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Archive for the ‘jelly’ Category

Jammy Jars

We’ve been up late trying to fit more stuff into backpacks than is Scientifically possible. This makes for hard, sweaty work, seeing as how it’s about 38 degrees outside (that’s Celsius, not Fahrenheit) and testy moods. The reason for all this silliness is a Canoing trip we’ve been invited on with some friends for the long weekend in Algonquin Park. I was told last night, when it’s now too late to cancel, that the first time you go Canoing it’s called the Divorce Canoe. Well, I’m hoping that having already survived a trying and emotionally testing move to a foreign country has given Mr P and I enough karmic balance to see us through the next couple days.

Just in case things turn a little sour, I’m taking some of my homemade blackcurrant jam with and these delicious little scrumpets, which had Mr P dribbling at the chops and is bound to help even the most blistered-hand, sore-footed, tired shouldered campers smile a little around the camp fire.

Wilderness, here we come! See you when we get back.

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Lavender Petals

It’s been hot in TO this weekend. A dry heat, for a change, making us think a bit of Summer in Johannesburg. I’ve been longing for a swim in a pool and a bowl of ice-cream afterwards. So I made a couple cold desserts to keep our temperatures under control. Now, I must be honest with you. This jelly nearly didn’t make the cut for the blog because, it turns out, Mr P doesn’t have much love in him for jelly. How I can have been married to him so long and not already know this I’m not quite sure. Suffice to say he’s a secretive man and I’m still glad to be learning new things about him all the time. I, on the other hand, love a big bowl of bright jelly and Ultramel custard. I guess it reminds me of being seven years old again. Nothing wrong with that. In any event, I got the ‘have you made me eat bugs?’ face from my number one critic on the first spoon of jelly in his mouth. My first reaction is always, ‘oh no, catastrophe’ but it turns out it’s the texture more than anything else he doesn’t like.

Well, mostly. The other thing you need to know about this jelly is that it’s perfumed with Lavender, which, like rose flavoured Turkish Lokum, is only for a very select few of us. I love rose flavoured goods. I remember my Mom buying a jar of rose petal jam on holiday one year and the two of us devoured it eagerly over the few weeks on toast and crackers and teaspoons. The boys of the family wouldn’t so much as sniff it. So yes, this is maybe a slightly more Risky dessert to make if you’re unsure of your feedee’s tastes. I decided to put it in anyway, because, well, I can. And I loved the sweet blueberries combined with the perfume of the lavender.

*note: I used gelatin leaves instead of powder for the first time and it is so much easier this way.

*note 2: you can use fresh lavender flowers from your garden if you have them. Just be sure to wash them thoroughly before.

Lavender and Blueberry Jelly

Blueberry and Lavender Jellies

makes 6 individual cups

for the blueberry jelly:
1 cup wild blueberries
2 Tbsp + 1 cup water
⅓cup castor sugar
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 sheet gelatin

for the Lavender Jelly:
1 Tbsp edible, dried lavender petals
2 cups boiling water
⅓ cup castor sugar
1 tsp lemon juice
2 sheets gelatin

– put berries and 2 Tbsp water into a small saucepan and bring to boil. Cook until berries soften and juices run. Add 1 cup water, sugar and lemon juice.

– bring back to a medium rolling boil and cook until liquid has reduced by about half. Remove from heat.

– soak 1 gelatin leaf in cold water for a couple minutes, until soft. Squeeze off excess water and add to berry mixture, stirring well.

– divide between 6 cups and refrigerate until set, about 1 hour

-meanwhile, put lavender and water in a small saucepan and heat gently. Leave to infuse for about 10 minutes. Strain. Retain water in the saucepan. (at this point I used the spoon from the blueberry jelly to stir the Lavender in order to give it a bit of extra colour)

– heat lavender water (do not boil), add sugar and lemon juice and stir to dissolve. Soak 2 gelatin sheets in cold water for a couple of minutes and add to hot Lavender water, stirring well.

– let lavender cool to room temperature.

