Indian Lime Pickle

image

Two, no, three things came together, and prompted me to have a go at making lime pickle.
1) I adore (Pataks) lime pickle with an Indian curry.
I know it divides curry eaters, but for me, a Rogan Josh or beef Madras just isn’t complete without lovely blobs of mango chutney and lime pickle. Lime pickle is also scrumptious on a toasted cheese sandwich.
2) I have a lime tree, that every winter and spring, produces lots and lots of small, highly fragrant key limes. It seems a shame not to use as many as possible.
3) Making lime pickle intrigues me. I’ve never made anything like this before. It was quite a long, but fascinating process, doing the research for this project.

I can’t even guess if my pickle is going to taste like my beloved supermarket choice, but, it has to be attempted!

Less of a pickle, and more of a fermented condiment, this is what I’ve done so far.

image

I gathered 10 limes, and chopped each into 8 pieces, discarding the seeds.
I then mixed the chopped fruit with 100g of salt, 15g of dried chilli powder, and 20g of dried garlic.
The mix was transferred to a glass bowl, covered, and steamed over a pan of boiling water for 2 hours.
The smell is strong, you might want to keep the exhaust fan on!
Citrus peel is tough, the steaming process softens the rind, making it more palatable.
The mix went into the sterilised jar you see in the photo.
It will be left on a sunny windowsill for 4 days. I’ll stir it every so often.
After this time is up, it’ll be time for the next step.
I’ll be frying Indian spices,  like mustard, cumin and coriander in oil, and adding this to the mix.
It’ll then get another rest in a sunny place.
I will fill you in as each stage happens. I’ll be sure to offer exact ingredients and quantities too, just in case you’re thinking of making some yourself.
To my mind, my pickle is very much like kimchi at the moment. Limes, not cabbage, obviously, but salt, chilli powder, and a fermentation period – very interesting!

’till next time
sweetrosie x

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Making Marmalade : Part 2

image

Today was the day to turn my soaked citrus peel into sunshiny marmalade.
The ruby grapefruit, orange, and lemon peel had soaked, along with the flesh and juice overnight, to start the softening process.
I tipped the lot into my preserving pan, covered with a lid, and gently simmered until the peel was soft.
This took about an hour. Don’t scrimp on this step, adding the sugar will retard any further softening.
Some jam makers measure their cooked fruit by the cup,  I prefer to weigh it. Less mess and bother.
I ended up with 1.2kg of fruit, so I added the same amount of white sugar to the fruit, and stirred, over a low heat until the sugar dissolved.
The heat was turned up, and the mixture allowed to boil, stirring often, until it reached 105C on my candy thermometer.
My thermometer hasn’t failed me yet. I have had beautifully set jams, ever since I started relying on it.

Your marmalade will look runny at this stage, but it absolutely will set once cooled.

Take the pan from the heat, and allow the marmalade to cool for 10 minutes.
If you bottle your marmalade when it’s very hot, the peel will not be evenly distributed through your jar.
Have your hot, sterilised jars ready, and carefully spoon, or pour the marmalade in. Fill to the  top, it will contract a little as it cools.
Wipe the jars clean, put the lid on, and label.
I don’t water process my jam and marmalade, but I do store the jar in the fridge once opened.
Best used within six months : if it lasts that long!
The verdict? Very, very nice!
Just the right amount of citrus bitterness, sweet, tangy, and very nostalgic. Bread and butter, with marmalade, it made me feel like I was in a John Betjeman poem…

image

’till next time
sweetrosie  x

Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments

Making Marmalade

image

There is something very therapeutic about making marmalade .
The fresh smell of citrus fruits creates such a positive energy, it fills the kitchen, and the benefits don’t end there.
I have just spent a few very pleasant hours slicing citrus peel, ready for a batch of ruby grapefruit, orange and lemon, and I had to let you know how lovely it was, almost meditative!
I do like my marmalade to have long, very thin shreds of peel, suspended in as clear a jelly as possible. This necessitates slow, careful peeling and slicing.
I scrubbed the fruits, and then set to work with the veggie peeler. I set myself the goal of no white pith on the shreds.
Then, it was time to shred.
I tried out a couple of knives, before settling on a small paring knife, I’ve had it for years, it’s familiar and feels good in my hand.
I did start off stacking some peels and then slicing, but they slip about too much for my liking. Two strips of peel together is the absolute maximum for me.
After the peels were all done, it was time for another wonderfully meditative precision task.
It was time to get all the juicy flesh, leaving behind the white pith, seeds and membranes.
All of the peel, juice and flesh has gone into a bowl, to soak in water overnight.
This helps soften the peel, ready for the initial cooking process.
I love marmalade! So delicious on toast and crumpets, and a wonderful addition to a rich fruit cake, or citrus syrup cake.
’till next time
sweetrosie x

