Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Cranberry Sauce 2015

Its starting to feel a lot like Christmas....with the delicious smell of oranges and cooking cranberries.  In both 2013 and 2014, I made relishes with a twist, and in contrast this year I am making a different type of preserve with a couple of 200g baskets of cranberries.

I gathered from Penny that she preferred a more sweeter cranberry accompaniment, so I hope she likes this one.  I love to make sufficient to give away two or three jars to friends.  After all a present that does not hang around for months on end, can be shared and enjoyed by many, and if not liked...well there is the bin!

Not that I cannot think of various ways to adding it to other dishes to pep them up.  Since this one has neither salt, pepper nor vinegar, I can just imagine it as a sophisticated base layer with bread and butter pudding on top, or layered with more apple for a Christmassy Crumble for those that do not like mincemeat!


Zest and Juice from a plump Orange, preferably organic and waxless
1 Large Cooking Apple, chopped, or 250g eating apple grated
400g cranberries
200g sugar
1Tbsp soft rosemary chopped very small
1 Tbsp juniper berries bruised

The Melting Pot

Grate or zest the orange straight into the pan you will use, to catch all that flavorsome orange oil.
Dissolve the sugar and orange juice in the pan over a low heat together with the finely chopped rosemary, and crushed juniper berries.  The juniper berries add a wonderful flavour, and the preserve will continue to imbibe their flavour.  So if you don't like this, omit completely, or remove before potting up.

If using the cooking apple toss it in the juice, then decant the fruit and a little of the juice to another pan, and cook until soft and fluffy.  This takes only three or four minutes over a low to medium heat, if using , remove from the heat.

Meantime add the washed and sorted cranberries, and grated eating apple if using that, to the sugar and orange mixture, and cook over a gentle heat, until the cranberries are popping and becoming pulpy.  Stir from time to time over the heat, and to make sure that there is no sticking to the bottom of the pan.

Have some pretty containers to hand, having of course washed them well and sterilised them in the oven, and when filling, make sure to use a small spoon to dispel and air pockets which may have become trapped.  Once potted up, if covered immediately, the jars should store for a month or two.  If in a dish, cover with some clingfilm, and keep in the fridge.  Once opened I would recommend keeping in the fridge and using up within two or three weeks.

This accompaniment goes beautifully with hot and cold meats, whether it be game, fowl, ham, pork, or beef..and certainly with cheese and crackers.  I love it with cold meats in sandwiches....

Friday, 4 December 2015

New Pineapple Chutney Recipe in time for Christmas

When I raided the preserve cupboard for a few jars of chutney and jam for Janice, I realised that I was getting a little low, and wanted to make a light but brightly coloured chutney, which I hope will be ready in time for Christmas.

It will just be about mature enough to have along with cold meats, salads, stirred into stir fries.  Its over two years since I made a Pineapple Chutney, and as ever I reviewed my recipes and decided to devise something different.  I have really enjoyed Nigella seeds in a lime chutney I bought, and thought this would marry well with Pineapple.  This Chutney doesn't have any apple at all, but two lovely fresh pineapples, and some interesting spices.  I've tasted it 'unmatured' and it will really be just right.  I can see me folding a spoonful or two into some mayonnaise for something akin to spicy dressing to add to cold salmon, chicken or turkey.

You need to prepare the pineapples by removing all the skin and eyes

I like to cut the central woody core out as it rarely softens sufficiently


3 tablespoons cold pressed rapeseed oil or whatever oil you wish to use
3 - 4 medium white onions, peeled and chopped small
1 tbsp yellow mustard seeds
1tbsp nigella seeds
1tbsp turmeric powder
Fresh ginger about the size of your thumb, peeled, and very finely sliced
1 tsp salt
1 red chilli, deseeded, and finely chopped
2 pineapples peeled, and prepared, and cut into the size of pieces you want in the chutney
250g white sugar
200ml organic cider vinegar
2 desertspoons cornflour

Add the oil and onions to a large jamming pan or other pan, and cook over a medium heat, stirring for about 5 minutes, without browning.  I find adding the salt after a minute or so helps to draw out some of the moisture.

Add the mustard seeds, and turmeric powder, and chopped ginger and continue stirring, for another 4 minutes or so, then add the chopped pineapple and chilli.

Stir until the whole lot is hot, and the juices are running from the pineapple, add 175g of the vinegar, and cook for a further twenty minutes over a medium heat so that it bubbles gently during which time the pineapple softens more easily without the sugar.

