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!


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!


  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!


  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.


  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. 🙂


  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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