All posts in Condiments

Sweet Orange Marmalade

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I think marmalade gets a bit of a bad wrap. I used to go through phases when I was a kid but generally I quite liked it, just as long as it wasn’t the bitter kind. A couple of weeks ago I thought I’d try my hand at a mandarin marmalade. In fact I actually tried to make it twice, both times with no luck at all. Silly mistake, but the first time round, I’d forgotten it was on the stove. It cooked for too long and almost turned to burnt toffee! Thick and impossible to spread. My second attempt I actually ruined a cast iron pot… I don’t know what my problem was, but mandarin marmalade wasn’t my thing. However, I was dead-set on trying to make some sort of preserve with our delicious citrus fruit before it’s all out of season.

Nothing is without reason though. Whilst making the mandarin marmalade I’d discovered that it was better to blend the fruit before adding it to the pan. I thought I’d apply this knowledge to my simple orange marmalade to ensure a super smooth consistency. The one thing I disliked when I was a kid was discovering a big chunk of fruit in my jam. I can’t say it was smoother than a non-blended marmalade but the texture, for me, was perfect!

So, it may not have been the most ground breaking recipe but at least I learnt something – and that is what cooking is all about.

Now I’m interested, do you guys like marmalade? If not, perhaps you should give it another go?

:)

x e.

Ps. I have a very special recipe coming up shortly. Watch this space!

 

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Sweet Orange Marmalade

6 Valencia oranges or other sweet variety of orange

600g white sugar

 

1. Wash and peel oranges and put the skins to the side – you’ll need them later. Place the flesh of the orange in the food processor and blitz until smooth. Place the orange juice in a large heavy bottomed pan on medium heat with 3 cups of water.

2. Once the orange juice starts to boil place the sugar in the pan. Meanwhile take the skin of the oranges and cut into super fine slivers. Place about 50g of the chopped peel into the pot and let cook for about an hour. Place a small saucer in the freezer – you’ll need this to check when it’s almost ready

3. After an hour, place a small spoonful on the frozen saucer. When the marmalade is ready it’ll be a good thick consistency.

4. Next you’ll need to sterilize your jars. Wash both the jars and lids in hot soapy water and rinse them thoroughly. Place them in a preheated 140ºC oven for 10 minutes right side up. Ensure the jars aren’t touching each other and in the last 5 minutes place the lids in the oven as well. I don’t like to leave the lids in for too long otherwise the rubber seals in them melt!

Serve on thickly sliced bread with lashings of butter. So simple but so delicious.

 

 

Pickle Club: Nectarine Jam

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Last week was topped off with some (well deserved) Friday night fun at Moonlight Cinema.  I quickly rushed home from work, Seb and I made a super-quick picnic basket, jam packed with all sorts of antipasto goodness and made our way to the Melbourne Botanical Gardens. We busted out the blankets, pillows (and warm clothes) and settled in for a slice of classic outdoor cinema – such a good night out. What an amazing setting, aaaand dogs are allowed, so our friends took their super cute dog Olive. If you can’t already tell, we’re getting a bit clucky for a dog. Olive loved it (especially sneaking a slice of prosciutto or chorizo when no one was looking).

 

 

The following day I had all sorts of errands to run, including having my bridesmaid dress altered for the wedding of the year(!), and a quick visit to the gym (to fit into the bridesmaids dress). We then went to visit our friends who had some sculpture work in a group show at the Yarra Sculpture Gallery. Charlie & Wona- both of your works were amazing. The latter part of Sunday was spent in a meat-coma after visiting our friend’s Argentinian BBQ. Hugo and Milly, all in all some seriously amazing food!

 

 

This week I thought I’d post the jam I made for the last Pickle Club meet (in early December). Sorry for the late post but there was so much going on in December already so it had to wait. Anyway, it was a very special edition of Pickle Club as it was being filmed for INTERNATIONAL TV! Whoo hoo. Pickle Club has gone viral. Yes we will be featured as part of the Megalopolis program for the French TV station Canal Plus, so keep an eye out if you’re living in France! It just happened to be one of the HOTTEST days of the year (I think it reached 40 degrees). Amy and I standing over a hot stove stirring our jams and pickles… it wasn’t pleasant. After cooking, the interviewer Alexandra Leroux borrowed a bike and rode with us to Edinburgh Gardens. All in all it was a great experience, and I now have a new found level of respect for any one involved in film!

x e.

