Alan has used his multi award winning historic Roman and Ancient Greek vinagres as the base in which to add and blend soft fruit flavours such as Raspberry, Strawberry, Passion fruit and Blackcurrant.
These four fruity vinegars create a stunning new collection offering fresh vibrant and zingy taste sensations adding more fun and culinary adventures to the kitchen and plate. Whilst these are new to Alan’s food line and range, the fruits and vinegars themselves have been made for centuries.
Raspberries have been traced as far back as the Palaeolithic cave dwellers and the fruit has been part of the human diet ever since, although raspberry canes were not developed until the 4th century AD. It was King Edward Ist who was accredited with encouraging the cultivation of raspberries throughout England during the 13th century.
In terms of Raspberry vinegar, Alan has traced it back to at least four generations within his own family that made it every year as a way of preserving the delicious flavours of the summer fruit for the winter months.
Like many people in the Nottingham and Derbyshire area where he was bought up they would add a little of the vinegar over a Yorkshire pudding with a little dusting of sugar and eat it as a dessert , this recipe was used by Alan in his “Ready in Minutes” cookbook back in 2005.
Today as well as all the conventional uses he would recommend you try it:
- Drizzled on salad leaves dotted with feta and crispy fried smokey bacon
- Splashed onto Yorkshire puddings (a much favoured pudding eaten in the midlands regions)
- Turned into a sauce to serve with blackened Cajun chicken,
- To make a raspberry mojo
- With crispy coated fried chicken or turkey
- Drizzle over skewered BBQ turkey before sprinkling over a few fresh raspberries
- Over green salads as a fruity dressing, smoked meat salad such as duck or smoked quail, or add a splash to a bowl of fresh fruit salad to intensify the fruity flavour.
Strawberries, whilst they were known in Ancient Rome and growing wild, were first bred in Brittany, France in the 1750’s with a cross of Fragaria Virginia from the USA and Fragaria Chileonsis from Chili by Amedee Francois Frezier in 1714. They obtained their name due to the fact that they were cultivated on top of a bed of straw to protect them from coming into contact with the earth. It is a member of the rose family and one of the only fruits to have its pips on the outside. They are packed with vitamin C; in fact just 6 strawberries contain as much vitamin C than an entire orange.
A book published in 1931 acclaimed strawberries to be one of the first tooth whiteners and it recommended strawberries be held on the tooth for 5 mins to remove all stains and discolouration, it also suggested a cut strawberry rubbed over the face after washing would whiten the skin and remove sunburn. Needless to say Alan would not recommend any of these today and would stick to the following suggestions and usages:
- As a dressing with a cold smoked duck breast salad
- Added to a little un-salted butter and whip until light and fluffy before serving with BBQ chicken, BBQ turkey or BBQ pork ribs
- Add a splash to an Eton Mess, or to a bowl of fresh strawberries to intensify the sweet and sour flavours
- Add a splash when cooking or poaching rhubarb for crumble
- Add to summer pudding or use to macerate fruits before turning into a summer terrine
- Add to a strawberry or rhubarb coulis, or puree.
- Make into a strawberry vinegar ice cream, granite or add to fruit compote.
Blackcurrants were in cultivation in Russia in the 11th century when it was present in monastery gardens and also grown in towns and settlements. Cultivation in Europe is thought to have started around late 17th century. During World War II, most fruits rich in vitamin C, such as oranges, became almost impossible to obtain within the UK. Since blackcurrants are a rich source of vitamins and suitable for growing in the UK climate, the British Government encouraged their cultivation and from 1942 onwards, blackcurrant syrup was distributed free to children under the age of two. This needless to say may have given rise to the lasting popularity of blackcurrant as flavouring in Britain. It may also account for the fact that during the development and testing of my vinegar at food shows, it has sold out within two hours of launch!
Try using Alan’s blackcurrant vinegar as:
- A dip for BBQ meats
- A splash to Mince pie fillings or to the liquid if soaking dried fruits for festive puddings
- A splash to a summer pudding or as a dressing for pigeon salad
- Use to de-glaze the pan for roast quail, pheasant, pan fried venison fillet or lamb chops
- Use in fruit relishes or fruity chutneys
- Use as a sauce for fried or roast duck or serve as a dressing for cold roast goose
- Use drizzled over roast beetroots
- To marinate cooked beetroot for use in salads
- an addition to fruit coulis, purees or compotes
- A marinade for fresh salmon before quickly pan frying.
Passion Fruit Vinegar
Passion Fruit is generally believed to be native to Brazil where 16th Century Spanish Catholics named it “Flor de las cinco llagas” or “flower of the five wounds” after its distinctive purple flower. Others say that when Spanish missionaries first saw it they thought the flowers portrayed ‘Christ’s passion on the cross’ – passion meaning suffering rather than pleasure – because it showed the Three Nails, the Five Wounds, the Crown of Thorns and the Apostles.
It arrived in the UK around the 1800’s. Botanically it is classed as a berry and a rich sauce of Beta Carotene and Vitamin C and an excellent source of dietary fibre.
Alan decided to use Passion fruit to produce gourmet Passion fruit vinegar as it has so many complex flavours, sweet, sour notes with an intense fruitiness that allows you to play and incorporate it with both sweet and savoury dishes.
Try adding passion fruit vinegar to:
- Marinate chicken breasts with a little smokey paprika for a stunning fruity marinade before pan frying or cooking the meat on the BBQ
- Apples when making an apple crumble
- A little to whipped cream and serve with meringues
- Crushed ice with a splash of sparkling water for a refreshing drink (or why not a cocktail!)
- Drizzle over roast pork crackling at the last minute for an intense flavour and glossy crispy finish
- Add to an avocado, prawn and mango salad
- Hot smoked salmon or warm duck salad
- Watermelon as a light refreshing dressing.