I don’t think I felt a more at home then when in the liquid deli DemiJohn. I mean it’s got everything; from sumptuously fruity elderflower vinegar, to dangerously moorish Seville orange gin. Somewhere round about in the middle they round the whole thing off with so-smooth-it-could-be-fruit-juice olive oil and balsamic vinegar so flavoursome, sweet, intense that it costs £500/l, and trying a spoonful I can see why. Put it this way, you would not drizzle this over your bog standard toasted veg, this deserves, Parma ham, chunks of crumbling Parmesan, slow sun dried tomatoes (the posh kind) or perfectly ripe plump red strawberries. All this in a quirky shop in Oxford’s self styled independent hub on the border of town and the more edgy Jericho; Little Clarendon Street. You would be forgiven for assuming this is a one off, struggling business, but no. You can also buy their remarkable rhubarb vodka in a few shops all over the country, York, Glasgow and Edinburgh as well as Oxford. But we’re not talking some corporate chain here. Ex-army captain Angus Ferguson ostensibly runs the show from rural Scotland but in reality he is very much the life and soul of the party, at the heart of every shop, happy to serve customers, incite his employees and nth use about his products which he is clearly passionate about. In fact ut was his idea to throw the Little Clarendon street party which I attended and demijohn was certainly the centre of the party, if it wasn’t for the abysmal British weather I fully expect students and tourists alike (normally bitter enemies) might even have come together dancing in the streets to the sounds of various musical acts discovered by Angus for the event, from Acapella to hard rock (minus the cafe). As I walked off down the street at the end of the day merrily holding a cocktail invented after a recent challenge to the nearby duke of Cambridge cocktail bar my mind was running with ideas to use the raspberry vinegar in a kale salad dressing or the marmalady gin in a cocktail, or even the gooseberry vinegar in a cocktail! One thing is for sure, demijohn is an inspiring place, maybe it was the intoxicatingly depth of the fruity flavours or just the enthusiasm of Angus and his team, I shall certainly be returning to stock up for my kitchen/ cocktail cupboard and I urge you to pop in and do the same, you won’t regret it. It’s worth noting you can buy online too! http://www.demijohn.co.uk
If you go down to the woods today…
So as you may have realised from this blog I am generally not very good at spontaneity. Of course this is a benefit when it comes to cooking elaborate 5 course dinners…. but generally as a student I am learning to juggle everything with a tight schedule and a bit of spontaneity every now and then is a welcome stress release. Of course spontaneity can vary from taking a long cycle ride, heading to the museum or in my case soaking gummy bears in gin….
It was one of those weird afternoons following brunch when I wanted a snack because I can’t cope with only having two meals a day, so stopped off for a healthy cereal bar. Of course I met my friend who suggested tangfastics were a more juvenile approach and I should probably start acting like the kid I feel like inside rather than the mature soon to be graduate I actually am. Upon spotting the gummy bears I mused that I had always wanted to try gummy bears in vodka having read they grow to about 4 times in size, he suggested we actually try it. Of course I only had gin (being more a g and t girl than a vodka coke) so we used that instead. A few days later and all I can say is that half a packet of gummy bears engorged to the size of a key with gin, makes for rather good pre-drinking.
Same friend, different experiment. Following on from the successful gin gummy bears, we decided to try the much talked about skittle vodka. Deciding that skittles wouldn’t make our final vodka enough like sours, we used skittle sours. Trying not to eat too many we skilfully divided all the skittles into colours, this was the fun part, brought out the ocd in us, I think all Cambridge students have it a little. We then downed 5 bottles of fizzy water and filled up with vodka, I’ll keep you updated on the results
In another note, same friend and I headed to chophouse again (I am not normally this decadent) and had the exciting sharing plate. I have been wanting to try this for a while but this plate is rather difficult to share between four…much better between two.