Thursday, 18 January 2018

Seville oranges marmalade.

- about my father, seville oranges and making marmalade – rustica RETRO:
That said, as Nigel Slater wrote in the preface to his marmalade recipe for the Guardian, there must be hundreds of recipes out there, but it is the method that changes, not the ingredients.
This recipe is from Daphne Chanez at the Casa del Cibo.
Seville Orange Marmalade
about 20 bitter oranges
1 kg fine cane sugar (exact sugar quantity to be measured during preparation)
1 stick of vanilla

The whole process takes about 3 hours, less if you have another pair of hands or if you are not prone to distraction.
Sharp knives are essential.
- Wash the oranges well.
If they are urban fruit this means giving them a good scrub and possibly throwing in a teaspoon or two of bicarb.
Water will be like kids’ bath water.

- Peel the oranges making sure not to grab too much of the white with each peel.
Finely slice the peel – or cut it more roughly if you like a chunkier look.
3. Place the slices peel in a saucepan, cover with cold water and bring to the boil.
Lower the flame and cook for about 30 mins.
Drain liquid and set peel aside.

- For the next stage – which is by far the most painstaking, a chopping board with a good groove to collect the juice is required.
Cut the white part from the whole oranges as if you were preparing a fruit salad.
Toss the skins.
Cut the oranges in half and remove the pips, placing them in a small saucepan along with the juice as it is collected.
The remaining flesh, which will be a bit worse for wear after having removed the pips, needs to be cut with a sharp knife into roughly 2cm cubes.
Remove any nasty tough pithy pits and collect flesh in a large bowl.

- Once you have all the flesh cut you can add the boiled rind strips to the bowl.
Measure the contents of the bowl, and this will give you a guide for the quantity of sugar.
This recipe calls for 50% fruit (flesh and peel), 50% sugar, so if you have 1kg of fruit mix you will need 1kg of sugar.

- Place the saucepan of pips and juice on a medium flame and bring to the boil.
Lower flame and cook for another 10 mins.
Cooking the pips and the juice allows the pectin – which is the all important setting agent for jams and jellies – to develop.
After cooking you will have a thick browny orange syrupy liquid which needs to be pushed through a fine sieve or hung and then squeezed through muslin.
Some marmalade recipes tell you to tie the pips in a muslin bag and let them cook with the mixture.
I liked Daphne’s method because if you have a great amount of pectin you can conserve or freeze some for future jam making.
Set drained syrup aside.

- Over a moderately high flame place the rind and flesh mixture in a good preserving saucepan and cook for 5 minutes, then lower the flame and cook for a further 20 mins.
Make sure the mixture doesn’t catch.

- Add the sugar, half a vanilla pod with a slip down the side and the pectin syrup and cook for a further 20 minutes over a low flame.
Stir regularly and make sure the mixture doesn’t catch.
The mixture should thicken but still have a runniness to it.
The color should be a beautiful translucent orange.
If the mixture seems to runny keep cooking for another 5 – 10 minutes but stand by – I have first hand experience that jam and marmalade can overcook or burn easily in the final stages.

- My mother’s setting test (she had to make it in here somewhere) is letting the marmalade drop from a wooden spoon onto a small plate to see how it has jelled.
Once happy with the consistency use a funnel and ladle the marmalade into sterilized jars with new lids.
Close accurately and leave them upside down until they have cooled completely.
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Seville Orange Marmalade from Waitrose.

- Seville Orange Marmalade:
1kg Seville oranges
1 unwaxed lemon
2kg Tate & Lyle Preserving Sugar
Wash the oranges and lemon thoroughly, then dry them in a clean tea towel.
Pour 2 litres cold water into a large, wide pan or preserving pan.
Squeeze the oranges and lemon and add the juice to the water.
Reserve the pips and orange rind, but discard the squeezed lemon.
Cut the oranges in half again and, using a metal spoon, scrape the pith and pips into the centre of a large square of muslin.
Tie the muslin with kitchen string to form a bag.
Add to the pan and tie the ends of the string to the pan handle to make it easier to remove later.
Cut the orange peel into strips - chunky for coarse cut and thinner for a fine shred.
It is easier and quicker if you place 2 pieces on top of each other and slice with a sharp knife.
Add to the pan and bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 2 hours, until the peel is very soft and the liquid reduced by about half.
Remove and discard the bag with the pips and pith, squeezing as much juice as possible back into the pan with the back of a wooden spoon.
Add the sugar and stir over a low heat until it has dissolved.
Increase the heat and boil rapidly until it reaches setting point.
This usually takes about 15 minutes.
To test, remove the pan from the heat and spoon a little marmalade onto a chilled saucer.
Allow to cool for a few seconds, then push with a finger.
If the surface wrinkles it is ready.
If not, boil for a further 5 minutes and test again.
Leave the marmalade to settle for 15 minutes, then skim off any scum from the surface with a slotted spoon.
Stir the mixture and pour into warm, clean jars, using a jug.
Place a waxed disk on top immediately.
Cover when cold, then label and date.