– remove blueberry jelly from fridge and add equal amounts of lavender jelly to each cup. Return to fridge to set, about 1 hour.

Lavender and Blueberry Jelly 2

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Berry Bowl

 

At the market on Friday, I was overcome completely by the astounding variety and sheer volume of delicious looking berries. Red currants! Strawberries! Raspberries! Cherries! Blueberries! Blackberries!

Ontario is a couple of weeks behind the States in terms of crop growth and even though we’ve been able to get fresh berries for a while now at the market, this time they were from the local area, fresher and sweeter looking than the previous punnets which have obviously had to be driven in from across the border. How could I resist? I couldn’t, not in the least, and ended up having to carefully, and delicately balance far too many berries in the basket of my bicycle, hoping the whole way home that the ones on the bottom wouldn’t end up a pulpy, juicy mess by the time I made it back. There are definitely downsides to deciding to travel by bicycle through the city. I can’t wait to get a rack and set of baskets on the back of my bike as well so I can do more shopping at one time.

I arrived home still grinning with the excitement of my find and unpacked all my purchases on the kitchen counter, only to stare in post-purchase disbelief at the pile left there. So many berries, and all so beautiful and tempting, but what was I going to do with them all? Surely they wouldn’t last the time it would take to think of something lovely to do with each of them and finish eating what was made. I couldn’t let them go to waste, and there was no concievable way I could have not bought them in the first place. Okay, so let’s look at what there is: red currants, sour red cherries, sweet black cherries, deep red raspberries, strawberries, green gooseberries and fresh rhubarb. Rhubarb is another thing I can’t seem to resist buying when I find it: it’s so rare and its season is so short.

When I saw the gooseberries,
I pounced on them immediately, berries-2.jpg
a slightly crazy, wicked glint in
my eyes. I’d been keeping a wary
eye out for these for a while now.
The reason is simple. In South
Africa, what I was brought up
believing was a gooseberry
(and which my Granny had a
bush of at her front door and
on which we feasted as children)
is actually known as a Cape Gooseberry,
though I’ve seen the same fruit
referred to as a physalis or a
ground cherry. I’d never seen
them before, but having read
about them in Jam Faced recently,
I couldn’t wait to see what all
the fuss was about.

Which led me to the decision to simple preserve a bunch of the fruit, before it could ruin, and have it ready to eat whenever the mood should strike. Jam! I was going to make jam! And it turned out to be a rainy Sunday today so what better way to pass the time?

Raspberry Orange Flower, Red Currant Sour Cherry and Gooseberry jams

I made three kinds:
a simple gooseberry jam,
which left me in no doubt
as to who the real gooseberry
is (yum!) a raspberry and
orange flower jam
,
which is so delicate
and delicious, I might end
up eating it by the spoon
and a red currant and
sour cherry jam
, which I left
quite tart and a bit runny
because I have a wicked plan
for its future… watch this space!

Jams are really easy to make, despite what you’ve heard to then contrary, and I love how making them reminds me so of my Gran.

With the rest I made some divine little strawberry and rhubarb tarts with a fresh custard, made slightly lighter than the previous post by using half milk half cream and the sweet black cherries are to become a cherry clafouti soon.

Of course, now I have three egg whites left over in the fridge from the custard, but again, you’ll have to wait to see what I do with those.

Strawberry Rhubarb Tart w Custard

For the Strawberry Rhubarb Tart:

Pie Crust of your choosing. A vanilla one complements the strawberries well.

2 ½ cups chopped rhubarb (1cm pieces)
1 ¼ cups hulled and quartered strawberries
½ cup sugar
¼ cup flour

Preheat oven to 420˚F

– make pie crust, refrigerate for ½ hour before rolling out and lining 6 mini tart cases. Refrigerate 10 mins.

– mix pie ingredients in a large bowl. Allow to sit for a few minutes so that the fruit juices run out a little and soak up the flour and sugar. Mix a couple times until fruit is well coated.

– divide evenly between cold pie crusts, bake at 420˚F for 10 mins, then lower oven to 350˚F and bake for 45 mins.

Sour Cherries and Red currants

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