Back in the summer, I was sent a rather lovely looking bottle of Foxdenton Rhubarb Gin and asked if I would like to come up with a recipe for it to post here on my blog. I enthusiastically agreed (being a big gin lover AND a big rhubarb lover) but then life got in the way and SEVERAL polite reminder emails later, I found myself at Christmas and the bottle, still unopened. Thankfully, my brother has stepped in and heroically taken up the gin drinking, cocktail making mantle. I'll leave him to tell you the rest....
Meddling with the classics can be a risky business.
However, as the film director Baz Luhrmann showed in 1996 with his award-winning adaptation of Romeo and Juliet, and the car manufacturer Jaguar achieved in 2013 following the launch of the F-Type as a successor to a quintessential English sports car, its predecessor – the e-Type, experimentation is distinctly satisfying when the results are so warmly received.
Christmas in particular is a time when altering tradition can be viewed with disdain, however, then it was that upon receiving a bottle of Foxdenton Rhubarb Gin, I found myself challenged to create a delicious alternative to one of my all-time favourite drinks, a G&T.
I delved into some distant memories from working in a cocktail bar near Leeds while at university there (Suburban Style Bar in Horsforth if anyone knew it?!) – about ten years ago depressingly – and after giving the contents of my new bottle of mother’s rhubarb ruin a good sniff, decided to add two of my favourite cocktail ingredients…
After filling a (recently acquired) G&T glass (a collins glass would work equally well) with crushed ice, I poured in 70ml of the Foxdenton Rhubarb-y goodness, followed by half a 330ml can of ginger beer, a few dashes of Angostura bitters and garnished with a slice of orange.
The mixture needs a good stir, or better still, shaken over ice in a cocktail shaker before pouring over the crushed ice; and the result? A refreshingly punchy drink that works as comfortably post-Christmas dinner as it would on a summer’s evening, sat in the garden as the sun goes down.
All that’s left is to give it a name. The temptation is to be simple and go with ‘Rhubarb Gin and Ginger’ but for my money this lacks imagination. However, after drinking two or three of these, the mind’s not as sharp as it was, so I leave it to you, dear reader…send your suggestions on Twitter and mention @EatDrinkCookUK or add it to the EatDrinkCook Facebook page.
As long as I live, rock will never die.
Nick ‘the guest writer’ Nixon
A friend of mine recently posted a picture on Facebook of their first BBQ of the year (yes, I’m looking at you Matt!) and I have to say, much as I love a good BBQ, I have found the weather a little too much on the chilly side to be tempted to the dust off the grill and fire-lighters just yet (and by that, of COURSE I mean, get hubby to dust off the grill and fire-lighters). That being said, I definitely feel like the season of outside eating is just around the corner, and it’s definitely not too early to start planning that first spring or summer BBQ with friends…or to start taste testing this fabulous Grapefruit Gin and Tonic Slushie to make sure it’s up to scratch. You’re such a good friend to care so much about getting it just right! 😉
Apart from the fact that it’s just more pleasant to eat a meal in the garden, the warmth of the sun on your skin, the sound of birds singing in the trees; it also makes entertaining so much easier and somehow less formal. People can be ushered quickly through the house (before they notice you haven’t hoovered) and out into the garden, where you welcome them with a little drinky…
(I’m sorry. I had to. It was just too good).
…Which brings me to the purpose of this post. Assuming you’re not as brave as my friend Matt and you haven’t yet had your first BBQ of the year then I urge you to include these as an aperitif when you do.. They’re a (ahem) ‘citrus’ twist on an old classic and they’re both refreshing and just alcoholic enough to kick your afternoon or evening off with a pleasant buzz.
I love food.
I really love food that tastes amazing.
But I really, REALLY love food that tastes amazing AND looks beautiful.
This recipe sort of fits the bill. It hits two out of three of my criteria. It tastes unbelievable, it looks so pretty that you almost can’t bring yourself to touch it (almost…) but, it’s not technically, well, ‘food’.
So yeah, you got me – it’s a drink. I guess the title of the post kind of gave me away. The good news is, chocolate in its liquid form actually contains no calories!* Hurrah!
(*this is what’s known as literary licence. go with it…)
Now, I have to be quite strict about this. A warm, luxurious mug of Raspberry & Lavender White Hot Chocolate is not to be made (or drunk) lightly. It is the absolute height of indulgence and should be saved for occasions fitting of such extreme deliciousness. I’m talking, being dumped, getting fired or accidentally shrinking your favourite outfit here. This isn’t for minor disasters like nail breaks or unwelcome pimples.
For further guidance on the correct foods to eat when life throws you a curve ball then please read my ‘Food Hugs’ series 🙂
Now, I don’t want to seem over-dramatic here, but (in the words of Jack Bauer) hundreds of thousands of people may d…desperately need this kind of solace in a mug. Don’t you think it’s your duty to help me get the message out there?