Cook's tips
Choose the Right Pan
- Use a large, wide pan to make marmalade.
The mixture should not come any higher than half way up the sides. A wide pan helps the liquid to evaporate more quickly and reduces the likelihood of the marmalade boiling over.

Prepare the Jars
At the end of paragraph 3 of the instructions, prepare the jars.
Preheat the oven to 160°C, gas mark 3.
Ensure the jars are clean and free from cracks and chips.
Place the jars on their sides in the oven for 10 minutes, then turn the oven off leaving the jars inside until the marmalade is ready to pot.

Use Preserving Sugar
Preserving sugar has larger crystals which dissolve slowly.
This minimises scum and results in a bright, clear marmalade.

Ensure a Good Set

Much of the pectin which makes marmalade set is found in the pips and pith.
This is why it is wrapped in a muslin bag and boiled with the marmalade so that as much pectin as possible is extracted to ensure a good set.

Vary the Flavour
For a touch of spice, add 3 tbsp grated, fresh root ginger at the beginning of the cooking.
To make a darker, rich marmalade replace 100g of the sugar with dark muscovado sugar.
Make your marmalade extra special by stirring in 75ml whisky just before potting.

Where to Store Marmalade
Store in a cool, dry place, away from direct light which will fade the colour.
The marmalade will keep for up to one year.

is: at stage 2 , after cutting the fruit in half I put the halves in my pressure cooker and add just enough cold water to cover.
Slightly over half the amount suggested in the recipe.
You don't lose much by evaporation in pressure cooking so you end up with about 1.2L of liquid (water & juice) which is about right.
Bring the cooker up to pressure, which takes around 18mins then cook on high for 5 minutes, switch off the heat and allow to cool until you can release the lid easily.
When cool enough to handle scrape out the flesh & pips & shred the cooked peel.
If you like you can boil up the pith & pips in a muslin bag immersed in the liquid before adding the sugar but I have found it works fine without doing this.
The pressure cooking has extracted sufficient pectin to form a good set.
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Tuesday, 16 January 2018

Seville orange marmalade.

Seville orange marmalade | BBC Good Food:
Seville oranges only have a very short season, make the most delicious homemade marmalade and don't let them go to waste. Their sharp tangy flavour makes the perfect marmalade for spreading on toast or for use in your baking.
4 Seville orange (about 500g/1lb 2oz in total), scrubbed
1.7l water
1kg granulated sugar
Halve the oranges and squeeze the juice into a large stainless-steel pan.
Scoop the pips and pulp into a sieve over the pan and squeeze out as much juice as possible, then tie the pulp and pips in the muslin.
Shred the remaining peel and pith, either by hand with a sharp knife or in a food processor (a food processor will give very fine flecks rather than strips of peel).
Add the shredded peel and muslin bag to the pan along with the water.
Leave to soak overnight.
This helps to extract the maximum amount of pectin from the fruit pulp, which will give a better set.
It also helps to soften the peel, which will reduce the amount of cooking needed.

