Friday, 15 July 2011

Cherry Ripe

Just what to do with all those cherries then? Despite munching them practically non-stop and yet more jam making, the fridge remains steadfastly chock-a-block full of the things! Clafoutis, pie, brandy and so on, we've done all that so it was time to think of something new.

Isn't the internet a marvellous thing? Just how did we manage without it? A quick search for cherry vodka and I was off to the shops quicker than lightning and back I came laden with the things I needed, feeling a tad mollified by standing at the checkout with two enormous bottles of vodka at 11am (or at any time of day, come to think of it). And didn't I just bump into one of the mums from the Munchkin's old school. "I'm making cherry vodka", I babbled. Just to make things look a bit better, I shoved in a few novels and a cook book. Oh and some kilner type jars. Needs must and all that.

And so we need:

- 70cl of vodka (except with the amount of cherries we have, I bought 2 litres, any excuse)

- 200g caster sugar

- 400g cherries

- 150ml water

Although the cherries didn't need stoning, they did need"slitting", yawn. I did feel a bit knife-happy by the end.

Into the pan then with the slit cherries, the sugar and water, turn up the heat and cook a while until the juices start to flow and the sugar dissolves.

Once this cherryish mixture had been ladled into the jars so handily found in Sainsburys, the best bit was pouring in the vodka. It felt rather naughtily exciting!

And how does it look? Well, pretty darned fine? I'm looking forward to hopefully seeing it turn more and more pinky. The recipe suggests leaving for four weeks before drinking. Hmmm. (The little tags with string came with the jars, why not re-use? Super!)

Did someone mention a cookery book? This really is a silly thing to do, wandering away from the food aisles which are surely the point of supermarkets in the first place, and into the dangerous territory of the CDs, books and kitchen-y items and the like.

I do like a bit of Mary Berry. To me, she is the doyenne of cake making and I have lusted after her book for a while, so was delighted to find this little mini version had been published at a pocket friendly price (all that vodka doesn't come cheap!) I had a flick through whilst idling along and was sold when I found a traybake recipe that could be made with fresh cherries. Into the trolley it went.

This time the fresh cherries did have to be stoned (yes, I have a gadget but when you've spent the whole week stoning cherries, it's still a deathly task). Other than that though, it is the easiest recipe, bung all the other ingredients in the mixer, whizz for a minute, fold in the cherries and Bob's your uncle.

I panicked when I realised the butter was rock hard in the fridge. Not to worry as it's been the most gorgeous day here. So gorgeous that quarter of an hour later, my butter left on the patio table was virtually melted!

I am really pleased with the patio this year, the planting is pretty and it's a nice little oasis (when next door are not making a din!) On my travels in the retail world this morning, I found just the shallow terracotta planter I wanted for the house leeks I bought at Hampton Court Flower Show last week. More correctly, I believe they are sempervivums but why call them that when house leeks is so much more fun?

Well my my, if time doesn't fly...

Teena very kindly left me a comment to remind me that today is my blogiversary! Three years of snapping and typing and generally wittering on have flown by.

Good job I baked cake then.

But a shame I can't raise a toast with this!


P.S. Original recipe for the vodka can be found here.


  1. Wow you must have read my mind, I was thinking of fruity booze.

    Cherries are my favourites, I can just imagine how they will taste once infused with vodka!

    have a great weekend, even if it includes an umbrella!

  2. that cherry vodka looks so delicious. my mum makes damson vodka which is yum.. but cherry sounds like it will be sweeter...x

  3. My mouth is watering, cake vodka, I don't care what order. And happy blogiversary! can I say I've enjoyed those three years of reading your blog ( loved the piece in antiques and homes, think it's the other way around, no matter)

    lynn xx

    ps don't have the recipe for the Cherry Brandy, can't seem to track a good one down

  4. oh my- how lovely! what a perfect cheery booze hehe ;0) x i feel a hickup in a few weeks x
    the cakeys look scrummy - happy bloggyversary!
    your sweet patio looks heavenly- lovely place to sit and admire hen xxxx

  5. I like Mary Berry books, have you ever made her museli biscuits? I wonder if you could dry cherries, now there is a thought......then you could put them in the museli biscuits!
    The Cherry Vodka sounds really scrummy!
    Jule xxxxxxx

  6. Fab photos. That vodka looks like it's going to be great. The question is, will you be able to wait 4 weeks? I know I'd just have to keep 'checking'. Perhaps you should invite that mum round for some!!
    Have a great weekend.

  7. Cherry brandy - all we did was literally bung the cherries in kilner jars and pour brandy on top. This is what the farmer at a cherry farm told us to do last year. He said "leave until Christmas" (bottled July) but we actually left it longer as we forgot and it's very good. Mmmmmmm...
    Hen x

  8. That simple, excellent....jars,cherries and brandy on my list for tomorrow, thanks hen.

    lynn xx

  9. Cake looks good. Happy 3rd Birthday! Blow out the candles and make a wish then ...!

  10. The tray bake looks delicious and I am sure the vodka will be too.
    Ann x

  11. What a productive day! I say you have a teaspoon of your concoction at least every day until you feel its right.
    You're garden is wonderful , and the cake perfect. you know what we call sempivirens over here? Hens and chicks........

  12. That cake looks v, good indeed.
    How about glace cherries? You can then use your own cherries in your christmas cake and pudding- Jane Grigson has a recipe.Very much better tasting than shop ones.

