What to do with all this produce…fruit liqueurs

There is only so much fruit that I can freeze – the new additional freezer we bought last year for the bumper crop of gooseberries, plums and pears was only half empty and this year’s bumper harvest of rhubarb, blackcurrants and redcurrants have filled it completely again. I am now faced with 5 full tub trugs of apples and a couple of tub trugs worth of damsons still on the trees! I am, however, not complaining and I will manage to find space in the other freezers for most of the produce.

It does however mean that I the liqueur making season is upon me ! People who know me always find it amusing that one of our cupboards is filled every year with an array of fruit liqueurs…amusing because I very rarely drink alcohol. There is little I enjoy more than being able to offer a tasty fruity tipple to accompany the food I make when visitors around.

The selection in the picture is my array of blackcurrant liqueurs – vodka, liqueur, cassis and gin. If you were to rummage in the cupboard you would also find: redcurrant cassis, rhubarb and orange liqueur, damson gin, sloe gin, gooseberry vodka and pear vodka.

All the fruit used, once strained from the liquid is put in to a pie or crumble – a deliciously warming dish that I call my drunk fruit desserts. Always a favourite with my husband ūüôā

I will put all my recipes on my blog over the next few weeks.

What to do with some much produce…apple, honey and rosemary jam¬†

I first tasted this delicious combination at a friend’s house a couple of years ago. Whenever they visited some friends in France they would come back with a jar of loveliness called: Confiture de pommes au romarin et au miel de montagne. I acquired a recipe and then promptly forgot about it until recently. Recipe translated and tweaked resulted in 5 jars of apple, honey and rosemary jam in my kitchen yesterday. I resisted the urge to taste it until today to allow the rosemary to infuse the jam…delicious.

This is what I did:


2kg of cooking apples – peeled, cored and chopped in to small pieces (pips saved)

100g sugar

250g honey – I used set

Juice of 3 lemons – keep pips

20 ml of water.

Rosemary sprigs – washed and dried


Put the sugar, water, lemon juice and honey in a large pan and bring to the boil Рstirring frequently. Put the apple pieces in to the syrup mixture along with the apple and lemon pips wrapped in a piece of gauze. Bring back to the boil and simmer gently for about 15 minutes or until the apples are soft. Remove from heat and mash about half of the apple mixture down РI used a potato masher. Put back on the heat and simmer for anohter 5 Р10 mins.  Put in to prepared jam jars and push a sprig of rosemary in to the mixture ahead of sealing the jar.

I have no idea how long this will store¬† – probably quite irrelevant as one jar has nearly gone already. I didn’t treat this like an ordinary jam, cheese or jelly in that a setting point wasn’t reached. The consistency is of a very, very thick sauce. Delicious on toast but I would imagine equally scrumptious with pork or game.

Ginger cookies   Рgluten free 

So…when is it a biscuit or a cookie?¬† These do not have the crack / snap of a biscuit but instead have the delicious chewy and slightly bendy quality that I think a¬† cookie should have (apologies to all biscuit and cookie aficionados). If left in the oven longer I am sure they would have been more like a ginger thin. The stem ginger chunks give a lovely warmth.

Preheat oven to 180 C / Gas mark 4      Makes  18 cookies  Lightly grease/ line a large baking tray


350 g self-raising gluten-free flour        150 g dark muscavado sugar

100 g butter                                                    1 large egg

4 desert spoon golden syrup                     2 tsp ground ginger

5 pieces of stem ginger coarsely chopped


Put the butter, sugar and syrup in a pan and melt on a low heat. Remove from the heat and mix in all the other ingredients.  Spoon the mixture on to the prepared tray Рallow for spreading. Bake for 10-15 mins. Leave to cool before removing from tray.




Ginger sponge pudding (GF) filled with Greek yoghurt mixed with chopped stem ginger


Serves 4/6

Microwave  2-3 mins on full power  4/6 individual large ramekins e.g. Prestige /souffle dishes


For the pudding:

100 g gluten-free self-raising flour       100 g butter

100 g light muscovado sugar         3 eggs (2 if not using gf flour

3 tsp ground ginger

For the filling:

6-10 tbsp Greek yoghurt                  4 pieces of stem ginger coarsely chopped


Put all the ingredients in to a bowl and mix well until smooth. Divide equally between the ramekins. Put in the microwave for 2 mins – test with skewer. Cooked when skewer comes out clean.

Mix Greek yoghurt with the chopped stem ginger. Scoop the centre of the pudding out and fill with yoghurt mixture and pop ‘lid’ back on.  Serve whilst puddings still hot.

