that works well. Simmer enough blackcurrants to cover the bottom of the pan with a cup of water and as little sugar as you feel you can get away with. After about 5 minutes turn heat off and allow to cool. Then pour over your spirit of choice (we used cheap Baijo we had been given and the blackcurrant made it much more palatable to Western tastes. Don’t worry Adam we didn’t use the good stuff you gave us).

Mash the currants so that the juice flows and marinate the mix overnight before straining through muslin and funnel into a bottle. Add a little to white wine for your own version of kir cassis.

image from British herb society page

Rose hip syrup is delicious and apparently good for you, lucky we have a dog rose by our house which produces copious hips.

elderflower gin – Put 20 ish fresh elder flowers or as many as will fit inside a 3/4 full 70 cl bottle of gin – scale up or down for other sizes bottles .  (take off as much of the branches and leaves as you can) Add up to four dessert spoons of sugar, through a funnel, for  3/4 of a 70cl bottle. Shake and leave for no more than a week. Then drain through muslin into another bottle for drinking in the next few day. If you leave the gin on the elderflowers for longer than a week it will start to taste bitter.

We think best served with ice and tonic.

easy stick blender mayonnaise- 2 eggs, 1 tbsp of mustard, 2 tbsp of white vinegar, pinch of salt. 500 ml sunflower oil (approximately)

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Add mustard to eggs in bowl – no need to separate – add salt and vinegar plus a dash of oil then blend for about 10 seconds. (The beauty of this is that you don’t spend time trickling oil in gradually, it won’t split if you are generous with even the first dash of oil). Add further slugs of oil until the mayonnaise is the consistency you want. If it gets too thick you can thin it with lemon juice, vinegar or even water. Add herbs, spice or sauce if you want

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