Lee and the Sweet Life Blog:

I have a distant memory of going “clubbing” with my friends. Is it still called that?
My clubbing nights consisted of short skirts, low tops, no coats in mid December, sparkly blue eye shadow and cheap alcohol that felt like it was taking the skin off my oesophagus as it meandered its way down to my stomach and through my bloodstream.
Of course this was way before Lee & The Sweet Life.

Thank goodness that tastes in alcohol have changed so that hand crafted distilleries like Yorkshire Dales Distillery, are able to make amazing drinks like their Smokey Ram Vodka.
If only I’d had access to this when I was younger.
Maybe having too much access to great sipping vodka wouldn’t have been a good thing?! Hic!

As soon as I tasted Smokey Ram Vodka with its subtle Smokey flavour and hints of black peppercorn on the back of my palate, I knew exactly what I wanted to make with it.
It’s perfect for New Year gravlax that will wow your guests.
Not just any gravlax, but my once a year recipe (special occasion only).
Gravlax with beetroot, pink peppercorn and Smokey Ram Vodka to be exact.

Sometimes, its great to cook things that can be eaten almost straight away. Lets face it; a good chocolate brownie is best still warm and gooey from the oven.
Not gravlax.

Gravlax takes time to work, to absorb the flavours of the cure that’s its been sitting under, and it’s the cure of Smokey Ram Vodka, pink peppercorn and beetroot that gives this gravlax it’s amazing colour and zingy flavour that’s best eaten anytime morning or evening.

Not joking, breakfast with scrambled eggs, salad time with a few roasted garlic croutons.
Try it in the evening with some smooth buttery potatoes and maybe alongside my warm red pepper and almond sprouts you can find at www.leeandthesweetlife.com

What if you have a little of the Smokey Ram Vodka left after you’ve made your gravlax?
All I can say is that with something that tastes this good, never let it go to waste.

Enjoy Your Sweet Life

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Smokey Ram Vodka
, Beetroot & Pink Peppercorn Gravlax

What You Need
• Salmon – 1 Filleted side approx. Approximately 2Lb, skin left on and pin bones removed – See Tip Box
• Fresh Beetroot – 330gm – See Tip Box
• Sea Salt – 6 tablespoons
• Zest of 2 oranges
• Zest of 1 lime
• 50 gms Pink peppercorns
Smokey Ram Vodka – Plus extra for washing (no joke) – See Tip Box
• 50 gms castor Sugar

• Foil
• Two heavy weights – See Tip Box
• Tray large enough for salmon and to go into the fridge

How It’s Done
• In a food processor, wiz together all the ingredients except the salmon until you have a course paste – See Tip Box
• Lay a double layer of foil in to your chosen tray. Make sure you have a good size overhang of foil so that it can be wrapped around the salmon. Place the side of salmon, skin side down, onto the foil.
• Spread the paste onto the flesh of the salmon. Smooth it all over until you’ve a nice even layer.
• Wrap the foil around the salmon so that it is airtight.
• Place the heavy weights onto the foil and put the whole thing into the fridge.
• Leave in the fridge for 24 hours.
• Turn the salmon over after the first 12 hours – See Tip Box
• After 24 hours, remove it from the fridge and open the foil. Scrape off as much of the beetroot mixture as possible.
• Here’s where the washing comes in – You don’t want to eat too much of the cure mixture, so once you’ve scraped as much off as you can, pour a little of the vodka onto kitchen paper and wipe as much of the mixture as you can. – See Tip Box
• Slice the salmon thinly at an angle cutting down towards the skin.

Tip Box
• Salmon – Get your fishmonger to take out all the pin bones when you order your salmon. If you do it yourself, use tweezers and double check to make sure you’ve got all the little bones out. Nothing worse than a fish bone in your mouth.
• Turning – When you turn the salmon, you will see that oil or beetroot juice have escaped from the foil. This is ok
• Beetroot – Use fresh beetroot. Stay away from jars of pickled beetroot. Either buy it raw and cook yourself or buy cooked whole beetroot.
• Heavy Weights – I use two or three tins of beans etc to weigh my salmon down. Feel free to use whatever you have
• Food Processor – When you’re whizzing the ingredients together, don’t over do it. A thick course paste is what your looking for
• Wiping the Salmon – This is just to get as much of the cure off as you can. A little bit of cure is nice to have left on, but remember, there is a lot of salt and pink peppercorn in the mixture..