Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Orange Delight

A little something that will help use all those oranges. Yes, I am still on the citrus, this being Winter in the Southern Hemisphere all the citrus trees are bearing fruit, and why let it go to waste. So hot toasty oranges...who would have thought.

Preheat the grill
One orange per person should be enough, we being a family of four this recipe is to serve four.

4 oranges
2 teaspoons of cinnamon
2 teaspoons of raw or demerara sugar

  • Cut the oranges in half and using a grapefruit knife loosen the segments, place in an ovenproof dish.
  • Sprinkle with the sugar and cinnamon and pop under the grill till the sugar has caramelised and is bubbling away happily.
Serve straight away and enjoy.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Lemon Curd

My hubbies absolute favorite, his Mum used to make him a jar every year, but now she is a little too far away, and I didn't think it would travel too well, so I decided to try my hand at it and...the result was delicious. It is another recipe to use when your lemon tree is producing more lemons than you can use.

4 large lemons - zest and juice
4 eggs
320g castor sugar
250g butter at room temperature ( I used unsalted butter but you can use ordinary butter too)
15ml cornflour

  • Cream the butter and castor sugar.
  • Add the eggs one at a time.
  • Add the lemon zest and juice.
  • Once the ingredients are mixed well (does not look too appetising at this point BUT don't worry), pour it into a saucepan.
  • Stir continuously on a medium heat setting, (I used a whisk and it worked very nicely) for about 10 minutes, and you will see the mixture change consistency and become satiny smooth.
Add the cornflour one teaspoon at a time, whisking all the while.
Remove from heat and whisk for another minute while the mixture thickens a little.
Pour straight into sterile jars and refrigerate when cool.

  • The heat must not be high because the egg will cook and your lemon curd will not look good with white bits floating around in it, and that is also why you must keep stirring the mixture.
  • It will last in the fridge for 1-2 weeks.

Lovely on toast, scones, biscuits and even as a pie filling.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Red Lentil Soup

To warm the cockles of your heart, a lovely soup best eaten with chunks of crusty bread. A perfect meal for a miserable day and the colour can only lift your spirits. As my daughter Anastassia would have said, a few years ago when she first heard the term, it is perfect for vegtabletarians.

225g dried red split lentils
1 onion (a red one if you have)
2 big carrots
1 sliced celery stick
1 diced parsnip
1 clove of garlic, crushed
1.2l of vegetable stock
2 tsp paprika

  • Put everything into a pot, bring to the boil and allow it to boil rapidly for about 10 minutes. Reduce the heat, put the lid on and simmer for another 20 minutes or until the lentils and veg are tender.
  • Leave the soup to cool slightly (I learned this the hard way!), then puree it in a blender (also a good idea to do it in batches, the mess it can create is rather unpleasant, and wearing it is not a good idea either)...anyway blend it till it's smooth.
  • Put it back in the pot to reheat.
  • Serve and enjoy.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Citrus Marmalade

Since it is Winter (down here in the Southern Hemisphere) and all our citrus trees are fruiting, I was feeling incredibly brave and decided to try my hand at making marmalade...I was shaking in my boots, I think my biggest fear was burning it and then having to throw the pot away because I recall a time long long ago when I allowed something to caramelise and burn, I also recall trying to clean that pot, I think throwing it away is a much better idea!

Anyway, I made a batch and it turned out spectacularly, I have had so many compliments and I love it too, so here goes;

Note:- The thicker the skin, the higher the natural pectin content and therefore (apparently) the better the marmalade sets.

1 x large heavy based pot (to lessen the possibility of burning)
1 x side plate popped into the fridge (to check setting point later)
7 to 8 500ml sterile jars
1.5kg mixed citrus fruit (I used a mix of mandarins, oranges and lemons)
3l water
2.75kg sugar

Scrub the fruit and cut it in half.
Squeeze out the juice and pips into a basin.
Cut the peel into thin strips or chunks (whatever tickles you).
Put the cut peel, and any soft pulp into the pot with the water.
Strain the juice and add it to the pot too.
Put the pips into a muslin bag and tie it to the pot handle, allowing it to dangle well below the surface of the water.( I hear you asking why, and so you should...because, it is said that the pips and the pith, that thick white stuff under the skin, contain the most pectin, ok?)
Cook gently for two hours (or until the peel is soft)
Pull out the bag of pips and crush it over the pot (I found squashing it between two spoons worked really well), now you can discard the bag of pips as they are no longer needed.
Add the sugar and stir until all of it has dissolved.
Bring the mix to the boil, and allow it to boil rapidly until setting point is reached (around 30 - 40 minutes).
When you test the mix to see if it has reached setting point, take the pot off the hot plate otherwise while you are messing about checking to see if it is ready, it could start burning! check if it has reached setting point take the plate out of the fridge/freezer (you did remember to put one in there didn't you?????) and spoon some of the marmalade onto the plate, let it cool for a minute, and push the surface, if it has formed a skin, YES! it has set, if it hasn't but the pot back on the stove, plate back in the fridge and try again in a few minutes...check very regularly otherwise you will be throwing the pot away!
Once ready leave it to stand for 5 minutes then stir it to distribute the peel nicely, decant into your STERILE jars and seal.
Lovely on toast, and such a bright sunshiny colour, just what we need on a wet winter morning.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Blue Cheese Dip

Wet winter evenings, a good movie a packet of crisps, all you need is a brilliant dip. So here it is:

175g blue cheese
150ml sour cream
1 large clove of garlic - crushed
50ml lemon juice
125ml cream (not whipped)
ground black pepper - to taste.

Oh you know what to do!!! Just mix it all up, dip the crisp and enjoy!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Caramelised Apple Slices

Well ladies, you don't even have to taste this one, just smear it on your hips as that is exactly where it is going... butt it is soooooooooooo worth it!

Serves 4

3 Granny Smith apples, cored and peeled
2 tbsp butter
65ml raisins
45ml brown/raw sugar
15ml lemon juice
1ml almonds essence
1ml vanilla essence
a hand full of almonds, pecan nuts or hazelnuts broken up.

Slice the apples,
Heat the butter in a large frying pan, add the raisins & apples and toss to coat them.
Add the sugar, lemon juice and essences.
Cook on high until the apple is soft, golden and slightly caramelised, add more sugar if your taste buds demand it and your hips don't mind!
For an extra "something something" add 30ml of brandy when you add the essences.
Sprinkle with nuts and serve.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Leigh's Pasta Salad

My Sister-in-law Leigh made this pasta salad for us one hot Highveld day many, many years ago when we all still lived in South Africa and it became a firm favorite particularly for barbecues.

500g pasta (macaroni, elbows or shells work best)
raisins - handful
1 tin sliced peaches, cubed
1 tin pineapple slices or chunks
1 medium onion, diced
1 x capsicum, diced
250ml mayonnaise
10ml curry powder
10ml chutney

Cook the pasta until it is al dente, remove from heat and drain.
Add all he other ingredients to it. Allow to cool and ENJOY!