Smoked mackerel and rice noodles


Serves 3    Preheat oven to 180c / gas mark 4


1/2 butternut squash deseeded and chopped in to small chunks

plum / cherry tomatoes

3 smoked mackerel fillets torn into large pieces

300 g rice noodles


tamari (soy sauce if non gf)

Olive oil


Put butternut squash on a baking tray and drizzle with olive oil. Roast in oven for about 30 mins until cooked and edges crisping.

Put a drizzle of olive oil in a frying pan and, once hot, add the rice noodles. Stir for a minute. Add the tomatoes and fry for a further minute. Drizzle with tamari. Add the fish and heat through. Finally add the roasted squash, stir  and serve on a bed of rocket.

Hake, mangetout and cauliflower cheese bake


Oven to tableware dish from Prestige

Such an easy dish to prepare:

Serves 3    Pre heat oven to 180C Gas mark 4


For the cheese sauce:

350 ml Full / semi skimmed milk            80 g  Cheddar / Double Gloucester cheese Рgrated

20 g Butter                                                       30 g gluten-free plain flour

1 tsp English mustard

For the remainder of the dish:

1 cauliflower cut in to 3 chunks             1 skinned fillet of hake    1 handful of mangetout

15 g grated cheese


Place the hake fillet within a tin foil parcel and bake in the centre of the oven for 10 mins.

Put the cauliflower in a pan of boiling water and cook until for 8- 10 mins.(alternatively steam e.g Prestige pressure cooker 5-8 mins) and boil /steam the mangetout for 3 mins.

For the cheese sauce:

Melt the butter in a saucepan.

Stir in the flour

Gradually add the milk – stirring continuously.

Simmer gently  and add the mustard and then the grated cheese, stirring until all melted and thoroughly combined.

Simply assemble all the ingredients in an oven proof dish, top with grated cheese and put in the oven to heat through thoroughly.

Wild keta salmon on courgetti, chickpeas and pine nuts


Serves 2


2 salmon fillets

2 courgettes Рspiralised                     1/4 cup pine nuts

1 cup of chick peas (tinned)                1 tsp ground ginger

Tamari to flavour Р1 tbsp                  olive oil for cooking


Bake the salmon fillets in the oven in a tin foil parcel for 10-15 minutes – no additional flavours / oil added.

Whilst it is cooking, heat  the oil in a frying pan. Add the chick peas, pine nuts and ginger and cook for 1 minute. Add the courgetti and cook for a further minute. Add tamari  Рheat through and serve.

Banana and walnut muffins (gf)


Preheat oven to 180c / gas 4

12 muffin tray¬† – good quality non- stick ( I used Prestige – didn’t need to grease)


120 g gluten-free self-raising flour       120 g butter

120 g light muscovado sugar         3 eggs (2 if not using gf flour)

2 ripe bananas Рmashed               1/2 cup of walnut halves (12 to put on top before cooking)


Put all the ingredients ( except bananas / walnuts) for the muffins in to a bowl

and mix well until smooth. Add mashed bananas and walnuts and gently fold in to the mixture.

Spoon the mixture in to prepared tin and place half a walnut on the top of each.


Bake for about 15 mins – until skewer is clean.


Leave to cool before removing.


Make 12¬† – only 11 made it to the plate…muffin thief entered the kitchen!!


Chia seed gluten free pancakes


Serves 2


100 g Gluten free plain flour                                        1 egg

1/2 pint whole milk                                                         2 tbsp chia seeds

Pinch of salt


Make a well in centre of flour, add salt, chia seeds and egg and mix. Gradually add milk to make batter.

Make pancakes in usual way. I have assembled with full fat natural yoghurt, fresh raspberries, sliced banana and blueberries.

Gooseberry and orange drizzle cake (Gf)

20160619_201254Preheat oven to 180c / gas 4

Prepare a 18cm round tin20160619_200154Ingredients:

120 g gluten-free self-raising flour

120 g butter

120 g light muscovado sugar

3 eggs (2 if not using gf flour)

Rind of 1 orange

1 cup of cooked gooseberries – I baked them in the oven – no sugar added

Topping – juice of the orange and 60 g sugar


Put all the ingredients ( except gooseberries) for the cake in to a bowl


and mix well until smooth.Add gooseberries and gently fold in to the mixture.

Turn mixture in to prepared tin.

Bake for about 35 mins – until skewer is clean.

Whilst the cake is still hot spoon the orang/sugar mixture all over the top of the cake.


Once cool, remove from the tin.