The last thing we want to think about on Boxing Day is what to snack on between well-earned G&Ts. These make-ahead recipes can be pulled out of the fridge, arranged quickly on a platter and served ‘family-style’ alongside a cosy cup of tea – or another measure of gin, as the case may be!
Gin-pickled Cucumber with Smoked Salmon
Finely chop half of a chilli and bung in a saucepan with the zest and juice of half of a lime along with 125ml of white wine vinegar, a quarter of a tablespoon sugar, three juniper berries and half a teaspoon of sea salt. Simmer for five minutes, then leave to cool.
Slice one cucumber into strips, and peel and slice four shallots. Strip the mint leaves from the stalks. Layer cucumber, shallot and mint into a sterilised jar until it’s half-full. Add 25ml of gin and your juniper berries, then continue to stack until you have a centimetre of space left. Add your brine, push down the contents to release any air and then seal. Eat as soon as the next day, or leave in a dark place for up to four weeks. Serve with smoked salmon and cream cheese on rye bread.
Chocolate and Caramel Shortbread Sandwiches
For a taste of something sweet, why not combine Beech’s Dark Chocolate and Ginger – made in Lancashire since the 1920s, using only the finest ingredients – with Bonne Maman’s luxurious caramel and buttery Paterson’s shortbread fingers? If you're a Craft Gin Clubber, you've already got these treats at hand!
Simply melt Beech’s chocolate bar gently in bowl set over boiling water, then dip the back side of a Paterson’s Shortbread finger, or any luxury shortbread biscuit, into the melted chocolate. Sandwich a second shortbread finger on the back and set aside, or spread some Bonne Maman caramel on the back of the second finger. However you choose to make these tasty treats, chill them in the fridge until set and serve with tea or sparkling wine.
Quick Cranberry Sausage Rolls
There are lots of ways to make cranberry sausage rolls, but by far the easiest involves store-bought pastry, luxury sausages and cranberry sauce. Preheat your oven to 220°C /200°C fan/Gas mark 7 and roll out your ready-bought pastry. Cut it in half lengthwise. Spoon cranberry sauce into the middle of the pastry and spread longways down the centre. Take your sausages out of the fridge and remove the meat from the casings, then place it in on the line of cranberry sauce. Beat an egg and brush it on the edge of the pastry, then roll to seal. Brush an egg wash on top of the pastry and sprinkle it with sesame or poppy seeds. Cut your rolls into thumb-size pieces, arrange on a baking tray and bake until golden brown, around 20 to 25 minutes. Allow to cool, then store in a sealed container in the fridge.