 

Pictures above: Pickle Club’s loot, Tassie icon Judith Sweet’s traditional tomato relish
Alexandra Leroux and Alexandra Leroux interviewing Pickle Club patrons

 

Nectarine Jam

910g fresh nectarines pitted and roughly chopped
910g sugar
150ml water
juice of one lemon + its skin

1. Place fruit in the pan with water and juice of the lemon. Let cook until fruit has softened then slowly add the sugar stirring continuously. Bring to the boil and continue until it starts to thicken.

2. If it’s not thickening after 30 minutes, add one half of the squeezed lemon skin into the pot. This will help thicken the jam. (Amy’s mum taught me this trick!)

3. When your jam is almost ready, you’ll need to sterilize the jars. To do this you’ll need to heat the oven to 180ºC. Wash all in hot soapy water and rinse well. Place all jars on a oven tray facing up and not touching each other and pop them in the oven for 20 minutes. After this time, take them out of the oven and let cool to the same temperature as the jam. Never add cold jam to hot jars or vice versa!

Pear & Vanilla Jam

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Pickle club may be done and dusted for the time being but it looks as though I’m in a bit of a preserving groove. Whilst researching a few different recipes for last week’s Nectarine & Spanish Onion Chutney I stumbled across this recipe on a great blog called Food in Jars. This blog is fantastic if you love trying different recipes for chutney, jams or anything else worth preserving. I’ve tweaked the recipe a little by reducing the sugar slightly as it seemed a little excessive. I also made it sans pectin but cooked it a little longer and found the consistency to be thick enough for my liking. This jam looks so pretty. You can see all the lovely little specks of vanilla bean as the pears are quite translucent. Also, our whole house smelt like heaven whilst this was cooking. We had the sweet smell of pear and vanilla wafting through our house for hours after. A-MAZING.

Apart from cooking jams and whatnot, I’ve been lucky enough to have some time off before I start my new job… hurrah! I’ve been extremely busy with different photography projects this past week so I thought it was time to take a break. Therefore I booked a quick trip up to Sydney for the weekend. I’m looking forward to spending time with my bro and my very awesome friends that I lived with in London. It’s such a shame we all chose different cities when we moved back to Australia, but at least we now have people to visit ; ) I’ll be sure to tell you all about my Sydney adventure in next weeks post.

x e.

 

Pear & Vanilla Jam with wholegrain toast and butter. I LOVE breakfast.

 

Pear and Vanilla Jam

Adapted from Marisa McClellan from Food in Jars

9-10 chopped smooth skinned pear (I used Bartlett)
2 vanilla pods (worth using the good stuff for this)
3.5 cups sugar

 

1. Chop all pears and place into a large heavy bottomed stock pot with the sugar. Slice down one side of the vanilla pods and scrape out all the innards into the pot. Once you’ve scrape out as much as you can, place the whole pod in the pot as well.

2. Cook on medium heat until the pears become soft and tender. I didn’t add any pectin into the recipe to thicken it up so I cooked it on the stove for another 20-30 minutes to reduce it to the right consistency.

3. Once you’re happy with the thickness of the jam remove the vanilla pods*. Now, do you like your jam smooth or chunky? If you like it smooth blitz the jam with a food processor or handheld blitzer.

4. By this time, the smell of the vanilla and pear wafting around the house is like heaven!

5. When your jam is almost ready, you’ll need to sterilize the jars. To do this you’ll need to heat the oven to 180ºC. Wash all in hot soapy water and rinse well. Place all jars on a oven tray facing up and not touching each other and pop them in the oven for 20 minutes. After this time, take them out of the oven and let cool to the same temperature as the chutney. Never add cold chutney to hot jars or vice versa!

* Once I removed the vanilla pods from the pot and let them coo. I added them to my white sugar jar. In a few weeks time your sugar with be slightly vanilla infused.

Pickle Club: Nectarine & Spanish Onion Chutney

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It’s that time again! Pickle Club has come around so quickly. Just in time too because our chutney, pickle and jam supplies were running low! If you’re not familiar with Pickle Club you can read up on it in one of my older posts here.