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Quandong, Dried Apricot & Vanilla Bean Jam

Quandong Fruits

Quandong Fruits

The quandong, also sometimes know as a wild or native peach is an intriguing Australian fruit.

The ripe fruit is a beautiful red colour, with the thin, rather firm flesh surrounding a large, hard, round, single stone. The birds love them, especially the parrots, so you can imagine, when they’re ripe, it’s a race against the birdies to collect the best fruits for cooking.

I have used the fruit. stewed, in tarts and crumbles, and it is a delight. Tangy, fruity, reminiscent of peach, dried apricot and maybe passionfruit. As with many arid/semi arid grown Australian fruits, the flavours are intensified due to the relatively low moisture content.

My wild peach, dried apricot and vanilla bean jam, in my mind, made perfect use of all the qualities of the fruit. The distinctive quandong is perfectly complemented by the dried apricots, and the vanilla bean smooths out the flavours and adds fragrance.

Wild Peach Dried Apricot & Vanilla Bean Jam

Wild Peach Dried Apricot & Vanilla Bean Jam

This jam was a pleasure to make. Quandongs are easy to cut and pit, and I snipped up the dried apricots with kitchen scissors.

 I do believe this jam would also be delicious made with “regular” peaches or nectarines.

I used my usual jam making method. Stewing the chopped fruits with lemon juice and a minimal quantity of water, along with a split vanilla bean, before adding an equal weight of sugar to the cooked fruit.

The candy thermometer was used, to ensure a perfect set. The delicate flavours of this jam definitely would not be improved by overcooking. Overcooked jam takes on caramel notes as the sugar cooks more, I don’t like the guess work of continuously chilling the cooking jam on a saucer to test it, so, the candy thermometer is my jam making best friend!

The cooked jam was allowed to cool a little before bottling. This prevents all the fruits rising to the top in the jar. I also slipped a half vanilla bean down the side of each jar. Extravagant, but the bean will gently release flavour over time (plus it looks pretty…) The bean can be rinsed and reused after the jam is eaten.

It is such a lovely jam, maybe my favourite so far.

I wish you happy jam making!

’till next time

sweetrosie x

Posted in Australian native cuisine and ingredients | Leave a comment

Strawberry & Wild Hibiscus Jam

I love to make jam. There’s something very satisfying in the whole process. I even love choosing my jars and labels.

I have just a few jam making tips to pass on. Just things I’ve learned along the way.

  •  Always sterilise your jars. I wash mine in hot soapy water and then put them in a 300F oven for 20 minutes. I put a teatowel in a baking tin and put the jars on that. I love to use recycled jars when I can, but I always buy new lids. They’re cheap and it’s just nicer, especially if the jar once had pickled onions in it! I boil my lids in a pan of water for 10 minutes. Be very careful when you get your jars out of the oven, they are hot, hot, hot. Leave them to cool, just a little minute before you put your hot jam in, if you don’t, the jam will bubble and boil!
  • Invest in a candy thermometer. It takes the guess work out of making jam (and caramel, sugar syrup and toffee) There will be a mark on your thermometer that will tell you when the jam has reached the right temperature for the perfect set.
  • Stir your cooking jam well, and often. If, by chance it does stick and catch on the bottom, DON’T stir the caught bits back into the jam.
  • Always add some lemon juice. As well as adding valuable pectin, for the perfect set, the acid helps cut through the sweetness, adding a nicer balance of flavour.
  • Always use a nice, big pan, maybe even bigger than you think you’ll need. Boiling sugar is scalding hot and jam bubbles and splatters. Safer and less anxiety all round if your pot is a nice big one.
  • Cook your fruit/s to your desired consistency before adding the sugar. The sugar, once added will, for the most part prevent the further breakdown of tougher skins like apple, plum and peach.
  • I use a 1/1 fruit sugar ratio for my jams. For example, 1 kilogram of cooked fruits get 1 kilogram of sugar added to it. I am happy with the flavour and set this gives me, plus, this sugar/fruit ratio affords a nice degree of preservation.
  • Store your opened jam in the fridge, just to be on the safe side.

