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Spider time

It has felt like September for a couple of weeks now and the garden has taken on a distinctively ‘early Autumn’ look, with leaves turning and spiders’ gossamer glinting in sunlight, or glistening with dew or raindrops in the early morning.

??????????The hedgerows are full of berries: rose-hips, haws, blackberries, sloes and many others. Just off to pick a few more sloes. Anyone have a good recipe for sloe gin?

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Categories: Nature, Photography Tags: , , , ,
  1. August 30, 2014 at 4:03 pm

    Spiders are amazing things Pseu. I found my self the other day wondering how on Earth a spider had managed to get a line across between two bushes. It was across a gap of about three feet. The only thing I could imagine is that it spun down to the ground, walked across to the other bush and then climbed back up again, pulling the web tight again.. Even out best civil engineers wouldn’t be able to create such a bridge in that time.

    I have a very good friend who has a five year old son. He is a Spiderman fanatic and has a tantrum if his mother cleans away any spider’s webs in the house. She loves him dearly πŸ™‚

    Just a bit os Saturday afternoon rambling …..sorry about no recipe for the gin.

  2. August 30, 2014 at 4:07 pm

    p.s. sorry about the typos. I still can’t get used to the fact that I can’t edit my comments after posting

  3. O Zangado
    August 30, 2014 at 4:45 pm

    Hiya Pseu. Take about a pound of sloes and prick them all over. Put into a sterile, airtight jar and add about two pints of decent gin. Over the next couple of months add up to 8 ounces of sugar dissolved in water to taste. Keep somewhere dark and shake every month for at least six, preferably a year. Decant though a funnel packed with cotton wool, put your feet up and enjoy. Simples!

    You can do much the same using almost any firm-bodied fruit such as pears, plums, apricots, etc., to make vot zer Chermanz call a ‘rumtopf’. On this one, however, you must make sure the alcohol is not lower than 60% proof. A bottle of Captain Morgan or Lamb’s Old Navy is a good start, topped up with industrial strength alcohol.

    Speak to Low Wattage or Christina (it wouldn’t surprise me) for hooch/moonshine brews.

    OZ

  4. Rosie
    August 30, 2014 at 5:42 pm

    I s that you on MyT OZ, if so good to see you.

  5. August 30, 2014 at 5:46 pm

    Nym, up in N Jutland they make a slow essence soaking fruit in alcohol for a few weeks then add it to schnapps to taste.

    As you say, it’s a big year for berries. Our elderberries, hips and not least blackberries are rife. Just done a bramble session this morning.

  6. August 30, 2014 at 5:52 pm

    Not slow, sloe! Damned Apple. 😦

  7. O Zangado
    August 30, 2014 at 6:06 pm

    Not me Rosie and very good to see you too, but you can always find me here. Anyone taking my name in vain on the Dark Side is in for a comprehensive mauling with lots of blood, Mods and fur involved and I shall investigate.

    oz

  8. August 30, 2014 at 6:25 pm

    Hi Oz

    It’s easy to see who it is if you click on his 36 comments to date. All the usual clues are there. He’ll probably vanish soon in the usual way.

    Sloe gin talking, why waste ‘decent gin’? Surely the weak and watery Gordons rubbish will suffice and might even be improved a wee bit by the process.

  9. Pseu
    August 30, 2014 at 6:30 pm

    thank you all!

    Looking forward to slow (!) gin ….

  10. August 30, 2014 at 7:38 pm

    One point Pseu. Once the sloe gin is made wouldn’t it be a good idea if you distributed some around the chariot for us all to try? πŸ™‚

  11. christinaosborne
    August 30, 2014 at 11:39 pm

    It is a bit early for sloe gin, best off leave them until they are nearly ready to rot or drop off.
    Use any 40% gin, OZ is confusing an infusion with rumtoff. Do not use the 35% stuff. Check bottle.
    No need to use expensive stuff. cheapo from Aldis will do just as well.
    Actually the rougher any spirit is for fruit infusions, syrups etc the better. The rough flavour extracts better and then mellows down with the sugar and time..
    Be sure to prick the sloes with a needle before putting them in the bottle.
    You don’t have to melt the sugar, just add a spoonful at a time every few days and shake well twice a day.
    Decant total sugar initially into a jam jar so you remember how much you have put in there!
    Do not drink before Christmas.
    A paper coffee filter is the most foolproof filter available.

    Should you want it stronger at the end you can always freeze it to slush and filter it again to remove ice crystals. But everyone will get too pissed too quickly.!! Wouldn’t mess with it.

  12. Pseu
    August 31, 2014 at 9:36 am

    gazoopi, I agree spiders are marvellous. We had one which had a securing thread from teh top of the garage door right over to bushes many feet away. I think they ‘flying fox’ down spinning as they go, then climb back up to make the web!
    Thank s OZ. I didn’t go picking in the end yesterday, but maybe I will today before work?

    CO: the sloes are very early her… already soft and falling, and last year they had all gone before I got to them. So I’m picking early and putting in the freezer, which will imitate ‘first frosts’
    DO you agree with the 1lb fruit to 8 oz sugar? Last year I made raspberry gin and don’t think it was sweet enough.

  13. sheona
    August 31, 2014 at 11:15 am

    Nigella has a very simple recipe for blackberry vodka, Pseu, if you’re picking any.

    1x70cl bottle vodka
    500g blackberries
    200g caster sugar
    1×1.5 litre wide-necked bottle or sealable jar
    1x 70cl or 1 litre bottle for keeping

    Steriilise wide-necked bottle/jar and pour in vodka
    Add blackberries and sugar and seal
    Shake jar until sugar dissolves
    Keep in cool dark place, shaking daily for first two weeks then once a week for a month
    After 6-8 weeks or a bit longer sterilise the vodka bottle, strain the vodka of its berries and decant into bottle.

    Yummy! Though husband thinks his sloe gin is just as good. I’m hoping to try rosehip syrup for the granddaughters this year.

  14. Pseu
    August 31, 2014 at 11:30 am

    thank you Sheona πŸ™‚

  15. christinaosborne
    August 31, 2014 at 5:38 pm

    Good idea to simulate the first frost!
    Re sugar, I would have thought that if you are adding sugar a little at a time you would be able to stop it at the appropriate time to your taste. I haven’t a sweet tooth so everything is always too sweet for me and I end up cutting down the sugar on repeats of recipes. I can see no harm in an extra ounce of so at the end if you find it too sharp. Wouldn’t go too far over as balance starts to change but there is certainly a bit of wriggle room there. Also the sloes would vary from year to year, the hotter and sunnier the weather the more sugar in the fruit. So take the recipe as a starting point and start checking by taste at about the 3/4 sugar addition mark. I only ever take recipes as a starting point and end up morphing them into something completely different half the time. I do keep a box with all my modifications on cards. and write notes in recipe books. Nothing more irritating than forgetting what you did to the recipe or pattern and then finding you can’t remember how to duplicate it!!!

  16. August 31, 2014 at 6:06 pm

    As every Italian mama knows, your own version beats the books! πŸ™‚

  17. Pseu
    August 31, 2014 at 10:48 pm

    thank you thank you!

  18. O Zangado
    August 31, 2014 at 11:33 pm

    Rosie and Mr Mackie. Is this imposter using my avatar called Ollie Ghark and, if so, how do I get the fekker zapped? I don’t subscribe to the Dark Side and only comment here on The Chariot.

    JM – You wouldn’t do a boeuf bourguignon with cheap plonk (I hope), nor should you make sloe gin with cheap or watery gin.

    OZ

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