There are times when overthinking a problem or issue can stop you in your tracks and cause an inordinate amount of time wastage. My current dilemma hinges on whether you, my very kind readers, would be open to the idea of anything deep-fried being featured here on Gather & Graze. Would it be considered totally improper to do such a thing in these days of hyper-nutritional-consciousness? Or, are such dishes permissible on the proviso that I strongly stipulate that said dish be prepared and consumed on a very occasional basis? Love to know your thoughts, as I’ve been umming and ahhing whether or not to publish not one, but two (eek!) delicious dishes, that both happen to require dunking into very hot oil.
My recipe for today however is a quick little one, that requires no deep-frying whatsoever, but results in a silky smooth fruit curd/butter that can be spread onto toast, muffins, pancakes, waffles, scones or the like. Continue reading →
‘Tis a fortunate thing to have friends with fruit trees… even more so when they quite generously wish to share them with you. Following on from my earlier post on Pear and Almond Upside-Down Cake, John has continued to bring along bags of pears each and every week for all who have met up for coffee on Wednesdays. They are sadly reaching the end of their season now, so this may well be the last of the home-grown pears… until next year. Continue reading →
The stone fruit has been spectacular this summer… the nectarines, the peaches, the plums! Mostly purchased from the farmer’s market, but even our new little peach tree managed to produce a small crop, to give us a taste of what’s to come – such a sweet little tree that he is! Somehow though the apricots never managed to make it into my basket. Something just wasn’t quite right with them… they never looked like they held any flavour. So as you’d expect I passed them by… that is, until today. When I saw these little blushed beauties, I knew exactly what I wanted to make – jam! Continue reading →
With 78 vibrant little cumquats/kumquats growing on my tree this year, I must admit to being a touch proud – my bounty is surprisingly up by 77 from last season! She is of the petite, potted variety, that until now has done little more than grow leaves and look rather sickly. This is my fault of course, for not always tending to her needs… water is usually helpful… as is a place to bask in the sun… Continue reading →
It’s a beautiful thing to make use of fresh, raw ingredients straight from the garden or farmer’s market. Most often to eat exactly as nature intended… though many a Saturday during the warmer months of the year, I find myself returning from the markets with a basket and bag overflowing with produce – my enthusiasm getting the better of me.
That’s where preserves come in. The following is a simple recipe, though one that produces a delicious jam, packed full of flavour, with just the right amount of tartness from the lemon juice to cut through the syrupy sweetness.
It was a fabulous breakfast this morning of strawberry jam slathered croissants.
Place the strawberries, lemon juice, rose essence (if using) and water into a large saucepan and bring to a simmer over low-medium heat. Cook for approximately 10-15 minutes, until the fruit has softened completely.
Add the sugar and stir to dissolve. Bring to the boil and allow to bubble away for another 10 minutes or so, until thickened. Keep a very good eye on the pot and stir regularly to avoid any burning on the base.
For jam to reach setting point it should be about 105°C (220°F) – test with a thermometer if you have one. Otherwise, have a small plate standing by in the freezer, to which you can scoop a little jam to test – put the plate back in the freezer for a minute or two – if it is ready it will gel together nicely, as jam usually does.
Remove the pot from the heat and allow to cool for 5-10 minutes (removing any foam from the top) before scooping into warm, sterilised jars. Seal immediately and allow to cool completely.
To sterilise the jars and lids – wash in warm, soapy water, then rinse well and place on a tray in an oven pre-heated to 130°C for about 20 minutes. Or you can boil them in a large saucepan for 15 minutes.
Be sure to place hot preserves directly into hot jars and cold preserves into cold jars.