Monday, December 30, 2013

Dried strawberries and raspberries. December 30 2013

Almost every evening at the moment I am out picking raspberries, strawberries,blueberries and loganberries. The blueberries we are eating as there aren't many, the loganberries are being frozen for jam making later in the year.  I thought I would do a little experiment and try drying some of the strawberries and raspberries. The strawberries I sliced in 1/2 cm slices and the raspberries I tried whole.
A beautiful smell filled the room where they were drying over the next several hours. The strawberries dried relatively quickly but the raspberries took considerably longer and in fact I had to finish off the next day. They kept their shape and feel almost aerated. The taste of both is very intense and delicious.
I am keeping them in jars at the moment as I read somewhere to do this to even out the moisture content. Not sure if I might freeze them or vacuum seal them for long term keeping if they don't get eaten in the meantime.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Kiwi fruit chocolates. December 26th 2013

This year for Chirstmas gifts I made some delicious kiwi fruit chocolate by chopping up kiwi fruit I dried in the winter and then adding it to melted couverture or cooking chocolate. I bought some little silicon moulds to try to make some nice shapes although with the amount of kiwi fruit I was trying to add, they didn't exactly turn out perfectly smooth. Still, they taste pretty good! They even made it safely across to the other side of the world in time for a Portuguese Christmas. Thanks for the photo Niko and Teresa!

We also ate the last of the chocolate coated raspberries that have been in the freezer since last Christmas so of course I had to replenish the supply now that it is raspberry season again.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Marvellous Mustard. December 14th 2013

My mustard has almost run out so time to make some more. I have been doing a bit of experimenting with my mustard recipe this time. First of all I made my favourite Rosemary Mustard. For a bit of variety I am also trying a Tarragon and Honey Mustard and a Lemon Mustard. They will need to mature for a few weeks until we try them out. They will have to be good to beat the Rosemary version though!

It is such as easy recipe.
1/2 cup of yellow mustard seeds
1/4 cup black mustard seeds
1 Tablespoon mustard powder
Grind to coarse meal in a spice grinder.
Add 1/2 cup cider vinegar and and 1-2 teaspoons of chopped rosemary
Sit overnight.
Add 1/2 cup oil
2 teaspoons black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons flour
Mix all together. Blend if you want a smooth mustard but I prefer a grainy mustard so just mix by hand.

The Tarragon version has 1 teaspoon chopped Tarragon a 2 tablespoons of honey.
The Lemon version has zest and juice of one lemon

While I had the spine grinder out of the cupboard, I decided to make some of Moroccan spice called Ras Hanout which can be used in tagines or sprinkled on meats before barbecuing. I think there a million and one ways to make it but basically it is a mix of things like cinnamon, cumin,cloves,fenugreek, fennel seeds and mustard all about in equal proportions.
I also made a fragrant curry powder. Not sure you can actually call it that as it has no chilli in it but it smells lovely. Coriander, cumin, mustard, cardamom, cloves, nutmeg, turmeric and of course cinnamon too. 

Monday, December 9, 2013

Christmas = Biscotti (amongst other things) December 9th 2013

I love to have some biscotti in the cupboard around Christmas when you can get unexpected visitors. It is so easy to make and although the end product may not be a neat and perfect as manufactured, it still tastes sensational, perfect for a morning coffee accompaniment. My favourite is to use hazelnuts or walnuts rather than almonds as they are a bit easier to cut into slices. Enjoy!

Chocolate  hazelnut biscotti
2 cups flour
1/2 c cocoa
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup  hazelnuts ( or walnuts or blanched almonds)
3 eggs
1/2 cup butter - melted
Sift flour, cocoa and bicarb soda into a large bowl
Make a well in the centre and add sugar, nuts, mutter and eggs and mix to a soft dough.
Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth.
Divide dough into 2 equal portions and shape into log.
Place on greased baking try and bake at 180 degrees C for 30 minutes or until lightly browned.
Cool ( this is very important to enable clean slicing in the next step)
Cut into strips up to 1 cm thick.
Return to tray and bake a further 10 minutes.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

No-Effort New Potatoes December 3 2013

In August when I was planting seed potatoes, I got Max to pile mulch around the edge of the potato patch so that I should spread it around the potatoes once they were up and growing well. I had previously thrown all the green potatoes from last summer around the edge as well.
 I was finally getting around to weeding the bed and spreading some of the mulch around the other weekend, when I discovered under the plants which had sprung up, a bonanza of beautiful clean blemish free new spuds in the mulch. I now have at least 3 bucketful of new potatoes stored in paper bags in the cupboard! And I haven't even started on digging the planted potatoes yet. Has set us thinking about setting aside another part of the garden and piling it up with a few green potatoes then a pile of calf bedding mulch and letting them do their own thing! It's certainly easier than digging over the dirt and with such excellent results.