I’m prone to Mariah Carey outbreaks from early November onwards and though I never need much of an excuse to commence mulling, I start to take spicing my drinks rather too seriously once December arrives. Since I’ve been working seven-day weeks lately I feel like I’ve not quite managed to get into the full festive swing of things just yet.
Thankfully, there have been one or two nights of Christmassy-ness including an evening spent sampling the Christmas menu at Sohe and sinking more of their delicious cocktails, the devouring of an Aldi festive feast prepared by Jean Cristophe Novelli, which took place at the extremely festively decorated Jesmond Dene House (up on the blog soon). Finally, there have also been a few hours spent experimenting with some fun ingredients from the M&S Christmas range and getting a little tipsy in the process.
When I do finally throw myself into a full Christmas bonanza, I’ll definitely be making more of the items developed during the course of that M&S evening. The night itself was fuelled by plenty of rum along with some samples donated by M&S for review. Rather than eating everything directly out of the jar with a spoon (which I must admit we’ve been doing a fair bit of since) we decided to explore additional Christmassy potential by turning the goods into some of the key components of the season: boozy drinks and desserts.
As you can see, we were working with brandy butter, crystallised stem ginger curd, raisins in dark rum syrup, peaches in brandy syrup and mulled fruit tea. And here’s what we created…
Peach tarte tatin
Method: drain syrup from peaches and reduce until golden(add lemon if you fancy) add 2 tbsp of brandy butter add peaches and vanilla cover with puff pastry, tuck in the edges and bake for 20mins. Turn out from tin and decorate with vanilla. Serves 4-6.
Hot buttered rum
Method: combine a tsp butter, tbsp of raisins, 25ml dark rum and 125ml hot water (small cup), serve immediately.
Method: add1 tea bag, 300ml hot water and tsp sugar or some sweetner to 2 sheets gelatine. soak gelatine in cold water for 5 mins first, make tea and add soaked gelatine to fridge to set. We also added a spoonful of frozen winter berries. Serves 2.
Ginger curd creme brulee
Method: follow vanilla brulee recipe before topping with ginger curd and a few raisins. Our torch was out of action so we ended up eating these as set custards, they were still pretty yummy. The curd is amazing on toast and has made it’s way into a cocktail or two since.
Buttered rum is fast rivalling mulled wine as my favourite festive drink – it’s incredibly simple to make but smells super Christmassy and you can make it as boozy as you like, so I’m pretty sure we’ll be downing around a dozen on Boxing Day!