Men are hard to shop for, it is a proven fact. Some are easier than others, when they have interests in sport or food or cars etc but what happens when that runs out? I remember buying my Dad Aresnel related presents long after he stopped giving two hoots about the football team. So for my boyfriend I kept coming back to the fact his is a GIN fanatic. I didn’t just want to buy him a bottle, even of something nice.
It is great when you can combine something a friend loves with some creativity and add a touch of homemade. So I had already started making some plum gin but wanted to add a little more. So as you can see by the pictures I also made gin maramalade (it was a bit of a lightbulb moment of “he likes marmalade too!”) and brought a small bottle of Hendrics (the internet said it was good, he affirmed) and 2 mini bottles of schwerz tonic.
You can substitute the gin for a different neutral spirit of preference for the gift reciever (works perfectly with vodka). Click through for my recipie for plum gin and keep scrolling for the gin marmalade recipe.
The wrapping/packing is just another opportunity to use some creativity and make it special! The boyfriend loves videogames, I know nothing about them. I printed some pictures of charaters from his favourite ones and glued (prit) them to a shoebox, writting some of the funny quotes from them in speech bubbles in Sharpie. Being a typical male he didn’t notice for AGES but when he did he loved it. I also used red and silver tissue paper as his favourite colours.
Gin Marmalade Recipe
Seville Oranges Saucepan and wooden spoon
500g Granulated Sugar Muslin bag or fabric
500ml Gin Sterelized jars (x3)
Water cooled saucer
Makes around three jars
The how to bit:
One. Wash the oranges and put them with the water into a saucepan (covered), allow to boil until the fruit goes soft (easier to get the goop out!) should take around an hour then take out and allow to cool. Keep 750ml of the boiling water – carefully measure this out.
Two. Slice the oranges in half, scoop out the goop and put it into the muslin. I just used a square and fastened with an elastic band. Put this back into the pan of water. You want all the flavour and juices to come out but not make the marmalade really bitty.
Three. Depending how much you like slice the rind of the oranges into thin strips and add to the pan with all the sugar. Over a low heat stir until all the sugar is dissolved. Add the special ingredient – GIN!
Four. Skim off any scum the sits on the surface – there shouldn’t be much. Bring to a rolling boil for half an hour. It can take a lot longer to set. This is the tricky part!
Five. To test the setting point get the saucer out of the fridge and drop a little of the mixture onto it, leave for a couple of seconds then push the marmalade with your finger, it should wrinkle. A good second test to do is dip a spoon into the mixture and allow to cool slightly then hold the spoon holizontally above the pan. If it is at setting point the drips will run together to form a flake. If you are unsure there are loads of youtube videos that will give you a good idea what you are looking for. Test over 5 minutes, remembering that as it cools it firm up further.
Six. Once set pour or ladel the mixture into the jars, seal and allow to cool.