Add the sugar, and continue cooking until the juices are  reduced.  It needs to be a little runnier than the chutney will be when it is ready to eat.  Stirring regularly with a wooden spoon is a must to ensure nothing is 'catching' at the bottom of the pan.

Mix the cornflour with the remaining vinegar, and add it to the pan, stir it in, and continue stirring until the whole is thickened and bubbling again.  I like to do this to achieve a piccalli consistency sauce.  If you have thickened it a little too much, add a little more vinegar, and cook for a few more minutes stirring.

Pot into clean and sterilised jar...I wash mine and have them in the oven for 10 minutes before filling.
Tap the chutney down into the jars to just below the top, to remove any little gaps or air pockets.

Friday, 4 September 2015

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Mulberry Jam

Janice arrived a few days ago with two little tubs of mulberries from her tree.  She exclaimed at my white broderie anglaise dress, but I assured her that I would be changing and wearing a pinny when I tackled the fruit.  We all know that mulberries give the most terrible of stains.

I popped them in the fridge promising myself to tackle them the following day.  Last year I had made some jelly with additional white currant juice.  This year I had turned down the offer of a few white currants from Penny in Warwick..of course I would not necessarily presume that I would be offered mulberries again.  At the market on Thursday the first of the cooking apples were on sale, so I bought a couple.  Mulberries give such a rich and strong flavour and are so precious that an addition of another fruit helps to make a few more jars, and gives a really good set.

I was about to freeze them that night, but remembered my revised thoughts on making jam straight away, so got on and cooked the fruit together with the whole apple chopped fine. 

Friday morning, I pushed the whole lot through a fine sieve, properly dressed with an apron.  This is therefore not a jelly...far too precious to loose out on the pulp, so I think this would be classed as a 'butter' as it is not as thick as a 'cheese', but I have not added any butter either.  Is it a jam with the pips strained out?  What I do know is that it is special and delicious, and the closed pots kept for a special pick me up in the middle of winter.  I got two medium jars and four small ones, and a little bit left over to have in yogurt.

As Penny visited on Monday, I gave her one small pot, and I think next year I will be saying yes to some white currants if there are any.  I found out that Mulberry Jam is a top favourite of Vicki in London, so one small pot will be going to her..Then there will be one medium jar for Janice and a small one for her daughter to take back to Uni.  So already all are spoken for with one medium and one small one to brighten up my winter.

Saturday, 18 July 2015

Chutney Time

Its maybe a little early in the year for traditional chutney making to start.  Usually it gets under way when there is a glut of things in gardens for people to use which would be starting September.  I no longer have an allotment, but we have a great market and also very good local greengrocery shop: Joe Richards.  It is when I see some fruit or vegetables at their peek of perfection that I feel it is time to preserve.

It is Chutney Making time chez Mrs Mace, for two reasons:  there is very little chutney left, and the jam jar cupboard is full.  The only chutney I had to give to my friend Diane when she came up from Stratford was a jar of Mango which had only been make within a week.

Friday was a massive Chutney making day.

I had prepared all the vegetables for the Piccallili Thursday night, and first thing saw me chopping some lovely small green and very fresh courgettes that I had picked up from Joe Richards.

Then it was all the onions, garlic etc.  Spices mixed and the lovely Biona Organic Cider Vinegar and time stirring it all together on the hob.

Now I need to prepare the labels, for the Courgette Chutney, and the Piccallili  and put these away in the preserve cupboard.  I may just enter a jar from each of these for the Autumn Shows, it will be just perfectly matured by then.

Friday, 10 July 2015

Easy Mango Chutney Recipe

Everything is put into a large stainless steel preserving pan, and cooked together.

2Kg Large Mangoes, just ripe, peeled, stoned and cut into small pieces
1 small dried chillie, cut finely, if you want it hot you can add more.
1 long pointed sweet pepper, cut into fine strips
2 onions chopped small
4 cloves garlic, minced
80g fresh root ginger chopped into fine pieces
2 tsp garam masala
1 tsp sea salt
400ml organic cider vinegar
320g white granulated sugar

The Mangoes were indeed magnificent, so many thanks to Neil and Team at the Fruit and Veggie Stall at Kenilworth Market.  So much firm, sweet flesh on these fragrant Mangoes would give a great preserve, however another few days, and they would have been too juicy for the chutney.

I started to grate the ginger, and could see that there were strong fibres, so decided to chop the rest finely, next time I would chop the whole lot.

