Wednesday, 30 October 2019

Roasted Red Pepper and Chili Sauce

I am writing this up after making a small batch, as it has proved to be excellent, and I will certainly want to make this again!




I bought some of those small sweet red peppers from the market, and also had a couple of long sweet pointed red peppers in the fridge:

450g Red Peppers
1 tbsp olive oil
110g cooking apple, peeled and chopped.
110g red onion, peeled and chopped
6 home grown red hot chillis...or to taste, deseeded and chopped small
1 Large twig thyme + 1 large stem of parsley + 1 bayleaf + 10cm fresh tender rosemary + 1/2 tsp fresh green coriander seeds + 1/2 tsp whole black pepper corns + 3 allspice whole berries
300ml water

175cl cider vinegar
50g soft brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cornflour


Roast the sweet peppers, drizzled with a little olive olive oil,  in a hot oven till the skin starts to char slightly, and the peppers are soft.  Remove from the oven, and cover with a baking tray to trap the steam.  As soon as they can the handled, remove the stalks, and seeds, and remove the stalks from thyme and rosemary.

Put all the above ingredients down to the water in a pan with a lid, and cook for 15 to 20 minutes on the top of the stove, till soft.  Remove the bay leaf, and the parsley stalk, and blitz till smooth.  It could be strained at this stage, but I like a little texture.

Add 150 cider vinegar and the soft brown sugar and salt, and cook for a further 25 to 30 minutes, stirring from time to time, with the lid off.  When it is reasonably thick...stir in the cornflour cut with the remainder of the vinegar, cook for a further 10 minutes stirring all the time.  Pot in small pots which have been sterilized.  Store in the fridge for use within three weeks or so, or freeze.  I am sure you could also store in a dark cupboard.



Friday, 23 August 2019

Runner Bean Chutney

Its that time of year again when I have just a few runner beans to spare.  I have one wigwam, with about seven plants.  The variety is Moonlight and has white flowers, and nicest of all is self fertile.  Several neighbours and friends have had a handful or so...


Last week I had a good kilo so decided to make runner bean chutney.  I scoured my preserves books, but could not find one I liked....and on the internet came across Nigel Slater's Runner Bean Chutney.

I altered the recipe but generally kept to his technique, omitting the tomatoes and using only cider vinegar.  Although I make quite a few 'mustard' based pickles, the addition of the allspice berries gives a wonderful aroma and flavour. 



This gave 5 350g jars plus a smaller 250g one.

2 medium onions
150ml cider vinegar
8 allspice berries
1tsp coriander seeds...I used fresh green seeds from the garden
1 Kg prepared runner beans
1tbsp English Mustard Powder..Coleman's of course
2tsp grain mustard
2tsp tumeric
150ml cider vinegar
200g granulated sugar
1 heaped tsp sea salt
30g cornflour

For method check out the link to Nigel Slater's recipe.  The jars are maturing in the dark.....

The colour is fantastic....to lighten up gloomy winter days....

Sunday, 10 February 2019

Mango Lime and Cardamom Jam

I was looking for apricots from South Africa to make up some jam, as I had missed the Northern Hemisphere season last Summer.  For whatever reason these have been very scarce or maybe it is not quite yet the season.  The few I have seen have been in covered plastic tubs, and I am really trying to buy as much fruit and vegetables loose.  On the other side of the isle in the supermarket, beautiful mangoes were on special offer.....I usually make chutney with mangoes, but bought with only imagination to inspire since, since I this was going to be the first taste of  any mango jam in my life.

I still have a few limes in the freezer and wanted to try some cardamom to give a added layer of flavour.  Again I have followed Christine Ferber's technique which gives a jelly like preserve through which the small chunks of mango are suspended.

I prepared by nearly ripe mangoes to get 1Kg prepared flesh.  For this I used four large mangoes, but the odd taster as I went along.  They were delicious to start with, and quite ready to eat raw.


