Sloes (of course)

At the weekend I was lucky enough to be invited to join a small gorup of conservation colunteers doing some hedge laying along the Trans Pennine Trail near Renishaw. .  Most of the hedge was hawthorn, but there was some blackthorn amongst it.  So that it would forgive us for the horrdenous thorns, one of two of the bushes were laden with sloes.  I picked them as I went along and by the time I was finished had enough to take home for Sloe Gin.

Its the easist thing in the world to make, and you don’t even have to fret about not having enough cos some got eaten on the way home – (if you haven’t ever tasted a sloe, you should try!!).  Pop the sloes in the freezer over night – sloes needed about a bag full – possibly a lb or so.  Pop them into a large bottle or jar or a even flask, pour over somewheer between 4oz and 8oz sugar and then pour in a bottle (75cl) gin.  Shake it until sughar dissolved and then shake it every so often (at least twice a day) for at least 2 weeks.  Then put it away somewhere dark and forget about it for at least 3 months (year is better, but not usually possible!).  Strain it through fine muslim or net curtain.  Drink it gingerly – like the best ever cough mixture only so so much better!


Whist I realise that rhubarb isn’t usually wild, it goes tastes so brilliant, its just so wonderful to have fresh home grown food and its goes so very well with wild things that are around, so I thought I would include it.

This evening I cooked a whole panful of rhubarb with just a little sugar and a big slosh of last year’s sloe gin.  The sloe gin was a great success from last year – but I’ve not run out yet!

Rhubarb also goes really well with elderflower, last Thursday’s ‘Times’ recommended poaching it as above with elderflower cordial, but I prefer it cooked with just a little liquid and sugar and served with cream whipped with a spoonful of  icing sugar and a handful of elderflower blossoms.