White cherries aren’t really white; they’re gorgeous pale yellow blushed with rose.

White-Cherry-Rum-Liqueur-KaveyEats-KFavelle-122806 White-Cherry-Rum-Liqueur-KaveyEats-KFavelle-124707 White-Cherry-Rum-Liqueur-KaveyEats-KFavelle-135800

Fortunately for me, the small fruit stall just outside the office where I currently work has had them on sale recently and I’ve purchased so many the stall holder probably assumes I’m a weird cherry addict. When I told him this bag were destined for cherry rum liqueur, he asked me to bring him a taste of the finished hooch!

I’ve been sharing images of these beauties online and friends have asked if they’re rainier cherries, a variety developed in Washington (and named for Mount Rainier) in 1952. All the stall holder could tell me is that they were grown in Spain, so I’m not sure whether they’re rainier cherries or not.

Regardless of variety, they’re utterly delicious and I felt inspired by twitter friend @ShochuLounge to preserve some in alcohol. Their tip about leaving the pips in to infuse almond flavour notes was an extra push as stoning cherries is a thankless task.

The strawberry vodka liqueur I made a few years ago turned out wonderfully well and since then I’ve made a few more random fruit liqueurs simply by combining my chosen fruit with lots of sugar and whatever clear spirit I have to hand – I tend to amass bottles of spirit that languish in the drinks cupboard for years, so am determined to make something interesting with as many of them as possible.

White-Cherry-Rum-Liqueur-KaveyEats-KFavelle-191545 White-Cherry-Rum-Liqueur-KaveyEats-KFavelle-191614 White-Cherry-Rum-Liqueur-KaveyEats-KFavelle-191727
White-Cherry-Rum-Liqueur-KaveyEats-KFavelle-191844 White-Cherry-Rum-Liqueur-KaveyEats-KFavelle-191951 White-Cherry-Rum-Liqueur-KaveyEats-KFavelle-192119-800px

Home Made White Cherry Rum Liqueur

Ingredients
300 grams white cherries
200 grams sugar
500 ml white rum

Note: You can switch the fruit for whatever is seasonal and the spirit for whatever you have to hand. A clear spirit is best, with a flavour that marries well with your chosen fruit. Adjust the ratios of fruit, sugar and alcohol to suit your tastes. I have a sweet tooth so am aiming for my liqueur to be rich and sweet.

Method

  • Wash the cherries and remove the stems. Use a sharp knife to cut into the cherries and slice at least half way around, without cutting them in half. This makes it easier for the sugar and alcohol to take on the flavours of the skin, flesh and pips.
  • Place cherries, sugar and rum into a clean airtight glass jar and seal.
  • For the first few weeks, shake and turn regularly, to help the sugar dissolve and the flavours to mix.
  • Leave to mature for at least 3-4 months; the longer the better.
  • Strain through muslin for a clearer finished result, before bottling your finished liqueur.
  • Enjoy the alcohol-soaked fruit as a bonus dessert – lovely with double cream or vanilla ice cream.

I’ll update this post with a photo of the finished cherry rum liqueur in a few months but I’m confident it will be another really delicious home made tipple!

 

ssbadge300 no-waste-food-badge FSF

I’m entering this into Ren Behan’s Simple & In Season Challenge, the No Waste Food Challenge (hosted this month by Utterly Scrummy Michelle) and the Four Seasons Food Challenge (hosted this month by The Spicy Pear).

Dec 182013
 

My sister and I were definitely Blue Peter girls.

We loved making the many craft projects shown on the programme. I remember spending weeks making a cardboard dolls house with lots of furniture inside: instructions for additional items taught across a series of episodes; one week a chest of drawers made from matchboxes with split pins for handles; another week a table lamb using the fancy lid from a common brand of shampoo or bubble bath bottle. We made 3D greeting cards, witches’ hats and face masks from empty cereal boxes. There was a large castle made from a cardboard box, with toilet-roll holder turrets.  And I can no longer recall whether it was an empty jam jar or washing up liquid bottle inside the cotton wool-covered snowman. Oh and I thought my home-made personal organiser was the epitome of sophistication! There were hundreds more I’ve forgotten, of course, as we were pretty prolific. We improvised, of course – to this day I don’t think I’ve ever even seen sticky backed plastic and how many times was there an empty box or bottle just when you needed one?

