Monday Market Meals - Drunken Cherries

Monday, August 8, 2016

The ingredients for the recipe: Dutch jonge jenever, sugar and cherries (enamel bowl used to be my grandmother's).

Today's guest blogger is Naomi Koojimans from The Netherlands, whose Instagram feed portrays "a visual diary of life in general and food in particular."  An instagrammer for the past three years, Naomi says this "highly-addictive app" has connected her with  a world of kindred spirits from different countries and time zones and rekindled an appreciation for her heritage.  Her insightful thoughts on settling down to build a new life in her own community rather than looking longingly at the green(er) grass on the other side of the fence packs a powerful punch of wisdom. Read her words below.

Cherry season is finally upon us!

With time seemingly going by faster and faster each year, I always worry about food related seasonal oblivion. Plums, rhubarb and strawberries … the fear that I might miss them is always lurking.
Much to my relief our local cherry stall actually just opened. I live in an area where fruit orchards traditionally are aplenty: apples, pears, red currants, the aforementioned plums and strawberries. They grow in abundance here in the clay ground of my area.

This particular stall not only offers delicious cherries, but sweet memories too. There was a time when my husband and I had serious plans to move our life and three kids to Sweden. We longed for new adventures and especially country life. I got myself a book ‘Education on Emigration’ and in the preface the reader was asked the question, “What’s the real reason you want to move to the country?” I never got past that sentence, it hit me right in the face.

At that moment, we had had quite a few rough years behind us: we almost lost a child, there were some severe work-related problems and we barely managed to survive it all. I realized that we didn’t want a new life in Sweden, but just a new life! And would things really be better in a foreign country, albeit a wildly beautiful one, but without any knowledge of the language and especially without the support of our near and dear?

We were in this particular cherry orchard and while the children were devouring bucket loads of cherries, covered in juice, looking like extras in a cheap horror movie, we decided there and then: we already have a good life, let’s stay! As a family we were definitely on the mend, the future was looking bright, so why cut all ties and throw ourselves into the unknown? Adventure can be a good thing, but not when we were risking to create even bigger problems than we had before. And the good country life appeared to be a mere ten-minute bike ride away!

Let’s drink to that! To family and friends who are living a stone's (no pun intended) throw away, this Christmas, when we have homemade Cherry Brandy.  Or even better … Drunken Cherries!

- Naomi Koojimans

"Eating cherries in the garden." 

The loot!

The jar with sugar coated cherries waiting to be submerged in the spirit: to me it looks very festive already, like snow dusted mountains!

 The end result: although for the real end result we'll have to wait a few months.

Cherry Brandy

(This recipe is by Miss Foodwise  the real queen of puddings, who I admire greatly)

  • ·     500 gram cherries: originally it should be made with sour cherries, but you can use sweet ones too. In that case lower the amount of sugar a bit.
  • ·     0.5 litre vodka or eau de vie. To stay in tune with the ‘local’ theme I used ‘Jonge Jenever’,  a traditional Dutch spirit from which gin evolved.
  • ·    150 grams sugar


Things really couldn’t be easier:

Rinse the cherries and check for bruises or damage. Best to keep those out.

Trim the stems of the cherries until there is about 1 cm left. This will keep the cherries intact. Put a layer of cherries in the sterilized jar, add some of the sugar and go on with layering till everything is in the jar.

Pour the alcohol of your choice over it, close the jar and give it a good shake.

Put it in a cool and dark place, but do not forget about it: for a week you have to give the jar a daily shake.

Then do forget about it till it’s Christmas. And even if you forget about it for several Christmasses, it should still be good. It might be a bit stronger, but good.

Serve in a dainty glass and enjoy in good company. 

Photos by Naomi Kooijmans, used with permission.  Find Naomi on Instagram @ Jools Mayer.

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