Having first washed the outside of the mango well in plenty of cold water, ith a very sharp paring knife I first peel of the skin.  Then remove each cheek, and finally the sides etc, and start to chop up the flesh carefully, as I don't want squashed flesh.  The pieces do shrink a lot while they are steeping overnight.



When I got to 1Kg prepared fruit I stopped...


All of this goes into the preserving pan, with the juice of two small limes, three crushed green whole cardamom pods and 800g granulated cane sugar.  I use Tate and Lyle as I know this to be cane and not beet sugar.  In just a few minutes standing the juices are drawn out of the mango, so there is no water at all in this recipe.



As soon as it starts to simmer,  it is drawn off the heat source, and then the whole lot is left overnight...this is when a lot more liquid is extracted from the mango.  As it was cool in the kitchen overnight the pan just stayed on the stove, but in summer, the mixture should be put into a glass bowl and put in the fridge.

The smell of mango in this mixture reminds a little of the smell of gorse in full sun with hints of pineapple and coconut.  Does anyone else get this smell from mango?

In the morning, whilst my washed jam jars and lids are slowly being heated up to 80C in the oven, I start to boil up the jam.  As it comes to the boil I add from my large pot of apple stock jelly 200g, and add this to the mixture.  I stayed by pan, and stirred occasionally through the rolling boil just to ensure that nothing caught at the base of the pan.

This time there was no scum to remove, and after 10 minutes rapid boiling, I had the 105 C.  Off with the heat, and a little standing around for 20 minutes or so, so that the fruit is nicely suspended into the jelly, and it was time to pot up the mango jam.  I like to see the cardamom seeds suspended in the jam but remove the husks before potting up.  I always use a soup ladle and a jam jar funnel to make the task as easy as possible.


Now to design my labels!!

Thursday, 24 January 2019

Friday, 18 January 2019

Pineapple and Passion Fruit Jam

Back in the Summer I made Pineapple and Passion Fruit Jam using Christine Ferber's techniqueUsing this technique the pieces retain a good shape and are on the firm side, which is excellent for topping yogurt, or putting on as a garnish for a cheesecake or other desert.

This time I wanted to make a jam more in the traditional British format for putting on brioche etc.  Also I wanted to get on and make the jam just at one hit.  I had bought a pineapple a few days ago, and we just did not feel like eating it fresh.  Maybe it is the cold wintry weather.  As I had some passionfruit 'lurking' in the fridge, marrying them seem the obvious way of preserving the fruit for a later date.

1 Medium pineapple, 550g after preparation
125g water
Zest of 1 lemon

Juice of 1 lemon
3 passion fruit just the pulp, juice and seeds
400g sugar

The prepared fruit was weighed, the lemon zested, then juiced



The fruit was then chopped into smaller chunks, then put in a pan with 125g water, and the lemon zest and simmered till soft, and almost all the liquid evaporated. This took about 30 minutes.

With my wand blender I further chopped the pineapple with just three small bursts...I did not want a puree....To this I added all the other ingredients, and boiled till 105 C and the fridge test showed a skin.  Three medium jars of jam.......


The taste is fresher and less sweet...but I will work on on recipe for the other technique next time there is a 'surplus' pineapple.


Sunday, 13 January 2019

Seville Marmalade Nouveau

With new Seville oranges, freshly arrived, and juicy lemons, I've made my complete batch of Seville Marmalade for the year.  I've decided not to 'store' oranges in the freezer to make marmalade later in the year, or buy the fruit later in the month.





This year I have refined and streamlined previous recipes and techniques.

Ratios: 1Kg Seville Oranges, the freshest and heaviest, 1 litre water, 3 lemons, 2Kg Sugar

This amount of water is for chopped and prepared fruit which is first cooked in a pressure cooker for 14 minutes, and allowed to cool down slowly at room temperate.

Wash all the fruit well in warm water, drain.

