Recipes - Drinks and nibbles

Here you will find an array of drink and nibble recipes, including punches, soft cordials and canapés submitted by local residents over the last few years.

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Drinks

A Cocktail for the Queen
My wife loves chocolates with bits of parma violet flavoured stuff on top. A few years ago we found a bottle of Liquer a la Violette in a duty-free shop and brought it home. It has sat in the cupboard with the toasted sandwich machine and the fondue set, unused, ever since. So I have no shame in offering this recipe from the Daily Mail, which may see it finally put to use.

Have a couple of gin and tonics, and put rose petals in the space created in the gin bottle. (She likes the chocolates with roseate stuff on top as well). Infuse for a week, strain, and stick it in the freezer. Mix five parts gin with two parts liquer and stir, adding Prosecco or other sparkling wine, and a white rose petal for glamour and elegance.

If anyone actually tries this, please let me know.

Elderflower Cordial
You can find the recipe in Food for Free

Christmas Pudding Vodka Just the thought is inspiring!
Makes 1x 500ml bottle

  • 300g mixed dried fruit
  • 75g caster sugar
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 2 tsp ground mixed spice
  • 6 cloves
  • ½ whole nutmeg, finely grated
  • Finely grated zest of one well-scrubbed orange
  • Finely grated zest of one unwaxed lemon
  • 75cl bottle of decent vodka

Mix all the ingredients in a lartge bowl and pour the vodka over them. Cover with clingfilm and put in the fridge. Stir once a day for three days. Strain through a muslin-lined funnel into a jug and pour into whichever bottles you fancy. You can either use 330cl spirit bottles or small pop-top lemonade bottles having consumed their ingredients, or see what they have in Lakeland or Steamer Trading, both of which are good on this sort of thing, and have muslin and funnels too.

Store in the freezer.

Green Blitz and Jade Viper
Both of these are described as ideal drinks for Christmas or New Year parties, as they remind one of cold toddies, but it seems to me that they would do just as well, very cold, in the summer.

The idea of boozy tea is not new and was introduced to me through Long Island Cold Tea, a supposedly Prohibition era drink containing five different clear alcohols, coloured with either tea itself, or cola, and served in cups or mugs to fool the police. This is not much served these days as you need less than one to be well over the limit.

Green Blitz: put two tbsp of clear honey and a green tea teabag in a heatproof jug and pour over 100ml of boiling water. Allow to steep for a couple of minutes, then remove the teabag and stir. Leave to cool and chill until ready to serve. At that point, stir in the juice of half a lemon and 50ml whisky of your choice. Pour into a tall glass over ice.

Jade Viper: put eight mint leaves, two tsp caster sugar and a green tea teabag into a small heatproof jug and pour over 250ml boiling water. Allow to steep for two minutes then lift out the teabag. Leave to cool and chill until ready to serve. Strain the tea into a clean jug and stir in 75ml whisky of your choice. Pour into two martini glasses and garnish with an extra mint leaf.

Hooray Henry

  • 1 bottle gin
  • 4 bottles sweet vermouth
  • 1 small can unsweetened grapefruit juice
  • Worcester sauce
  • Lemon slices

Pour chilled gin, vermouth and grapefruit juice into a jug containing ice. Add a generous dash of Worcester sauce and stir. Serve in stemmed glasses, each containing a slice of lemon. Stand well back.

Iced Tea
This is real iced tea, not the alcoholic variety.

Make up some very strong tea using six teabags and a couple of pints of boiling water in a teapot. Add two tablespoons of sugar and half a dozen sprigs of mint. Allow the tea to infuse for 15-20 minutes, remove the teabags and wait until the tea is absolutely cold, then remove the mint.

Put lots of ice in a jug and pour in the cold tea followed by 10 fl oz of cold fresh orange juice and the juice of half a lime (divide all these if your jug is small). Add more ice, slices of lemon and orange, stir and serve.

The Cosmopolitan
In a tribute to the late Helen Gurley-Brown, here are four sexy ingredients to drive your partner wild (!):

  • 40ml Vodka Citron
  • 15ml Cointreau
  • 15ml Fresh lime juice
  • 30ml cranberry juice

Put all the ingredients in a cocktail shaker filled with crushed ice. Shake well and double strain. Top with a lime or lemon wheel. The drink should be a pink frothy colour. This was the preferred drink of Sarah Jessica Parker's character in Sex and the City

Parsley drink
It is almost impossible not to grow more parsley than you need, and then sit watching it shoot and flower while the leaves turn yellow. In Spain and Italy they use the surplus to make a parsley drink. My wife has made some of this, possibly in advance of suggesting that we move into a yurt and make our clothes out of tree bark. Actually, it’s delicious.

