Ask Peter: Cooking with Midori & Baileys
I am 60 years young and my brother gave me a bottle of Midori and one of Baileys for my birthday. I don’t drink alcohol much and these two bottles are home-made and 67 per cent proof. It will blow me into the next season. I am wondering could I use these in cooking rather than putting it down the drain.
Hopefully your brother isn’t reading this column then after all his hard work. Mind you, at 67 per cent alcohol, the Midori (which simply means “green’’ in Japanese) is around three times stronger than the commercial liqueur, so you’ll need to make sure it’s diluted whichever way you use it. To be honest, it’s not a drink I like; the melon flavour just doesn’t do it for me, unless it’s disguised with a whole raft of other flavours in a wild cocktail where it simply adds layers to the background flavours.
If you feel the same then it limits what you might be able to do with it. For example, you could mix it with apple juice and coconut milk, set it with gelatine, and make a tasty jelly. Or you could mix some into a vanilla panna cotta base and serve it with diced, saffron poached pears and a shortbread biscuit. But you’ll need to like the flavour for both of these to work. If alcohol isn’t going to offend your guests, then you can drizzle a good glug of it over a salad of diced melon and mango and serve it for dessert with whipped cream that you’ve mixed a slosh of the Baileys into.
Baileys is more up my alley flavour- wise, but again the batch you have is hugely alcoholic — the commercial liqueur is only around 17 per cent. I’ve poured the commercial brand over steamed puddings just before serving them, and pouring it over a sticky toffee pudding is a stroke of genius. I’ve mixed it into custard, whipped it with cream and served these with a wedge of cake, stewed fruits or hot puddings. Stirred into a rice pudding just before it has finished cooking is terrific and tasty. At Christmas it can be used in a similar way to brandy butter, mixed into mascarpone along with some chopped toasted pecan nuts.
Both can be used in a trifle too. If using the Midori, drizzle it over the cake before carrying on as usual, adding some diced melon to the fruit mixture. For the Baileys, I’d drizzle some over the cake, and mix some into the custard, and if you were feeling like that wasn’t enough, whip some into the cream as well. But do bear in mind that if children are eating the trifle, they could feel slightly wobbly after a second portion, so perhaps avoid that.
As to whether you could use them in savoury dishes, you could use the Midori to cure a side of salmon. Remove the bones but keep the skin on. Mix ¾ cup of Midori, ¾ cup coarse salt and ¼ cup brown sugar to make a thick paste. Rub over the salmon and place in a non- reactive dish just larger than the piece of fish, skin facing up, and cover with cling film then place in the fridge.
Turn the fish every 6 hours for 2-3 days until the flesh feels a lot more firm. Take from the marinade and discard it, pat the fish dry and then slice it as needed about 3mm thick. By keeping the skin attached it makes it easier to slice and preserves the fish longer.
Serve the sliced salmon on crostini with a dollop of sour cream, or lay slices over a salad of rocket, capers and avocado and drizzle with olive oil and lemon juice. A savoury way to use the Baileys? To be honest I’m not too sure what could possibly work apart from adding to a roast chicken or beef gravy — which could be really delicious. Let me know how it goes!
In our Ask Peter series, executive chef Peter Gordon answers your curly culinary questions. If you're stumped over something food-related, send your question to [email protected] and keep checking in for answers. You can read more on Peter on his website, have a read of his Ask Peter articles or check out his recipes on our site.