We also loved to make a mess in the kitchen. We did enjoy proper cooking but it was also fun to make simple things we could do on our own like peppermint creams, coconut ice and marzipan fruits. Making marzipan fruits kept us occupied for hours, so I suspect it was a favourite with our parents too!

As well as a block or two of shop-bought marzipan we assembled our tools – various items of cutlery to make indents and marks of different shapes, such as teaspoons, toothpicks, tiny crab forks and a large grater to help pattern citrus peel; food colouring and some water to dilute it as needed and water colour paintbrushes with which we carefully blushed red over green for apples and orange over yellow for apricots. We usually kneaded the base food colouring into the actual marzipan and then painted the secondary colours over the top. We used cloves as stalks, stuck in one way for citrus fruits and the other for apples and pears. Leaves were too complicated so we either skipped them or used real ones from the garden.

Oddly, I have no memories of eating our finished creations – just of sitting in the kitchen sculpting away!

 

When I spotted some large marzipan fruits in Carluccio’s Christmas range, they bought those childhood memories straight back. For comparison purposes, I also picked up boxes from Sainsbury’s and Waitrose. I had hoped to include Niederegger marzipan fruits, as I love the quality of their marzipan, but discovered that these are no longer available. I was not able to pick up products from other supermarkets.

CarlucciosMarzipanFruits-4217

Carluccio’s hand painted Sicilian Frutta di Marzapane (£16.95 for 400 grams) were certainly visually impressive and would be the prettiest of the three sets if you want to make a table display, although I wasn’t convinced by the plastic stalks and greenery. The fruits were very large – especially the tomato, lemon, fig and orange – which would also make them harder to share and hard to eat a whole one at once. Sadly, I was disappointed by the taste and dry mealy texture of the marzipan itself.

WaitroseMarzipanFruits-4220 WaitroseMarzipanFruits-4222

Waitrose marzipan fruits (£4.99 for 170 grams) were a much better match for the ones my sister and I used to make and less heavily coloured too. All the fruits were about the same size, just right for enjoying in one or two bites. But I was disappointed by the flat bottoms – the fruits were shaped only on the top, rather than all the way around. On the plus side, the taste and texture of the marzipan was, surprisingly, far better than Carluccio’s.

SainsburysMarzipanFruits-4322 SainsburysMarzipanFruits-4325

At just £3 (for 150 grams), Sainsbury’s marzipan fruits were the most keenly priced. Like the Waitrose box, each fruit was evenly sized and this time they were shaped all the way around. That said, the moulding was poorly aligned and the colouring and detail far less attractive than the others. The texture was pleasantly soft and smooth, but the flavour wasn’t as good as the Waitrose ones.

 

My pick of the three are the Waitrose marzipan fruits which provide the best combination of good looks, great taste and a reasonable price.

 

Kavey Eats received a sample box from Carluccio’s and purchased the other two samples directly from local supermarkets.

 

I adore flat peaches.

As I’ve written before, they’re also known as doughnut peaches, saturn peaches and even UFO peaches, because of their flattened disc-like shape. Usually they’re superbly sweet and impossible to eat without dribbling copious sticky juice down chin and arms. In recent years, I’ve found them easier than ever to find; my local grocery shops usually sell them very cheaply throughout their season. I also buy flat nectarines, which are the same fruit but with smooth rather than furry skins.

PeachTarteTatin-1370

I’ve been wanting to make a Tarte Tatin for years. Traditionally made with apples, this French sweet is an upside down caramelised fruit tart made by making caramel in a heavy based pan, adding the fruit over the caramel, covering with pastry and then transferring to the oven to bake. It’s flipped back over to serve.

I finally decided to give the technique a go after buying a large bowl of giant flat nectarines that were so ripe I knew they wouldn’t last long. As is my usual won’t, I read a frankly ridiculous number of recipes on the web, decided on the general approach I liked best and then winged it to make my own version. Even traditionalists seem undecided between shortcrust and flaky pastry. I went for the latter.

