XMAS COUNTDOWN: The gift of grub

Swindon Advertiser: Spiced red cabbage Spiced red cabbage

SPICED RED CABBAGE (Makes 3 x 250ml jars)

½ red cabbage, thinly sliced; 10tbsp table salt; 400ml distilled white vinegar; 1tsp white peppercorns; 1tsp five-spice powder 3 whole cloves; 1tsp light mustard seeds

  • Place the red cabbage in a bowl, covering each layer as you go with a sprinkle of salt. Cover and leave overnight.
  • The following day, rinse the cabbage with cold water until all the salt has been removed.
  • Sterilise the jars and lids by placing face down in a preheated oven at 140°C/Gas 1 for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, place the vinegar and spices into a heavy-based saucepan and boil rapidly for about 5 minutes.
  • Add the cabbage and stir until fully covered with the vinegar and heated through.
  • Spoon the mix into the sterilised jars and make sure the cabbage is submerged in the spiced vinegar. Never put hot liquid into cold jars or cold liquid into hot jars.

CANDY VODKA (Makes a 250ml bottle)

For the vodka: 1 family size bag of Skittles; 35cl bottle of good-quality vodka; For presentation: 1l airtight jar; 250ml presentation bottle; Coffee filter paper or muslin

  • Start by separating all the colours of Skittles. You will end up with five different options. You can use both red and purple in the same jar, but remember that green leaves a bitter taste so take those out unless you like a slightly sour tang!
  • Place the chosen colour Skittles into the bottom of the airtight jar and pour in half the bottle of vodka. Fasten the jar and shake occasionally over the next day or two when the Skittles will dissolve and leave a crystallised layer of sugar on the top.
  • Line a funnel with either coffee filter paper or muslin and place in the neck of the presentation bottle. Carefully sift out all of the crystals, leaving a coloured but clear candy vodka.
  • TOP TIP: Fasten with a decorative ribbon and label: 'Please drink responsibly'.

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