The sweet pepper is to give the lovely contrast of red and mango, as I only wanted to put one of the small red chillies from the garden chopped fine.

Stir the whole over a gentle heat till the sugar dissolves,  bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer, until it is thickish.  It took about 45 minutes once the heat was reduced.  It needs stirring with a wooden spatula to avoid it sticking, fairly regularly.

Put into clean hot jars, label, and store for a few weeks before using...the little extra in a dish left over after filling the jars, will used straight away of course!

Monday, 18 May 2015

Apricot Jam

Last Thursday Kenilworth Market had the first of the season's apricots.  I had bought a small punnet the previous week, so I knew they were coming.  I love Apricot Jam.  It is subtle, but rich in flavour at the same time.  Its the colour of sunshine.  

With nearly three pounds,  with a few taken out for a packed lunch on Friday, I set to preparing the fruit.  There was just one kilo of prepared fruit.  I make sure I cut any little blemishes off the skin, and the area around the stalk where there is a little dark mark.  Then I take the stones, placed in a plastic bag, and give them a gentle tap on the patio with a hammer through the plastic, until I feel they are just cracked, any more and you can make a much of the soft kernels.  Then separated from their hard shell, I pour the boiling water over the kernels  which makes taking off the skin really easy.

With lemon juice and a kilo of sugar, I got just two larger jars and four smaller ones.  These won't last long, so there will be further Friday Apricot Jam making sessions.

Thursday, 16 April 2015

Blackcurrant and Apple Jam

I do have an assortment of sweet preserves in the cupboard, but we do have a 'picky' one in the house.  I've just found out that he does not really like jellies, or cheeses, but preserves with bits in them.  Therefore with the last of the blackcurrant jam finished, and since this preserve is to him, as marmalades are to me, I felt that I needed to use the remainder of the blackcurrants picked from the garden last summer.

As I rooted through the freezer, I came across a bottle of very carefully made crab apple juice also from last autumn, ready to make into a jelly, but bearing in mind my new found knowledge, thought about putting it together with the blackcurrants.  It was going to have to masquerade as Blackcurrant and Apple Jam.  Of course I had consulted various preserve books, and was most inspired by Basic Basics by Marguerite Patten. There is not one single picture in this book but the reasons why you do things are really well covered.  I keep going back to this book, which has grown to the top of my pile of preserving reference books.

Here is my recipe:

1.4Kg prepared blackcurrants, mine were the largest, ripest, juiciest ones which I have reserved for desserts!
800 ml water
850ml prepared crab apple juice
2 Kg sugar, a present from Diane

Following Mrs Patten's advice, I made sure the blackcurrants were gently poached until absolutely tender.  Then I added the juice, and sugar.  She gives a recipe using blackcurrants and chopped cooking apples.

Just to make sure it had the seal of approval, my dearly beloved had his first taste without the label on it...then I printed Blackcurrant and Apple Jam in bold for the labels, which is easily read first thing in the morning, when he does not wear his glasses, but in the small print I did say it was Crab Apple Jelly! The verdict:  "Really Lovely!"

Friday, 3 April 2015

Award Winning Marmalades

First Prize for the Lime Marmalade and second for the Pink Grapefruit Marmalade at the Kenilworth Horticultural Society Spring Show.

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Pink Grapefruit Marmalade

I've written up about this one on my other blog...but here is just a nice picture.  Its a lovely colour:  warm and inviting for breakfast....

Sunday, 22 February 2015

Green is the colour

Yes Green, one of my favourite colours, all types of green....

Picked up some lovely fresh bright green unwaxed limes from Waitrose.  I've not made any Seville Marmalade this year, but will just focus on others.  However in the cupboard I had only a part pack of Tate & Lyle left, so I rushed to the local small Tesco, but they only sell sugar beet sugar.  I've used that before but it just does not work.  A small store had some, so rather than traipse to a larger Tesco in Warwick or Leamington I bought a couple of bags.

I really love Lime Marmalade so soon there will a few pots in the cupboard.

Saturday, 17 January 2015

Not a 'season correct' preserve

Who would think of making strawberry jam in the middle of January.  The guys at Kenilworth market have been pleading with me to buy some seville oranges.  They do look great, but I have about 5 jars left in cupboard, and I would really like to be making some grapefruit and lemon soon, so I think for the first time in years, I shall pass on the Seville.

However they had some punnets of wonderful looking, no doubt hot house strawberries, and since we were out of that preserve, bought some.  I think they must have been destined for the catering market since they weighted 750g each.  Anyway the boy says it taste lovely.