I love this time of year.
Autumn. Fall. Call it what you will.
Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness indeed (the photo is my local park this week). I love crisp mornings, sunny days and cosy evenings.
And I love making preserves, pickles and infusions that will see us through winter.
It's the perfect time to go looking in the hedgerows for sloes - they're a bit early this year so now is probably about as late as you can leave it. I'm lucky - my dad has sloes growing in the field and picked and sent me a box of them in the post ...
So now's the time to the sloe gin started ready for Christmas.
If you make it now, it'll be good at Christmas. If you can wait, it'll be even better next year. And even better the year after.
So simple to make - do give it a try if you can get hold of some sloes.
All you need are the sloes, a bottle of gin and caster sugar.
First ... make yourself a G&T. Why not?
Then, using the point of a small knife, or a pin, prick each sloe a few times (unless it's so juicy it's already burst, as a few of mine have).
Get a bottle or a jar to house the sloe gin until it's ready to strain and put into pretty bottles. I used to have a huge jar that looked great, but have no idea where it's gone so today am using an old vodka bottle and a jar.
Put in a layer of sloes and cover with a layer of caster sugar.
Keep layering until the bottle's full / the sloes are finished.
Then pour in the gin, leaving time for it to bubble through the sloes and sugar before pouring in more.
Just leave in a cool-ish and dark-ish place until Christmas, turning and tipping every few days - or whenever you remember - so over the next few weeks the sugar completely dissolves.
When it's ready, I'll be back here to change that header picture to the beautiful ruby-coloured finished product!