Just lately, I’ve been concentrating on developing a small range of jams using Australian native ingredients. Native fruits and spices often deliver an intense, unique flavour note to dishes, and with judicious use, offer the cook a range of flavours that can’t be replicated with regular ingredients.

I’m very fortunate in that other people seem to like my jam too, so I get to make lots and lots of jam AND then I get the added pleasure of having others enjoy the end result.

This one was the first to be trialled: a beautiful, ruby red blend of strawberry and wild hibiscus. The wild hibiscus flower, or Rosella, is available in jars, in syrup, and I believe people love to add them to a glass of champagne, where they open up for a visual and taste treat.

I used around 6 flowers, and all the syrup in the jar for my kilogram of jam, the “shards” of flower became suspended in the jam, it was lovely. The flavour is subtle and distinctive, and was beautifully complemented by the strawberry.

Happy jam making!

’till next time

sweetrosie x

IMG_20140803_112310IMG_20140802_174731

Posted in Australian native cuisine and ingredients, this and that | Tagged , , , | 5 Comments

Gluten-free Super Healthy Chocolate Cake

Why “super healthy?” It’s a big claim, especially when we’re talking about a chocolate cake.
Well dear reader,  in lieu of any kind of flour,  the base of this cake is cooked kidney beans.

image

I must say, when I first read this recipe, I was skeptical. Kidney beans in a cake? Surely not.

But, I made it, and it works!
This gluten-free cake has the added bonus of being ridiculously easy to make and bake.
If you have a food processor and an oven,  you can have this cake out of the oven and ready to serve in less than an hour.

The original version,  called  The Magic Bean Cake, came from the ABC website,  abc.net.au.
I used the original as a starting point, and adapted it a little.
Here is what you need.

image

400g of cooked kidney beans. I used canned.
5 eggs.
3/4 cup coconut sugar, or the sugar of your choice, or equivalent sweetener of your choice.
3/4 cup raw cacao, or good quality cocoa.
1/3 cup sunflower oil,  or liquid coconut oil, or oil of your choice.
1 tablespoon vanilla extract.
1/2 teaspoon salt.
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda.
1 teaspoon baking powder.
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon.

Put the beans, 2 of the eggs,  the vanilla, oil and sugar into a food processor.
Process on high speed until very smooth.
Add the remaining eggs,  the cocoa,  the salt,  bicarbonate soda and baking powder,  and blend very well.
Your mix will be quite liquid, and this is good.
Pour into a greased, and lined loaf tin.
Bake at 180C  for around  30-40 minutes.
The edges of the cake will feel quite firm,  while the middle feels softer,  more wobbly.
Cool in the tin for 10 minutes,  before turning out to cool.

image

To serve,  dust with icing sugar.
For an indulgent treat,  or for a special occasion,  I think a chocolate ganache frosting would be divine.
So nice! And I wouldn’t have believed it if I hadn’t tried it for myself.
Till next time
sweetrosie x

Posted in allergy free, cakes and desserts, cookies and baking, cupcakes, Healthy Eating | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Indian Spiced Fried Potatoes & Peas

Wok Fried Spiced Potato & Peas

Wok Fried Spiced Potato & Peas

This vegetarian dish accompanies both Eastern and Western-style meals beautifully.

falafel 002

Use this recipe as a road map, substituting, and/or adding your own favourite spices, aromatics and vegetables.

Indian Spiced Potato & Peas

500g almost completely cooked, but still firm, cooked, chopped potato

1 cup of fresh or frozen peas

1 tablespoon coconut oil, or oil of your choice

3 grated cloves of garlic

2 teaspoons of grated ginger

2 long, green chillis, cut into thin slivers

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

2 teaspoons black mustard seeds

salt, and freshly ground black pepper

Heat the oil in a wok, or large fry pan.

