I wanted to mark World Gin Day in style. Sadly, Hubby was away doing boy things in London and in some terrible twist of fate, I was out on Friday when my Gin deliveries arrived and the Postie didn’t leave them in our safe place! It really wasn’t getting off to a good start, but I would not be defeated!!
After a minor hissy fit and a quick rethink I had it, my challenge would be to have Gin with every meal…
“That’s no challenge!”
…I hear you cry.
Ah, but it was, you see, as much as I love Gin in it’s purest form, I decided to have a go at not just drinking it, but cooking with it… Game on!
Since Gin Day was only last week, I couldn’t really justify a morning Gin, so instead, I opted for a toasted bagel, topped with The Bay Tree‘s Lemon Marmalade with Gin and Lime and some peppermint tea (in my Gin mug of course.) Now, in all honesty, I’m not the biggest fan of marmalade, my Granny used to love it, so I automatically associate it with old people, but this stuff is seriously great. Not being a marmalade eater I was faced with the dilemma of whether to use butter or not. So, I tried one half with, and one half without. I preferred the half with butter, it added a more savoury feel to the marmalade, which suited me better as I don’t really have too much of a sweet tooth. I think this marmalade has the potential to be a very versatile addition to my cupboard, I’m definitely going to try it on my porridge, in yoghurt and I’m sure it’ll make a great glaze for some veggies or meat.
We were truly spoilt with the weather on World Gin Day, which kind of put a spanner in the works for my lunch plan. I found a recipe on line for tomato soup with a rather special ingredient, and I bet you can guess what it was! It’s a James Martin recipe, tomato soup in a flash, apparently he made it in 5 minutes!! I found the recipe in another wordpress blog, there’s some great stuff on there so check it out. I chose KWV’s Cruxland Gin for this recipe, which is a delicious South African gin. It’s botanicals include honey bush tea, coriander, rooibos, aniseed, cardamom, almonds, lemon and it’s special ingredient, Kalahari truffles, which only grow in the Kalahari after the first rains.
What do I need?
- 1.2kg tomatoes
- 4 fat garlic cloves
- 1 small handful fresh basil leaves
- 1 tbsp tomato purée
- 4 tbsp of olive oil
- 500ml hot vegetable or chicken stock
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 3 tsp caster sugar (or to taste)
- 60ml double cream
- 50ml gin, plus a splash to serve
James Martin did this in 5 minutes, What’s for tea tonight dear? did it in just over 15 minutes…this sounded like another challenge.
How do I do it?
- Pop the pan on the heat and add the oil.
- Quarter the tomatoes and add them to the hot oil.
- Chop the garlic and pop it in the pan.
- Tear the basil (don’t add it yet.)
- Stir in the tomato puree and gin.
- Add salt, pepper, sugar and basil.
- When simmering pour in the hot stock and bring it back to simmering point.
- Tip the mixture into the blender or food processor and whizz, adding the cream as you go.
- Return to simmer for the final time, taste and adjust seasoning.
- Add a splash more gin.
…8 minutes 29 seconds! Now, I must confess, I saved a few minutes by skipping a bit from the original recipe, I didn’t pass the mixture through a sieve…twice, but that’s because I don’t mind slightly chunky soup. This was totally delicious and strangely not too hot for the weather, possibly because it is quite thin. It was also not chunky at all, so I don’t really see the need for the sieving. This soup had a real coriander, curry type taste to it, with flavours that just keep going. For something so quick and easy to make, with so few ingredients, it really does pack a punch.
Mid afternoon and I was in the mood for a snack, what to have? Ah yes, how about some Coco Chocolatier Gin & Tonic organic dark chocolate? Chocolate doesn’t last very long in our house as Hubby likes it…a lot! I had this little number hidden away where he couldn’t find it, saving it for a rainy day. Now, although there may not have been any clouds in sight, this was definitely the right time to eat it. If I’m perfectly honest I couldn’t taste much gin flavour over the dark chocolate, but nevertheless it was a great tasty treat! I often find dark chocolate quite bitter, but this was rich, creamy and quite more-ish. Maybe I’m going to need to start hiding the chocolate from myself.
Dinner was to be my piece de resistance, Gin Penne Pasta, yes, that’s right, pasta with a gin sauce! I looked at a few recipes and settled for one which used a cup of gin, (that’s about 230ml) rather than opting for the one which only suggested half a cup. Well, it isn’t World Gin Day every day! The recipe was so easy to follow and the results were more than satisfying, I did make a couple of changes to the online recipe, so here’s my slightly adapted version. I opted for the Spanish Gin Mare in this recipe, as it’s botanicals include Arbequina olives, thyme, basil, coriander and rosemary, it’s Mediterranean feel seemed a perfect match to this dish.
What do I need?
- In a pan, heat olive oil, then add the onions, garlic, and red pepper flakes. Cook until the onions and garlic start to soften but not brown, (approx 5-6 minutes.)
- Add in tomatoes, basil and gin.
- Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes.
- Stir in mascarpone and add salt and pepper to taste.
- Add your sauce to the pasta and mix well, allowing it to fill your penne.
- Sprinkle Parmesan and give another stir.
- Enjoy with a refreshing glass of gin, Gin Mare perhaps.
The pasta was utterly delicious, I genuinely had to stop myself going back for more as I knew Hubby would
be needing want some when he got home. I was initially concerned about the lack of seasoning in this sauce, but in actual fact the flavours in Gin Mare, with it’s savoury, herby botanicals coming through, negated any real need for extra seasoning.
And there we have it, three delicious gin recipes which allow you to sneak a little extra gin into your lives, which can never be a bad thing. Hope you guys all had just as much fun celebrating World Gin Day as I did. Here’s to celebrating again once my gin delivery actually arrives.