For a few days now I have been wittering away ( like twittwering only not much different) over on facebook, about plum vodka. I promised to share, so, here goes.
I have many recipe books. Some I use a lot, some I dip into. Sometimes I get bored of making the same old things and flick through a book to see what I can find. Sometimes the writing draws me in, the enthusiasm for food, the images. Roast Figs Sugar Snow by Diana Henry is a favorite for winter.
I first heard about this book while painting and listening to Woman's Hour on Radio 4.
So, flicking through the pages one day and searching for inspiration for the children's supper I found this recipe. It takes a while. Be patient.
Russian plum vodka.
1 kg (2lbs 4oz) red or purple plums
700g ( 1ib 9oz sugar)
1.5 litres ( 2 3/4 pints) vodka.
Big shiney glass kilner glass jars.
Find some peace of mind and a sharp knife, put on some music and halve the plums, but leave the plumstones in. You can play 'he loves me, he loves me not' in a few weeks when they have steeped in vodka. More fun then.
Put them into a container that will hold 1.7 litres (three pints) and pour the sugar over them. Now drown them in vodka. ( I use two jars now as it is difficult to get one big enough, and I confess to adding more sugar, because the first time I made this my jar really wasn't big enough so had far too much sugar and plums and not enough vodka)
Close the lids and shake to mix the ingredients then stand the jars in a cool dark place for six weeks, but visit them now and again to shake or turn or just look at them. The plums shine like jewels in the darkening liquid as juice transfers from plum to vodka.
In six weeks time you are supposed to strain the liquid through cheesecloth and bottle it, but I just tipped it through a funnel into bottles and wondered what to do with the plums. I sniffed them, cautious as a cat, then curious as a cat I tasted one. Heaven.
Now, I am sure you are thinking, "Well, surely she didn't give Russian plum vodka to the children for tea?" and of course the answer is no. After all, even they wouldn't wait six weeks. We had roasted spare rib pork chops with pears, melting onions and Gorgonzola, roast potatoes and kale, another recipe from the same book.
Diana Henry tells of how her Polish friend, Kasia, put plum vodka into her tea in the winter. I would like to meet her.
So glad I bought this book. Lots of game recipes, small snippets of story inbetween, beautiful beautiful photographs by Jason Lowe.
Oh, and above I promised to share, share the recipe that is, not the plums.