Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Preserving fruits in alcohol

At Christmas time I often buy cherries in alcohol and my do they cost a lot even on the buy 3 for 2 offers. So I decided to make my own. I couldn't find many recipes on the Internet or in my many cookbooks so decided to go with a basic 1/3 jar sugar and top up with brandy.
I bought Basics cherries from Sainsbury's @ £1 a punnet and a punnet of basics apricots @ £1.40 together with a bottle of Sainsbury's own label brandy.
This made 4 jars of cherries in brandy and 1 large jar of the apricots. Cherries-I left whole although I did prick them. Some recipes say to prick them some don't mention it. I reckoned on the brandy soaking into the cherries if I pricked them. We'll see in a few months time. The apricots I cut in half and removed the stone, this way they packed in the jar better and recipes I found for plums did this. I also used vanilla sugar for the apricots rather than the plain caster for the cherries.
Once sealed they needed shaking to start dissolving the sugar. I shall be storing them in the cupboard for a couple of months before tasting and will need to remember to give them a shake every now and then.


First batch of mango chutney was made this morning.Woke at 5am so got up and had a mug of tea and started the chutney. Decided to make 2 batches; one spicy and one less so. Spicy one made.The chutney has come out quite dark due to the sugar used in the recipe. Next time I would use ordinary granulated not soft brown sugar.Recipe made 3 jars.

The Plum cheese or PLumbrillo is also made. Very simple to do and cheap seeing as plums are mega cheap at the moment. There are 6 jars and 3 ramekins worth.We tried one of the ramekins yesterday. A quite release at the side with a knife and the cheese plopped out onto a plate. We nibbled some cheddar with it and thought it was quite tasty although we think it would go better with Brie or Camembert and maybe goats cheese.

Going to make second batch of chutney later also going to do some cherries in brandy for Christmas.

Friday, 29 July 2011

Back on Blogger

It's the school summer holidays and I've decided to have another go at blogging! Can I keep it up? Well we'll see!
Have a couple of projects lined up for the next few days.

mango chutney

Today, being pay day, I went to the shops to do the basics monthly shop. Visited the supermarket and Lidl's. Lidl's had mangoes for 50p each so I bought 6. Probably going to make the WI book of Preserves recipe. Will study recipes over next couple of days.

I subscribe to Good Food magazine and the September issue dropped on the doormat the other day.With the magazine was a small booklet of Make-ahead recipes.The very last recipe was plumbrillo! I am a big fan of membrillo,the quince variety. Plums are very cheap in the shops at the moment and I have a couple of tubs in the fridge. So tomorrow I may just give it a go.

My other big project, kitchen wise, is using up all the long forgotten frozen fish,chicken and red meat lurking at the bottom of the freezer.
Must go and look for something for tomorrow's main meal.

Saturday, 20 November 2010

Christmas Pudding!

It being Stir Up Sunday I was up at the crack of dawn to do the final mixing of the pudding. Last night I had put together all the dry ingredients so all I had to add was the grated lemon zest, treacle, egg, brandy and a bit of milk. I followed Pink Whisk's recipe as a change from my own traditional family recipe. Pink Whisk gave instructions for cooking the pudding in 3 different ways, one of which was using the slow cooker. The great advantage of the slow cooker being that the house wouldn't be full of steam and also it would use less power and therfore be greener.

I halved Pink Whisk's recipe as a 1 litre pud would be too much for us. I tried different combinations of smaller bowls in the slow cooker to see what I could get in. 3 was the answer and so the mix is divided up into 3 bowls,  Anyway the slow cooker is doing its' stuff, there's no steam. You have to add two hours on to the cooking time so am now waiting till lunchtime to take my puds out!

Thursday, 28 October 2010

Christmas Cake

Yes, I could put it off no more. The fruit had been steeped in brandy. The other ingredients gathered, the cake tin was time to make the cake!
I used Delia Smith's classic Christmas cake recipe but confess I did add more brandy to the fruit than she decreed in her recipe. Long slow baking resulted in a delicious aroma filling the house.
Once cool the cake will be wrapped and feed more brandy regularly.
Mincemeat next I think!

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Curried Carrot Soup

What to have for lunch? It is a damp miserable autumn day so unlike yesterday which was warm and sunny despite the initial hard frost. We need something warm to fill us up. I have a large glut of carrots ( free from a good home) so I decided it had to be carrot soup but not the usual carrot and corainder or carrot and orange. A quick trawl through a few internet recipe sites revealed a host of curried carrot soups recipes.
Anyway I decided to just throw a few things in the pot and see what happens.

2 onions roughly chopped
2 sticks of celery and leaves roughly chopped
8 carrots roughly chopped
about 1 litre chicken ( or veg) stock
salt & pepper
2 tsps curry paste
olice oil
chopped coriander to garnish


1. Saute onion and celetry in oil for about 10 mins
2. Add curry paste and cook out
3. Add carrots and cook for another 5 mins
4. Add stock
5. Simmer until veg cooked
6. Puree in batches or use stick blender
7. Add seasoning as needed.
8. Serve sprinked with chopped coriander garnish and crusty bread

Sunday, 24 October 2010

Knitted dishcloths

I was reminded that I had said I would knit some dishcloths for some of my colleagues. So after my Sunday lunch of roast shoulder of pork and veg, I started on the first dishcloth.That is now finished. Just a few more to go...