Pickle Club has created quite a stir over the last couple of months. After my last post I received quite a few emails asking how it all works and if I know of any other Pickle Clubs out there (no idea sorry)… even Frankie magazine wanted in! A few of us had a photoshoot in the park before all the other ‘Picklettes’ arrived. Everyone turned up bang on 3pm including Georgia (the writer from Frankie) to experience first-hand the swapping of pickles. Needless to say she loved it and we now have a new member for the next meet!

This Pickle Club I wanted to make a Nectarine Chutney. I saw a recipe in Gourmet Traveller a few months ago where they’d served it in a sandwich. So with this in mind, I thought I’d make something similar and add my own little twist.

There are a few notes I’d like to make with this chutney as I’d made a few little mistakes along the way – things that I’d recommend you don’t do. Firstly, I put in too much water to cook and stew the nectarines. This meant that we had to let it cook for hours and hours to let it reduce to the right consistency. The second is (this is just plain common sense I would think) to make sure the fruit is ripe! *facepalm* Our nectarines were quite hard, but I was impatient and wanted to make it straight away. In hindsight I should have waited a few days to let them ripen. To compensate I had to add a lot more sugar, so this recipe below is the un-compensated version. Regardless, it’s still super tasty with cheese and crackers.

x e.

 

(Top) My caramelized meringue with berry syllabub, passion fruit & fresh nectarine.
(Middle) Milly’s Picalilli
(Bottom) The perfect autumn day for a picnic in the park.

 (Above) The Pickles I picked. I couldn’t resist the ‘Tangy Cucumber & Apple Relish’.
It came with a very pretty bonus (an aerogramme) from The Hungry Workshop! Woohoo!

Nectarine & Spanish Onion Chutney

2.5kg Nectarines
5 large Spanish onion diced
1 good glug of Olive oil
150gm Sugar
1 tsp Curry powder
1 tsp Mustard powder
1 cup Cider vinegar
200ml Ezy Sauce

 

This is enough to make a batch of chutney for your first Pickle club. It’ll make 6 jars to take plus 2 to keep for yourself :)

1. Heat olive oil in a large pot. Add chopped onion to the pan and cook well until well browned.

2. Chop all nectarines into small pieces and remove the pips. Add these all to the pot and add four cup of water to the pan to prevent the bottom from burning.

3. Once the nectarines start to cook through, add the sugar, curry powder, mustard powder, vinegar and Ezy Sauce.

4. Cook well for a couple of hours until it looks like the right consistency. Remember it’ll thicken slightly as it cools. Continuously taste to see if you’d like it to be sweeter or more spicier.

4. When your chutney is almost ready, you’ll need to sterilize the jars. To do this you’ll need to heat the oven to 180ºC. Wash all in hot soapy water and rinse well. Place all jars on a oven tray facing up and not touching each other and pop them in the oven for 20 minutes. After this time, take them out of the oven and let cool to the same temperature as the chutney. Never add cold chutney to hot jars or vice versa!

Homemade Sweet Chilli Sauce

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What can I say? Wow! If I knew that homemade sweet chilli sauce was this easy (and tasty) I definitely would have made this sooner. Last week we went to the Vic’ markets and bought a big ol’ bag of chillies. Luckily we had everything else in the cupboard, but to be honest there really isn’t much to it. We started to chop, measure and blitz the ingredients together without thinking about the 37ºC heat outside. We cranked the oven up to sterilize the jars and turned the hotplates on high to cook the sauce. Before we knew it the house was a sauna, hotter inside than out. :(  Fail

So what better way to conquer the heat? Go to the beach! Yippeee! After bottling the sauce we hopped in the car and headed straight down the Eastern Freeway all the way to the Mornington Peninsular. This was all very exciting as we hadn’t seen this part of Victoria before. In fact, there’s lots of Victoria we haven’t seen but we hope to put an end to that over the next few months.

We drove to the town of Mornington and stopped off at the Counting House for lunch. It’s a lovely French Provincial style restaurant/wine bar with super tasty food. Nom nom. I would have been quite happy to settle in with a bottle of wine for the afternoon but as we drove down, this wasn’t an option *humph*. After lunch we headed further down the coast and finished the day off with a lovely little dip at the beach.

