As we wave goodbye to summer and the dark nights draw in, it’s time to take a slower pace of life and enjoy the delights that autumn brings. We’re a massive fan of Sloe Gin and believe you’ll enjoy a cosy night in next to a burning fire with a glass of our favorite berries just as much as us!
Sloes are the fruit of the blackthorn and are one of the last fruits to remain on the trees before the winter draws in. Sloes look very attractive on the blackthorn and cluster together around the branches like bunches of grapes, unfortunately the taste of the fruit doesn’t match its attractive appearance, as they are incredibly sour. Many believe that you should wait until the first frost to pick sloes, but generally they are best from around September, following a bout of cold weather and autumn showers. However this year is a little different, due to our very mild winter last year, followed by a warm spring and those summer showers, sloes have started to appear earlier, much to our enjoyment. Our weird and wonderful weather has tricked the sloes in to thinking its autumn already and that frosts are on their way, so a bumper crop has grown ahead of schedule.
Sloes and gin are a match made in heaven, so try your hand at creating your own by storing the sloes in a jar with white sugar and gin. Place the jar in a cool, dark place for a few months and shake the bottle every few days. By the time Christmas comes around you’ll have a gorgeous dark liqueur which can be drank neat or with tonic. Make your own this autumn with this easy recipe – well you’ve got to make the most of this bumper crop haven’t you?!
500g ripe sloes
1 liter of gin
To prepare the sloes before bottling you can prick each one with a pin or a great tip we have picked up is put the sloes in the freezer as this will break down their structure so no need to spend hours pricking them.
Put the sloes in to a large preserving jar and pour over the sugar and the gin.
Seal the jar and shake.
Shake the jar every day until the sugar has dissolved.
Store in a dark cupboard and after about three months strain out the sloes through muslin.
Pour the gin into a sloe gin bottle.
Your sloe gin will now be perfectly fine for drinking but for an enhanced taste, store the sloe gin in a dark cupboard for as long as possible, even years will be fine.
With Valentine just around the corner, why not visit our site and view a selection of gifts we have picked out just for you
If you only invest in one BBQ Accessory this summer, then it must be this brilliant Hamburger Press. It is ideal for all your outdoor entertaining needs. Presented in a Gift Box.
Size: 2cm Deep x 11.5cm Wide
This round kettle barbecue from Sagaform is ideal for the garden or small enough
to take with you to the beach. The barbecue has short legs so can sit on the
ground if you are having a picnic or on a table. The diameter of the enameled
bowl is 32cm.
The Zoku Quick Pop Maker freezes ice pops in as little as seven
minutes right on your countertop without electricity. Quickly make striped pops,
yogurt pops or (for the first time ever at home) flavored core pops. To enjoy
Quick Pops at a moment’s notice, simply store the compact base in your freezer.
The kit includes six durable, reusable plastic pop sticks that have unique
ridged designs that allow pops to adhere securely, with special drip guards for
tidy eating. A specially designed Super Tool helps to quickly release the frozen
treats from their molds.
The unit can make up to 9 pops before refreezing
the unit again
We’re bring you our latest inspiration for Easter baking. Recipe is from www.bbc.co.uk/food. It’s Hot Cross Buns!
Don’t forget to follow the links to buy the equipment!
For the buns
625g/1.3lb strong white flour, plus extra for dusting
1 tsp salt
2 tsp ground mixed spice
45g/ 1.5 oz unsalted butter, cut into cubes, plus extra for greasing
1 lemon, zest only
1½ tsp fast-action yeast
1 free-range egg
275ml/10fl oz tepid milk
125g/4oz mixed dried fruit
For the topping
2 tbsp plain flour
vegetable oil, for greasing
1 tbsp golden syrup, gently heated, for glazing
For the buns, sieve the flour, salt and ground mixed spice into a large mixing bowl, then rub in the butter using your fingertips. Make a well in the centre of the mixture, then add the sugar and lemon zest and yeast.
Beat the egg and add to the flour with the tepid milk. Mix together to a form a soft, pliable dough.
Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured work surface (Amaroni Tip! Use this Worktop Saver to protect your surfaces!) Carefully work the mixed dried fruit into the dough until well combined. Knead lightly for 5 minutes, or until smooth and elastic.
Grease a large, warm mixing bowl with butter. Shape the dough into a ball and place it into the prepared bowl, then cover with a clean tea towel and set aside in a warm place for one hour to prove.
Turn out the proved dough onto a lightly floured work surface and knock back the dough. Shape it into a ball again and return it to the bowl, then cover again with the tea towel and set aside for a further 30 minutes to rise.
Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and divide it into 12 equal pieces. Using a rolling pin, roll each piece into a ball, then flatten slightly into a bun shape using the palms of your hands. Cover the buns again with the tea towel and set aside to rest for 5-10 minutes.
Grease a baking tray with butter and transfer the buns to the tray. Wrap the tray with the buns on it loosely in greaseproof paper, then place inside a large polythene bag. Tie the end of the bag tightly so that no air can get in and set aside in a warm place for a further 40 minutes to rise.
Preheat the oven to 240C/475F/Gas 8.
Meanwhile, for the topping, mix the plain flour to a smooth paste with 2 tablespoons of cold water.
When the buns have risen, remove the polythene bag and the greaseproof paper. Spoon the flour mixture into a piping bag and pipe a cross on each bun.
Transfer the buns to the oven and bake for 8-12 minutes, or until pale golden-brown. As soon as you remove the buns from the oven, brush them with the hot golden syrup, then set aside to cool on a wire rack.
We’re so excited about Easter so we’re sharing our favourite Easter recipes with you! Plus follow the links to find all the equipment used at Amaroni!
For the Cake
250g of Butter
250g of Caster Sugar
250g of Self Raising Flour
For the Icing
280g Icing Sugar
2 tbsp Milk
Step by Step
- Preheat the oven to 180°C or Gas 4. Line a 12 Cup Muffin Pan with Sweetly Does it Paper Cake Cases.
- Add the button and sugar into a Mixing Bowl and beat until pale and creamy with a Hand Mixer. Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat until well combined.
- Using a Spatula fold the flour into the mixture.
- Divide the mixture between the 12 cases and bake for 20-25 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and cool on a Wire Rack.
- Beat the butter in a bowl until soft using a Spoon and beat in half the Icing Sugar in until smooth.
- Add the remaining icing sugar and one tablespoon of milk and beat until creamy.
- Using a small pointed Knife cut a circle about 2.5cm width out of the cake leaving a hole in the centre. Cut the round in half and set aside.
- Fill the hole with buttercream and return the two pieces of cake to sit on the top light butterfly wings.
- Dust with icing sugar to serve and repeat for all other cake.
Display on a lovely cake stand such as this one and enjoy!
March, it’s the beginning of Spring! Bring on the lighter evenings and milder weather we say! Easter is a very fun time of year, who’s for baking? We’ve picked our top three Easter recipes for baking perfect Easter treats! Plus… We’ll be adding every product you’ll need to create these from our website!
Recipes coming soon!