Put a peeled and seeded lemon in the blender with 100gms of ice cubes, 70gms of sugar and the leaves from 8-10 sprigs of parsley. Blitz these while slowly adding half a litre of water.

This makes enough for four glasses, which should be consumed immediately!

Peter's Bloody Mary
Into a large glass pour: a splash of lime cordial, a splash of Fino sherry, Worcestershire sauce and Tabasco or another hot sauce, according to taste, over these, grind fresh black pepper and shake some celery salt. Add ice cubes and swirl around. Add vodka and top up with tomato juice. I prefer Del Monte.

This makes a slightly sweet drink. Those who prefer a sharper taste should use fresh lime instead of cordial and squeeze in a bit of lemon juice too.

The advantage of a large glass is that 250ml (half a pint) of tomato juice constitutes one of your five-a-day, so this is healthy drinking. Doubly so if you munch on a celery stalk whilst you sip.

Pineapple Cooler
Waste not, want not. I have no idea whether this works or not, but it comes from Delia, so it should, and apparently tastes like cider.

Cut the stalky top and the base off your pineapple and discard these. Now stand the pineapple upright on its base and, using a sharp knife, cut away the skin in long strips, working your way all round the fruit. Reserve the fruit for pud.

Chop the skin into small pieces about an inch square, put them in a bowl and pour over about a pint and a half of cold water.. Cover the bowl with a clean dishcloth and leave for three or four days at room temperature until the mixture is bubbly and fermenting. Strin into a jug and add ice , sugar to taste (maybe a couple of ounces) and sprigs of mint.

Good luck!

Prohibition Punch
This is another non-alcoholic drink of which it is possible to drink more than one without feeling sick. Fill a glass with one-third good apple juice and two thirds good ginger ale. Pour a little grenadine syrup over the top so it settles on the bottom. Add a slice of lime. Seriously refreshing.

Virgin Mojito
It is never easy to find an adult-oriented non-alcoholic drink of which it is possible to have more than two glasses without feeling queasy. Here is a thoroughly grown-up drink for drivers, or for anyone who thinks that hot sun and alcohol do not make a good combination. It is also useful if you have grown more mint than you know what to do with! The chilli is, of course, optional.

Cut four limes into quarters and put them in a large bowl with a bunch of mint and a pinch of salt.

Bash together with the base of a bottle or a potato masher – of course, if you have pestle and mortar, then this is ideal.

Add 250ml/9fl oz elderflower cordial and a litre of apple juice.

Stir in a generous slug of chilli and cool overnight.

Serve with mint leaves and a splash of fizzy or soda water.

 

 

Nibbles

Not Pippa Middleton’s Quail’s Egg Croustades
Find some of the smaller croustade shells at the supermarket or deli. In the bottom of each put a small amount of smoked salmon (Lidl’s is brilliant), black forest ham, or whatever you will. Then break a quail’s egg into each and shove them in the oven until baked. If you want to add a bit of celery salt or double cream before serving, fair enough, but these baked eggs are delicious as they come.

Spicy Tomato Salsa
De-seed & finely chop 3 ripe medium-sized tomatoes; finely chop ½ red onion, ½ green pepper and ½ red chilli (de-seeded); place in a bowl. Add a large handful of freshly chopped coriander, juice from ½ lime, a generous glug of olive oil & season to taste; Mix the ingredients thoroughly & serve with vegetable sticks or tortilla chips.

Avocado guacamole
Scoop out the flesh from 2 ripe avocados into a food processor; add juice of 1 lime, large handful of roughly chopped coriander, a few hefty shakes of tabasco sauce or a freshly chopped chilli & a couple of tablespoons of water; Blitz until you have a smooth texture, adding more water or olive oil to loosen the mixture if necessary. Season to taste & serve alongside the spicy tomato salsa.

Home-made Hummus
Drain a tin of chick peas and put the peas into the blender. Add a few basil leaves, a large bunch of coriander, a couple of cloves of peeled and chopped garlic, a good pinch of salt, ground cumin to taste and the juice of a lemon. Add some olive oil and cold water and whizz it up. Go on adding oil and water to get the consistency you want. This will probably mean twice as much oil as water in the end.

If you don't like garlic, put in more lemon juice and a bit of lemon rind.

You'll need to add more salt than you expect, but this really brings out the taste.