  13. Happy blogiversary from me too! Having just completed my 2nd blogpost ever, I am looking forward to being proficient with the ways & workings of blogland & hopefully by 3 years I will have manged it! Always enjoy reading your posts & love the pic of your cat on the bed in the previous one too! Julia

  14. Happy blogiversary! Looking forward to finding out how vodka turns out - sounds delicious!

  15. Just read the next blog & found a Lemon Yoghurt & Charry cake recipe on Check it out it sounds delicious! Save me a slice... Julia

  16. Dear Hen, Happy Blogaversary! I've found you about a year ago, so I missed 2/3s of it all, but I'm glad I found you. How funny an image of you standing at the check out laden with vodka and seeing a school mum! LOL
    Your garden is lovely, hugs from Oregon USA -- Teresa

  17. oooh the cherry vodka all bottled up looks brill, hadn't thought of using cherries with vodka, great idea.
    Your patio does look blommin loverly, I love all your containers, and pretty table cloth too......looks perfect for a bit/alot of cherry vodka slurping when the time comes!
    Nattie x

  18. I love anything cherry and almond, they look delicious. Your patio looks lovely too.

  19. wow, this is one of my favorite alcoholic beverages) my aunt recommends adding cherry leaves to infusion(?)
    I was very surprised to see russian language on the bottles)) This is popular brand of vodka in our country

  20. Happy Blogaversary Helen, yes, pity you can't raise a glass of your cherry vodka just yet but I'm sure the celebration cake sufficed.
    Carol xx

  21. The cherry vodka looks wonderful as does your baking! I must get the Mary Berry book, I hear all her recipes work!

  22. Lovely cherry vodka - enjoy your cake making with Mary I have had her book several years and it is 'the best baking book'. Love the tic toc watch did you make it on the Julie workshop?

  23. Well I though I had been good making Jam but now I am feeling hard done by - what about the vodka?! I have raspberries in the freezer for my next jam round tomorrow might have to save a few and make a quick trip to Sainsburys.

  24. Mmmmmmm, cherries!! Both cake and vodka look lovely!!

    We have some cherry brandy, might have to pour myself a glass after reading all that!!

    S x

  25. Hen, it's clear that you've made terrific use of those abundant cherries. I've never tasted cherry vodka, but somehow sense that I would like it very much.

    The baking recipe looks pretty tempting too, except I would so beg you to move that pretty manicured thumb so we could see the ingredient list. Joking here...I've got so many unused recipes here in New York. Just preheating the oven in the July heat is unthinkable.


  26. Wow i would love to know how your cherry vodka tastes what a great idea ;-)) Your patio looks so pretty. Happy Blog Anniversary heres to many more lovely years ;-)) dee x

  27. Just love those vodka bottles... oh and the tray bake looks pretty darned yummy too... might just have to look out for that book!

  28. I just happened upon your blog, and what a treat! So full of luciousness, I've become a follower.
    I don't know which I liked best, the finished cake or the mixture - I wish I was there to lick the bowl out!
    Your patio looks lovely, I adore house leeks.

  29. You have been busy! The cake looks yum! And the vodka looks good too :) I was reading about houseleeks recently, apparently they have a lot of medicinal qualities :) Lovely post, and happy blogiversary too :) xxx

  30. A lovely post - thanks for sharing your cherry makes.
    Ours have all gone now. But the cherry brandy I made looks great - ready for drinking at Christmas. I think I shall have a go at cherry vodka next year!

  31. That cherry vodka looks great, worth the whole checkout embarrassment fiasco. We don't have any cherries but lots of raspberries threatening to overwhelm us in the next month, I reckon its worth a go. I've got the baking bible, it's probably the best cake book I've ever owned, and I make that cherry and almond traybake as cupcakes, they're lush.
    Helen xx

  32. Happy blogiversary! Your traybake looks absolutely gorgeous - it made my mouth water looking at the photo of it! ;)

  33. Happy Blogversary,dear Hen,That tray bake looks yummy! Your garden looks so pretty,what a lovely variety of flowers.So funny with the mum in the queue....

  34. That tray bake looks lovely... one of my fave cakes :) Happy Blogversary x

  35. Dear Hen, it always feels like holiday to visit your blogspot. Thank you so much!

  36. Ooooh I was at the Hampton Court Flower Show too! We went on Friday & it rained all day but it was still good! Those sempervivums are lovely, I bought loads at a market in Manchester and they've all sprouted little 'chicks'!! Never heard them called house leaks, I love it!!

    Any little bowl seems to do them, engineering bricks (the ones with holes in the middle) also make great homes for these plants, they'll root into anything really :-)

  37. The Cherry Vodka sounds delicious. We make Sloe Gin which is always a treat - slips down without you noticing until you try to stand up! Donna

  38. Cake and cherry vodka sound and look yummy and promising. Love your patio, so pretty with all the potted flowers! Nice place to sit and dream, isn`t it?

  39. Hello,

    Gosh, your blog is just lovely, I am your newest follower!

    I hope you don't mind but I have a few questions to ask...

    I saw this post:

    and I'm wondering if you know the name of the dusky pink rose in the spotty is the most wonderful colour!

    My other question comes from one car booter to another...can you recommend any in London? apart from the obvious ones like Portobello...I haven't been able to do much car booting or flea market shopping since moving to London as I just don't know where the best ones are...any suggestions.

    Lastly, your cottage is just so lovely!

    All the best,


  40. I have the same book. You really can't go wrong with a Mary Berry cake.

  41. Happy blogiversary! I think vodka soaked cherries would be yummy! (I've never had them) Your patio looks great. :)


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