Put the pan over a medium heat, then bring up to a simmer.
Cook, uncovered, for 1½-2 hrs, until the peel has become very soft. (The cooking time will be affected by how thickly you have cut the peel.)
To see if the peel is ready, pick out a thicker piece and press it between your thumb and finger.
It should look slightly see-through and feel soft when you rub it.
Carefully remove the muslin bag, allow to cool slightly, then, wearing the rubber gloves, squeeze out as much liquid as possible to extract the pectin from the fruit pulp.
Discard the bag and weigh the simmered peel mixture.
There should be between 775-800g; if less, then top up with water to 775g.
Put 4 small plates in the freezer, ready to use when testing for setting point.
Add the sugar to the pan, then put over a low heat.
Warm gently so that the sugar dissolves completely, stirring occasionally.
Do not boil, before the sugar is dissolved.
Increase the heat and bring up to the boil but do not stir while the marmalade is boiling.
After about 5 mins the marmalade will start to rise up the pan (it may drop back and then rise again) and larger bubbles will cover the surface.
After 8-10 mins boiling, test for setting point.
Times will vary according to the size of the pan – in a large pan this takes 7-8 mins, in other pans it may take 12-15 mins.
As setting point can be easily missed it’s better to test too early than too late.
To test the setting point: take the pan off the heat and allow the bubbles to subside.
Take a plate from the freezer and spoon a little liquid onto the plate, then return to the freezer for 1 min.
Push the marmalade along the plate with your finger.
If setting point has been reached then the marmalade surface will wrinkle slightly and the marmalade won’t run back straight away.
If it’s not at setting point, return to the heat and boil again for 2 mins before re-testing.
Repeat until setting point is reached.
If you have a sugar thermometer, setting point is reached at 105C, but it’s good to do the plate test as well.
Leave the marmalade to stand for 10 mins or until starting to thicken.
If there’s any scum on the surface, spoon it off.
Transfer the marmalade to sterilised jars.
Cover with a wax disc (wax side down) and seal.
When cold, label the jars and store in a cool, dark cupboard.
The marmalade should keep for up to a year.

Seville Orange Marmalade Recipe | Simply Recipes:
Seville Orange Marmalade | David Lebovitz:
Mandarin jam recipe | Souvlaki For The Soul:
Ardor, Zest.: January canning: Chile Mandarin Marmalade, with a spritz of Ginger {Giveaway}:
Nigel Slater finally shares his marmalade recipe | Life and style | The Observer:
Mandarin marmalade recipe - Telegraph: "...classic! "
- Classic Seville Orange Marmalade | Taste & Smile:
650 g oranges (Seville, preferably)
1.5 l water
1 kg Tate & Lyle Preserving Sugar

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Blood Orange, Rhubarb And Cardamon Marmalade by Gloria Nicol.

laundry etc:
Makes approx 1.3kg (3lbs)

0.4Kg (1lb) rhubarb
1kg (2.2lbs) sugar
juice of 1 lemon
seeds from 14 cardamom pods, crushed
800g (1.75 lb ) blood oranges

Rinse the rhubarb stems and chop into 1cm (1/2 in) evenly sized pieces, slicing thicker stems lengthwise to make the pieces uniform.
Place them in a bowl with the sugar and lemon juice.
Tie the crushed cardamom seeds, pods and all, in a piece of muslin and push them inbetween the rhubarb, then cover with baking paper or clingfilm and leave overnight or for up to 24 hours, so the juices ooze out of the rhubarb and turn the sugar to syrup.
Wash the blood oranges and remove the peel with a sharp knife or potato peeler, leaving as much of the pith on the fruit as possible.
Finely cut the peel into shreds.
Squeeze the fruits, collecting the juice and tie the remaining pulp, pith and pips together in a muslin bundle.
Place the shreds, juice and bundle in a pan, add 1.4ltr (2 1/2pt) water and simmer for 2 – 2 1/2 hours until the peel is cooked through and tender.
Remove the muslin bundle and, when cool enough to handle, squeeze the juice from it back into the pan, then discard.
Pour the peel through a sieve and collect and measure the liquid, adding more water if necessary to make it up to 1ltr (1 3/4 pts).
Prepare the jars and canner if you plan to hot water process the marmalade, otherwise, make sure your jars and lids are clean and place them in a warm oven to heat and sterilise.
Place the cooked shreds, cooking liquid and the contents of the rhubarb bowl in a preserving pan and bring slowly to the boil, stirring to make sure all the sugar is dissolved.
Bring to a rolling boil and cook on a high heat until setting point is reached, that is when a small blob of the syrup on a cold plate quickly forms a skin when you run your finger across the surface.
It took me 20-25 minutes for the marmalade to reach setting point at a fast rolling boil, showing 104C (220F) on a thermometer.
Remove the cardamom bundle.
Fill the jars, leaving the appropriate amount of headroom for canning, and seal.
Hot water process for 10 minutes, then remove from the canner, leave till cold and test that the lids are sealed. Label and store.
Alternatively, without canning, top jars with sterilised lids or use traditional wax paper circles and cellophane with elastic bands to seal.
This marmalade should store safely without canning, but hot water processing will make doubly sure that your jam will keep and store without a hitch.
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Redcurrant, Strawberrry & Black Pepper Jam by Gloria Nicol

Preserving expert Gloria Nicol, author of 100 Jams, Jellies, Preserves and Pickles for some tips on jam making & her favourite jam recipe - Redcurrant, Strawberrry & Black Pepper Jam.
I’ve never made jam before.
Where do I start?

