Three Sheets to the Wind

Rumour has it that I only give a dinner party once every seven years, which is a massive exaggeration. We had one on Saturday and it was at least the second or third this decade. On the menu was Mushroom and Blue Cheese Canapes, followed by home made Chicken Liver Pate, with home made Focaccia, (herbs from the garden), Roast Saddle of Wiltshire lamb, with garden veg ( potatoes, runner beans, courgettes) and for pudding we had a Chocolate Truffle Torte with cream, or an alternative of (or in some cases in addition to - you know who you are, Wayne) Vodka Jellies. Lest you should think I'm sounding too smug, I would point out that I didn't raise the lamb, grow the chocolate beans, or distill the vodka, so some of the credit/blame has to go to someone else.

Three Sheets to the Wind* Vodka Jellies

*This was my mother's description of my father returning home from the golf club on a Sunday lunchtime "your father's three sheets to the wind again" - I don't know where it comes from but it seems an appropriate link to the sheets of gelatine in the recipe.

Enough sheets of gelatine to set a litre of liquid (varies with the make, I used three. You'll be using a bit less than a litre to compensate for the alcohol) Don't use commercial packet jelly unless it's for five year olds, in which case you'll probably have to reduce the vodka)

400 ml warm water
about 2 tablespoons caster sugar
juice of half a lemon
400 ml vodka
raspberries, blueberries or other fresh berries

Soak the gelatine sheets in cold water for a few minutes.

Dissolve the sugar in the water over gentle heat, and add the soaked gelatine. Stir until dissolved.

Add lemon juice, and when cool the vodka. You don't want to be adding vodka to anything hot as you may vapourise the alcohol, and end up with no sheets to the wind at all, apart from the gelatine, which would be a shame.

A couple of spoons of raspberry juice colours it a delicate pink, or leave it clear. Place a few berries in pretty glasses and top up with the jelly, and leave to set in the fridge. Do bear in mind you have the equivalent of 8 large vodkas in this recipe, and it tastes fairly innocuous. But it's very pretty and quite fun. Isn't it Wayne.

If you should find the fruit floats on the top you can set it at the bottom with a thin layer of jelly in the fridge, where it will set faster, and then top up with the unset remainder. Cheers.


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