Category Archives: Recipe of the Month

Our January Recipe of the Month

Kumquat, Thyme, cinnamon, and Honey Syrup

This beautifully fragrant, citrusy, herbaceous, and warming syrup works with a variety of drinks, such as the Toasted Kumquat and Amaretto Sour (see page 164). You only need a very small amount of the syrup for it to make a delicious contribution to a mocktail or cocktail. I used raw honey to act as a sweetener, but also to help extract the flavor of the kumquats and thyme.

To preserve the beneficial properties of the honey, I suggest you add it to the pan once the kumquats have been removed from the heat. As you are doing this, you can also add some citric acid to help preserve the syrup. However, if you are going to use the syrup within a couple of weeks, there is no need to add any citric acid, as long as you store it in the refrigerator between uses.

20 kumquats, halved lengthwise

1 cup (250ml) water

1 x 3-in (7.5-cm) cinnamon stick

2 cups (640g) raw runny honey

3 thyme sprigs ⅔ tsp citric acid (optional)

Nonreactive saucepan (with lid) Wooden spoon Fine-mesh strainer and muslin/ cheesecloth or coffee filter (see page 20) Sealable heatproof presentation bottle(s), sterilized (see page 24)
Makes approximately ½ pint (250ml

Add the kumquats, water, and cinnamon stick to the saucepan and heat until just boiling. Lower the heat, cover the pan and simmer for 5 minutes.

Remove from the heat and immediately add the honey and sprigs of thyme, stirring constantly to ensure the honey is fully dissolved. Allow the syrup to steep until cool (this will take at least 1 hour).

Reheat the syrup so that it is piping hot, but not boiling, add the citric acid (if using), and then fine-strain (see page 25) into a wide-mouthed pitcher. Funnel into the sterilized presentation bottle(s) and seal. Store in the refrigerator. If you have added citric acid, the syrup will last for up to 6 months. If not, consume within 2 weeks.

If this mouth-watering recipe has inspired you to try some more recipes from Wild Mocktails and Healthy Cocktails, then head over to our giveaway page to win a copy. Alternatively, you can buy your copy HERE for £9.23 (RRP £16.99) + Free UK delivery.

Credit info:

Wild Mocktails and Healthy Cocktails. Home-Grown and Foraged Low-Sugar Recipes from the Midnight Apothecary By (author) Lottie Muir

Published by CICO Books

Our December Recipe of the Month

A jolly good mince pie

A classic, simple mince pie, devoid of bells, whistles and creative meddling. The pastry is a rich but workable shortcrust. It won’t collapse in the carol singer’s mittens. The pies themselves will stand or fall by the quality of mincemeat. Go for broke, Christmas is not the time for parsimony. The little darlings are at their most delicious when eaten warm. Baked a day or more before, they reheat nicely.

Makes 18 small pies
unsalted butter – 75g
lard – 75g
plain flour – 150g
an egg yolk
a little cold water
good-quality mincemeat – 375g
icing sugar, for dusting

You will also need a 12-hole tartlet tin, each hole measuring 6cm x 2cm deep. It is best to bake the pies in a batch of twelve, then a second of six.

Cut the butter and lard into small pieces and rub it into the flour with your fingertips until you have what looks like coarse, fresh breadcrumbs. If you do this in the food processor it will take a matter of seconds. Add the egg yolk, then mix briefly with just enough water to bring to a smooth dough. You will probably need only one or two tablespoons. Bring the dough together into a firm ball, then knead it gently on a floured board for a couple of minutes until if softens. Reserve half of the dough, then roll the remainder out thinly. Set the oven at 200oC/Gas 6.

Using cookie cutters or the top of an espresso cup, cut out eighteen discs of pastry. (There may be a tiny bit left over.) Place twelve discs of the pastry in the tartlet tins, reserving six for the second batch, smoothing them up the sides so the edges stand very slightly proud of the tin. Fill each one with a dollop of mincemeat. A level tablespoon is probably all you will get into them, unless you have especially deep tins. Be generous. Roll out the reserved pastry with any leftover trimmings and make a further eighteen discs of pastry, reserving six again. Slightly dampen each of these round the edge with cold water then lay them over each tart and press firmly to seal the edges.

Using the point of a small kitchen knife cut a small slit in the centre of each pie and bake for twenty minutes until golden. Let them cool for a few minutes, then slide them out their tins with a palette knife and serve warm, dusting with icing sugar. Repeat with the remaining pastry discs and mincemeat.

If this mouth-watering recipe has inspired you to try some more recipes from The Christmas Chronicles, then head over to our giveaway page to win a copy. Alternatively, you can buy your copy HERE for £15.48 (RRP £26.00) + Free UK delivery.

Credit info:

The Christmas Chronicles by Nigel Slater, published by HarperCollins Publishers