Ginuary 19th: Sloe Roasted Plums.

It’s a delight to finally have some sloe gin in the cupboard to play with, and thank gosh for having this recipe on hand while I’m still on my cold virus deathbed. I spotted some amazing-looking plums on my one voyage out of the house this weekend and thus today’s gin seemed fated.

Sloe Roasted Plums

  • 12 plums, halved and stoned
  • 150ml sloe gin
  • Juice of 1 orange, plus a little extra
  • 60g golden/raw caster sugar

 

Preheat the oven to 200°C (fan, 180° gas).

Put the plums in a large roasting tin, cut side up. Mix the gin and orange juice and pour over the fruit. Sprinkle with the sugar and bake for 15-20 minutes, until tender.

Using a slotted spoon, transfer plums to a large dish (or into serving bowls) to cool. Pour the remaining juices from the roasting tin into a small saucepan. Bring to the boil and cook for 3-4 minutes or until reduced and syrupy. Pour over the cooled plums.

Serving suggestion: with shortbread and ice cream.

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Well, this is blooming delightful.

If I wasn’t so unwell, I could have easily eaten a double serve in one sitting. Wow, yum. This one’s so simple and so delicious, I’m keeping it on hand for future dinner parties!

Ginuary 18th: Gin & Earl Grey Cured Salmon.

Here’s another one I prepared earlier! But I had to, because that’s how cured salmon works. I’d never tried this before, which is another thing I love about Ginuary. Trying new things!

Gin & Earl Grey Cured Salmon

  • 85g caster sugar
  • 70g coarse-ground sea salt
  • 2 tsp Earl Grey tea
  • 2 Tbsp gin
  • 500g salmon fillets, skin on

 

In a small bowl, mix together the sugar, salt, tea and gin.

Use half the mixture to cover the base of a baking dish large enough to contain the entire salmon, and lie the salmon flesh side down (skin side up). Coat the fish with the remaining mixture, ensuring that all surfaces of the fish are covered if possible.
Place a sheet of foil over the top of the salmon, and place a second, smaller baking dish on top. Use a couple of tins to weigh down the second dish, and place in the fridge for a minimum of 48 hours (I think I left mine about five days!).

Upon removal from the fridge, carefully rinse away the salt, sugar and tea from the surface of the salmon. To serve, slice thinly on the diagonal (a sharp knife is useful here).

Serving suggestion: on crispbread with cucumber and lemon juice.

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I beefed up the original serving suggestion by adding some amazing tasmanian yoghurt cheese to the platter, because it was a good excuse to buy some.

I was so excited about this and also nervous! I made sure my knife was sharp before cutting into the cured meat and I think I did an OK job with the slicing.

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Slice thinly on the diagonal…?

Then came the eating, which was the best part. I’m happy to be able to say that! The mix of curing ingredients meant that the meat had a nice sweet flavour to it brought on by the sugar and tea. I used my bespoke gin again for a further citrus push and that came through as well.

This was an awesome recipe for my first curing experiment and I won’t stop here, it was too great!

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Wonderful snacking.

 

Ginuary 17th: Gin Caramels.

Today I have another treat from Aviation Gin’s wonderful blog. I didn’t intend to do back to back gin foods, let alone from the same source, but I’ve been struck down by a lurgy (honestly, who gets a cold virus in the middle of summer? This guy) and these delicious morsels just happened to be a “here’s one I prepared earlier” moment. Yes, they’ve been taunting me from my fridge for days now. I didn’t even sneak a cheeky one prior to today.

Gin Caramels

  • 2 cups caster sugar
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 395g tin sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/2 cup salted butter
  • 2 Tbsp gin
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt

 

Prepare a square or rectangle pan by spraying with non-stick spray, lining with baking paper and spraying again. Caramel sticks to everything.

In a saucepan, add sugar, corn syrup and water. Whisk over medium-high heat until contents turn golden brown. This will take around 10-15mins, so cut butter into cubes during the early stages of this, but then watch it like a hawk from around the 10min mark because the embrownening happens really quickly.

Remove pan from heat and stir in condensed milk and butter, then return pan to medium-low heat stirring constantly until mixture reaches around 115°C. Remove the pan from heat again; stir in the gin and salt.

Pour the finished mixture into the prepared pan and let it cool—sprinkle with some more flaky salt for a nice salty effect. Leave to cool (overnight, or longer even if you like). Cut caramels into desired size using an oiled knife, and wrap in baking paper (cut into 10cmx10cm squares).

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Thanks to Kelly Sanders of Aviation Gin for the original recipe for this one. I only really altered it to convert to Australianisms, and to add some elaboration.

