Sunday, 9 April 2017

Seville 2017

During the first week in April...it may be as warm here in Wells as it is in Seville...I have to keep reminding myself that it is April and not May or June!

We have finished the last of the 2016 Vintage of Seville Marmalade, which was made from 2015 oranges...so it was time to make a new batch this weekend.  The Seville Oranges have been in the freezer for just a few weeks, and with some lovely fresh unwaxed lemons, I got 1 Kg fruit out to defrost on Friday.  Normally I would cook the fruit whole and cut after cooking, but this time, having felt the defrosted fruit, found that they were quite soft.  I chopped the peel finely, and added it to the 1 litre water in the pressure cooker, wrapped the segments and seeds in a muslin cloth and put that in the water too.  The whole lot was left to macerate till this morning.

I cooked up the fruit for 12 minutes in the New Pressure Cooker...12lbs pressure, they squeezed the bag of pulp and pips, and then added the sugar, and followed the usual boiling up, testing of temperature and also saucer test.  Can you see my new toy?  Well toy it is not...this is my new SuperFast Thermapen...what a boom, it takes just a few seconds to give an accurate read out.  It is MADE IN ENGLAND!  My old probe has lasted over twenty years...but you  had to hold it in the jam for ages as it took so long to get a reading!  It was my breadmaking friend Nigel who first showed this instrument to me via Facebook, for testing that bread was done...and I was hooked!

This year I have decided to make a preserve with less sugar...to 1 Kg fruit, I added the juice of two lemons, and 1.5Kg sugar, rather than 2Kg.

Most of the jars finished off as a classic Seville Marmalade...but I could not resist a little whiskey in two smaller jars!  Will Mr M who definitely does not like whiskey take to the Whiskey Marmalade?

Classic and Whiskey Seville Marmalade

Rhubarb, fig and orange jam

What could I make with just 400g rhubarb that would tickle my fancy?  I let the thought settle, and wondered what I could add....my friend Maggie agreed that figs do go well, and that she had a recipe, which I was welcome to.  I just could not wait.....

Out came 250g of my Dried Greek Figs from Persepolis, which I chopped small, and soaked overnight 


Exceedingly good figs

in the juice of two organic oranges.  I had to go into Wells for more sugar, and I saw some very good organic juicing oranges in Tesco.  I removed the outer peel to go into the rhubarb before juicing the fruit.
Organic juicing oranges from Tesco

I used 400g sugar to macerate the rhubarb, and the following day rubbed half a sachet of Tate & Lyle's powdered pectin into a further 100g sugar, then brought the whole lot to the boil, and tested and found a good setting point at 105 C

Here are his and hers jams...what's mine is mine, and what is his could be mine too!  But then I may just let him taste and have some of mine.  I got five small but absolutely delicious jars with one of my favourite fruits, which usually I use fresh...figs.  These are very fragrant even when dried, so would absolutely recommend them, as the flavour is very good in the jam.

The 1Kg rhubarb yielded 5 larger jars of Rhubarb and Ginger Jam.



Rhubarb and double ginger jam

This month's WI in wells had a bring and buy stall for cakes, cookery books etc.  I came home with a couple of bundles of rhubarb, which I carried home in my small backpack...watching my shadow which was rather amusing!



The following day, having washed and prepared the stems, and having chosen a couple of recipes, and deciding how I would adapt them...then started the macerating process.  I left the rhubarb and ginger mixed with sugar in a covered bowl overnight, and by the next morning the rhubarb had shrunk and most of the sugar was dissolved.



Mr M likes rhubarb and ginger jam..and I decided to do a double ginger and rhubarb jam with 1 Kg of the prepared rhubarb.  In the first instance I very finely chopped a piece of ginger about the size of my thumb.  I had started to grate it and seeing the fibre reminded myself that this is not at all appertizing..and remembered that last time when I made Mango chutney the very fine julienne type strips were much better.  The second hit of ginger comes from some finely sliced crytallised ginger...I did not have the syrup type preserve in the cupboard.  I used 1 Kg standard cane sugar, a lemon, grated and juiced, and half a sachet of pectic, as Mr M likes his jam well set!





