Perfect Cranberry Sauce

Three small additions take your homemade cranberry from good to great.

So everybody knows you don’t buy cranberry sauce. It’s the very easiest thing to make ever.

You buy a package of cranberries, and as per instructions on the back, you boil them with sugar, water and the zest of an orange. Fait accompli.

That does very nicely. But these three small tweaks take your cranberry sauce from good to great in short order.

You replace the water and brown sugar with maple syrup. Add a strong pinch of salt. Add a tiny pinch of cloves. It’s perfect.

The maple syrup adds complexity. The salt adds depth. The musty, heavy flavour of cloves battles the tart tinniness of the cranberries. The ultimate Thanksgiving cranberry sauce. For a Christmas turkey, add an extra pinch of cloves. Tastes like Christmas in a jar.

This is not only a great sauce, it’s a great gift. My family prefers gravy, so I end up putting the cranberry sauce in plain yoghurt for a week. This is a happy occurrence. But I make it for company, and they always describe it in superlative terms.

Perfect Cranberry Sauce

Maple syrup, salt and cloves add a little backbone to this tradiitonal sauce.
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Course: Garnish
Cuisine: American, Canadian
Keyword: #bestevercranberrysauce, #cranberries, #cranberry, #cranberrysauce, #maplesyrupeverything, #newcranberrysauce, #thanksgiving, #turkeydinner

Ingredients

  • 1 package fresh cranberries (8 oz, 227 g)
  • ½ cup maple syrup
  • tsp kosher or sea salt
  • zest and juice of one orange
  • 1 pinch cloves

Instructions

  • Put all ingredients in a pot, and bring to boil over high heat. Put a lid on and cook over medium heat. When you no longer hear the cranberries popping, about 5 minutes, turn off the heat.
  • Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.

Notes

Cranberry sauce is lovely stirred into plain yoghurt or on top of plain cheesecake. 
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Elderflower Sangria

WITH CAPE GOOSEBERRIES, GOLDEN KIWI & GREEN GRAPES

A good sangria is a special summer delight. Too often, however, they are overly sugary concoctions, the kind that makes you sick rather than delightfully sated. The use of sharp, tangy wine, heavily sweetened juice or pop, and indiscriminate marriages of post-ripe fruits sounds more like a cheap cocktail than a divine elixir.

I’m a big fan of using what you have to make wonderful surprises when you’re cooking. But a sangria is not a stew. Let us build and layer flavours that complement and contrast each other until you’ve got a fruit blend worth macerating in advance of company arriving. 

Instead of mixing wine with juice, hard liquor, simple syrup, ginger ale or soda, I went for two simple liquid ingredients: elderflower liquor and sweet sparkling wine. Almost more like an elderflower cocktail than a sangria. Infusing the fruit in advance, however, means that it takes on enough essence and booziness to transform it into the kind of chunky, alcohol-laden bits one expects to find at the bottom of a glass of sangria. 

Layer your fruit a day ahead to soak up the liquor.

Cape Gooseberries have a unique flavour and a hearty texture that make them worthy of fishing out of your glass (with a spoon!) when the drink is drunk. They are only slightly smaller than the grapes. I tried cutting them, but they released too many seeds for my liking. I settled for giving them a pinch or a squish with the back of a spoon before dropping them into the pitcher.

Yellow kiwis are a favourite of mine too, because the flavour is light without being citrusy or floral – it has its own unique taste, with that lovely firm texture. It lacks that sharp acidic bite that is sometimes overwhelming in green kiwi. Perfect for soaking up a little extra flavour from the elderflower liquor. 

Fruit is the hero in this gentle concoction.

Eldflower liquor is sometimes looked down on as “the bartender’s ketchup” or “the poor man’s vanilla”, but such snobbery is irrelevant for a crowd-pleasing punch. I especially love that it gently enhances and underscores the fruit, which is still the hero of the day. Or night. 

Light & breezy summer sangria.

Enjoy the easiest ever white sangria! 

Elderflower Sangria with Cape Gooseberries, Golden Kiwi & Green Grapes

A super-simple, make-ahead recipe for white sangria with only three ingredients: fruit, sparkling wine, and elderflower liqueur. Featuring Cape gooseberries & golden kiwi.
Prep Time: 1 day
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: American, Canadian
Keyword: #capegooseberries, #goldenkiwi, #sangria, #sparklingrosé, #sparklingwine, #summersangria, #summervibes, #whitesangria, Summertime
Servings: 6 people

Equipment

  • Pitcher
  • Mason jar
  • Potato masher

Ingredients

  • ½  cup Cape Gooseberries, husked and rinsed (100g)
  • ½  cup green grapes, de-stemmed and rinsed (100 grams)
  • 1 bottle elderflower liqueur (200 mL)
  • 1 bottle sparkling white or rosé wine

Instructions

  • Place the grapes and Cape Gooseberries in a bowl and mash them with a potato masher. You want them slightly crushed, not a bowl of fruity mush. If there are any outliers, feel free to pop them with your fingers, like you would bubble wrap.
  • Add peeled and chopped golden kiwis, cuttign them about the same size as the grapes and gooseberries.
  • Pour the fruit and their juices into a mason jar or other container. 
  • Cover with elderflower liquor and shake well. Place in the fridge for 4 to 24 hours. 
  • Pour in a jug. Add sparkling wine or prosecco, taking care not to stir too hard. iPour into ice-filled glasses and top with a Cape Goosberry with the husk pulled up but not detached.
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