The result was so good I made it again the weekend after, using smaller flat peaches the second time around. On the second occasion, I decided to see what happened if I made more caramel but found the result too liquidy – I think it essentially poached the peaches rather than baking them and didn’t allow the butter and sugar to thicken further during baking. So I’m giving you the recipe with the amounts I used the first time, which created a thicker, stickier caramel.

PeachTarteTatin-1364

 

Upside Down Caramelised Flat Peach Tart aka Flat Peach Tarte Tatin

Serves 4-6

Ingredients
3-6 ripe flat peaches or nectarines, depending on size
60 grams salted butter
100 grams sugar
1 roll ready made puff pastry
Optional: 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Method

  • Preheat oven to 180 C (fan).
  • Wash the peaches, half them horizontally and carefully scoop or cut out the stone.

PeachTart2-1442 PeachTarteTatin-1353

  • If you’re adding the cinnamon, mix it thoroughly into the sugar.
  • In a large, heavy-based, oven-proof frying pan melt the butter, then sprinkle the sugar evenly across the pan.

PeachTarteTatin-1352

  • Once the sugar has melted and the mixture starts to brown a little, add the flat peaches, cut-side down.

PeachTarteTatin-1356 PeachTart2-1451

  • If your peaches are a little hard, you may want to cook them in the caramel for a few minutes; I bought mine soft and ripe, so they cooked only as long as it took me to get the pastry out of the fridge and cut it.
  • Cut a square from the puff pastry sheet and lay it over the peaches. Use a knife to cut the pastry corners away and tuck the edges down around the fruit.

PeachTarteTatin-1357 PeachTarteTatin-1358
PeachTart2-1456 PeachTart2-1460

  • Transfer the pan to the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes until pastry is golden brown.

PeachTarteTatin-1359

  • Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes.
  • Shake the pan to see if the tart will come away from the base. If not, heat the pan for 10 seconds on the hob to melt the surface of the caramel and try again.
  • Place a large plate over the pan, grasp both together and flip over. My tarts (and all the fruit pieces) came away cleanly from the pan both times.

PeachTarteTatin-1365 PeachTart2-1465

  • Serve hot or cold with vanilla ice cream, custard or cream.

PeachTart2-212327 PeachTarteTatin-1369

I also want to tell you about a new business that got in touch with me recently to ask if I’d like to try their products. Cinnamon Hill import fresh cinnamon from Sri Lanka and Vietnam; true cinnamon from the former and cassia bark from the latter. They also sell a cinnamon grater with a specially designed metal grate and gorgeous oak handle; it comes with a pretty hand-made ceramic cup in which to store it. The grater worked very well indeed and the cinnamon was certainly intensely fragrant and had a lovely flavour. It does come at a price though, at £12 and £8 respectively for just 5 sticks of Sri Lankan or Vietnamese cinnamon and £50 for the grater (which includes £20 of cinnamon).

CinnamonHill-1437 CinnamonHill-1429

Kavey Eats received product samples from Cinnamon Hill.

Apr 032013
 

I adore alphonso mangoes.

I’ve loved them as long as I can remember and they come right at the top of my (very long) list of favourite foods. Some people suggest that all mangoes are equal but that’s definitely not the case. This king of mangoes has a heady perfume and sweet, intense flavour that is hard to match.

Mangoes originated on the Indian subcontinent and in my opinion, the varieties from this region are still the best.

Alphonso mangoes, known as haphoos in India, are to those fat red and green simulacrums that grace supermarket shelves all year round what the sun is to a 30 watt light bulb.

Alphonsos put those Tommy Atkin pretenders to shame and I hardly consider them to be the same fruit at all!

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Only in season for a couple of months, the alphonso is grown in Western India and also in Pakistan, where it is considered one of the best of the many mango cultivars. Indeed, the mango is the national fruit (who knew such a thing existed?!) of both countries.

Why the European name for this very Asian variety? The alphonso mango is named for Afonso De Albuquerque, a nobleman and Admiral who was the second governor of Portuguese colonial empire in India. Portuguese missionaries may have introduced the technique of grafting to India; certainly they were instrumental in using grafting to create new cultivars such as the alphonso and many others. The new and superior cultivar soon spread to other regions of India.