After arriving back from the long-ish drive home, I realised that the one thing I took for granted in Hobart was it’s proximity to a good beach, never more than 20 mins away. Regardless of how long the journey took, our adventure down the Peninsular was one of the best days ever.

Has anyone else had a nice mini-break lately?  I’d love to know where we should go next!

x e.

 

 

Homemade Sweet Chilli Sauce

Recipe by Michelle Southan – Good Taste Magazine

500g long fresh red chillies, stems trimmed
3 garlic cloves, peeled
750ml white vinegar
645g caster sugar

1. Halve 100g of the chillies and place in the bowl of a food processor. Halve and deseed the remaining chillies. Coarsely chop and place in the food processor. Add garlic and 250ml white vinegar. Process until finely chopped.

2. Place the chilli mixture, remaining vinegar and caster sugar in a large saucepan over a low heat. Cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until the sugar dissolves.

3. Increase heat to high and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 35-40 minutes or until the sauce thickens. Pour into sterilised airtight bottles and seal.

Tomato & Apple Chutney (great for gifts!)

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I love the lead up to Christmas. It’s always so manic and busy but I love it all the same. This week, to add to all the Christmas fanfare, we were invited to our very first Pickle Club. We had heard about this famous gathering of pickles before we moved up to Melbourne and were both looking forward to our first event.

So here’s the deal. You make 6 jars of delicious homemade pickles (or chutney, relish, jams, cordials, pesto…. anything that keeps) and then swap them for 6 other amazing jars of varied goodness.  Pretty simple!

There were so many mouth watering flavours to choose from.  It was so hard to choose only 6!  After much deliberation we chose: Coriander, Kaffir Lime & Chili Pesto, Lemon Curd, Pickled Shallots, Apricot & Honey Jam, Mango & Strawberry Cordial & Roasted Tomato and Chilli Relish. Yuuu-um!

There was even a mini pop-up shop at Pickle Club! Our creative friend Milly isn’t only the best cook this side of Melbourne but she’s a ‘crafty’ little devil too! She has made a range of beautiful little Christmas decorations available in all sorts of shapes and sizes. She’s currently selling them for $6 each (bar-gain!) so get your mitts on some (message me and I can give you the details). I’ve also been advised there may be discounts if buying in bulk. (Photos below)

I’m also extremely excited to be heading home to Hobart for Christmas! Yiippppeeee!  Christmas drinks on Salamanca Lawns (a yearly tradition), The Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race, the Taste of Tasmania (mmmm… yummy food and heavenly wine), a trip out to MONA museum and MONA FOMA festival!  It’s without a doubt the best time of year in Tasmania.  Anyway, I look forward to a nice relaxing break which (might or might not) mean a week or two break from the blog… but I PROMISE I will be back.

To all readers out there I hope you have a very Merry Christmas (or any other holiday you may be celebrating) and a safe and happy New Year! Mwah!

x e.

 

Gift tags and wrapping paper by up and coming designers at The Full Drop Collective.
Contact them here for purchases: - fulldropco(at)gmail.com

(Above) Beautiful Aura Home napery – from the talented Melbourne designer Tracy Ellis.

 

(Below) Well aren’t these the prettiest pickles and chutneys you’ve ever seen!?! Sweet little
Christmas decorations made with love, by Milly.

 

Tomato & Apple Chutney

Makes enough for an army!

3kgs Tomatoes
6-8 peeled Granny Smith apples
6 onions
1 tbsp Curry powder
2 bananas
10 cloves
a few good splashes of Worcestershire sauce
splash of white vinegar
1/2 cup of sugar

10 sterilized jars

 

1. Blanch tomatoes by covering them in boiling water for 15 – 30 seconds then drop into ice cold water to stop them from cooking. Wait until they’ve cooled then peel off the skin on all the tomatoes. (You may need some help with this!)

2. Add all ingredients into a large heavy based pot with a cup of water and place on the lowest heat for a few hours until reduced to a nice thick consistency. Remember to stir every 20 minutes to prevent the bottom from burning.

3. To sterilize the jars, heat the oven to 180ºC. Wash all in hot soapy water and rinse well. Place all jars on a oven tray facing up and not touching each other and pop them in the oven for 20 minutes. After this time, take them out of the oven and let cool to the same temperature as the chutney. Never add cold chutney to hot jars or vice versa!