Go on, do your good turn for the day and tweet it out!
Right, now I think you’ve earned the actual recipe for this masterpiece in a mug, this classic in a cup, this treasure in a tankard…(actually, you’d have to be a pretty hardcore chocoholic to drink a whole tankard of it. It’s pretty rich…still, challenge extended, I guess?)
(Makes 1 oh-so-pretty-oh-so-tasty mugful – not to be confused with ‘muggle’)
Fruit teas, herbal teas and green teas are a bit like blue cheese, caviar and olives. I’m not comparing them taste-wise (although in the case of some green teas, I’m not sure that comparison would be far off the mark..) What I’m saying is, you feel like you really ought to like them because, well they’re super cool right? Only, try as you might, you just don’t get it.
(Actually, truth be told, I TOTALLY dig olives – not literally – they’re picked from trees dontcha know? … but you get the idea.)
Maybe it’s just me, but there’s something about fruit teas, iced tea and all that malarky, which just isn’t British. We have our tea steaming hot and in a mug (or teacup) thank you very much. A teapot is preferred, a biscuit to dunk is a treat – and don’t get me started on when the milk should be added.… it’s a steaming hot topic and no mistake.
I briefly dabbled with mint tea just after the birth of my second son – but more because of its supposed ability to settle an upset tummy than because I thought it sounded particularly tasty. I must confess, I was pleasantly surprised. It wasn’t awful. That’s as far as I’d go. Put it this way, I had my son in February 2014 and I haven’t managed to finish that box of tea bags yet…
More recently, a friend enticed me to try more of a spiced tea – with cloves, cardamom and cinnamon. It was pretty tasty. I haven’t finished that box either.
This year, I thought I’d have a go at making my own version – Peach and Strawberry Iced Tea. I mean, iced teas are a pretty big deal in a lot of places so there must be something to them right?
As it turns out – YES!
The first step was to make a Peach & Strawberry Syrup, which by the way, makes your whole house smell amazing so if your home is on the market, then the time to make this is just before you have people coming for a viewing. Guaranteed sale. 🙂
(Makes approx 700 ml)
2 peaches, chopped
200 g strawberries
200 g caster sugar (if you have vanilla sugar then use half this and half normal caster)
500 ml water
You will need
Strawberry Peach Cordial
I haven’t put amounts here – it really depends on whether you want to just make a glass for you or a jug. The basic directions are:
PS – I don’t own one (yet) but if I did, I would absolutely serve this Peach Tea in one of these amazing clear teapots!
The fantastic thing about the Strawberry Peach Cordial that you’ve just made is that it will keep in the fridge for a week or so and can also be used for these gorgeous drinks..
Just a splash of cordial at the bottom of the glass before pouring your Prosecco and hey presto 🙂
A great one for the kids this one. Just add sparkling water.
If you’ve enjoyed this post or this recipe then please do share it with your chums and let me know in the comments. I’d love to hear from you!
I’ve purposefully posted this on a Saturday because I just knew that as soon as you saw it, you’d want (no, need) to sample it immediately. Obviously, I don’t want you getting into trouble at work so I thought the weekend was best (apologies for those of you who work at weekends – tough times ahead for you guys!)
Peaches are at their absolute best at this time of the year. Full of sweetness and of chin-dribbling juice. So I’ve been taking full advantage of them while I can – I mean you could just turn one meal into a complete peach-fest! How about Chicken & Peach Tagine to start, Peach Tart for dessert and some of this Peach Punch to drink? Too much peach? I’m not sure that’s possible.
Before we dive into the recipe, I feel an explanation is in order for my glaring omission of the accent at the end of ‘Rose’ in the title. This wasn’t an editing error, I purposefully left it out because, although the base of the punch is rosé wine, the taste that I wanted to highlight was the delicate floral note of rose water. Too much and it becomes soapy, but just a smidge and it really adds something wonderful to the sweet peach and crisp wine.
Cloudy lemonade lightens the whole drink and makes it acceptable for daytime consumption without fear of falling asleep in a drunken heap by 5pm. Let’s not be this guy…
Now, I’m conscious that this may be a controversial subject. Many of you may already have a tried and tested recipe for Sangria and will be indignantly wondering who I think I am to be claiming the ‘perfect’ recipe. Let me just clarify right here, right now – this recipe is my perfect recipe but I don’t make any claims on the title of the perfect recipe…(although I’m fairly confident it’s pretty close…)
Sangria holds a special place in my heart. It takes me back to wonderful family holidays, staying with my Auntie and Uncle in Spain. Big jugs of it were made up as part of the pre-lunch preparations. Various nibbles would be set out and plastic garden cups assigned to all. Ah, that first, cool, sweet sip. Just pure bliss. Pure, summery, holiday bliss.
This is the Sangria that I was taught to make on those very holidays – there are no spirits and no chopped fruit (apart from oranges). It’s simple, refreshing and can be sipped gently all afternoon if one so desires, without too much danger of ill-affect!
