When not slaving away with only Twitter and mad dog for company, I occasionally have a 'life.' This usually entails cooking for friends, trying far too many wines, and the occasional entire day out. I will post my ramblings, recipes and recommendations here on the 'Gourmet on the Go' blog. Hope you find something of interest!
Nice recipe photo below huh? Yes… if you know how to tart up a pic of a plastic bottle holding dark blackberry grog, do let me know! Anyway, get out into the fields; there are still blackberries to be had, much to my shock and surprise. I managed to pick just over ½ a kilo last Saturday whilst walking the dog, so wanted to put these prime juicy specimens to good use.
I started to think of the game season which is now almost fully upon us. Blackberries, spice and game make for very good plate partners. So, as a shortcut, I thought some spiced blackberry vodka would make a great drink to slurp alongside my game dishes, or even better, to add a burst of flavour to sauces.
Even after just a few days, this spiced vodka tastes delicious, with all the individual flavours coming through. I shall leave it to brew for a couple of months yet and then try adding to a sauce, or slow cooked dish of either venison or duck. Oh yes…
Beautiful sweet, plump blackberries with star anise, cinnamon and just an edge of lemon make for a winning combination in this home made liqueur. You don't need to over spend on the vodka, a supermarkets own label will be fine.
75cl bottle of vodka
150g caster sugar
2 star anise
1 medium cinnamon stick
2 slices of lemon rind (about ¼ of a large lemon, rind removed with a veg peeler)
1 litre empty bottle - plastic or glass
Make sure your litre bottle is clean and sterile – either clean with boiling water or use a campden tablet
Give your blackberries a good wash in a colander and pick out any stalks etc
Use a large necked funnel to put into your bottle and pour in the blackberries, then the sugar, vodka, spices and lemon peel.
Screw the lid on the bottle, give it a good shake and place in the fridge.
Shake every day for the first week and then now and again for up to 3 months.
After a maximum of 3 months, sieve off the vodka from the ingredients and bottle. You can use the fruit for a fabulously fruity drunken blackberry fool, or a potent crumble.
There comes a time in everyones life when they have to watch the pennies and live on a budget. My time is now. I am taking a few months off to update and revamp this very site! It will look splendid when finished and be much easier to navigate around, have more features etc… I shall spare you the blurb.
On to food! Being as I shall be cooking up some scrumptious suppers on a shoestring, I thought I would share the recipes, so here goes…
The intense taste of anchovies seem to divide us Brits, although contrast them with a sweet red pepper and tomato sauce, and you will realise what subtle depth they can add to your dishes. This recipe is a fast favourite which even gets the thumbs up from children! A great source of omega 3 in a tasty little sauce that is sweet, savoury, and very simple.
2 tbsp olive oil
50g small can of anchovies - drained & roughly chopped
400g tin of plum tomatoes (whole or chopped)
1 large romero pepper - halved, deseeded & sliced
1 onion - chopped
2 cloves of garlic - chopped
350g spaghettii (I used spaghetti alla chitarra - great for holding sauces)
4 tbsp pecorino romano or parmesan - grated
A handful of fresh parsley - chopped
Put 2 tbsp of olive oil in a large pan, add the chopped onion and garlic, sweat on a low heat for 5 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally until the onion loses its white colour and becomes opaque.
Add the chopped anchovies and cooked for a further minute or two, until the anchovies start to melt.
Pour in the tomatoes, break up them up with a wooden spoon if you are using whole, and then quarter fill the tomato can with water and add to your sauce.
Add the chopped pepper and bring the sauce to a boil, turn the heat right down and simmer for 30 minutes.
After 20 minutes, boil your spaghetti in a large pan of salted water for 10 minutes, or as per packet instructions.
When the sauce has simmered for 30 mins, add ¾ of the grated cheese and the chopped parsley - stir in.
Drain the pasta, add to the sauce and stir in until the sauce is fully dispersed and the pasta covered.
Serve with a little more of the leftover cheese sprinkled on top.