On the cards, to kick the evening off, are an array of snacks, of course. To showcase the best of what's out there at the moment. Carnival Squash... A fresh cheese starter with Hawthorn vinegar, Rosehip emulsion and Malted Sourdough Crumb. For main, Cured Mackerel, Kohlrabi, Apple and Sea Herbs. Dessert is to showcase of a few of the best things from the Autumn, though one thing for certain is that one of the dessert dishes will be ever so warmingly whisky related.
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So, to help get everything prepared for the upcoming feast, I went looking for extra rose hips on my walk home from work at the end of last week, and rather stumbled across a secret(ish) field, full of Sloes. Untapped by South Londoners. Needless to say, I got right involved. Quite the find, and meaning that a batch of sloe gin is sitting getting, preparing itself, hopefully in time for the supper club. For anyone who has not made sloe gin before, it's the easiest damned thing. Just clean your sloes, if they are ripe then no need to prick the skins, place in the freezer overnight to simulate that first frost and encourage the skins to split. Sterilise a jar, simply by heating it to 140C in the oven, leave to cool, then add your sloes, the gin and some sugar. I'd say only add a couple of tablespoons of sugar at this stage as you can always add more later if needs be. Then leave the sealed container for at least two weeks, ideally a month or so, to infuse, and make sure that in this time you show it a little bit of love and attention by giving it a move round or a gentle shake every day.
I've also just finished making a very tasty hawthorn & blackberry vinegar to be used on the evening and have been working on a reduction to accompany some venison, one of the evenings first forecast snacks. Plus the rose hip syrup is all ready, sat in the fridge, waiting to be whizzed up into it's accompaniment for the fresh cheese and also to form a key part in below's cocktail... my autumnal take on the classic Agua de Jamaica, or Jamaica Iced Tea.