Of course, there is strong competition from other honey mangoes (the catch all name used to market Pakistani mangoes but which sometimes refers to Indian ones too). If I’m honest, I’m just as happy with a box of kesar, chaunsa, dusehri or langra mangoes as with my alphonsos! There are many more than these, but not readily available in the UK.

When I was a kid, honey mangoes were a little harder to find in the UK, though our local cash and carry and a few Asian grocers stocked them, in season. Nowadays, not only do all the Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi grocers carry them, you can also find them in many local fruit and veg shops, in Chinese supermarkets and even your regular supermarket chains.

The start of the mango season is much celebrated in India, and often makes the headlines. Prices are widely discussed, boxes are sent to family, friends and colleagues and online delivery services do a roaring trade. Mango fans gorge on their favourite fruit, buying plenty to eat at home, enjoying freshly squeezed juice from street vendors and attending mango celebration events.

In the UK, the season is more quietly anticipated though greeted with no less glee by those in the know.

For those who’ve never enjoyed an alphonso mango (or any of the sister honey mango varieties) do make sure it’s the one new treat you try this year. You will surely fall as deeply in love with them as me.

 

This was written as a guest post last year for MADD, purveyors of mango drinks and sweet treats, at Rupert Street, Soho. My favourites from their menu include the mango and passionfruit smoothie, the sticky coconut rice and fresh mango and the pistachio almond mousse cake.

 

The two apple trees on our allotment gave us a whopping 55 kilos of apples this year; 34 kilos of cookers and 22 kilos of eating apples. And that’s just what we picked – we left some cookers on the tree for our plot neighbour to enjoy.

Some of them we processed at the time, making several variations of apple jelly. Some we made into apple pie. Some we peeled, prepped and froze in large bagfuls. But the majority were carefully washed, individually wrapped and then boxed according to grade – perfect, slightly blemished and those to use first… a labour of love by Pete.

Since then, they’ve been sat in their polystyrene boxes in the garden shed waiting to be used.

I’m conscious that we really need to use and process the rest, so a large batch of chutney seemed to be a good option.

As I had some fabulous dates leftover from Christmas, I decided to use these too. A web search revealed so many different recipes with such vastly differing ratios of apple, dried fruits, vinegar and sugar that I gave up on following any of them and created my own recipe according to the amounts of apples and dates I had to hand, and sugar and vinegar to my own taste. Ginger powder and chilli powder added a kick and additional depth of flavour.

I allowed my apples to cook down until they were really soft but if you prefer them more solid, you may need to reduce the amount of vinegar and sugar you add.

AppleDateGingerChutney-0084

 

Kavey’s Apple, Date & Ginger Chutney

Makes approximately 4.5 kilos chutney

Ingredients
2.5 – 3 kilos cooking apples (unpeeled weight)
500 grams of super soft dates (weight including stones)
500 grams onions (unpeeled weight)
350 grams muscovado sugar
650 grams granulated or caster sugar
600 ml malt vinegar
3 heaped teaspoons ginger powder
1 teaspoon of extra hot chilli powder
1 tablespoon salt

Note: My apples weighed 3.1 kilos before peeling, coring and dicing but many of them were unusually small, and some had a little spoilage, so the weight loss during preparation was higher than usual. I’d estimate that I used the equivalent of about 2.5 kilos of regularly sized cooking apples in good condition.

Note: My chilli powder is some of the hottest I’ve come across. Mix in, taste and add enough to give a warming kick.

Method

  • Stone and roughly chop dates.
  • Peel and dice onions.
  • Peel, core and chop apples into a large pan of cold water. Drain well just before cooking.

AppleDateGingerChutney-0074 AppleDateGingerChutney-0075

  • Measure all ingredients into a large saucepan or stock pot and mix well. Cook on a medium heat until apples soften and liquid thickens.

AppleDateGingerChutney-0076 AppleDateGingerChutney-0079

  • Transfer the hot finished chutney into hot sterilised jars (I sterilise mine in the oven and boil the lids on the stove top) and seal.
AppleDateGingerChutney-0080
  • Leave to mature for at least 3 months.
 