This was the first time I’d made caramels and mine have ended up with some delicious chunky burnt caramel bits through them, which I really enjoy but probably shouldn’t be in there. Never mind; I ate four and I’m not dead. Lucky there are at least another twenty or so in the fridge! Help yourselves.

Ginuary 16th: Cherries Jubilee.

My farewell to the cherry season this year was to literally set them on fire.

Gin & Tonic Cherries Jubilee

  • 1/3 cup gin
  • 500ml lemon sorbet
  • 500g fresh sweet cherries
  • 1/2 cup caster sugar
  • 1 lemon
  • 3 Tbsp tonic syrup

 

Scoop sorbet into bowls and place in freezer until ready to serve. These ingredients make four small servings or two huge ones (let’s not muck about).

Wash and pit the cherries (my technique involves a narrow-necked bottle and a chopstick). Place cherries and sugar in a large saucepan. Peel two wide strips of lemon zest and add to the cherries. Squeeze juice of half the lemon over the cherries. Stir to combine evenly. Cover and cook the cherries over medium-high heat until the sugar dissolves (~4min). Uncover and cook over medium-high heat until the cherries get juicy (~5min).

Next, time to set things on fire. If cooking over a gas flame, pull the pan full of cherries off heat and add the gin, then ignite the alcohol. If cooking over electric heat, put the gin in a small saucepan separately, warm it over medium-low heat and carefully light it with a match, then pour the lit gin over the cherries. In both scenarios, once the gin is on fire with the cherries, swirl the pan slightly until the flames subside.

Finally, scoop the cherries and their juices over the prepared sorbet scoops. Drizzle an even amount of the three tablespoons of tonic syrup over the serving. Now eat quickly before everything melts.

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I can’t tell you how thankful I am to Aviation Gin for having such an incredible blog full of creative and inspiring gin recipes. Holy dooley, am I blown away by it. I came across the Cherries Jubilee recipe a few weeks ago (thank you, Rena Hartman!) and stored it away for safekeeping, knowing that Ginuary occurs in the middle of Tasmania’s cherry season. What a ripper. What an absolute treat. I’m only sorry that I don’t have any Aviation in my cupboard at the moment—but I did end up using the citrus-forward bespoke gin I made at McHenry Distillery last week, which was very exciting! I’m glad to report that it worked wonderfully in this recipe.

The other thing that worked wonderfully in this recipe was the Blood Moon Tonic I received in the post this morning. Honestly, I’d been holding off on this recipe while waiting for this key ingredient to arrive, but once it was in my hot little hands my patience went out the door.

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This stuff is Australia’s first artisanal tonic syrup, and I’ve been waiting with bated breath for that very thing to hit the market. I’ll admit that I’m heartbroken that I missed Blood Moon’s pozible campaign, because I totally would have gone the Full Moon. Never mind, Blood Moon and I are together now, and that’s how it should be. Sweet, spicy, and just what I imagined a great tonic syrup would be like, this went wonderfully as a drizzle on today’s G&T Jubilee and I can’t wait to try more of it in other concoctions.

Ginuary 8th: Gin, Ginger & Garlic Stir-fried Sprouts.

SO MANY GEES!

Hello, I’m cooking with gin. Hooray! I wanted to do more of that this year but we’ll see how that goes, because it takes more preparation and that’s something that even four years into this joyous event I’m still not good at. Ah.

Gin, Ginger & Garlic Stir-fried Sprouts

  • 1 kg sprouts, trimmed and halved
  • 200g diced pancetta
  • 5 tbsp gin
  • 400ml chicken stock, made up as per packet instructions
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
  • 4 tsp chopped or finely sliced ginger (fresh or bottled)
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Butter and oil for frying

 
Fry the pancetta in a little butter and oil. Once approaching crispy, throw in the sprouts, garlic, and ginger. Stir-fry for a couple of minutes. Add the gin and allow it to boil down for a minute. Pour in the stock and lemon juice, and simmer until the sprouts are soft and flavoursome (or until most of the stray liquid has disappeared). Season to taste.

 

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I can’t remember how I stumbled across this recipe but I have Domestic Sluttery to thank for it. Thank you, Domestic Sluttery!

I believe that I am in the minority when I say I’m a fan of sprouts… or is this just a thing that most of us keep secret once we’re not kids any more and sprouts are actually ok? I can’t ever remember hating sprouts but I also can’t remember eating a great amount of them, and perhaps that is more where the childhood animosity comes from. Anyway, DS’s link is worth checking out if you have any interest whatsoever in sprouts or trying to get an appreciation for them, because it’s a multi-recipe page, and a bit Christmas-themed to boot. And I do love Christmas.

