Fir Mousse and Sea Buckthorn Cocktail

Sea buckthorn, fir needles, vodka, sugar and gelatin

We aren’t completing these recipes in any particular order, so we have finally gotten around to making the very first recipe of the book! This recipe was a challenge for us as we had no idea where to find sea buckthorn berries. Since a number of ingredients in the book are foraged, we put off doing this recipe until we could find a reliable source (or at least until we knew where to forage!). We were lucky to learn that some friends of ours knew where to find a sea buckthorn shrub, and were kind enough to able to nab us a branch of the berries before the birds and the cold got to them.

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With the most difficult ingredient of the recipe sourced, we took the dog out for a long walk to forage for fir needles. It’s nearly impossible to estimate how many needles is equivalent to any particular weight, so we brought quite a lot home.

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We measured out a comparatively small amount of fir needles than we had on hand and added sugar and water.

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The mixture was brought to a boil in a pot and then steeped for 15 minutes to incorporate as much of the flavour as possible. While the needles were steeping, we bloomed gelatin in cold water.

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Next, we strained the needles from the liquid and combined the conifer tea with the bloomed gelatin.

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After the mixture cooled to room temperature, we poured it into a siphon, charged it with N2O and put it in the fridge overnight.

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Next, we prepared the base of the cocktail–a sea buckthorn syrup which was prepared by boiling the berries in a simple syrup until they started to pop. We crushed the berries in the pot to release all of their flavours, a step which was not mentioned in the procedure for this recipe. The resulting syrup tasted super-sea buckthorny, so we were happy with that!

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Finally, the sea buckthorn syrup was strained using a coffee filter and cooled in the fridge. The following day, we prepared the flavourful cocktail by combining the syrup with vodka and siphoning the fir mousse on top of the beverage.

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We finished the cocktail with a singular sea buckthorn berry (which surprisingly didn’t sink in the foam) and some of our many leftover fir needles.

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The resulting cocktail tasted very strongly of the berry, which we loved! If you’ve never tried these berries before (like us prior to trying this recipe) they have a tangy, citrus-like flavour. The fir mousse was a big surprise for us because it complimented the flavour of the berries really well! This is a flavour combination we’ve noticed is used quite a bit in this book (we paired citrus with fir needles in the Chicken Casserole and Jar of Pigeon recipes) and so far it has yet to disappoint! We can’t wait to see what else this book has in store for us!

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Strawberry Hull Martinis

Strawberry hulls, water, vodka, lemon juice

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One thing that’s impressive about Toque! is how they aim to waste as little as possible. This cocktail actually consists of two recipes from the book. Strawberry Stem Water is a component featured as it’s own recipe later in the book, so we’ve combined the two here. This recipe is the first in a set of strawberry recipes–in the book, each recipe uses the waste product from a previous recipe, so there was practically no waste at all!

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We started with the Strawberry Stem Water. This was a fairly simple process that involved slicing the tops off of the strawberries and setting the strawberries aside for use in another recipe.

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Next, we sprinkled the the strawberry hulls with sugar and covered them with water.

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The resulting mixture was placed in the fridge to rest for 24 hours. Upon removal from the fridge, the strawberries had very nicely infused the water and the hulls looked a little tired.

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We then passed the mixture through a conical strainer and threw away the hulls (okay, maybe there is a little bit of waste, but it served a purpose prior to being disposed of!).

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Next we started on the Strawberry Hull Martinis as they required the strawberry water component we just made. We sliced some lemon rind to garnish the beverage and squeezed some lemon juice.

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Finally, we added the strawberry water, lemon juice, vodka (no, we didn’t make that!) and some ice to a shaker.

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After 30 seconds of vigorous exercise, the cocktail was complete! It’s pretty incredible how strongly the flavour of strawberry came through! It was a cool and delicious treat, not to mention an amazing way to use kitchen trimmings!

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Stay tuned for more strawberry recipes!