Take inspiration from a fresh seasonal ingredient, like succulent local strawberries, pink-stemmed rhubarb, or blackberries picked from the hedgerows for free.
Once you get into preserving, fruits in season begin to represent that time, like a ceremony to mark a particular time of year.

What makes a good jam?
The best jam captures the essence and character of the ingredients and shouldn’t be overpoweringly sweet.
Though cooked, it shouldn’t taste ‘stewed’ and should still possess a fresh flavour.

Why does jam have so much sugar in it?
Sugar is a preservative and jam needs to contain a certain percentage of sugar to fruit for it to keep.
Trading standards states the definition of jam as having 60% sugar content or over and most jam for sale is in the region of 65%.
The sweetness should slightly exaggerate and intensify the fruit flavour without overtaking it.

Can I use less sugar when making jam?
The great thing about making your own jam is that you can use less sugar to suit your own tastes.
If you do cut back on sugar you need to be aware that your jam may not keep as long and as sugar also plays a part in how the jam sets (along with the pectin content of the fruit), you may also have to settle for a softer set jam if you use less sugar.
Jam isn’t really a food generally eaten on its own!
It is the added extra; spread on a slice of toast with butter, or with cream on a scone.
So for the small amount consumed it doesn’t have to be a big deal how much sugar it contains, better to make it the best quality and most flavourful it can be and consume in moderation.

I don’t have any fancy canning equipment - can I still make jam?
For jam making you require a few basic pieces of equipment that you may already have in the kitchen; a large pan, a wooden spoon and some recycled glass jam jars are the basics.
There is an advantage to using the right kind of pan though, as a large shallow shape will help encourage fast evaporation when bringing your jam to setting point.
As this part of jam making seems to be what most people find tricky to begin with, it is worth buying or borrowing a proper jam pan, if you don’t already have something handy that will do the job.
I prefer to seal my jars with metal lids, but old fashioned traditional cellophane circles with elastic bands are still available and cheap to buy from hardware stores for sealing your jam and they work just fine.

Any other advice for people new to making jam?
When boiling your jam to reach setting point, never fill the pan over half full.
A rapid boil will make the syrupy mixture rise up and bubble in the pan and if the pan is too full you will be constantly having to turn the heat down to stop the jam from boiling over.
To reach a fast set you need a steely nerve and a full-on constant heat to maintain a rolling boil.
Sometimes people say to me that they had to boil their jam for hours!
That means there was something wrong.
I can usually bring jam to setting point in 5 – 20 minutes depending on the type of fruit.

What’s you favourite jam and how do you like to enjoy it?
My favourite jam is usually the one I’ve made most recently, like the rhubarb, lemon and English lavender jam, currently my jam of choice for topping a scone with a dollop of clotted cream.
Damsons are my favourite single fruit flavour, so I always look forward to making a batch of damson jam each year and the Seville marmalade season, in January, is something I look forward to as well as this marks the start of the preserving year.
If you are using local seasonal produce there may be only a few weeks availability to focus on an ingredient before moving onto the next.

People are often obsessed by how long preserves will keep for.
If you have a jam that you can proudly say has kept in the larder for a year or two, that says it wasn’t actually amazing enough to be eaten! I would rather run out of my favourite preserves and be looking forward to making more next year, than have a shelf full sitting there, that isn’t quite special enough to be eaten up with relish.

Perfect combinations are part of a preserver’s quest.
Combinations can marry flavours in a satisfying way but also mixing low and high pectin fruits is good too.
Pectin content is what helps jam to set and some fruits such as strawberries, rhubarb and cherries are relatively low in pectin.
If you combine them with a fruit with high pectin, such as sour apples or red and white currants, as well as building flavours you also help to make a jam with good consistency.
The following recipe mixes redcurrants and strawberries, so as well as an advantageous pectin boost it is a wonderful vibrant colour.

