I like tea and I like gin. I particularly like earl grey and gin based cocktails so I thought it was about time that I got creative with my cocktail shaker and tried these two tastes together. Not for my own benefit of course, all in the name of experimenting. Whenever I make a cocktail I am always amazed at how the slight slip of a hand can affect the end taste of the drink; too sweet, too acidic, too much alcohol. Then again, you can add a bit more of this and a bit less of that depending on your tastes.
You will need (for a jug of basil lemonade):
- Small handful basil leaves
- 3 tbsp sugar
- 750ml sparkling water
- 125ml freshly squeezed lime and lemon juice (I used three limes and one lemon)
- Ice to serve
MethodPut the basil and sugar into a jug and bash it together with a rolling pin or muddler until the basil is well bruised and it smells lovely. Add the lime and lemon juice and stir it all together until the sugar is dissolved. Add some ice to the jug and top up with the sparkling water. Give everything one final mix then pour into glasses and serve.
Trust me on the basil for this, it gives the drink a really interesting flavour; sort of floral and quite earthy. I made this quite strong as I prefer a mouth puckering, not too sweet lemonade but you could add more or less sugar and juice to suit your taste. I have made this with flat water but I do think that the sparkling is slightly better. It’s really refreshing and ideal for a warm evening but I will definitely make it later on in the year as a citrus pick-me-up.
IngredientsYou will need (per drink):
You will need (I made enough for six ice lollies):
- Ice lolly mould
- Elderflower cordial (homemade or shop bought)
- Zest of 1 lemon
Make up the elderflower cordial a little stronger than you would if you were drinking it.
Put the lemon zest into the bottom of each mould and top up with the diluted cordial.
You could add the fresh lemon juice to the elderflower mix before pouring it in if you want the lemon flavour a little stronger.
Freeze, wait and enjoy!
You might have to try and convince people that it’s not just water you’ve frozen but as soon as they try them they’ll be glad they did! Elderflower is such a distinctive flavour and the lemon and lemongrass that were in my homemade cordial work so well with the added lemon zest. Shop bought elderflower cordial will work just as well, whichever you use just make sure you mix it up a little stronger than you would for drinking it. Floral, easy, zesty and refreshing, like a little piece of frozen summer.
The recipe we used was written down in Gert’s secret black book but it was very similar to this one on the BBC Good Food site. Apart from the added ingredients below.
You will need (for around 1.5 litres of finished cordial):
- 20 elderflower heads
- Sugar – all the recipes I’ve seen vary so much in sugar quantity so it’s how sweet you like it
- 1.5 litres boiling water
- 2 lemons, zest and juice
- 50g citric acid
- 1 stalk lemongrass
Tap the elderflower heads on the side of a bowl to get rid of any insects then put them into a bowl with the sugar, lemon zest and juice and citric acid.
Pour over the boiling water and whisk everything together well.
Add everything to a sterilised jar, whack the lemongrass with a knife and add this to the jar too.
You will need (as a side dish for two):
- 1 small bunch spring carrots
- 3-4 spring onions
- Few sprigs fresh oregano, dill and parsley
- Olive oil for cooking
- Juice 1/2 lemon
- 100ml crème fraîche
- Salt and pepper
Scrub the carrots. Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil and add the carrots. Boil for around 10 minutes or until soft but still with a little bite.
While the carrots are cooking, slice the spring onions finely and then gently fry in a small frying pan in a little olive oil until softened but not brown.
Drain the carrots and put to one side.
Add the lemon juice, herbs and salt and pepper to the spring onions, keeping it on a low heat, then mix in the crème fraîche. Allow it to warm through a little.
You will need (per glass):
- Mr Fitzpatricks Blackcurrant and Liquorice Cordial
- Fresh lemon juice
This isn’t a complicated one to make but again it’s all about personal preferences. Add some cordial to the glass as much or as little as you like then top up with lemonade. Squeeze in a few drops fresh lemon juice to give it some tang.
I think the colour is fantastic; a lovely dark purpley brown. The fresh lemon juice added a freshness to cut through the rich liquorice and distinctive blackcurrant. I am a fan of a bit of fizz too so I really liked this flavour combination. This is very much an evening drink; a long one to have with a book or a good film.
Thanks to Mr Fitzpatricks for the samples. All opinions expressed are my own.
Lemon and thyme roasted chicken is a classic, simple recipe. Shove it all together, chuck it in the oven and reap the rewards later.
You will need:
A chicken (I used a 1.4kg bird for two)
Salt and pepper
Start by cutting the string off the legs and stuffing the cavity with a few sprigs of thyme and half a lemon. Cut the onion up into chunks and put them into a roasting tin with the other half of the lemon and a few more sprigs of thyme. Put the butter into a bowl and mix in some salt and pepper. Now comes the slightly tricky and disgustingly satisfying part; separate the breast meat from the skin. I use a spoon to do this to minimise ripping the skin. When skin and meat are sufficiently separated, stuff some of the butter under the skin. Rub the rest of the butter onto the outside, put in to the roasting tray and roast in the oven at 160C for an hour or so or until cooked through.
First and foremost; boiled asparagus. A great way of cooking asparagus but it’s hampered with the lingering fear of over cooking it and ending up with a soggy, limp green stalk. I don’t bother putting only the stems in the water so the heads can steam gently, I just throw it all in and it works every time.
This turned out to be one of my favourite cakes to bake as it makes your kitchen smell so good. The classic cake baking aromas are wafting around with a bit of lemon thrown in for good measure. This is another recipe from my Granny. Some recipes make the cake in two tins and put lemon curd or butter icing between the cakes, I made one cake for optimum drizzle potential.
To make the sponge, butter and line a nice deep cake tin. Beat together 175g each of butter and caster sugar until pale and fluffy. Part of the reason I like making cakes is because I feel the beating, whisking and subsequent reduction in circumference of my arms more than compensates for the rather large slice I’ll help myself to once complete.
Gradually add in three beaten eggs. Sift 175g self raising flour and a teeny bit of baking powder and fold this into the mixture. Grate in the zest of two lemons and mix. Place in a preheated oven at 180C for 45-50 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. Mine took about 55 minutes in the end.