Happy New Year!

It’s January and I’m sure we can’t be the only household with leftover dried fruit and nuts from the Christmas snack bowls?

So this year’s first Bloggers Scream For Ice Cream challenge is to incorporate one or both into an ice cream, sorbet, semi-freddo, slushy or spoom.

DriedDatesCreativeCommonsbyHowardWalfish NutsCreativeCommonsbyIainBuchanan
Dates by Howard Walfish, Nuts by Iain Buchanan, creative commons license via Flickr

As usual, I’ve been bookmarking some ideas over on my BSFIC Pinterest board.

 

How To Take Part In BSFIC

  • Create and blog a recipe that fits the challenge by the 28th of the month.
  • In your post, mention and link to this Bloggers Scream For Ice Cream post.
  • In your post, include the Bloggers Scream For Ice Cream badge.
  • Email me (by the 28th of the month) with your first name or nickname (as you prefer), the link to your post and an image for my roundup, sized to no larger than 500 pixels on the longest side.

You are welcome to submit your post to as many blogger challenge events as you like.

If the recipe is not your own, please be aware of copyright issues. Please email me if you would like to discuss this.

If you like, please tweet about your post using#BSFIC. I’ll retweet any I see.

IceCreamChallenge

P.S. The round up for December’s boozy delights will be up in a couple of days!

Sep 242012
 

Throughout the summer I enjoyed lots and lots and lots of wonderful fruit. Some are fruits I have long known and loved, but there have been a few new ones too.

 

Flat Peaches & Nectarines

Fruit-1579 FlatNectarine-1562

Also known as flat peaches, doughnut peaches, saturn peaches and even UFO peaches these disk-like fruit are, at their best, incredibly sweet and juicy. I’ve been enjoying them for years, when I could get them.

This year a small local newsagent-cum-grocer’s sold Valencian ones for several weeks, a much longer season than I’ve seen before, so I really gorged myself. They have a pale, very intensely flavoured flesh. One week they were absolutely enormous in size, but the rest of the time, they’ve been much of a muchness.

One week, I came across flat nectarines, which was a first, though they were slightly past their best when I bought them, they tasted the same as their fuzzy-downed siblings.

 

Lychees

Fruit-1533 Fruit-1534

I’ve always loved lychees, though Pete still insists they feel like eyeballs and smell like old lady perfume!

A local Turkish shop got some particularly great ones in this summer – big and sweet and juicy and intensely flavoured. A bag never last long!

 

Rambutans

Fruit-0964 Fruit-0971

I don’t see rambutans on sale very often so I picked this packet up in China Town some weeks ago. The last time I had rambutan was some years ago!

The name derives from the Malay for “hairy”, and you can see why; with their bright red skin and green spines, they look like small hairy aliens! I’ve seen them with red spines too. From the same plant family as lychees, the fruits are somewhat similar in shape and texture, though the taste is a little different and also more subtle.

 

Fresh Dates

Fruit-1185 Fruit-1188

Like many Brits, I adore dried dates with their sticky, chewy texture and toffee-sweet flavour. But I’d never even thought about what a fresh date might look like, let alone tried one. Indeed, when I saw these in my local Turkish shop, I had no idea what they were, and asked one of the staff members. When she told me they were fresh dates and could be eaten as they were, I immediately bought some to try.

They were quite a revelation, with more than a hint of the familiar flavour of their dried counterpart but an altogether different and lighter texture and juiciness. I shall look out for these again!

 

Indian and Pakistani Mangoes

Fruit-1561

I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t greedily enjoy as many Indian and Pakistani mangoes as I could get my hands on during their season. This year started slowly but I caught up in the end!

 

Guavas

Fruit-1151 Fruit-1157

I love guavas! I have fond memories of visiting family in India and climbing into a guava tree with my cousins.

However, when I’ve found these fruits on sale in the UK in the past, I’ve always been so disappointed. The scent has always been the familiar one, just like the fruit in India, but they haven’t tasted of anything at all.