Cut the oranges in half.
Squeeze all the juice over a strainer in a wide open jug or bowl
Remove all the membrane and pips, and put this on a large square of muslin
Cut the Orange skin and pith finely into the size bits you want in the marmalade.

Cut the lemons in half, and squeeze the juice over the strainer, to add to the orange juice.
For one batch this year I chopped up the lemon peel to add to the orange.

Bring up the edges of the muslin in which all the bits and pips are, and tie very securely with kitchen string.


Put all the chopped bits of peel in a large container, add the water, and add muslin bag.  I used a three litre deep rectangular plastic box with lid.  I then put the jug with juice on top of everything within the box, which means the bag of bits gets pushed under, put the lid on, and left it all to seep for 24 hrs.  This softens the peel and allows a lot of pectin from the peel and pips to leach out into the water.

Once the soaking has taken place, put all the contents except for the jug of juice, into the pressure cooker, bring quickly to pressure and cook for 14 minutes.  When it is down to room pressure, you may start the remainder of the process, or you could leave this for another few hours.  Take the unopened muslin bag with its contents, and in a big sieve balanced over a bowl, twist the top, and press with a large spoon, to extract as much as the juice as possible.  The other alternative is to open the bag, put the contents in a sieve, and using a spoon, try to pass a fair quantity of gooey pulp into a bowl, which is then added to the preserving pan.

I like to add the juice only after the oranges are cooked at the final stage when using the large preserving pan to boil up the fruit and sugar, as thisgives  a fresher flavour to the marmalade.

Weigh the sugar in a large preserving pan.  The pressure cooker is likely to be too small to allow for the rise in the boiling marmalade.  Add the fresh juice together with the contents of the pressure cooker.  Continue to make your marmalade in the usual way.

This batch was made with just lemon juice and no peel, 900g Sevilles


The chopped lemon peel gives a marmalade with two different coloured peels.  The pith on the lemon remains a little more opaque, obvious in the picture below.

The lemon peel from the other batch was used to make crystallized lemon peel to add to one of our favourite breakfast buns: lemon and ginger buns, which I have made at least five times!





Friday, 4 January 2019

Pumpkin with Vanilla preserve

Mrs Mace is a Stasher......to the extent that I like to have a good store cupboard, with varieties of ingredients, and am prepared to try new foods, cooking techniques etc...

This year with the wonderful weather, and starting to appreciate the best sources for fruit and vegetables locally, acquired three wonderful pumpkins.  As well as the Marina di Chioggia Pumpkin, I had two smaller Crown Princes.




Early December, I decided to use up the last of the pumpkin, as it had just started to show signs of aging, which was a small soft spot the size of the thumb print.  It was baking time, with breads and cakes using up the pumpkins, as well as making my pumpkin panettone ready for Christmas Breakfast.

Since there was so much pumpkin, some was made up into a conserve from Mes Confitures by Christine Ferber, page 263: Pumpkin with Vanilla.

The hardest part was cutting up the firm flesh into julienne strips by hand....

Here are the julienne match sticks of pumpkin are having been infused with the sugar and vanilla, orange and lemon juice overnight.


I made half the quantity of the recipe, and although the taste is good, I would stick at this amount simply because cutting up the julienne strips took so long.  Maybe a coarsely grated version would be worth trying next time.  I also make the mistake of boiling it a little too long.  Maybe there was not as much water in the pumpkin as usual.

However I did use some of the preserve to top some yeasted pumpkin buns, and this worked very well.  I may yet blend a pot with some of the apple jelly to make a more 'fluid' preserve.  I think this one is good to incorporate or add as a topping to desserts and gateau.  It would be also very good mixed with pistachio nuts, in a similar way to the Apricot and Pistachio Conserve.

Several weeks later, the preserve has matured and even more of the vanilla taste has permeated the pumpkin.  As I open each of the remaining jar, I have reheated and mixed in some of the apple jelly.  A really delicious topper for my nightly sheep milk yogurt.