Redcurrant, Strawberry And Black Pepper Jam.
Makes approx 1.75Kg jam
750g strawberries, hulled
1.1Kg sugar
juice from 1 lemon
1Kg redcurrants, removed from stems
7 whole black peppercorns, roughly ground

- Cut large strawberries into 3 and leave small ones whole, then place the strawberries in a bowl with 600g of sugar and the juice from the lemon.
Stir to combine, cover with clingfilm and leave in the fridge overnight.

- Place the redcurrants in a pan with 150ml water and bring to a simmer for 5-10 minutes, by which time the currants will have popped and released their juice.
Pour the currants into a sieve and collect the juice that drains through, then with the back of a spoon, push the fruit through leaving skins and pips behind.
Scrape the redcurrant puree from the underside of the sieve and add it to the juice and discard the skins and pips.

- Pour the contents of the strawberry bowl into a pan and warm it through stirring until the sugar is completely dissolved.
Pour through a sieve, collecting the juice and leaving the strawberries to one side.

- In a preserving pan combine the redcurrant and strawberry juice and add the remaining sugar.
Heat gently stirring until the sugar has dissolved then up the heat and bring to a rolling boil until setting point is reached (a blob of the syrup on a cold plate will quickly form a skin that wrinkles when you push your finger across it.)

- Add the strawberries and the ground black peppercorns and bring back to a boil and maintain for 2 minutes.
Remove from the heat, skim off any foam if necessary and pour into hot sterilised jars. (To do this, I place clean jars on their sides in a low oven, on a shelf lined with a tea towel, for 15 minutes)

- Place a wax paper circle on the surface of the jam and seal.
Leave till cold and label your jars.

Sunday, 14 January 2018

Gloria Nicol's Poached Seville oranges - Seville marmalade.

Lady Marmalade | Life and style | The Guardian:
The first sign of fresh Seville oranges for sale heralds the start of the preserving year and usually lasts until late February.
But be warned: recent reports that sales of manufactured marmalade have taken a nose dive and that the homemade version is on the up may mean fruit is harder to find than usual.
Best get started early.

There are two basic methods of making marmalade: paring the uncooked oranges and shredding the peel; or poaching the oranges whole before scooping out the innards and shredding the cooked peel.
I favour the latter method.
Whichever route you choose to take, the peel requires at least a couple of hours of slow cooking to get right.

According to Jane Hasell-McCosh, founder and organiser of the Marmalade Awards, undercooked peel is what lets most people down.
Last year, the festival received more than 650 entries from amateur makers, a third from men, and a further 150 entries from artisan jam makers, sent in from as far afield as Japan.
Every entry is marked for taste and appearance and every entrant receives their scorecard feedback in the post after the event.
The 2011 Marmalade Festival takes place on the 12th & 13th February (you need to get your entries in by the 6th).

It isn't necessary that your marmalade be award-winning.
It can still be delicious.
Here is my tried and tested recipe for this classic breakfast preserve.

Seville marmalade
(makes 2kg)
1 kg Seville oranges
1 lemon
1.5 kg sugar
1.25 litres water

Wash the whole fruits and place in a heavy lidded casserole or a preserving pan that will fit in the oven.
Pour in the water and bring to simmering point on the hob.
Cover or if using a preserving pan make a lid to cover the top with tin foil before placing in a 180 C, Mk4 oven.
Poach the fruit for two-and-a-half to three hours, by which time the skins will be softened.

Using a spoon, lift the fruit out of the liquid into a colander over a bowl and leave to drain.
When the fruit is cool enough to handle, cut each in half and scoop out the insides with a spoon to leave just the peel, placing all the flesh, pith and pips in a muslin bag or a large piece of muslin over a bowl which you can gather into a bag.
Collect all the juice as you go and add it to the poaching liquid.

Measure the poaching liquid and make up to 1 litre with water if necessary.
Place the muslin bag in a preserving pan with the poaching liquid and bring to the boil and simmer for 15 minutes.
Leave till cool enough to handle then squeeze the bag to get as much of the liquid as possible from the pulp.
Discard the bag and its contents.

Chop the peel into thin strips and add to the preserving liquid.
Add the sugar and stir over a low heat until the sugar is completely dissolved and the liquid is clear.
Turn up the heat and bring to a rolling boil until it reaches setting point. (Setting point is when a dollop of the syrup on a cold plate, readily forms a skin when you push your finger across the surface. This takes me around 20 to 30 minutes.)

