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Food & Drink

Food & Drink, Winter

Cranberry and Orange Infused Gin Recipe

cranberry and orange gin

cranberry and orange gin

Seeing as it’s nearly Christmas, and I started the week sharing a festive dish, I thought I would continue the festive theme and share my cranberry and orange infused gin recipe.  It has a fresh festive flavour without the sweetness of many drinks of the season.

You can prepare this now ready for Christmas and it would make a lovely homemade gift for any gin lover. Or you could just keep it for yourself – your call!

The very best bit is that the recipe has a skill level of precisely zero – if you can add some berries to some gin then you can make this recipe!  Aka, my favourite kind of recipe!

Cranberry and Orange Infused Gin Recipe

gin making

Ingredients

1 cup of fresh or frozen cranberries (see notes below)

500 ml gin

Peel of two oranges (ensuring as little pith is on the peel as possible, otherwise it can make the gin taste bitter)

1/4 cup granulated sugar (for later)

Large sealed jar, sterilised.

Method

To your sterilised jar, add the fresh or frozen cranberries and the peel of the oranges.

Pour over the gin, and seal the jar.

Place the sealed jar in a cool dark place for at least 3 weeks, shaking every three or four days.

After at least three weeks, you can strain the gin off through a muslin lined sieve into a measuring jug or bowl.

Put the gin to the side for a minute, and in a separate pan add 1/4 cup sugar and 1/4 cup water.  Dissolve the sugar and water over a low heat.

Once dissolved, add a little bit of the sugary water at a time to the gin, tasting as you go, until you have the desired sweetness.

Mix well and decant into a sterilised bottle, and your cranberry and orange infused gin is ready for drinking or gifting.  I decanted the finished infused gin into one of these pretty decanters that I was gifted from Clouds and Currents.  The stopper can be personalised for an extra special touch.

cranberry gin

A Note On Ingredients

At this time of year you can easily buy fresh cranberries in many large supermarkets.  If you can’t find fresh ones then frozen ones work just as well.  I’ve used frozen cranberries because I picked them up really cheap in January (like 50p a big bag cheap) but even now the frozen ones are relatively inexpensive.  There is no need to defrost frozen cranberries before using them and there is no difference in flavour.

Gin wise, I wouldn’t buy the cheapest gin in the shop.  Buy a bottle that costs £2 or £3 more (like Gordons gin for example, rather than the cheapest own brand gin), and you’ll get a better tasting gin.   Don’t go crazy and buy a really expensive gin mind you: you’ll lose the lovely subtle flavours of your fancier gin.

A Note On The Method

I have taken advice from Sipsmiths (as they know a thing or two about gin) and utilised their sloe gin advice – whereby they advise adding the sugar at the end of the infusion process rather than the start.  They say that “contrary to popular belief, there is very little point in adding sugar at the outset.  Saturating the spirit with sugar prevents it from extracting the natural fruit sugars – and other flavours – from the [fruit]“.

Having made infused gins in the past where I’ve added the sugar at the same time as the fruit, I have to say I completely agree with Sipsmiths – by adding the sugar at the end also means you can control the sweetness more accurately.

The gin will taken on a stronger cranberry and orange flavour the longer you leave the fruit in, so if you prefer a stronger flavour then leave the fruit in.

cranberry and orange infused gin recipe

Autumn, Food & Drink, Winter

Organic Sweet Potato Chili and Coconut Soup Recipe

vegan soup recipe

vegan soup recipe

Sponsored post

Today I’m sharing my favourite sweet potato chili and coconut soup recipe.  Not only is it organic, but it’s vegan and vegetarian friendly too,

As a vegetarian, I always find Christmas a difficult time food-wise.  When I think of traditional Christmas foods I inevitably think of things like turkey, goose, pigs in blankets, potatoes roast in goose fat.  And if you’re vegan it’s not any easier as traditional festive treats include brandy butter, cheese boards and other such dairy treats.

When I try to think of traditional vegetarian and vegan Christmas foods my mind goes blank apart from Brussels sprouts, cranberry sauce and nut roast.

What I always say is that if you are having a vegetarian or vegan Christmas too, then the number one rule for happiness is to rip up the rule book!

You don’t have to have nut roast because someone in the seventies decided that’s what vegetarians and vegans should eat (I’ve never had a nice one).  Just because Brussels sprouts are the done thing at Christmas doesn’t mean your whole meal has to revolve around them.

Cook what makes you and your family happy.  It doesn’t matter if it’s particularly Christmassy because you can make it a family tradition that your family associate with Christmas year on year.

Which brings me to the question – what food makes my family happy?  And that, my friend, is a very good question.  My partner and I have been vegetarian for 11 years, and our Christmas main meal has mostly revolved around Quorn Roast, which we first started eating out of convenience and which then grew into tradition.  The trouble is it isn’t dairy free, which poses a problem as my youngest daughter was just this year diagnosed with a dairy intolerance so our beloved Quorn Roast is out this year.

sweet potato chili and coconut soup recipe

I’m still not 100% certain what we will cook for the main course, but I have at least settled on the starter.  As it’s our first Christmas going down a vegan route I am steering completely away from tradition and will be serving up this organic sweet potato, chili and coconut soup.  It’s tasty, comforting, vegetarian, vegan, slightly spicy (everyone in my family, especially my kids, loves spice), and is quick and easy to make.  Basically, it makes each and every one of us happy – and that’s what Christmas is all about!

Organic food makes us especially happy as the journey from field to fork is less damaging to the environment and to the growers and pickers.  It’s a healthier choice all round, and it’s why I’ve partnered with the Organic.  Feed Your Happy campaign, a campaign ran by the Organic Trade Board, in order to raise awareness of the joy of organic food.

organic food

I adapted this recipe from one I found on Bearded Baker.  It was a little spicier than my family’s palate allows for, so I’ve toned down the chili, brought in some additional flavours for extra depth, and reduced the amount of sweet potato for a less thick soup.  And of course, I’ve made it organic, which adds that extra bit of happy to the dish!

Vegan Organic Sweet Potato, Chili & Coconut Soup Recipe

Make this delicious vegan and vegetarian friendly organic sweet potato, chili, and coconut soup with easy recipe.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 6

Ingredients

  • 600 g organic sweet potatoes peeled & sliced into thin coins
  • 1/4 organic red chili de-seeded & finely diced
  • 1 finely chopped organic red onion
  • 1 3 cm x 3cm nub of organic ginger finely diced
  • 2 cloves organic garlic crushed
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 400 ml can of organic coconut milk
  • 600 ml of organic vegetable stock
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • Salt and pepper to season

Instructions

  1. Add the oil to a medium sized soup pot and heat gently.
  2. Once heated add the onion, and cook over a medium heat until translucent.
  3. Once the onions are translucent, add the chili, ginger and garlic to the pot, and heat for two minutes.
  4. Then add the sweet potato, the vegetable stock and paprika.
  5. Bring to the boil and then let the soup gently simmer for 15 minutes or so until the sweet potato has completely softened.
  6. Now add the coconut milk.  Don't worry if some of it has solidified in the can - this will soon melt in the soup.
  7. Heat for a further 2 minutes, then remove from the pot from the heat and allow to cool for 5 minutes.
  8. Using a hand blender, blitz the soup until smooth, and then season to your taste.
  9. For an added festive touch, toast some of your favourite organic bread and use a star cookie cutter to cut out some star shaped croutons!

Enjoy!

And if you are looking for one central place to find organic Christmas ingredients or gifts for the family, then why not pop over to the Soil Association’s Christmas Marketplace?

ps: I have more vegetarian and vegan Christmas dinner ideas right this way!

feed your happy