Sunday, 23 December 2012

Pudding vodka

No - it's not vodka to be sipped with your pudding course like a dessert wine.  Although that is perhaps an avenue worth exploring.  This is vodka infused with the scents and flavours of chrimble pud.  Taking just 3 days to steep I started this on Thursday evening for some last minute presents.  (I did mean to make this about a week ago but the Chap kept using the vodka for cocktails so I had to send him out for some more!)I'm afraid my tardiness in writing this up means it's a little too late for you to make it for chrimble but it could be a New Years Eve winner.
It's a frugal recipe as you can use the cheapest vodka - Aldi do a 70cl bottle for about 8 and a half quid.  S'burys basics version is £9.85 so you can happily get a bottle for under a tenner.  Some dried fruit, spices and an orange and a lemon complete the ingredients.
The recipe comes courtesy of the lovely Dan over at Frugal Living UK blog and can be found here - made rather earlier than mine as he's rather better organised than me!
I chose to up the amount so ramped up the rest of the ingredients correspondingly.  His recipe is for a single 70cl bottle so head over there for the quantities if you wish - mine are for a bottle and a half (1050ml) of vodka.

Christmas Pudding Vodka
Vodka - a bottle and a half (1050ml)
450g dried mixed fruit
112g sugar
3 cinnamon sticks
9 cloves
1.5tsp grated nutmeg
What should have been: 3tsp ground mixed spice but, as I was rather lower on the mixed spice than I thought it actually was: 1.5tsp mixed spice, 1tsp chinese 5 spice and 0.5tsp ground all spice berries
Zest of 1 orange and 1 lemon

Put the lot in a big container and stir well.  Cover.  The original instructions said to keep it in the fridge but I've got mine out on the counter - it's alcohol so it won't spoil. 
Stir at least once a day - I'm doing mine most times I go past to get all the lovely flavours into the drink. 
Steep for a minimum of 3 days - if I had longer I'd leave it longer but tempus fugit and we are hurtling headlong towards the day of festivities.
Strain though a coffee filter paper.  Dan mentions you can use muslin but I think a filter paper will give a better result - though it may take a while!!
Decant into some sterilised and prettified bottles and label.

Now Dan mentions that the vodka has a less than promising look; being the sort of brown colour that one would normally avoid putting in your mouth.  To this end I have come up with a little rhyme which I shall write on the labels for the vodka:

 Be not afeared
Of a taste that's weird
The colour it be
Is just mimicry

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

The sealed pot challenge

I'm taking part in SFT's sealed pot challenge for 2013.  This involves finding a suitable receptacle that can be tightly sealed to allow no sneaky borrowing over the year; then you chuck your spare change in from  today the 4th to next year the 3rd December.  At that point you unseal your pot and see what you've managed to save. 
In theory having an idea of what the funds will go towards is a good idea but I'm not sure on that front yet.  Being one of life's perpetual procrastinators I am keen to non-commit in case I want to change my mind half way through.  Not that there's anything to disallow such fickle intentions in the rules but I have an abiding guilt/complex type thing about stuff like that, that leaves me stymied and more likely to not do something at all rather than cope with the idea of announcing my goal early on only to have to admit to failing on it later.
DSCN7694c Does that make any kind of sense?  No, thought not.  Anyway, back to the pot...
My pot cost me a grand total of nowt - free.  As a friend of ours says 'nuppence - it's my favourite price'.  This was full of Ferrero Rocher and a gift to the office by a visiting agent.  I begged the container, no-one else wanted it tbh so it wasn't exactly a great feat.  There were even some Ferrero Rochers left in it but I was ever so good and left those behind in the office.  Ok, ok, I did have one but as I now have the next 8 days off work (using up annual leave before the end of the year) I doubt there'd be any left by the time I return.
I need to remove the FR label, seal the pot up and hacksaw a slot in the side but here it is with the first contribution - the change from my purse today minus the £ coins.  These may get in in later months but not this month.  Even with trying to make things / buy pre-loved and generally not partake too much in the materialistic crapmas shopping hell that December can all too easily turn into; it is a more expensive month. 
I will post a pic now and then as we go on with the challenge but for now I am holding off decorating Pot with pics of the end goal - as aforementioned I really don't have one decided upon yet.  :-)
Before you think me totally humbugish let me assure you I do enjoy the festive season; the lights, the colours, sparkles and the warmth that giving brings.  I offer up my advent surprise I did for the Chap yesterday (ok, I was a little late; then again he is 42 so should count himself lucky to receive chocolate bears and elves with popping candy in at all) as proof that I am not bereft of the chrimble urge.  Just lacking in motivation to get into debt over a religion-hijacked pagan celebration of midwinter.  So there.  ;-p