Here's an easy idea for any time this week - possibly the busiest on the social calendar. Jelly. Yes, jelly. Previously the domain of housewives of the 50's and possibly children today (frankly, I wouldn't know what kids these days eat), jelly can take on a whole new meaning if you add a few grown up ingredients. Like alcohol.
I must sound as if I do a lot of drinking, but actually I don't. In
cooking though, alcohol can give a dish a whole other dimension and lift the flavours up . Let's face it, if you're cooking anything hot, you're really going after the taste because the alcohol evaporates off pretty quickly, so even teetotallers need not fear. Especially if you're using average proof stuff.
This dessert is an alternative to all the fruitcakes, puddings, gingerbread and chocolate doing the rounds at the moment. I love a lot of that stuff too, but if you need a little rest from the richness that can be Christmas sweets, this one could be for you. It's not that sweet, and if you prefer a bit sweeter, you can just add some sugar to taste and stir in the hot liquid until it's dissolved. Easy.
Grown up cranberry jellies
500ml cranberry juice
200ml sweet white wine
200ml boiling water
8 tsp gelatine
1 cup frozen fresh cranberries
1 cinnamon stick
Put the cranberry juice and water into a pan with the cinnamon stick and bring to the boil. You can do this in the microwave if you prefer. If you like it sweeter, now's the time to stir in some sugar. Don't overdo it though because part of the nice thing about this is that it's slightly tart and fresh.
Stir in the gelatine until fully dissolved. Let it sit until it's cool - no need to put it in the fridge unless you're in a rush. When cool, pour in the wine and stir.
Take six jelly cups (you can get a pack of six for around $4 at the supermarket) and place them on a tray or plate. Discard the cinnamon stick. Arrange some frozen cranberries in the bottom. Pour on a little jelly and stick them in the fridge until set. They should set pretty quickly because you're only just covering the berries and they're so cold already. When set, gently pour in more jelly mix until all the moulds are filled equally. Put them in the fridge to set.
When set, gently turn the mould upside down onto the plate you want to serve it on. Wet a clean cloth with hot water and wrap this around the mould. Leave it for a minute or so. You should then be able to pull the little lid off the bottom and the jelly should slide out pretty easily. If it doesn't try the hot cloth again. Be patient though - it will work!
You can work with any flavours you like too - try adding orange peel to the hot mix or a nice, sweet liqueur, or soak the berries in liqueur for a while beforehand. It's all good.