Yes yes, I know I’ve been AWOL for aaaaages… But by way of making some small reparation, I would like to offer you this stunning recipe. I only wish I could give you a bottle of the stuff. It’s fun, festive and ferociously alcoholic.
I noticed this in the MasterChef Live showguide back in November (did I mention that I met Michel Roux Jr? Even better looking in real life…) and knew immediately that it would have to feature on my Christmas party menu. You need to start work on it a few days before you want to drink it, but it is absolutely worth the wait; forget Aussie lager, this is the true amber nectar. It’s deceptively sweet though – be careful you don’t down one too many shots of syrupy goodness and end up in a heap on the floor, or worse, snogging someone inappropriate under the mistletoe… Unless that’s your plan of course, in which case go for it.
Christmas Pudding Vodka, from the Hairy Bikers’ 12 Days of Christmas, via the MasterChef Live 2010 showguide
300g mixed dried fruit
75g caster sugar
2 cinnamon sticks
2 teaspoons ground mixed spice
half a nutmeg, finely grated
finely grated zest of 1 orange
finely grated zest of 1 lemon
75cl bottle of vodka (doesn’t have to be a premium brand but don’t go for the really cheap and nasty stuff either)
In a large bowl, mix the dried fruit with the sugar, cinnamon sticks, mixed spice, cloves, grated nutmeg, orange and lemon zest. Pour the vodka into the bowl, give everything a stir and cover tightly with clingfilm. Place in the fridge and leave for 3 days, stirring once every day.
Line a sieve with a double layer of fine muslin and place it over a large jug or bowl. Pour the vodka mixture carefully into the sieve and allow it to drip through, then pour the strained liquid into a clean, dry bottle (a funnel helps here) and seal the lid. That’s it. Store in the freezer until you want to get festively tipsy.
I’m still deciding on a use for the vodka-soaked fruit ‘leftovers’ – let me know if you have any ideas!
(Apologies for the lack of a photo of the finished product, it all disappeared rather too quickly…)