Having been so happy with the rest of the fruit I’ve bought from the local Turkish shop, I decided to take a chance when I saw these on sale in August. To my delight, the flavour matched the beautiful smell and I was transported…

 

Prickly Pears

Fruit-1690

Again, when I saw these on sale in the Turkish shop, I had no idea what they were and had to ask; there are hand written labels tacked to the shelves but seldom near the fruit they belong to.

I took these with me when visiting a friend who is equally excited about trying new things. On cutting into them, we discovered a vivid red flesh packed full of hard knobbly seeds. The seeds were so well distributed in the flesh it was impossible to cut them out, so eating involved sucking the fruit off the seeds and spitting them out. Sadly, it wasn’t worth the trouble. Whilst these were super sweet and juicy, there was no discernable flavour at all other than plain sweet.

Please forgive the awful photo – my mobile phone camera is really not very good.

 

Fresh Cobnuts

Fruit-1555 Fruit-1560

More crappy phone camera photos, sorry!

Cobnuts, a British variety of hazelnut, are enjoying a renaissance, with new orchards being planted and old ones brought back to peak condition. I’ve enjoyed dried and roasted cobnuts before but had never tried freshly harvested ones, still in their green leafy outer coat. They are quite different to the dried ones, with a really juicy crunch and mild flavour. They remind me a lot of water chestnuts and I’m thinking they might work well in a East Asian-inspired curry.

 

What fruit have you been enjoying this year?

 

I’ve not really eaten gooseberries much. I’d never had one raw before, and had only rarely tasted them in desserts such as gooseberry fool. And I’d not been too enamoured with them on those occasions.

Pete’s always been a fan, though.

We inherited a few bushes on our allotment, though they didn’t produce any fruit last year. We figured that could be down to a lack of pruning for the last few years, and Pete pruned them hard last autumn. It worked, and this year I picked berries from three bushes, a mix of smooth red dessert ones and hairy green ones.

I tasted a dark red one whilst picking and, whilst I can’t say they’ll become a favourite fruit for me, it was alright!

Collage

I’d never prepped or cooked gooseberries before. Goodness, doesn’t topping and tailing them take time?!

And I’d never made a cobbler before either.

This wasn’t a bad first attempt, though there’s room for improvement: Worried the gooseberries were about to catch, I added a tablespoon of water to the pot, but not long after, the berries finally broke down a bit and dumped their liquid, so the finished fruit compote was a bit wet.

Loosely referring to a few different recipes on the web, I estimated the amount of topping according to the volume of fruit. But as we used a pan that allowed them to spread out into a fairly thin layer, we could actually have done with a little more topping. It does expand on cooking, of course, as you can see from the photographs. Scale the compote and topping recipes up or down separately, as you think best.

 

Gooseberry Cobbler

Ingredients for gooseberry compote

400 grams topped and tailed gooseberries
50 grams caster sugar
0.5 teaspoon powdered ginger

Ingredients for cobbler topping

70 grams plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
pinch salt
15 grams butter
30 grams demerara sugar, divided into 2 equal portions
70 ml buttermilk

  • Preheat oven to 180 C (fan).
  • Combine compote ingredients in a pan and cook until berries have broken down and softened a little and sugar is fully dissolved in the juices.

GooseberryCobbler-0774

  • Transfer to a suitable baking dish.

GooseberryCobbler-0778

  • To make the cobbler topping, mix the flour, baking powder and salt into a bowl.
  • Rub in the butter until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
  • Stir in one of the portions of sugar.
  • Add the buttermilk and mix into a dough. It’ll be pretty soft and sticky.

GooseberryCobbler-0777

  • Gently drop spoonfuls of the dough onto the surface of the compote.

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  • Sprinkle the remaining sugar over the topping.

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Bake for about 25 minutes, until the cobbler topping is golden brown.

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  • Serve hot.
 

It’s not been a great year for growing, with plants confused by a very early faux-summer followed by months of endless rain and cold. But we did enjoy harvesting summer fruit from our allotment plot in mid July, bringing home tubs of redcurrants, blackcurrants, gooseberries and raspberries.