The ginger and garlic make this a fairly potent dish but heck, what’s a stir fry without a flavour smack in the face? I could definitely notice the botanical wink that the gin added to the mix, and by gosh did the salt content get an overload of a dose thanks to the pancetta. I didn’t need to season this at all. And I also ate a whole bowl of it for dinner.

Ginuary 30th: Hedgerow chocolate bar.

Another Tasmania-proud post, is this one. Not an hour’s drive from Hobart is a magical town called Cygnet, and in that magical town are many magical places, and just one of those magical places is Cygneture Chocolates. I was fond of Cygneture before they released their Hedgerow bar last June, featuring McHenry’s sloe gin… but after that happened, I was theirs.

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I’m making this post today half because it’s my daily task and half to spite my friend Hannah who is leaving me for an interstate job this weekend and I may never forgive her. We just had an eight-course dinner with matched wines and she seriously doubted I would get through a chocolate bar after that. To be honest, I had my doubts, too. But I am very stubborn and this is a wonderful chocolate bar.

It is also important to note that these two chocolate bars were a gift from my friend Helen, who drove me out to Cygnet and back just so I could buy a bar, which she then accidentally dropped on the ground and smashed up. My friends are both wonderful and terrible and I wouldn’t have it any other way. The last couple of days have been a bit of a friend vomit-fest—sorry.

I am currently halfway through this chocolate bar with seven minutes ’till midnight. I can make it.

Ginuary 29th: Gin & Tonic Popcorn.

I honestly wasn’t sure what I felt like doing for today. Then I checked the mail and found a pouch of Joe & Seph’s gin & tonic popcorn. Today’s gin was suddenly no question.

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One of my favourite people in the world brought this back from her recent trip to the UK, just for me. I didn’t ask her to do it—she just saw it and thought of me. I don’t deserve such wonderful friends but gosh I am glad to have them.

“I’ll just have a bit and save the rest for later,” I said to myself, before eating the entire packet.

No regrets.

Ginuary 27th: Pork Steak with Gin & Coriander Sauce.

About time for a main meal of gin food, what do you say? I couldn’t go past a piece of meat marinated in gin, then pan-fried in gin, with the leftover juice being made into a gin sauce.

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My plating skills still need some work.

Recipe here.

This year I’ve gotten into a bit of a habit of abstaining from in-progress photos but they would have gone nicely with a full recipe post tonight. However, as I didn’t take them, I’ve decided not to post the full recipe—but I heartily endorse the above link. Simple* for this kitchen amateur and with a delicious result. Served with a Four Pillars gin, cloudy apple juice and minty ice.

And the best part of cooking the full recipe is that I’ve got leftovers for dinner tomorrow, too.

*Except for the part where I decided to go with the “or set light to it and let the flames burn down” option when I added the gin to the frypan of oil and almost set the kitchen on fire. Nbd though.

Ginuary 24th: Axl Rose Ice-Cream @ Sweet Envy.

Another Ginuary, another amazing ice-cream from Alistair at Sweet Envy.

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Axl Rose is a beautiful romance of gin and roses that I first tried back in December and begged for a repeat of in time for the best month of the year because I am crazy about it. Last year’s Gin Gin Cucumber was tasty and creamy, but Axl Rose brings delicious roses to the party. My friend described it as “licking a grandmother” which made me uncomfortable and I’m trying to forget that comment so I can go back and buy a whole litre of that delicious grandma. I mean ice-cream.

Ginuary 24th: Gin & Lavender Dark Chocolate Truffles.

INDULGENCE ATTACK. I’ve been hanging onto the original recipe for this since JULY 2012, when a friend threw the link on my facebook wall with “OMG” as her only comment. Made sense. She was visiting earlier this month, but at that stage I was still trying to track down some culinary lavender, so I heartbreakingly did not get to make these for her. But also, she has weird food needs and I am not that dedicated. I took the basic idea from this recipe and fused it with this recipe to make this recipe:

Gin & Lavender Dark Chocolate Truffles

  • 400g good quality dark chocolate
  • 125ml (1/2 cup) thickened cream
  • 2 Tbsp gin
  • 40g (1/4 cup) slivered almonds
  • 2 Tbsp dried lavender

 

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Ohhhhhh my sweet merciful madness. I don’t generally like truffles, but I happily ate two of these. You know how truffles can be really slayfully heavy? Despite the overabundance of dark chocolate and booze, these are actually kinda light. And fresh. And delicious.

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