So there comes a time in your life when you realise that no matter how much you want to deny it, you are too old for vodka jelly shots . . . and well, they’re just not quite appropriate to take in to work. Which really sucks because they would liven up Monday meetings no end. BUT thankfully all hope is not lost because while vodka jelly shots are taboo, champagne jelly shots (or sparkling wine – for my more pedantic readers) is elegant, sophisticated and perfectly above board. In fact with the glorious weather we’ve been having, they are my new favourite summer dessert. If you decide that you are too old for shots, even champagne jelly shots, don’t despair – set the jelly in a martini glass or a posh tumbler and you had a wonderfully elegant end to a summer meal.
To start take:
- 375 ml of pink sparkling wine
- 400 ml of water (use bottled or filter water for a clearer jelly)
- 4-6 leaves of gelatine (4 for a soft set jelly – easier to swallow; 6 for a firmer spoon-able jelly)
- 100 gm golden caster sugar
- mint leaves (optional – I left these out, but chop them finely and add when adding your raspberries for a delicious alternative)
This will make about 18 double shot glasses of jelly or 6-8 larger portions.
Put the water in a small saucepan over a medium heat and add the sugar. Stir the mixture to dissolve the sugar and then bring the water to a boil and leave to simmer for about five minutes.
champagne sparkling wine into a heat-proof bowl.
Place the gelatine in the sparkling wine and leave to soak for about five minutes.
Remove the gelatine leaves from the sparkling wine and add to the hot sugar mix in the saucepan and whisk until the gelatine has dissolved completely.
Add the sugar mix to the sparkling wine and whisk to combine. Leave to cool for about an hour.
Once the jelly mixture is cool pour it into the molds you have set aside and place these in the fridge for about an hour until the jelly is just starting to thicken. Place the mint and raspberries into the jelly and leave to set. If you are doing shots I wouldn’t place more than one raspberry in the glass as it could be a choking hazard, if you’re doing them in large glasses throw in as many as you wish. Place back in the fridge for 6-8 hours until set.
Enjoy and bottoms up!
So summer has been pretty much non existent in the UK this year. We’ve had about two weeks of sunshine in total. Now while I don’t really mind too much as I had more than my fair share of sunshine when living in Taiwan, I have really missed making summery food. I’ve had visions of making home ice-cream and barbequing in back yard, but the rainy, miserable days have left me more inclined to hearty soups and stews. So when today promised blue skies and gentle breezes, I knew I had to seize the chance and make my favourite summer salad.
It’s a simple creation, hardly worth the recipe, and doesn’t really take much work at all which makes it perfect on those days where you would rather be outside enjoying the sunshine than tied to the kitchen. It does however really pack a punch when it comes to flavour. So much so that even those who don’t really enjoy salad, will ask for seconds.
To start take:
- 300 (ish) gms of steak
- 2 red peppers
- 1 bag of your favourite salad leaves (I’m partial to baby spinach)
- 1 small Camembert (cut into squares)
- 80 ml of olive oil
- 60 mls of balsamic vinegar
Preheat the oven to 220°C. Then slice the red peppers length ways into slices about half a centimeter wide.
Place the peppers in an oven proof bowl and pour 60ml of the olive oil over them. Place in the oven and cook for about 20-25 minutes. Check on the peppers two or three times during the cooking and give them a shake or a stir to prevent the top layer from drying out.
Remove the peppers from the oven and while still hot pour the balsamic vinegar on them. The hot peppers will absorb the vineger making them meltingly sweet. Allow the peppers to cool in the oil and the vinegar.
Cook the steak. It really doesn’t matter how you do it. I brushed the steaks with the remainder of the olive oil and used a cast iron grill pan and fried them for two minutes a side. I was hoping for a medium rare steak, but as the steaks were a touch on the small side, they were closer to medium well after they had rested. Allow them to cool and slice as thinly as you can.
Just before serving, sash the salad leaves and mix in the peppers. The balsamic vinegar/olive oil mix that they are lying in is going to make the dressing. Add the slices of steak and then the cheese. It really is a meal in itself.