What to do if not "siesta-ing"

Before I start - yes I know its July, and yes, I know its so hot outside in the UK now we all fear we are melting. But humour me for a moment, don't click away.

I want to talk to you about Christmas.

Sssh!! yes I know its July and 30+ degrees out there. But it is also the height of cherry season, and I LOVE cherries at christmas. This heat doesn't even put me off, infact its perfect!

My Gran will always be what I think of when I think cook - she even had two pantries in her villa in Spain. One was full of cake mixes and drinks and all the gorgeous food we ate, I still dream of her lunches - sod dinner it was about lunch at grandmas! The other pantry was full of all her jams, chilli concoctions that would blow your head off, and brandy cherries. My job one holiday, while the adults took siesta, was to do the cherries. For my efforts, several jars got sent home with me.

Come Christmas the jars would come out and the cherries would make their way into cakes and puddings, and the brandy into Mum's glass. They are so much nicer than Glacé cherries and as for the cherry brandy... well.

They are gloriously simple to put together as well. Just wash your cherries and remove the stalks. Pack into jars, but not too firmly - you want space for brandy - and then add sugar to taste. I use a far bit as I like to use them in the place of those artifically red monstrosities, but it really is personal choice between how much to add but you need some, somewhere between a 3rd and half way up the jar is good. Then pour in the brandy until it fills the jar to the lip.

No, wait, first do what I didn't and before you start make sure the jar lid is actually watertight!! Or, like me, you will need to change jars.

Put on the lid, shake up the jar so the sugar starts to dissolve in the brandy, and put in a warm spot in the sunlight until there is no sugar left, giving it a shake every now and again. Once there is no more visable sugar, put in the back of the cupboard and forget about it until Christmas, or next Christmas if you've done a few jars and can wait that long.  Back when I was little, these were done and in the pantry in about as long as it did for the sun to mellow and for it to be beach time. A perfect way to spend your siesta.



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