Homemade Hot Harissa

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This one is dedicated to my favourite Indian in the world who adores hot food. Harissa is a hot chilli sauce from Northern Africa and in Moroccan cooking they serve it as a condiment to add extra flavour – like Australia’s version of good old Heinz tomato sauce. Harissa is ideal if you love to add a little spice to your food and it’s perfect to keep in the fridge.

I’ve got my eye on a great looking recipe that uses harissa mixed with greek yoghurt as a dipping sauce so I thought get in early and prepare some. I’m loving Moroccan cuisine at the moment and I’m still sourcing some ideas and recipes to use the preserved lemons I made a few weeks ago, so stay in touch.
x e.

 

Homemade Hot Harissa

Recipe by Neil Perry

25 g small, hot red chillis
2 red capsicums grilled and skinned
2 Cloves Garlic
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
½ teaspoon coriander seed
sea salt
Olive Oil
Sterilised jar

1. Chop the chillies coarsely, retaining the seeds.
2. In a food processor or mortar, combine the chillies with the seeds, garlic, cumin, coriander and salt to taste.
3. Blitz to a smooth paste, adding a little olive oil.
4. Add the chopped capsicum and blitz well until amalgamated into the mixture.
5. Add a little olive oil to give smoothness to the sauce.
6. Spoon into sterilised jars and cover with a layer of olive oil.
7. Seal the jars and refrigerate.

 

Moroccan Preserved Lemons

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 The very first tagine I had was in Marrakesh in a small restaurant just off Jamaa el Fna, the main square. It was stinking hot and me and my friends were starving after flying in that morning on a 6am flight…from Stanstead. This was the first time I’d ever been to a Muslim country and I was loving every minute of it. Everything from the busy markets, the food, the smells from the spice markets :) and tannery :( , the riad style houses, the noises (calling to prayer) – were all so foreign and new to me; I couldn’t soak it all in quick enough.

Anyway, I will always remember that first tagine I had that day. I had no idea what it was but I was looking forward to it all none the less. I was so confused about what to order because cous cous was the extent of Moroccan cusine I knew. I decided to order the Lemon Chicken Tagine and to this day it is still listed in my top 5 food moments of all time. I’ve discovered that lemon plays quite an important part in Moroccan cuisine (along with pomegranates, mint, lamb and loads of spices) and thanks to Jamie Oliver, I’ve now discovered what gives their dishes the fresh zesty flavour- preserved lemons.

Last week I went Op shopping and bought a big bunch of lemons for 20c each – bargain. Then later in the week we met up for dinner with Seb’s aunty who gave us about another 10 from her garden. It was very tempting for me to make all sorts of different lemon cakes, biscuits and slices (all my favourite) but I knew I’d want to eat them all…not good for the waist line. So, preserved lemons. A must for Moroccan food and according to Jamie, once you start adding them to dishes, you can’t stop. All I have to do now is wait a good month.

 

Recipe by Jamie Oliver
 

Moroccan Preserved Lemons

10 small unwaxed lemons
200 g coarse sea salt
2 fresh bay leaves
7 black peppercorns
2 sticks of cinnamon
 

1. First you’ll want to sterilize a 1 litre jar. Wash it in warm soapy water and ensure you rinse it well. Take off any rubber seals and place it in a 100°C oven for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, put the seal in a bowl of boiling water. After 20 minutes remove the jars from the oven, taking care not to touch anywhere near the opening of the jar and leave them to cool.

2. Squeeze the juice from 5 of your lemons and put to one side. In your other 5 lemons, cut a deep cross into the top and keep going until you’ve cut 3/4 of the way through. They should stay joined at the base. Pack a teaspoon full of salt into each one and place in the staralized jar.

3. Layer the lemons up with the cinnamon sticks, bay leaves and peppercorns. Once all your lemons are in the jar, pour in your lemon juice and top up with water.

4. Seal up the jar and leave it for a month in a dark space. Give the jar a gentle shake every couple of days to move the salt around.

After a month the lemons are ready for using. Jamie has a few different recipes in his book “Jamie Does” where he uses these Preserved Lemons. After a month I’ll try to make one of them to use the lemons I’ve made. Yum.