Waste not, want not!

It’s a very long way to Christmas but sloe gin has to be one of those winter treats to be savoured and sipped out of tiny glasses. It’s great to offer a ‘nip’ to visitors who arrive as the nights draw in. In Tescos it is £15.99 a bottle…………..but you don’t imagine I bought any, did you?
Another yummy sipping drink is raspberry vodka, which is almost as delicious as blackberry vodka and again £15.99 in Tesco and again, I didn’t buy any!
What I did buy was a bottle of Tesco ‘value’ vodka at £7.97 and Tesco value gin at £7.97 and a punnet of raspberries which were reduced to 29p. You take 200g of sugar and 200g of sloes, which you prick to release the flavour, add them to a bottle along with a dash of almond essence and top up with gin, leave until Christmas, sieve and drink in moderation as it will now be a sipping liqueur. You do the same raspberry vodka, to which you add a dash of vanilla extract/essence. They will both be ready by Christmas…..and yes! I have used two old ketchup bottles for the raspberry vodka. In a few months, I’ll show you what they turned in to.
Today, I decided to make red onion marmalade, but I must have sauteed the onions in too much butter because the whole affair turned into nothing more than red onion soup. I had bought the red onions, the malt vinegar and the soft brown sugar, which are all expensive and I was not going to waste them. I quickly washed, quartered and cored the apples I found growing next to the car park of Mole Valley farmers and threw them into the bubbling mixture.

I just kept adding what I had until I had something tasty and edible. As it was so ‘loose’ I decided that it might make a good marinade for chops or chicken pieces so I added a liberal amount of ground ginger, some sweet chilli sauce and then blitzed it with my hand blender to make a ‘sauce’. However the pectin content of the apples has thickened this and the result is a spreadable, spicy chutneyish sauce. I’ve called it a chutney as ‘saucy kind of stuff that you can spread on cheese, chops or put onto any meat’ wouldn’t fit on the label.

I’m glad I saved it as I certainly wouldn’t wanted to have wasted half a bag of sugar, half a bottle of vinegar and a pack of onions!

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11 thoughts on “Waste not, want not!

  1. Will have to ask my uncle where my mum used to pick sloes from as she is the only one I know who used to make it. She's been gone 12 years, so I wonder if the sloes will still be available…worth asking though – I only had a sip once and it was gorgeous!

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  2. I've always had my doubts about 'value' liquers. From experience it's definitely a case of you get what you pay for. A high quality vodka doesn't get you nose before it hits your lips for instance and a good brandy is very sippable.

    That said I have never experimented with flavouring them like this, does it improve the base product as well as altering the taste? I have many many brambles and the like that I would experiment with if I thought it was worth a punt.

    Otherwise I think I would just stick to the original spirit as the thought of altering a good one strikes me as ever so slightly sacriligeous!

    Great save on the chutney though, that one has me wishing I had a slice of good cheddar I could post down to you!

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  3. Hi Broc! Making sloe gin, blackberry or raspberry vodka makes a cheap base very smooth and drinkable. The addition of sugar has the same effect on the drink as cassis/granadine does (as used by the French to smooth out cheap cider or wine) It changes it from a simple spirit to a liqueur.

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  4. Your red onion marmalade/soup could have been saved by simply thickening with cornflour – it works a treat on chutney that wont boil down. My sloe gin is marinading as I type… Just love it! Never use good quality gin mind you… always save the good stuff for a G&T. 🙂

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  5. A quick tip. When you've drained the sloes and raspberries, stir them into some melted chocolate, spread on a lined baking tray and put in the fridge to harden. Cut into squares and you have yummy liquer style chocolates

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