Fortify yourself with…
A bottle of madeira and a bottle of Australian liqueur muscat or PX (pedro ximenez) sherry.
•Use the madeira for deglazing pans when you’ve fried, grilled or roast some meat. Madeira is good because of its unique tang, but sherry , port and marsala also work. Sherry has the advanatage of being widely available and any style can be used as long as you take into account the sweetness/dryness.
•Douse ice cream (choc, coffee, ginger, rum and raisin, vanilla) with Australian muscat or PX sherry for an instant pudding. If you have time, soak raisins/sultanas in the muscat or sherry first and then pour them on the ice cream with the liquid. And sprinkle on a few toasted and chopped hazelnuts, walnuts or pecans if time hangs heavy.
Use up those liqueurs
Still got the remains of the last five Christmas’s liqueurs at the back of the cupboard?
•Use crème de cassis or framboise to give frozen summer berries a boost in a weather-defying mid-winter summer pudding.
•Add orange liqueurs (or whisky) to caramelised oranges.
•Add crème de menthe, coffee, hazelnut or orange liqueurs to anything chocolaty. Or cherry brandy if granny is visiting.
•Splash ginger liqueur (The King’s Ginger, sold by Berry Bros & Rudd) or ginger wine (eg Crabbies) into ginger puddings or bread and butter pudding.
Gin, pastis and vermouth
•Flame pheasant or guinea fowl in gin, then pot roast with juniper berries. Venison also has an affinity with gin and juniper.
•Make pastis mayonnaise and to serve with fish and shellfish such as salmon, trout, sea bass or prawns (to 1 large egg yolk and 150ml oil, add 1 dsp pastis and 1 tbsp of chopped flat-leaf parsley, dill or tarragon).
•Add a tbsp of pastis or dry white French vermouth when caramelising carrots or braising celery or fennel.
•Make a quick sauce for butter-fried trout using a splash of pastis or white vermouth and double cream.
And then there’s ice cream…
Alcohol stops homemade ice cream setting so hard. Did you really need an excuse?
Try brandy, whisky, calvados, rum, grappa, flavoured vodka, Amaretto or any liqueur: 2-4 tbsp per 800ml of ice cream, depending on the alcoholic strength and flavour of the spirit.