Monday, 11 July 2011

Lashings of...

Hiiiiiii far away one,

Apparently, not one of the Famous Five books actually speaks of lashings of ginger beer, only lashings of hard boiled eggs. This is nonsensical, how the heck can hard boiled eggs lash? Cool, bubbly, zingy ginger beer on a hot, sunshiney day...much more lash-worthy. What was Enid thinking!

You might think that making your own ginger beer is a bit too effortful for your liking, and that’s fine, it’s not exactly something you can whip up spontaneously. I just thought that should by some miracle you find yourself with a dead-cert of a sunnyshiney day around the corner and you have an outdoorys thing to attend, this might be a fun and rather smug-making thing to turn up with in hand. Far more exciting than Ok, but still quite exciting.

My first attempt at making this made me sad. It tasted like fizzy yeast water, urrrgh. But the fizzyness impressed me so I tried, tried again...and followed my trusted  motto “if in doubt, add more sugar”. A triumph. Despite the call for a few days forward planning, this is actually a rather easy drink to make, no need for fancy equipment or super accurate measuring. Just don’t let those you serve it to know of that and let the smugness commence. With Love and Cake.

Ginger Beer
Adapted from Cherry Cake and Ginger Beer by Jane Brocket

A few notes:
·         Feel free to use beautiful swing top glass bottles and channel the George and Timmy chic, but a handy alternative is a 2 litre water bottle, which means if you don’t have one already you only need to spend 16p and you can use the water from it (if it’s still) in the recipe.
·         I don’t have an airing cupboard so for the part that says ‘leave in a warm place’ I like to turn one of my electric hob rings on to heat up for a minute or 2, then turn it off, wait for 5 minutes for it to be cool enough to touch, and then stand the bucket or bowl on top of a folded tea towel on top of the hob. But please don’t set fire to things. Thanks.
·         Plan to make it 2 or 3 days before you want to drink it.
·         Tastes better when accompanied by sunshine and sand and adventures involving tunnels, fact.

Makes about 2 litres

You will need...

1 large non-metallic bowl or bucket
2 litres worth of bottles

½ Lemon, skin and pith removed, thinly sliced
300g granulated sugar  
40g fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated
1 ½ tsp cream of tartar
800-900ml boiling water
1 ½ tsp baking yeast

·         First things first, put the lemon, sugar, ginger and cream of tartar in your big bowl or bucket and pour over the freshly boiled water.
·         Leave to cool to lukewarm.
·         Stir in the yeast, cover with a tea towel and leave in a warm place for 24 hours.
·         Now skim off any mankyness that has gathered on the top, strain into a jug and bottle. I don’t have a jug big enough to put it all in at once so my process is...ladle some of the liquid through a sieve into jug, pour from jug into bottle, repeat repeat repeat.
·         Make sure you leave about a 10cm gap of air at the top of the bottle to allow for the bubbly expansion.
·         Screw the top of the bottle up tight and snuffle away for 12-36 hours. Though do slightly unscrew the top a few times along the way to allow for a bit of gas to escape, I find this part uber satisfying.
·         Now go forth and drink your homemade lashings with lots of ice and lemon slices, for elegance more that anything.


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