Mediterranean Dishes, Preserving, Salads, Vegan, Vegan Treats

Preserving Lemons and Limes. Moroccan Style.

There’s just a hint of spring in the air here in the UK, and my thoughts are already turning to fresh salads and light ‘spring-like’ food!

There are wonderful citrus fruit in the shops at the moment, and this recipe brings all the intensity of citrus flavours to the fore, while in the meantime gentling the sharpness that can sometimes be too overpowering.

Preserving lemons takes about a month, and then, stored in the refrigerator, they will last for months… which is great, because you don’t need much to bring a zing to any dish.

Typically preserved lemons are used in Moroccan dishes such as Tagine, and Couscous, but with just a little imagination I think there are many possibilities to introduce this gorgeous flavour : salads, pasta,  curries, marinades for tofu and tempeh, side dishes such as french beans, asparagus or carrots, as well as sauces, dressings and even desserts. As well as Mediterranean  dishes such as hummus or olive tapenade.

lemony lemonyness

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PRESERVED LEMONS

I litre jar : 8-10 lemons (and limes)

Cook’ notes: 

  • 1)The favoured choice of lemon for preserving is Meyer lemon, but other types of lemon work fine.  It’s important they’re unwaxed, as you will be eating the rind …. 
  • 2) I used Himalayan salt … which is the only salt I use in the kitchen these days.
  • The best jar to use is almost certainly a glass kilner jar with a good tight seal.  Don’t use metallic lids as they will react with the lemon juice.  

Ingredients:   Continue reading “Preserving Lemons and Limes. Moroccan Style.”

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Breakfast, Preserving, Vegan

Whisky Marmalade

I thought I’d add a link today for the seville orange marmalade I blogged this time last year.  For a brief time, here in the UK, organic seville oranges are available in the shops.  Don’t miss out !  (Whenever they appear wherever you are!  🙂 )

(click image below for marmalade post link)

making marmalade

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It has to be said, there’s nothing quite like home-made marmalade …. it really is worth the effort!

My next few blogs will have a Scottish twist as Burn’s Night is coming up soon, so today I thought I’d start with a classic, by adding a small dram of fine Scottish Whisky to a few of jars of home-made marmalade.

It’s very easy:  when you transfer the hot marmalade to the jars, add about 15ml. of whisky to each 500gm. jar that you want to convert, and stir in briefly with a sterilised teaspoon, while the marmalade is still piping hot and liquid.   Cover with a waxed disc, apply lid and allow to cool and set as usual.  The hot marmalade will allow the whisky to diffuse throughout.   Continue reading “Whisky Marmalade”

All About Beans, Breakfast, Growing things, Preserving, Vegan

Jam…. Pickle… Passata…. it’s that time of year again ….

Izzy wizzy let’s get bizzy 🐝 ✨

Greetings from a busy kitchen 💐 💕

I’ve been singularly failing to keep my blog going lately…and that’s because I’ve been madly busy harvesting and storing, preserving and pickling some of my homegrown fruit and vegetables. So cooking dinner has been taking a bit of a back seat!  Baked potatoes all round 😏

Here’s a taster of what’s been happening in my household lately… raspberry jam, cucumber pickle, roasted tomato and garlic passata and an almond vegan cheese made in honour of my delicious Italian tomatoes…… and some of the beans are air-drying for the winter …..

So. Where to start?

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ROASTED TOMATO AND GARLIC PASSATA

Ingredients: Continue reading “Jam…. Pickle… Passata…. it’s that time of year again ….”

Preserving, Vegan, Vegan Treats

Fresh Strawberry Jam. (Reduced Sugar and Freezable).

My strawberry patch is in full swing.  We just picked 2 kg. in one go….and there’s more to come.  So it must be jamming time!

Today I’m sharing a recipe for a strawberry jam that uses only half the usual amount of sugar.  It will keep in the fridge for 2-3 weeks, or you can freeze it…..it will be fine for 3 months if not longer…. so, I include tips on how to freeze jam successfully.

This way you get real fresh strawberryness, a lot less sugar, and by leaving the strawberries largely whole, you can savour them in all their juiciness when strawberry season is long over.    And it really is delicious….

Making jam reminds me of my grandparents, who had a huge plum tree in the garden.  My grand-dad would get up a very high ladder, which invariably looked terrifyingly precarious, and collect all the plums, shaking some of them down as well, while I ran around underneath the tree picking up the ones that fell  …and then delivering them all to my nanna in the kitchen, who would set about the making of jam.  The whole house would fill with the fragrance of plum…it would last for days.  The next day rows of potted sealed jam would sit in the larder, gleaming purple.

Home-made jam is still just the best.  Worth the faff. Strawberries, for all their fabulousness, don’t last long, and jam still has to be probably the best way to preserve them. I think anyway.

And finally, before I get to the business in hand, a word for the WI (Women’s Institute), for which jam is just one trademark.  ‘Jam and Jerusalem!’

