Take a relaxing walk on a crisp autumn morning foraging for sloes to make your own homemade Sloe Gin. Sugar, gin and sloes will mature into a deliciously rich and fruity liquor in just 3 months.
What a month!
As some of you know we had to say goodbye to Bert in September. I knew it wasn’t going to be easy but I massively underestimated the impact Bert had on our lives. That was the followed by a much-needed trip to Walt Disney World.
Disney’s Boardwalk Inn
I now understand that when people say the house is so quiet after a loved one passes, they don’t necessarily mean the volume level. Bert was a whirlwind who touched every aspect of our lives and home. The lively atmosphere that Bert injected into the house disappeared instantly, that was the hardest thing for me to deal with. The kitchen, usually my sanctuary, was particularly painful for me. Whenever I was handling food I always had my little sidekick at my feet, waiting for me to drop a crumb or two. Tripping over him used to irritate me so badly, now I would do anything to have him back under my feet.
We made sure Bert’s last few days were full of fun and love. He had his fill of sausages at Breakfast Club, a ramble around Chatsworth, and a stunning walk in Sherwood Forest. He passed peacefully eating his favourite treats, with Gary and myself at his side.
The tears began to dry up with each day that passed. We started to laugh at the memories of him driving us insane from being so mischievous. The week was made easier from all the love and support we received. Thank you to all who reached out to us, it really did make a difference.
Preparing for our holiday to Florida helped take my mind off losing Bert and before I knew it the morning of our departure arrived.
Family photo with the main man
For Gary and myself taking our niece, Lacie, to Disney has been a dream of ours since she was born. As well as a promise I made to her mum before we lost her 7 years ago. As you can imagine two weeks in Disney with three girls (Lacie and our twin god-daughters, Freya and Darcy) was both magical and exhausting! We all had a fabulous time and I’m still trying to recover a week after we arrived home.
Wildlife photographer of the year…
A good friend of mine always says she doesn’t trust adults who still love Disney! I understand her thoughts. I try to explain that Disney is an immersive experience for all who enjoy a variety of shows, friendly atmosphere, and excellent food, along with a drink or two. It is not just about meeting characters and queuing for rides.
Margaritas with a view
Food and Wine Festival
We book early to take advantage of the free dining plan and make the most of it on holiday. Whilst being the height of hurricane season September and October are also known for the Food and Wine Festival at EPCOT. This is possibly my most favourite part of a Disney holiday, eating and drinking our way around the world on a sunny evening.
EPCOT Food and Wine festival 2018
The biggest myth I try to bust is “all you eat in Disney is junk food”, the reality is completely different. Sure they have the likes of pizza and burgers on offer, and I did indulge when I had the urge for a dirty burger. I also devoured exquisite meals such as fillet mignon with lobster tail, grilled sea bass and tappenyaki.
Tappan Edo restaurant EPCOT
I love taking a holiday at this time of year, you get one last blast of sunshine and heat before returning to a stunning Britain in all its autumn glory. There is something magical about autumn and the run up to Christmas that excites me, trees filled with bright red leaves, cozy nights in front of the fire, Halloween, bonfire night and the urge to gorge on comfort food.
One of my favourite tipples at this time of year is Slow Gin over ice. This sweet, tart liquor is very warming, especially when it’s freezing cold outside. I’ve never made Sloe gin before so when I spotted sloes in the hedgerow I couldn’t resist the urge to forage! With the assistance of some good work friends, we picked enough sloes on our lunch break to make approximately 700 ml. I can’t wait to sample the results when it’s ready in December.
All the recipes I came across for Sloe Gin were based on the same ratio. Start with the weight of sloes in grams, double the amount of gin, and half the amount of sugar. Grams and litres are the same for gin so it’s easiest to weigh all the ingredients in grams.
350g Sloes, rinsed and dried
700g Gin, preferably around 40%
175g Granulated sugar
- Prick the sloes with a clean tooth pick and pop into a sterile Kilner jar along with the gin and sugar.
- Shake daily for a week until the sugar has dissolved, then agitate once a week for the next 3 months. Store in a cool, dark place.
- After three months sample the gin, add additional sugar if required. Once you are happy with the flavour strain out the sloes, pour into a serialised bottle, and store for up to a year.
- Enjoy over ice.
Use only plump ripe sloes that are deep purple.
Make sure you have permission from the landowner before foraging.
Avoid picking sloes from busy roadsides.
Make sure you know what you are picking, sloes grown on blackthorn shrubs.
Allowing the slows to mature for 6 months will develop the flavour even further.
blackthorn shrub with ripe sloes
Contains alcohol, please drink responsibly.
Love gin? Try my most popular infusions:
Rhubarb and Ginger
Pink Grapefruit and Tarragon
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