Turn off the heat and leave to stand for 15 minutes then stir to distribute the peel.
Pour into hot, clean sterilised jars, put waxed paper circles wax side down on each one and seal immediately.
Label when cool and store in the larder.

This marmalade takes a lot longer to get to the setting point ...reckons that marmalade sets between 104 and 105.5C, and that if it gets any hotter than this, then you're in trouble.
I end up with a tawny amber jelly, with a complex bittersweet flavour, although the set is less firm.
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Jewish Honey cake by Claudia Roden.

- Jewish new year recipes | Claudia Roden | Life and style | The Guardian:
Honey cake has been a favourite Jewish cake since the early Middle Ages. It is mentioned in 12th-century records in Germany, when it was the custom for young boys attending heder (Jewish school) to bring a piece on the first day.

It is the traditional cake of Rosh Hashanah, symbolising the hope that the new year will be sweet. This version is moist and delicious with a great richness of flavour. It should be made at least three days before you want to eat it.

Makes 1 cake
large eggs 2
sugar 200g
light vegetable oil 125ml
dark liquid honey 250g
rum or brandy 2 tbsp
warm strong black coffee 125ml
baking powder 2 tsp
baking soda ½tsp
salt a pinch
ground cinnamon 1 tsp
ground cloves ¼ tsp
orange grated zest of 1
plain flour 300g, plus extra to dust the dried fruit and nuts
sultanas 40g
walnuts or slivered almonds 50g, coarsely chopped

Beat the eggs with the sugar until pale and creamy.
Then beat in the oil, honey, rum and coffee.

Mix the baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, cloves and orange zest with the flour.
Add gradually to the egg and honey mixture, beating vigorously to a smooth batter.

Dust the sultanas and the walnuts or almonds with flour to prevent them from dropping to the bottom of the cake and stir them into the batter.

Line a 24cm cake tin with greaseproof paper or with foil, brushed with oil and dusted with flour, and pour in the batter.
Or divide between two 24cm x 13cm loaf tins.

Bake the large cake in a preheated oven 180C/gas mark 4 for 1¼ hours, or longer, until firm and brown on top, and the smaller ones for 1 hour.

- majestic and moist honey cake – smitten kitchen:

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Sunday, 31 December 2017

Angela Hartnett's aubergine gratin.

- Angela Hartnett's aubergine gratin | Life and style | The Guardian:
A quick vegetarian dish as tasty as parmigiana, but less work.
It has all the components of an aubergine parmigiana – and is just as tasty – but is half the work.
Serves 2

1 large aubergine
50ml olive oil
salt and pepper
25ml good-quality balsamic vinegar
250g buffalo mozzarella
4 large tomatoes, halved
1 tbsp chopped basil
20g chopped black olives

Peel the aubergine, discard the skin and dice into large cubes.
Toss the diced flesh with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
Roast in an oven preheated to 200C for 10 minutes.
Remove from the oven and toss with the balsamic vinegar before mixing with the tomatoes, olives, mozzarella and basil.
Check the seasoning to taste, and return to the oven at 200C for another 5 minutes.
Serve with a green salad.
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Saturday, 30 December 2017

Perfect trifle.

- How to make perfect trifle | Life and style | The Guardian:
British version of "wet cake" and custard.
...the light frothy cream, the smooth, velvety custard, the tangy fruit mingling with the bouquet of wine (or sherry or liqueur), and perhaps a touch of almondy crunchiness from ratafias or macaroons, and lastly the sweet, soft but crumbly texture of the sponge or sponge fingers...or a rather dry sort of sponge cake.
And winter fruit compote: Soaked in orange juice, and lightly spiced with cinnamon and cloves, the dried fruit gives the whole dish a distinctly festive feel, while retaining a slight chewiness which guarantees it won't dissolve into the background.
The jelly adds a bouncy robustness of texture to the base which is actually quite pleasant, but, in combination with custard and cream, it reminds me less of a school treat and more of an infant's party.
Blinkered I may be, but there'll be no jelly in my perfect trifle.
A good custard shouldn't need any such foreign intervention.
A thick layer of whipped cream, as used in every other recipe, provides the delicate foil to the sweet custard and boozy, fruity base.... and the pomegranate seeds, well, they just look nicely festive.
So...the heaven-sent prescription of layers of cake, fruit, booze, custard and cream, you'll be in for a Christmas treat.
Just don't mention the dream topping ...

