5 jars of love and a bottle of skint.Posted: November 24, 2011
This year, due to my overwhelming poorness, I have decided to make the majority of my Christmas presents. The plan is to be able to gift friends and family with a small homemade hamper full of lovely things that would be ideal Boxing Day accompaniments. I want these things to go perfectly with cold turkey and ham, cheese, bread and also something in there to cure the Christmas hangover. If your family is anything like mine, Xmas day is spent excitedly opening presents (often power tools), getting hammered on my Mum’s Japanese language Wii (!) by a seven year old, eating 4.9 metric tonnes of food and then getting so drunk you lose the ability to walk and/or see – neither of which you need to be able to do at this point anyway. Boxing day therefore is generally a day of meekly picking at leftovers, pretending you feel alright until the point where you actually do, then repeating the last step from the day before. I love Christmas.
If you are a friend or member of my family… Merry Christmas! This is what you’re getting…
You will need:
200g yellow and brown mustard seeds
A good pinch of crumbled dried chilli
250ml of good cider vinegar
1 tsp salt
4 tbsp runny honey
Put the mustard seeds, chilli and vinegar in a bowl, mix, cover with Clingfilm and set aside for 24 hours.
Add the honey (delicious) and mix well. Put ¾ of the mixture in a food processor (I did it in a blender and it worked fine) and blend until crushed or a consistency you like. You can probably do this in a pestle and mortar as well. Mix everything back together and add the salt. Put the mixture into sterilised jars. I got 5 4oz jars out of this and a small amount for my friend Joe to take home with him. He will, however, never eat it because it doesn’t go with prawns.
This will store for months in a cupboard and once opened will keep for a couple of months in the fridge.
I also tried a version adding 50ml whiskey and removing 50ml of the vinegar. It was very nice but probably not as good. Try it! Also nice mixed through some fluffy mashed potato.
This recipe was inspired by Annie Rigg’s book, ‘Gifts From The Kitchen’. Buy it. It’s great.
Get enough blackberries to fill a sterilised, airtight Kilner jar (or likewise). Pour in golden caster sugar and keep shaking and filling until you can’t fit anymore in. Fill with whiskey (just use cheap stuff) and allow it to drip through the fruit and sugar. Keep topping up if it needs it. At this point I wish I had added a couple of drops of vanilla extract, but ive only just thought of that so there we are. Seal and put in a cupboard for a month or so. Basically you want the sugar to have dissolved in the alcohol.
I decanted it into 25cl sealable bottles by separating the fruit and liquid, putting around 6 or 7 blackberries in each bottle and then filling with the syrupy goodness. The leftover whiskey-soaked blackberries were delicious with ice cream. There was no more of the drink left. Honest.
There are more presents than this but I don’t want to give the game away. I’ll put up more after the big event.
Oh, as a footnote, I got all my jars and bottles from a lovely ebay shop called freeman-and-harding-the-jar-people. Brilliant service if you want jars. If not, I wouldn’t advise contacting them.