Pomelo Marmalade

i've made marmalade with tiny Kumquats but this is my first with the giant of the citrus world.  I've had my eye on these great big fruits for some years, but had never got round to buying one.  They are the biggest citrus fruit...Citrus maxima.  Each year they used to have them at the market in Kenilworth, where they were neither netted or covered in plastic.  Next year I shall keep an eye out for unpackaged fruit.  I say this because having just opened the first jar a couple of days ago, both Mr M and I agree that this is a winner, having an excellent flavour and very good set.



1 Pomelo weighing just over 1 kilo
3 Lemons...everything but the skin.
0.5 litres water
1Kg standard cane sugar

I first washed the Pomelo is very hot water as I was not sure whether or not it was waxed.  The skin is thick and pulpy and the membranes exceeding tough.  The flesh has big juice vesicles, and the taste is not at all bitter and quite sweet.  The fruit, cut into segments,  together with the lemons peeled, was cooked in the pressure cooker for 12 minutes.  I then sieved everything but the skin.  Sieving  is quite hard as the membrane is still really tough and much remains in the sieve.  The cooked skin and its pith was cut into fine slices.  Then the sugar was added, and following usual marmalade techniques I stopped at 105 C, and checked for setting on a cold plate.

Total yield 4 of my large jars (340g), and 2 mediums ones (250g).

Sunday, 22 January 2017

Mango Chutney...two ways

I was lucky enough to find a good box of Mangoes this week, with around fifteen fruit, there was sufficient to make my tried and tested Mango Chutney, and also try a different type of Mango Chutney which uses a different technique and is darker and spicier.



For the first batch I made a further slight adaptation to the Mango Chutney I made last year and the year before.  Instead of laboriously peeling the ginger and chopping it, I gave it a good brush under a running hot tap, then liquidised it with some of the vinegar with my handheld  blender before putting it into the preserving pan with the rest of the ingredients.  Also instead of sweet red pepper I used a teaspoon and a half of my Cornish Chilli Sea Salt.

For the other half of the Mangoes I chose a recipe from the Women's Institute Book of Preserves.  True to myself I did alter it a little and changed the technique to suit my liking for some whole seeds, and used organic Biona Cider Vinegar as a matter of course, rather than malt vinegar.

Mangoes about 1.5Kg prepared and chopped flesh, slightly under ripe
350g soft light brown sugar
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 large tsp coriander seeds
1.5 tsp Nigella Seeds
1 tsp light mustard seeds
1 level tsp turmeric
50g fresh ginger
400ml cider vinegar
4 cloves of garlic
1 medium brown onion chopped finely
1tsp Cornish Chilli Sea Salt


I left the Mango pieces to steep in the soft brown sugar all Friday afternoon, and slowly the sugar drew out the juice from the pieces which were shrinking!!!! So that evening I chose to make both batches of chutney at the same time.

In a small frying pan I heated through the cumin and coriander seeds gently until I could smell their aroma, then ground them in my spice mill with the turmeric and sea salt to give it some bulk.  Then I gently heated up the mustard seeds and Nigella Seeds but kept these whole.  The ginger was carefully brushed under the hot tap, then with the skin on, was sliced then added to half the vingar with the garlic, and blended together in a small jug, using the hand held electric blender.

All the ingredients then went into the jamming pan.  There was more liquid than for the other chutney as there was the juice drawn out of the mango, so it needed quite a bit longer to boil down to get to the right consistency, and therefore for the same amount of fruit gave less chutney.  It is a darker, sticker, more spicy and aromatic chutney and it will be very interesting to compare them in a couple of months when they are matured a little more.



Here are the jars...the smallest jar is a blend of both...well I didn't want to have to waste any?  If you have only had Mango Chutney with curries, then you are in for a treat if you try it in a cheese sandwich, or laced through a sauce to accompany duck.  Alongside a cheesy cauliflower cheese  it gives that edge of sweetness and spice, and with a chunk of freshly baked bread, a supper good enough for the most discerning palate!