Wriggle Recipe: Cooking With Booze

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Sarah Harding, writer over at Bedsitbonnevivante, shares some of her favourite boozy treats for our Wriggle Recipe section this week.

The arguments rage on about whether you should use good quality booze in your cooking or just use the cheap stuff. Most people will tell you that it doesn’t really matter but I have found with the influx of craft beers, ciders and spirits on the market you can create some really exceptional dishes with big flavours using something made just down the road. There’s a great range of independent booze shops in Bristol and Bath (Wriggle themselves ran a Wild Beer themed offer at Independent Spirit in Bath just the other week) where you can pick up at least four good beers for just over a tenner. That’s cheaper than the pub!

Picked for their fruity flavours, I used Wiper and True’s Australia (tropical hints) & Wild Beer’s Modus Operandi (a mix of berries and cherries) a few months ago to create some chutneys. I created an apple and pear chutney with raisins, onions and chillies. The fruit was steeped in a bottle of the beer for 48 hours before adding it all to a pot. The beer really changes the taste of the chutney for something sweet and fruity to something far more complex and hoppy that goes great with strong cheddar cheese. If you fancied giving it a go, I managed to get hold of both beers at Brewers Droop on Gloucester Road.


Last St Patrick’s day, I took the opportunity to experiment with stouts but avoided Guinness. It’s not that i have a problem with it but why go mass produced when The Bristol Beer Factory make two types just down the road?  There are two recipes for gorgeous stout-based baking from my blog if you wanted to read a little bit more about it!

Stout Cupcake 2


Finally, after a trip over to the Grape and Grain festival back in September, I had the pleasure of trying an amazing G&T or two with the Microdistillery Psychopomp. I adore gin but cooking with it has always seemed a bit too frightening for me – bar some failed gin and tonic cupcakes a few years ago i never bothered. However i stumbled across this recipe for a gin and tonic jelly (grown ups only!!) which would be wonderful for a birthday party (or how about jelly shots?). Of course it is up to you whether you use something as special as Psychopomp or use something a bit more simple, but you can get your hands on Psycopomp at Corks of Cotham.

Sarah Harding (you can call her Charlie), started her blog when she was in a bedsit with just a hotplate, an ineffectual oven and an ice box for a freezer. But regardless she turned out some incredibly inspiring recipes that don’t cost the earth and keep you eating well, and although she’s now got herself a legit oven and gas hob she still focuses on posting recipes and reviews at places she thinks you should be spending your money. If you want to see more of her recipes, head on over to her blog or give her a follow over on Twitter.
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