Tuesday, 27 September 2016
Eating locally produced food is something I'm rather passionate about, but drinking locally produced tipples (aside from beer!) was not something I'd really considered until recently, when I discovered Silent Pool gin. Their distillery is a mere fifteen miles away from my house!
I'm turning into a bit of a gin connoisseur in my old age and definitely have my favourites; Silent Pool is currently top of the tops. It's produced on the Albury Estate in the Surrey Hills and contains 24 botanicals including chamomile and local honey as well as the clear, cool spring water of the Silent Pool itself.
When I was sent my first bottle to try (thanks, 31Dover.com!) I wanted to stick to the local theme and bought some mixers from my local farm shop to drink it with.
Of course, I'm a g+t girl at heart, so my very first taste was with some Fever Tree tonic water - but then I moved onto what I have named Sparkling Apple + Pear Gin Fizz, and they were even better!
Silent Pool gin
Wobblegate Splash apple and pear juice (from Bolney in West Sussex)
South Downs sparkling water (from a well just outside Chichester)
An apple (to garnish)
As is always the case with my cocktail recipes, the measurements are entirely up to you, but I opted for 50ml of gin, 150ml of juice and 100ml of sparkling water in a large jam jar.
Thanks to 31DOVER for sending me a bottle of Silent Pool gin. You can buy a bottle yourself here for £34.95. Don't forget you can still get 10% off your order using the promotional code 31DKATY at the checkout (valid once per customer).
Saturday, 24 September 2016
It's official..... Autumn is here!
Today we visited Swan Barn Farm, an absolutely beautiful National Trust site (that just so happens to be a five minute walk from our house) for their annual apple pressing day. It's a brilliant event and it's totally free; the only condition is that if you want to take some juice home with you, you have to take your own apples to press!
But they aren't essential, and in actual fact you can help the National Trust by using their apples (which come from the orchards surrounding the farm). They're pre-picked but still need chopping, plus you get to have a go at using the heritage scratter and press, and to taste the (pressed) fruits of your labour. Then the apple juice that's leftover is fermented to become cider which is sold on behalf of the National Trust - so it's win-win for everyone. Good, eh?
So how does one press apples the old fashioned way, I hear you ask?
First up there's a whole lot of chopping to do....
I'm talking serious amounts of chopping. This was literally 1/100th of will have been done over the course of the day:
Then the chopped apples go through the scratter - twice. Two people have to turn wheels by hand while a third pushes all the apples through with a stick, turning it into pulp.
The pulp then goes into the press and is turned into lovely, thick, fresh, cloudy apple juice!
The whole process was hard work, so the picnic I had packed went down a treat. We feasted on five rounds of sandwiches between us, and drank our home made apple juice!
And then we got to enjoy the farm and explore the surrounding ancient woodland for the rest of the afternoon. There are Belted Galloway cattle and Jacob sheep to say hello to, as well as plenty of streams to splash in and dens just waiting to be built in the woods!
If you're ever passing through Haslemere, we'd wholeheartedly recommend paying Swan Barn Farm a visit - it's just behind the high street so parking is easy and it's the perfect spot for a picnic.
The girls are wearing:
Jumper dress + tights combos c/o Nutmeg (we LOVE Nutmeg
clothes and these sets are only £12 which is amazing)
PS apple picking is the first thing ticked off our autumn bucket list this year! Yay!
Friday, 23 September 2016
I'm on day nine of a cold. I don't usually get ill so it has kind of knocked me for six a little. I've spent the last week coughing and spluttering and snivelling and generally feeling sorry for myself but now I'm also getting a bit annoyed and just want to start feeling human again!
So desperate times call for desperate measures, and in this case I'm specifically talking about measures of my favourite rum, Dark Matter, and drinking it in the afternoon.
Dark Matter is a spiced rum with a difference; it hails from Aberdeen in Scotland, rather than the Caribbean! It really does have a unique kick (that'd be the fresh ginger, green peppercorns and allspice berries) and it tastes equally good over ice, mixed with coke or ginger beer - or with a few additional spices and hot water, which is the recipe I'm going to share with you today.
Everyone knows a hot toddy is the best cure for a common cold. The honey soothes, the steam and cinnamon both act as decongestants, the lemon gives a great flavour (and a teeny tiny boost of vitamin C) and the booze in it helps you to relax. So if the drop in temperature has left you feeling a little poorly, and you're over eighteen of course, give this little beauty a try. Even if it doesn't cure you entirely, it'll leave you feeling much better in the short term, I promise.
Dark Matter spiced rum
Boil your kettle and let the water cool for a couple of minutes.
Add the honey and lemon juice to your glass or mug. I've not used any measurements here because it really is all down to personal taste. I had one teaspoon of honey and the juice of half a lemon.
Add a splash of hot water and mix.
Add the rum - again it's up to you how much you pour; I went for a very respectable 25ml measure, although if I didn't have to do the school run later I might have been a little more generous ;)
Top up with hot water, stir using a cinnamon stick and add a slice of lemon for decoration.
Drink, enjoy and feel better!
Thanks to 31DOVER for sending me a bottle of Dark Matter just when I needed it ;) You can buy a bottle yourself here for £33.95. You can also get 10% off your order at 31DOVER.com using the promotional code 31DKATY at checkout. This is only valid once per customer.
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