By all means, feel free to add more chopped fruit or even spirits if you’re looking for more ‘buzz’ – but just know, none of that is necessary.
For this recipe, rather than using specific measurements, I’ve used proportional representation – that way, you can make it work for whatever size jug you’re using.
You will need:
1/3 red wine
2/3 cloudy lemonade
Super simple, super refreshing and super tasty – cheers! 🙂
I’m a little bit addicted to Pinterest. It’s one of those dangerous places where you can innocently go while you have a spare 5 minutes, only to realise 2 hours later, that your children are unfed and your washing un-cleaned…but hey, you’ve got some bitchin’ ideas on what to do with that funny space under the stairs!
Those of you who already follow me on Pinterest may have come across my ‘Cool Foodie Ideas’ board. This is where I pin away all those clever little culinary tricks that I spot while browsing for inspiration. Today I want to share a few of those gems on my blog.
(By the way, if you don’t follow me on Pinterest, then for goodness sake put that right now!)
So, without further ado, let’s dive right into the wonderful world of Cool Foodie Ideas from Pinterest!
This is such a simple concept but I’ve never thought to do it before! This summer I will definitely be giving it a go. Doesn’t it look refreshing?
I LOVE this! How cool do this little sushi look? Another super-simple idea that produces really fun and exciting results.
This takes one pot meals a step further, using no pots at all! I’m all for it. These would be great for taking on picnics don’t you think?
These little guys look absolutely amazing! I think they’d make great little treats to serve guests with a cup of coffee after dinner. 🙂
Ok, so this one is more of a ‘Cool Drinkie Idea’ than a foodie one – but it still definitely deserves a place on the list because it sounds delicious!
So there they are – pretty cool I think you’ll agree! Let me know in the comments what other cool foodie ideas you find 🙂
So, Summer is creeping slowly and frankly, rainily (is that a word??) to our doorstep once more and I for one have started the annual ‘oh lord, I’d better start eating a bit better so I can fit in those shorts’ thoughts. Not only that, but I live in endless cycles, of ‘I must eat more healthily’ followed by ‘oh, I’m too tired, I don’t care – I’m getting pizza‘. I actually LOVE fruit and veg so I really have very little excuse not to get my five-a-day, and yet… somehow I very often don’t!
My ‘Five Ways to Five a Day’ series attempts to offer a few friendly tips on how we can all make life a little easier and a little healthier for ourselves. Plus, it’s my opportunity to present to you my FIRST ever vlog – you have no idea what technical hoops I (and my patient hubby) had to jump through, manoeuvre around, upload and reformat…
So, without further ado, I bring to you, Smoothie Packs – and I’m not talking facials here…
Five smoothie packs, so that you have a quick, healthy start to the day from Monday to Friday. No muss, no fuss.
The five smoothies that I’ve chosen were aimed to use the same selection of fruits so that you’re not going out and buying a million fruits and letting loads go to waste. The great thing with smoothie packs though, is you can just chuck in what you fancy!
Top Tip: to get extra goodness in there, why not pop in a handful of green leaves, like spinach or kale?
There’s something about a smoothie that makes me feel pretty saintly – even the ones that are actually filled with ice cream and syrup! I think it’s the coolness and flavours of fresh fruit. You just know it’s doing you good. 🙂
This one is a real taste of Summer. It takes the flavours of a Pina Colada and turns it into something suitable for breakfast (not that I would ever want to discourage you from drinking pina coladas at breakfast too!). I had some this morning, using an old, tired pineapple that was going brown and would otherwise have been headed for the bin. In a smoothie, its ripe, juicy deliciousness was able to shine through. Add in a splash of creamy coconut milk and you’ve got yourself a tasty, refreshing (and pretty healthy!) start to the day.
Want to know more about pineapples, their history AND just how darn good they are for you? Take a look at this great article by Helen Nichols at Well-Being Secrets.
(or ‘Pina Coloothie’ as I like to call it…)
You will need:
300 g pineapple (peeled and chopped)
100 g ice cubes
100 ml coconut milk*
*I use the low fat version – plenty creamy enough for me
If you want to add a splash of rum then it certainly wouldn’t go amiss! Possibly not for breakfast though – unless you’re expecting a really bad day….
This is probably one of the easiest smoothies you could make, so if you’re a smoothie newbie then it’s a good place to start. There are endless combos that you can try, but today we’re keeping it simple and staying classic.
You will need:
1 frozen chopped banana
1/2 pint milk
1 tbs honey
Why not top your smoothie with a handful of granola or maybe some shavings of chocolate. Perhaps a few chopped nuts? Or if you’re feeling really naughty, then a dollop of vanilla ice cream never goes amiss.
If you liked this one, you’re going to LOVE my other smoothie recipes. Go on – check them out!
Please share your fave smoothies in the comments – and if you like this one then share it with your chums!