My other half and I recently exchanged on the flat we are buying together, after about a year of looking and a couple of heartbreaks along the way. We celebrated, as is almost obligatory, by opening a bottle of champagne and toasting the future, and the possibilities ahead of us (sofa buying being a key point of excitement!).
Being sensible types, and not huge drinkers, we didn’t manage to get all the way through the whole bottle of champagne (it was a school night!), and then came the question of what to do with the rest. I realise at this point I’ve probably lost what little readers I have – to open a bottle and not consider drinking it all must seem like anathema to some of you, and shamelessly wasteful to the rest, but wait! Before you rush off grumbling, instead of tipping the rest down the sink, or bathing in it à la La Moss, I instead turned to the power of Google, and found a nifty little recipe for using the rest – Champagne and Strawberry Jelly. I used this BBC Good Food Recipe, but amended it for what I had available to me at the time.
This recipe was almost a disaster. I had never used gelatine before, and had only found the crystals in the shops, rather than the leaves, and instead of reading the instructions properly, I then just kind of had a go. At one point it didn’t look as if it was going to firm up at all, and there was a layer of goop on the top, so I gave it another whisk, put it back in the fridge, and then forgot about it completely.
Two hours later, just before going to bed, I suddenly remembered the impending disaster I had stored in the fridge, and went over with the intention of tipping it down the sink, weeping silently to myself about the waste of bubbles. But to my surprise, as I tipped the bowl, no liquid came, only a solid-ish goop of jelly-type stuff (it would be too kind to call it jelly at this point). So I mixed in the strawberries, put it in some glasses and hoped for the best. And although I may not win any awards for presentation, they actually taste delicious. The champagne flavour is subtle, and nicely sweetened, and strawberries are always a good addition to bubbles. The recipe is below, should you ever find yourself with spare champagne!
300ml (10 fl oz) hot water
Leftover Champagne/Sparking wine (~ 500 ml)
55g (2 oz) Caster sugar
2 sachets of gelatine crystals
A good couple of handfuls of chopped strawberries
1. Put the water and sugar into a small saucepan over a low to medium heat, stirring well to dissolve the sugar.
2. Once the sugar has dissolved, increase the heat and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, and allow simmer for five minutes, before removing the pan from the heat.
3. Quickly add the gelatine crystals to the pan and whisk furiously to make sure they have all dissolved.
4. Pour the Champagne into a large heatproof bowl and add the sugar syrup mixture, whisking to make sure it is well mixed.
5. Allow to cool thoroughly, then refrigerate the jelly for about one hour, or whenever you remember to check it.
6. As soon as it starts to thicken, stir in the strawberries, and divide the jelly between however many glasses you want, depending on how greedy you are. I filled four small wine tumblers.
7. Refrigerate for four to six hours, or until they have completely set.
Today’s quote is from Dom Pérignon