I’m not a huge fan of redcurrants but my sister insists on them for Christmas day, so I decided to make her some redcurrant and port jelly for this year’s Christmas feasting.

RedcurrantPortJelly-0758 AllotmentFruit-0742

 

Easy Redcurrant & Port Jelly

Ingredients

400 grams redcurrants
400 grams sugar (I used half white + half light muscovado, as that’s what I had in stock)
Approximately 20 ml port (added to 250 ml jelly)

Method

  • Wash redcurrants, taking care not to crush, and drain well. There’s no need to remove the stalks (though I found it therapeutic to do so as I was harvesting them).

RedcurrantPortJelly-0759 RedcurrantPortJelly-0760

  • Place redcurrants and sugar into a large pan, with a jam thermometer, if you have one.
  • Bring to the boil on a medium to high heat.
  • Once the sugar has fully dissolved and the currants start to soften, use a wooden spoon or potato masher to break the currants open and mash them into the liquid.
  • Boil until the mixture reaches 104 °C.
    (If you don’t have a jam thermometer, test for a set by either dropping some jam onto a freezer-chilled plate to see if it sets enough to wrinkle to the touch after a few seconds or by lifting a wooden spoon out of the liquid and seeing whether the drops run together and fall off cleanly, which means it’s not yet reached setting point, or coagulate, form thick triangles, and fall off thickly).

RedcurrantPortJelly-0761

  • Place a clean muslin cloth into a sieve, over a heat-resistant jug and pour the jam into the cloth.

RedcurrantPortJelly-0762 RedcurrantPortJelly-0763

  • Allow the liquid to drip through. As I am keener on maximum yield than a crystal clear jelly, I twist and squeeze the cloth to force every last drop of liquid through.
  • Add port and mix well.

RedcurrantPortJelly-0765

  • Pour the finished jelly into sterilised jars whilst both the liquid and the jars are still hot, and seal immediately with sterilised lids.

RedcurrantPortJelly-0768

Sheepish postscript: Sister has gently pointed out that I have confused redcurrants and cranberries, it being the latter she always has for Christmas. But she is looking forward to trying my jelly this year anyway! Oops!

Jul 092012
 

I’ve already posted about the results of my first trials of the Thermomix I’ve been loaned for a couple of months, in this post about basil tagliatelle and ragu bolognese.

Another of the recipes I tried, looking for those where the varied functions of the Thermomix would clearly save me time and effort, was the Fast and Easy Cooking recipe for guacamole.

It worked like a charm, and like the ragu bolognese, I was impressed with the balance of flavours and the even chopping and mixing. The only change I’d make next time is to reduce the oil content further.

ThermomixGuacamole-1206

 

Thermomix Guacamole

Ingredients
5 grams fresh coriander
1 chilli, top discarded
70 grams red onion, peeled and quartered
2 ripe avocados, peeled
10 grams lime juice
1 plum tomato, peeled and deseeded
40 grams extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Note: As I’m a wuss, we omitted the chilli. We switched the lime juice to lemon, as that’s what we had to hand. Instead of one plum tomato, we used a handful of baby plums. Our avocadoes were small so we used three. We reduced the oil by 10 grams as 40 grams seemed too much. Next time I’d reduce it to just 15-20 grams.

Method

  • Weigh the coriander on the lid, then mince the coriander and chilli by dropping onto the running blades at Speed 9.
  • Turn to speed 5 and finely chop the onion by dropping it onto the running blades.
  • Add all remaining ingredients (weighing the lime juice and oil as you add it) and mix for just 3-5 seconds at Speed 4, until the tomato is chopped.
  • Season to taste and serve immediately.

ThermomixGuacamole-1201

This entire recipe took less than 2 minutes, including the time to peel and quarter the onion and scoop out the avocado flesh.

Whilst guacamole is a very simple recipe that can certainly be made with nothing but a spoon to scoop the avocado, a sharp knife to chop ingredients and a fork to mash and mix, I was impressed by how fast it was using the Thermomix and with just a knife, spoon and the machine’s jug to wash up.

Kavey Eats received a loan machine courtesy of Thermomix. (This is not a sponsored post).

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