1. Start by making the compote.
4 handfuls of dried fruit – I like a mix of figs, prunes and apricots
½ cinnamon stick
3 cloves
Zest and juice of 2 oranges
Put all the ingredients into a small pan and barely cover with cold water.
Heat gently and then simmer for about 15 minutes until the fruit is plump and the liquid has become slightly syrupy.
Set aside and allow to cool.

2. Meanwhile, make the custard.
300ml whole milk
300ml double cream
1 vanilla pod, slit in half and seeds scraped out
6 egg yolks
3 tbsp caster sugar
1 tbsp cornflour
Put the milk and cream into a thick-bottomed pan with the vanilla pod and seeds on a gentle heat.
Stir, then bring it to just below a simmer; do not allow it to boil.
Beat the egg yolks, sugar and cornflour together in a large bowl.

Remove the vanilla pod from the hot milk and pour the milk on to the yolk and sugar mixture, stirring all the time.

Turn the heat down to medium-low, and pour the custard back into the pan.
Stirring slowly and continuously, cook until it coats the back of a wooden spoon – the longer you cook it, the thicker it will be.
If it doesn't appear to be thickening after 10 minutes, you may have the heat slightly too low, but don't turn it up dramatically or you'll spoil all your hard work. (Alternatively, if you're not feeling terribly brave, suspend a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water, pour the yolk and milk mixture into that, and proceed as above.)
Bear in mind you'll be tied to the stove for at least 20 minutes, so put some good music on.
Decant into a jug to cool, pressing some clingfilm on to the surface to prevent a skin forming.

4. How to put together:
1 packet boudoir biscuits (also sold as lady fingers or savoiardi)
100ml sweet sherry
1 packet ratafia or amaretti biscuits
300ml double cream
15g flaked almonds, toasted
Seeds of ¼ pomegranate
Line a glass bowl with boudoir biscuits and, after picking out the spices (3 cloves, remember) spoon the compote and juices over the top.
Pour over the sherry and then scatter over the amaretti.
Dollop the cooled custard on top, and then cover with clingfilm and refrigerate until set.

5. Whip the cream to soft peaks, spoon on top of the trifle and chill for at least two hours before serving.
Just before serving, arrange the almonds and pomegranate seeds on top – if you leave them there too long the seeds will bleed colour into the cream, and the nuts will go soggy.

OR instead of cream put on top Fruit Mousse!
- Four seasons.: Light and Easy 5-Minute Fruit Mousse.:

Is trifle truly one of Britain's greatest contributions to dessert, or a revolting medieval mess that's best left to the toothless and the Italians?
What do you put in your version (any savoury suggestions?) and if not trifle, what would you choose for the grand finale of your final meal?

Light and Easy 5-Minute Fruit Mousse.

- Light and Easy 5-Minute Fruit Mousse Recipe | Serious Eats:
Leftover Egg Whites!
Fruit Mousse on top of Perfect trifle!
- Four seasons.: Perfect trifle.:

- Ingredients
125 g fresh raspberry (in recipe: about 2 1/4 cups) frozen berries or other fruit
2 tablespoons of cane sugar (or use sugar, honey, maple syrup or stevia extract to taste)
1 large egg white
Fresh berries and whipped cream for serving (optional)

- Add fruit to the bowl of small food processor.
Process to a rough puree, about 1 minute.
Add the sugar or another sweetener and pulse briefly to combine.
If you're using a different sweetener, add a small amount at a time to taste.
- Add the egg white and process until smooth and fluffy and the mixture has lightened in color and doubled or tripled in volume, 2 to 3 minutes.

- If the mixture clings to the sides of the food processor's bowl too much (this may happen if the blade doesn't extend all the way to the sides of the bowl), transfer the mixture to a normal medium-sized bowl and beat with a mixer fitted with the whisk attachment until fluffy.

- Spoon the mousse into glasses and top or layer with fresh berries and/or whipped cream (optional).
Serve immediately or store in the refrigerator for up to 2 hours (because this mousse has very little sugar in it, it's not very stable and it won't hold for longer than that).
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No-Knead Peasant Bread.

