31 March 2011

A little bit of jelly goes a long way

and there's a jar of each going to Rotorua for Ann - the donor of the grapes.

Simmer your fruit, stalks and all, with a little water. Make sure it's well and truly cooked down. It just needs to simmer gently for around an hour. Get some muslin from the hardware or fabric shop and pour the fruit into 2 layers of it. Do have a bowl underneath or it all goes down the plughole.... Tie the muslin up, not squeezing the fruit but you need to contain it. Then find a way to suspend the bag over the bowl so it can hang there for several hours or overnight.
In the morning throw away the fruit (don't squeeze it first) and measure the juice into a pot. For every 600ml add something like 1- 1 1/2 cups sugar (slightly less for tart apples). Add the sugar before you heat the juice for better results. Bring to the boil while stirring to dissolve the sugar then boil it rapidly for about 10-15 minutes.

Do you know how to test for setting? Drop a small amount onto a cold saucer and push it with your finger - if it's ready little wrinkles will form. (On the jelly not your finger dummy..)

Now bottle it in sterilised jars. I usually have mine heating in the oven while I'm making the jelly.

(See sugar amounts and setting guides below)

Fruits with enough pectin to jell easily when cooked are blackberry, plum, gooseberry, apple, raspberry and grape. (Wild grapes jell better than tame ones). Pectin levels drop as fruit ripens so try to gather mid-ripe fruit. But don't let it stop you!
To achieve proper proportions of pectin and acidity and to add flavour to the jelly, different fruits can be mixed. Some good combinations are crab apple with grape, currant with raspberry, gooseberry with raspberry, tart apple with plum and tart apple with quince. You can add 1 tablespoon of orange, lime or lemon juice per cup of juice to make it jell better.

The amount of sugar you add does depend on the pectin level and the way to test is to add 2 tsp methylated spirits to 1 tsp juice. If low in pectin, the mixture will clump in little blobs. If medium, 2 or 3 blobs, and if high then you'll have one big jelly blob. The higher the pectin content, the more sugar you need.

29 March 2011

Just quickly - Shirley's Kitchen - er, yum

Had visitors the other night and they brought with them this divine fig and walnut log
...made by a friend of theirs in the South Island. Shirley Bradstock of Shirley's Kitchen.
Look them up, see where you can get some and go there. Go now!

Well, what are you waiting for!? Go when I tell you to...

Goodness of friends

Thanks Pete
The fish pie is in the post

Had a kahawai delivered from his stocks and what else can you do with that...

along with the Feijoa and Ginger chutney from the fallen feijoas

28 March 2011

Grapes of abundance in Roto-vegas

Love these unexpected deliveries of home-grown goodness. No spray, she said (other than the neighbour who might visit them in the moonlight...) still - a good wash will fix that

Grape jelly underway as we speak...
Had to make a white one and a black - I'm already imagining the colour
Thanks Ann!

09 March 2011

we need one of these Simon

Okay Simon and Kirsty here's a project that you'd like
and here's my challenge to you

Second Bite

Whip over to Melbourne and have a read about this awesome project.
This follows on the heels of some reading I was doing about the wastage of food we in the first world allow/cause - what you will. Supermarkets could easilty be blamed but then we also are precious about our choices. Did you know that huge torrents of food are rejected because of size, shape and colour? I must do some more research on this but I can already feel myself gettting angry.
Anyway here's a couple of places to look further if this is of interest to you.

08 March 2011

Yay Brett's cook book's here

What a fantastic job you've done with this Brett!
I'm green with envy...
...and what a generous thing, to add a page from the other 11 Series 1-ers.
Thank you, it's going onto my recipe book shelf right now!

07 March 2011

Apple forest

Look what I did with some black and red food colouring and some beautiful little apples

Dinner tonight at Adie's with Grant doing his Italian meatballs and I get to take dessert. Get your false teeth ready girls!
For the toffee:1 1/2 cups sugar and 1/2 cup water, plus 1 tbsp vinegar. Simmer till sugar is dissolved, boil for about 8 minutes then add colouring. Roll the apples in it.
Eat and enjoy!