Two of our favourite things are gin and Christmas, and they go wonderfully together, especially in these gin-soaked Christmas dinner recipes.
The big day is fast approaching and it’s time to start thinking about that festive feast. If you’re lacking in inspiration though we’ve created a few simple recipes to add a gin twist to dinner this year.
If you’ve never made your own pâté you might be surprised to learn how easy it is. Basically, all you need to do is chop up the ingredients, mix them, add booze and wait. Traditionally pâté is made with brandy but our version, made with Hunter's Gin, still provides that richness you want from a pâté but with an added fruitiness that’s fabulously festive. Hunters Gin is made from a distilled cider base which gives it a slight apple flavour that pairs well with pork.
350g pork shoulder, minced
250g pig’s liver, minced
250g pork back fat, minced
275g smoked streaky bacon rashers, minced
150ml Hunters Gin
6 juniper berries, crushed
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp dried thyme
2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
Handful of whole black peppercorns, crushed
1 heaped tsp of salt
Place the mince in a large mixing bowl and add the sloe gin, juniper berries, black peppercorns, salt, thyme, nutmeg, and garlic. Mix thoroughly, cover and refrigerate overnight. Remove from the fridge an hour before cooking.
Preheat the oven to 150°C/Gas mark 2. Tightly pack the mixture into a terrine. Once packed, place the terrine in a roasting tin half-filled with hot water. Place both in the oven and cook for around 2 hours. It will shrink a little when the pâté is cooked.
Remove it from oven and allow it to cool at room temperature. Do not drain the juices as this will keep it moist. Once the pâté has reached room temperature put it in the fridge and leave it there overnight.
Remove the pâté from the fridge 15 minutes before serving. The pâté will keep for up to 1 week.
Curing with gin is a traditional way to prepare salmon that requires no cooking. The end result is similar to smoked salmon, in that you can eat it raw and would serve it in a similar fashion, but the smokiness is replaced with a fresh citrus zing and peppery burst.
1 side of salmon, 1kg in weight, skinned and trimmed
150ml of gin (go for a citrusy gin like East London Liquor Company)
50g of sugar
50g of table salt, fine
25g of lemon zest, micro planed
1 pinch of white peppercorns, crushed
Mix the gin, sugar, salt, peppercorns and lemon zest and coat both sides of the fish.
Place the fish in an airtight container and leave for 45 minutes.
Wipe off the curing mixture and serve.
Enough with starters, how do we get some gin into the main course? Well, we could stuff it in! Like the pâté, the fruity richness of sloe gin pairs marvellously with pork and gives the stuffing a balance of sweet and tartness that’s similar to cranberries.
2 onions, finely chopped
8 sage leaves, finely chopped
125g fresh breadcrumbs
100g pork sausage meat
75ml sloe gin (go for a tart one like Adnams)
1 free-range egg, beaten
Salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Melt the butter and combine all the ingredients together.
If you’re not using this to stuff the bird, then you can cook it at 180c for about 20 minutes.
If you haven’t come across Edinburgh Gin’s Rhubarb and Ginger Liqueur before, then you’re in for a treat. This is one of our all-time favourite gin liqueurs. Each ingredient could not be more perfectly balanced. The tart, yet sweet rhubarb, the spicy warm ginger, the tangy bite of the gin, all are divine. Its intoxicating warmth is evocative of cosy nights by the fire and hearty winter puddings...which makes it perfect to flavour a Christmas pudding!
150g roughly chopped prunes
100g plain flour
125g fresh breadcrumbs
150g dark brown muscovado sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp ground cloves
1 tsp baking powder
1 lemon, grated zest of
3 large eggs
1 medium cooking apple (peeled and grated)
2 tbsp honey
Put the currants, sultanas and scissored prunes into a bowl with the gin. Swill the bowl a bit, then cover with cling film and leave to steep overnight.
When the fruits have had their steeping time, put a large pan of water on to boil, or heat some water in a conventional steamer, and butter your heatproof plastic pudding basin and the lid.
In a large mixing bowl, combine all the remaining pudding ingredients.
Add the steeped fruits, scraping in every last drop of liquor with a rubber spatula, and mix to combine thoroughly.
Scrape and press the mixture into the prepared pudding basin, squish it down and put on the lid. Then wrap with a layer of foil.
Steam for 5 hours. Make sure that the pudding basin sits in the steam, rather than directly on the heat, or it will burn.
Remove from the steam and leave for 2 hours to cool.
You can leave the pudding in the basin until it’s time to eat. To serve, tip the basin upside down. The pudding should slide out.
Are you going to give any of these a try? We'd love to see your photos if you do.
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