Tuesday, 24 November 2015

a frosty weekend

A weekend at home is a rare occasion for me now. I can count on one hand how many times I've been back this year, not out of not wanting to but simply because time and life passes by at an alarming rate. Therefore, it is always so wonderful to leave the city behind and hibernate in the comfort of our farm.

The American and I headed home for three days, a real luxury! Friday was spent catching up with my Granny and walking the dogs, Saturday a day out with my parents and Sunday spent walking (again) and eating Mrs. B's roast beef.

Here are a few pictures from our frosty time away.

Friday was spent hiding in trees and chasing dogs:

Whilst on Sunday we made the most of the sun and went to the pool behind the hill: 

I'm suddenly feeling decidedly Christmassy! We're getting our tree this weekend so stand by for a festive post! 


Tuesday, 3 November 2015

sloe gin

A few weekends ago I headed back to the countryside for a sloe(w) few days. I hadn't been home since July and so it was much overdue, I left The American at our flat building our wardrobe and drawers so both of us had a weekend to ourselves. 

I arrived late on Friday night and headed straight to bed. I awoke on Saturday to blazing sunshine and a crisp autumnal breeze. Home always looks beautiful but I think the countryside looks even better in the autumn light. 

Mum and I hopped over to Broadway for a morning of shopping and catching up over cake. Broadway is my absolute favourite place and we are so lucky to have it on our doorstep. It's lined with chocolate box houses, little shops and tea rooms. If you've never been I suggest you go as soon as possible. The Lygon Arms is the hotel to stay at; a real Cotswold treat.

But enough of Broadway, this post is all about sloe gin! 

^^ this is Berry, a very apt name for a dog to pick sloe berries with! 

My uncle was also up that weekend so we all went for a walk with the dogs and took advantage of the hedgerows that were bursting with sloe berries. Everyone is writing about sloe gin right now but here is my recipe.

The recipe is very simple and works on a 1/3 sloe berries, 1/3 gin (cheap stuff is fine) and 1/3 sugar basis. 

My uncle recommended putting the sloes in the freezer overnight to save you from pricking them as this is a long and boring process. Lay them out on a plate or flat in a bag and once they start to defrost they'll go all mushy - perfect for getting the juices!

Next very gently heat your gin and allow the sugar to dissolve (I didn't actually do this part as was short of time, it will still be delicious though). Don't let the gin get too hot otherwise you'll be enjoying a virgin sloe cocktail later on in the year!

Finally, simply pour your gin solution into a large container (a lemonade bottle is fine) and funnel in the squashy berries. Give it a good shake and leave for 6-8 weeks. Though my uncle recommends leaving it for longer, for a better brew! If you have an airing cupboard that's always good too. Over the coming weeks I'll pop back to my little brew and give it a stir now and then to make sure all the juices are mixing well. 

Whether you decant it into smaller bottles as Christmas gifts, take it in a hip flask next shooting season or simply enjoy with family at home, sloe gin is a Great British tipple. Mix it up with tonic for a twist on your old favourite or add a dash in a glass of Champagne for a really luxurious drink.