(Jerusalem is the anthem of the WI. btw) ….

To quote Wikipedia:

‘The British WI movement was formed in 1915 in Llanfairpwllgwyngyll, Anglesey Wales.  It had two clear aims: to revitalise rural communities and to encourage women to become more involved in producing food during the First World War. Since then the organisation’s aims have broadened and it is now the largest women’s voluntary organisation in the UK. The organisation celebrated its 95th anniversary in 2010 and currently has approximately 208,000 members in 7,000 WIs.

Amongst WI aims and activities are providing women with educational opportunities and the chance to build new skills, enabling them to take part in a wide variety of activities, campaigning on issues that matter to them and their communities.’

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As I mentioned, I picked 2 kgs. of strawberries, which I graded into best, pretty good, and not much good.  Only put decent ones in the jam….

I ended up with 1.5 kg. strawberries for jam.  As this maybe an unreasonable amount of strawberries for most people, I have halved the quantities, so the recipe below should make 2 pots of jam.  One for the fridge and one for the freezer?

Hope you enjoy.

So here’s how to make the best strawberry jam you will ever taste! 🙂

 

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STRAWBERRY JAM

reduced-sugar freezer jam

enough for 2 pots…(350-400gm. jars)

Ingredients: Continue reading “Fresh Strawberry Jam. (Reduced Sugar and Freezable).”

Preserving, Vegan

Zen and the Lost Art of making Marmalade.

It’s January, and Seville oranges are making their brief appearance in the shops and on the market stalls.

Marmalade time!

marmalade on toast..

Oranges are not the only fruit when it comes to making marmalade , but they are the best,  and Spanish Seville Oranges are the Rolls Royce of marmalade oranges….

a bowl of seville oranges

Marmalade has a long and interesting history, the first recipe that has a similarity to marmalade as we know it today goes back to the sixteenth century.  Before that, the word marmalade, was more often associated with quince, as marmelo is the portuguese word for quince, and marmelada was  a form of quince paste or quince cheese.

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Making marmalade does need a meditative state of mind. It takes time.  It takes endless repetition.  It won’t be rushed. But it is definitely and undeniably, worth it.

The first thing to do is buy the seville oranges.  Now.  Don’t delay.  The season is short.  Look for organic ones, because non-organic orange peel can be dowsed liberally in pesticides which you don’t really want in your marmalade….

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Making Seville Orange Marmalade

You need:    Continue reading “Zen and the Lost Art of making Marmalade.”

Cook's Tales, Preserving, Vegan on a Shoestring, Vegan Treats

Fruit Jellies – Food for Free – an old-fashioned way…with lots of promise

Just like my nanna used to make.

redcurrant, elderberry and rosehip+apple jelly

Because I run an allotment, and because I enjoy making things, and because I think homemade produce made with a little care and attention –  and, of course, a great deal of compassion – invariably tastes better than any shop-bought counterpart, I always have jars of homemade pickles, jams and chutneys in the cupboard.

Somehow, the jewels in the crown of these, are the jellies.

This year I went mad on jellies.  I had fruit from the allotment, and also we collected fruits for free during country walks  this autumn.

rosehips

Elderberries, rosehips, apples, gooseberries and redcurrants.

I also made quince jelly, and quince butter, but I shall devote another blogpost to that wonderful fruit (and also to the delights of gooseberry jelly) , as I also made a quince cheese, also known as Dulce de Membrillo in Spain, which is sitting quietly wrapped up in the refrigerator, and which I won’t be unwrapping ’til Christmas.

There are aspects of making jellies that are a faff, and aspects that can be actually easier than jams.

Jellies are great because they bridge a gap between sweet and savoury.  They can go either way.

redcurrant jelly with vegan cheese, apple, olives and crackers

A fab. combination is fruit jelly and nut butter on toast …..swoon…… and jellies will also bring a zing to savoury dishes such as nut roast, vegan savoury pies or a platter of vegan cheese and crackers.

vegan cheese platter with redcurrant jelly

Continue reading “Fruit Jellies – Food for Free – an old-fashioned way…with lots of promise”

Preserving, Vegan Treats

Like everything, hazelnut butter is for sharing….

At the beginning of the autumn, on a beautiful sunshiny day, we went for a long walk in the woods.  Beautiful ancient woods at the top of a valley.  The autumn colours were just beginning to turn.  It was just lovely.

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walk in the woods

Where we stopped for our picnic there was a hazelnut grove.   We collected as many nuts as we could.

From the hedgerows we also collected blackberries and rosehips, but that’s for another blog.

The hazelnuts were a pale shade of beige, so we left them in a bowl for a few weeks to dry out.

Then the chief nutcracker set about cracking them. It took him a while.

I then got to do the fun bit: make the hazelnut butter.   Continue reading “Like everything, hazelnut butter is for sharing….”