- Alexandra Stafford's No-Knead Peasant Bread Recipe on Food52:
- My Mother's Peasant Bread: The Easiest No-Knead Bread You Will Ever Make:
- Meet the Woman Behind the Internet's Favorite Bread Recipe | TASTE:
yield 2 loaves
4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (512 g)
2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons sugar
2¼ teaspoons instant yeast
2 cups lukewarm water (between 36.5 to 40.5 Celsius)
softened butter, for greasing

How hot is lukewarm?

- How hot is lukewarm? - The Chef in Me:
Lukewarm is when you mix together 1 part normal, room temperature water with 2 parts boiling water or milk.
Now that’s your lukewarm water or milk.

“Generally means between 98 and 105 degrees Fahrenheit, 36.5 to 40.5 Celsius.
When you run the water on your wrist and it feels warmer than your body temperature, but not hot, that should be just about right.
If you’ve ever tested the temperature of warm formula or milk in a baby’s bottle, that’s lukewarm.”

Friday, 29 December 2017

Lentils with potatoes.

small brown lentils
olive oil
white onion, finely chopped
garlic clove, finely chopped
carrot, peeled and finely chopped
celery stick, finely chopped
bay leaves
diced tomatoes or passata
potatoes cut into small pieces
smoked British Bacon Lardons
Salt and black pepper

- Wash the lentils.
Boil the kettle.
In a large, deep frying pan or Dutch oven, warm the olive oil and add with a five-minute interval the smoked British Bacon Lardons, onion, garlic, carrot and celery and fry gently until soft.

- add the lentils and bay leaves and then cover with at least 5cm of water and cook at the gentlest of simmers until the lentils are tender, but still with just a little bite – which will take anything from 20–40 minutes (be careful: lentils turn from tender to mush quite quickly).
Stir in the tomatoes, potatoes.
Keep tasting and add more water or broth if the pan looks dry.
By the end of cooking, the water should have been almost completely absorbed.

Serve with sausages (Waitrose British chorizo pork sausages or Toulouse sausages with bacon, red wine & garlic - best for me!).
Brown them in a little oil, then pour over a wine (red, white or rosé) and put on the lid so they cook in a steamy braise for 20 minutes.

Adapted from
- basic lentil soup:
- Favorite Lentil Soup: One-Pot, Vegan, Completely Delicious - Alexandra's Kitchen:

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Wednesday, 27 December 2017

How To Make the Best Caesar Dressing from Kitchn

- How To Make the Best Caesar Dressing | Kitchn:
Classic Caesar salad dressing is deeply debated.
A quick search on the internet will lead you to over one-million recipes, each of them different.
Some claim the classic doesn't contain anchovies.
There are recipes without egg yolks, and dressings made from tofu and even mayonnaise, but none of these are the best Caesar salad dressing.
The best Caesar salad dressing starts with anchovies and garlic, and it creates an emulsion with raw egg yolks, mustard, and two types of oil.
The best Caesar salad dressing is deceptively simple and delectable — and this is it.

How To Make the Best Caesar Dressing
Makes 1 cup

Friday, 15 December 2017


- Z Tasty Life - It is so fascinating for me to revive ancient, lost...:
Here we go: whisk one egg, continue whisking and add 2 tablespoons of flour, then whisk in 1/2 cup milk.
Cook in a hot small non-stick pan with 2 tablespoons of olive oil.
Note: it will break, unless you are incredibly delicate.
I flip it with an inverted plate.
You can do smaller one, but a big one is traditional.
I like adding lemon zest.
A know variation is [el-paradél-cui-pomm], in which one adds apple slices.

It is so fascinating for me to revive ancient, lost recipe of frugal, regional Italian cuisine.
Here is one I absolutely love for its speed and simplicity (perfect for snack): [el #paradél], from the Como region of Italy, and it is over 300 years old, or possibly more ancient.
In the past, this sweet, giant pancake was done with the very littlest thing from a semi-empty pantry: some water and flower fried in a pan.
Then, it evolved to include an egg and some milk... when available.
A dusting of powder sugar turns into a treat.
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Monday, 4 December 2017

Julian Barnes. The Pedant In The Kitchen.

'Lesson Two: that the relationship between professional and domestic cook has similarities to a sexual encounter.
One party is normally more experienced than the other; and either party should have the right, at any moment, to say, 'No, I'm not going to do that.'