Monday, 27 October 2014
A work in progress - Apple, Cinnamon and Star Anise Vodka
I hate to mention the 'C' word, so at this moment I won't, but I have in mind for this a certain evening in December, when the house has become quiet because excitable children have finally given up and gone to bed, the fairy lights are twinkling on the tree and the fire is roaring. Unfortunately, that is where my utopian vision ends. Since we moved, we have one of these pretend things rather than the real thing, and though I really don't miss the dust and the dirt, I do miss that once in a while situation, usually when it is cold and dark outside, where a roaring fire is a necessary detail. Anyway, if I can't get warm in the way I might like, I am hoping that this little experiment will turn into something that will warm the cockles instead, but, I will have to wait to find out.
Because of the weird obsession I have with fruit trees, September and October are filled with fruit tree spotting. It is a pastime which makes my return to work for the worst half term of the whole year a little more bearable, as with every passing year I discover another random fruit tree blooming with fruit. What's that? Yes, you're right. I should be keeping my eyes on the road, but in case you're interested and are vaguely in the north Liverpool area, you might be surprisedto learn that the East Lancs road contains quite a few fruit trees, as does the Northern Perimeter Road at Netherton, the M57 between Switch Island and Kirkby and then there is the Rainford Bypass, which is where these apples are from. Lola, Finn, Phill and I went along three weeks ago and stripped the lower branches of a random tree, and then Phill lifted Finn, ever the daredevil, so we could get to those round, rosy ones at the top of the tree. Scrumping has not lost its appeal, and has probably provoked a life long memory for Finn, who seemed to have the best time.
I usually make blackcurrant vodka, but decided to try apple this time. I was thinking apple pie when I threw the cinnamon and star anise in. Due to the tartness of the apples, I did throw about 50g of sugar into the mix to hopefully take away anything too sour, and I used the cheapest vodka I could get my hands on. Don't be using 'Grey Goose' for this; get down to Lidl. The other thing I did was sterilise the jar and the spoon I used to push the apples into the jar, to hopefully prevent anything weird starting to grow.
Apple, Cinnamon and Star Anise Vodka
Serves me, all through Christmas, hopefully.
1litre of cheap vodka
Two star anise
1 large cinnamon stick, broken up
50g sugar (optional, depending on the tartness of your apples)
About half a dozen medium size apples, cut into quarters.
Once you have sterilised a suitable jar, put the spices, the sugar if using and the vodka into the bottle. Don't fill all the way up to the top because you have to put the apples in which will displace the load.
Put the apples in. They will float, so you will need something to push them down with. I used a serving spoon as it had a long apple and also helped to stir the mixture a little. Put in as many as you can. Once full, seal the jar.
Keep the bottle in a dark place. Mine is under the sink. Theoretically, the vodka would become infused after about a fortnight, but I am leaving mine until the week before Christmas, when I will decant it into a pretty bottle I bought from Range.
To be continued...