Briefly fry the garlic, ginger, spices and chilli, until fragrant, but not too brown. It may only take 20 seconds or so.

Add the potato and peas, increase the heat, and stir-fry until the potato starts to get crispy bits. Keep the mix moving so that the spices don’t burn.

Season with salt and pepper.

Garnish with fresh coriander and serve.

It does perfectly compliment roast lamb, and is especially good with barbecued meats.

As part of an Indian menu, this fried potato and peas combo is perfect alongside dhal, yoghurt, parathas and pickles.

The mix, “smashed” or mashed, when cooked, also makes a delicious filling for samosas, or curry puffs.

curry-puffs-2008

Posted in main courses, snacks and savoury nibbles, South East Asian cuisine, this and that | Leave a comment

Homemade Vanilla Marshmallows

marshmallow with sprinkles

We love to add a plumpy, sweet marshmallow to our hot chocolate at work, and to make it an extra special experience, we’ve decided to start making our own.

I wanted a recipe that didn’t use egg white, a common ingredient in homemade marshmallow. I found this excellent recipe at Cooking for Engineers.

Here’s the recipe we used, and succeeded with, if you want to give it a go.

You’ll need 2 cups of sugar, 3tbsp of gelatine, 3/4 cup light corn syrup and 1/2 cup cold water.

Soak your gelatine in the cold water and then gently heat until the gelatine dissolves.

Heat the sugar, syrup and cold water gently in a pan until the sugar dissolves.

Then, boil rapidly until the temperature of the syrup reaches 250F on a candy thermometer.

Now, be careful with this part. You need to put your gelatine liquid in the bowl of a stand mixer and very, very slowly dribble in the hot sugar syrup, all the while keeping the mixer on low.

 Add a quarter teaspoon salt and a teaspoon of vanilla extract.

Drape a couple of tea towels over the mixer so that none of the hot mixture can splatter out and crank the speed up to high.

Whip, on high speed for 12 – 15 minutes. The mixture will increase enormously in volume and become light and fluffy.

 Lightly grease a tray, and dust with icing sugar.

Scrape out your lovely marshmallow into the tray. It will be sticky and will become harder to work with, the cooler it becomes.

Now, oil a piece of plastic wrap ( we used cooking spray) and use it to smooth down the top of the marshmallow.  Add sprinkles now if you want to :)

Chill in the fridge, cut into your desired shape and toss the pieces in icing sugar.

Store in a cool, dry place.

You can colour the marshmallow if you like. Add  a little food colouring  at the same time you add the salt and vanilla.

You can dip these delectable morsels in chocolate when they are set, a very special treat indeed!

Till next time

sweetrosie x

Posted in cakes and desserts, cookies and baking, food talk, this and that | 1 Comment

Vanilla Chai Latte

Image

Chai latte, it’s become quite a popular offering on espresso menus everywhere.

A chai latte is a shot of spiced tea mix, sometimes a powder , sometimes a syrup , topped up with steamed milk. At work, I make my own chai syrup, and we top our lovely drink with a sprinkling of cinnamon. Looks and tastes so beautiful.

Chai = tea. Latte = milk.

Technically, we should call it Masala Chai Latte, masala translates as spiced, and here is where the wonderful magic starts.

I make two very distinct styles of chai syrup at work. One is a traditionally spiced mix, with the addition of fresh vanilla. The other is a bush spice chai.

I maintain a background of traditional exotic spices, whilst adding the evocative, and distinctive flavours and scents of the Australian bush, with spices like lemon myrtle, aniseed myrtle and pepperberry.

Lemon Myrtle

I really do encourage you to experiment with your chai syrup recipe. Let me tell you what I use, and how I make it, but it’s a wonderful thing to develop your own, special, bespoke blend. Decanted into bottles, and labelled, these blends make a lovely gift from the heart.

Luscious Vanilla

Luscious Vanilla

One of the first things you need to think about is – sugar!

