July sees the start of our food harvesting and preserving season. Last week we made a delicious elderflower ice cream with our home-made elderflower cordial.
This week, we’ve made some redcurrant jelly using a recipe from Cordon Bleu Preserving.
We inherited half a dozen or so redcurrant bushes when we took on our allotment last year. On our last trip down there this week, the bushes were heaving with little red jewels.
It took the pair of us about two hours to pick about half of them. When we got home, we gave them a rinse – they barely filled our small colander!
Despite this, we kept back a couple of cupfuls (to go into a pie) before making rest into jelly… it actually made 8 jars.
We know that redcurrant jelly is usually matched with lamb or game and a dollop or two can go into a gravy for extra flavour. We’ll have to look for some other good flavour matches…any ideas?
- 800g granulated or preserving sugar to each litre of juice made
- Gently rinse the redcurrants in a colander before carefully removing the stems and putting the fruit into Kilner jars
- Firmly cover the jars with lids before putting them in to an oven at 300ºF/Gas mark 2 until the juice has run well
- Remove from the oven carefully remove the lids and turn out the fruit into a jelly bag or muslin overnight
- Measure the juice and take the correct proportion of sugar
- Add the sugar to a large heavy-bottomed saucepan or jam pan and warm on a low heat
- In a separate pan, heat the juice to boiling point (but don't allow to boil)
- Add the juice carefully to the warm sugar stirring all the time until the sugar has dissolved
- Pour jelly at once into sterilised jars
- Allow to cool before screwing the lids on firmly
Adapted from Cordon Bleu Preserving
Adapted from Cordon Bleu Preserving
H is for Home Harbinger http://hisforhomeblog.com/
This new recipe organiser was a long time coming!
My poor old ring binder that previously held all my recipes had been damaged when our house flooded. It got covered in silt and became more than a little unhygienic.
Luckily, the majority of the recipes I’d torn out and kept from newspapers & magazines had been carefully cut and stored in those clear plastic punched pockets. Most remained dry and were salvageable.
There were a lot of recipes to transfer over and file but the new organiser came with pre-printed tabs with sections for things (that I do a lot of) like baking, preserves, pies & tarts, cakes, desserts etc.
It also came with 8 section dividers with lovely photographs of aspirational cooking & baking scenes!
There were over a hundred sheets for writing down recipes (using a fancy pen in my best handwriting of course!) and a really useful weights & measures conversion chart – I’m always having to look online to convert cups to grams and ºF to ºC.
If, like me, you have lots & lots of loose-leaf sheets of paper with recipes on, this folder is perfect. Most recipe organisers I’ve seen out there are too small and are ring bound which means you can’t add pages to them. This one’s big – it can hold A4-size sheets or even folded A3.
It was a big job that took longer than expected, but it’s now a real pleasure to pull my big, new recipe organiser out from the work bench drawer in the kitchen.
If you like it, there are still a few of this exact organiser available on Amazon or from the publisher’s website, Ryland Peters & Small.
Justin’s parents’ neighbours have a few different fruit trees in their garden. In the past couple of years, we’ve had some of the harvest. Last year we made spiced apple chutney, the year before apple cheese. This year, we picked almost 5 kilos of plums – the sweetest, ripest plums we’d ever tasted!
We both ate half a dozen each in a couple of days but we would never be able to work our way through many before before they began to get over-ripe. I’d already made jars upon jars of fruit jam & jelly this year, so I turned half into spiced plum chutney and half into plum jam.
I used recipes from the good old Cordon Bleu Preserving recipe book for both.
The job of stoning was a monotonous, boring job but the resulting preserves were well worth the toil!
When the chutney was cooking the house was filled with the most delicious smell – I wish I could bottle that alone!
Here’s the spiced plum chutney recipe:
1tbs ground ginger
1tbs ground allspice
2tbs ground mustard seeds
2tbs dried chilli flakes
425ml/¾pt white malt or white wine vinegar
450g/1lb soft brown sugar
- Wash & stone the plums and put them in a pan with the ginger, allspice, mustard seeds and chilli flakes
- Tie the cloves in a muslin bag and add to the pan
- Add the salt and 300ml/½pt of the vinegar
- Simmer gently until the plums are soft (about 3 hours)
- Put the sugar into a large measuring jug/basin with the remaining vinegar and leave to dissolve. Add to the plums when cooked
- Bring to the boil and allow to boil gently until thick (about another 2 hours)
- Pour into warm, sterilised jars and screw down immediately
- Leave for 4-5 weeks before using
And here’s the jam recipe…
3kg/6½lb granulated or preserving sugar
- Wash the plums, cut them in half and remove the stones
- Tie half the stones in muslin
- Place the fruit in a preserving pan with the water and cook gently until tender
- Add the sugar and heat gently until dissolved
- Add the bag of stones
- Boil rapidly for about 25 minutes or until the jam sets when tested
- Remove the bag of stones and pour the jam into warm, dry sterilised jars. Cover and tie down
It’s a deliciously sweet accompaniment to morning croissants.
A few weeks ago on Instagram, I was singing the praises of a delicious porcini mushroom pâté that I’d discovered in Lidl. We had a punnet of mushrooms that needed to be used up so I thought I might try my hand at making my own pâté.
I flipped through a few of our cookbooks for a recipe and soon found one in a little booklet supplement that came with the Guardian weekend newspaper, many moons ago. It was a taster from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s Mushrooms: River Cottage Handbook No.1.
I altered the recipe slightly, substituting the butter and garlic for 50 grams of wild garlic butter that I whipped up the previous week. A very simple and easy to make recipe. You can use foraged wild mushrooms (so long as you’re absolutely sure they’re not a poisonous variety); dried mushrooms such as porcini, chanterelle, morel or a mixture; chestnut or just plain ol’ closed cup white mushrooms.
The first & last time I made fudge I was about 12 years old. The only way I could get it to set was to stick it in the freezer for a few hours. It wasn’t exactly inedible, but it was bad enough to put me off attempting it again until now.
Just like our taste in ice cream, Justin & I differ in our taste in fudge. He likes it plain, I like mine stuffed full of fruit, nuts, chocolate and alcohol! To please us both, I made a normal portion of basic mix, divided it into two and made one half into rum & raisin fudge.
I used the basic recipe I found on the Carnation website. I’m already thinking of folding some of this fudge into some of my home-made vanilla ice cream – what do you think?
You only need a short break to make this traditional Scottish shortbread as it takes about 15 minutes preparation and a mere twenty minutes or so in the oven. Delicious, home-made buttery biscuits in less than an hour. It also gives us the opportunity to use some of our favourite household objects.
The first is this lovely vintage wooden shortbread mould. It makes the perfect-sized round to last a couple of days with just a nice, simple touch of decoration around the edge.
The second object is this gorgeous vintage 1960s Jacob’s biscuit tin. We really love the stylised thistle decoration made up of various Scottish tartans – and the biscuit round fits perfectly inside.
And last but not least, a favourite spotty mug – filled with strong afternoon tea of course – the perfect accompaniment!
Here’s the Scottish shortbread recipe we published last year if you fancy giving it a try.