Now, I have a fondness for palm sugar. It’s rich, luscious, and adds a caramel not to the blend. However, my daughter keeps telling me stories about homeless orang-utans, and whilst I am not pretending to know anything about the primate/palm link, I respect her input, and now use a mix of coconut sugar, and ordinary, white sugar. All the while, hoping, no creatures have been displaced or disadvantaged by my decision…

You may of course choose to leave your syrup unsweetened, although of course, it will not actually be a syrup, more like a tisane, or tea.

It may be useful, if you use alternative forms of sweetener, like stevia, or rice malt, to try these in your syrup mix. Some alternative forms or sweetener may not be suitable to boil, but may be perfectly fine added to the hot, spice liquid after the cooking process.

Orange & Spices

Orange & Spices

For my latest batch of chai syrup, this is what I used. Quantities are approximate. Trust me, trust yourself, it will be wonderful!

To make approximately 700ml of Vanilla Chai Latte Syrup

To a medium, heavy base pan, add the following:

1 cup of coconut sugar

5 cups of cold water

2 vanilla pods, split and the seeds scraped into the pan. Put the pods in the pan too.

6 whole cloves

1 freshly grated nutmeg – around a teaspoon full

8 whole, green cardamom pods, bruised to allow the flavour to escape.

6 whole black peppercorns

1 stick of cinnamon

1/2 of a star anise pod

a slice of orange peel, around the size of your thumb

a couple of slices of fresh ginger, just leave the skin on

________________________________________________________________________________________________

Bring everything slowly to the boil and allow to gently simmer for 30 minutes. The 5 cups of liquid is around a litre, so just keep simmering away until it reduces to around the 700ml mark. It might take 30 minutes, it might take longer. All is good.

Your liquid  will become a little thicker.

Take the pan of the heat and pop 3 ordinary black tea bags into the hot syrup to steep.

I have experimented with green teabags too, it’s lovely, they impart a more gentle and subtle tea flavour.

I only steep my teabags for around 4-5 minutes, it’s a personal preference, as I don’t want an overwhelming tea flavour, or a lot of tannin qualities in the syrup.

Strain the syrup well, and decant into your chosen bottle. Seal, and just for safety’s safe, store in the fridge.

My standard measure to a 12oz chai latte is around 40ml of syrup. I warm the syrup first, in the cup, just in the microwave, so that it doesn’t chill the hot milk.

Oh, it’s so nice. I am sure it’s good for the spirit too, so comforting and soothing.

Till next time

sweetrosie x

 

 

 

Posted in Australian native cuisine and ingredients, food talk, this and that, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

White Sourdough Tin Loaf

My sourdough starter improves all the time.
  It’s so cold here in Adelaide at the moment,  so its progress is slow and gentle.
When I want to bake a loaf with it,  I  feed it up the day before.
I’m not precise with quantities or anything.  I guess I  usually stir in around a cup of white flour and a cup of water.
It starts to form bubbles after a feeding fairly quickly now,  I take this as an auspicious sign of strength and sourdough happiness!

image

The smell is distinctive,  sour with beer/vinegar nuances .I have read that a vinegary fragrance is undesirable,  I don’t think it is. It still smells pure and “right” to me.
Very pleasant process, watching your starter grow and mature.
Things change,
and it does get more complex as time goes by.
I baked this weekend. A white tin loaf. Super tasty crust with that sourdough crackle and wonderful flavour.
Light crumb, and it toasts beautifully.

image

If you’re just starting out with sourdough and you want to experience the flavours,  without the uncertainty of relying on wild yeasts, just add a cup or two of your starter to your favorite bread mix.
Adjust the water quantity in the mix instructions,  and use regular dried yeast,  as normal.
You will be delighted with the results,  and it helps build one’s confidence in the whole sourdough baking journey.
I especially recommend this method for new sourdough bakers who want to make a wholemeal loaf.
The heavier wholemeal flour can  sometimes be harder to prove with just a starter as leavening.
Many might disagree with me,  but it never hurts to have a go to plan when you want to make sure your loaf is as perfect as can be.
I used about a quarter teaspoon of dried active yeast, along with the starter in this wholemeal oat and honey loaf.
Maybe I didn’t need it,  but it did turn out to be a lovely loaf.

image

image

Till next time
sweetrosie x

Posted in Uncategorized | 7 Comments