Prep Time : 15 Minutes | Cook Time : 15 Minutes | Total Time : 30 Minutes | Difficulty : Easy
Hello my lovelies! Gastrique. Sounds pretentious. But you should totally get in on the action. Quick and simple to prepare. Packed with balanced flavour. Ready for your salad, grilled meats, roasted meats. Your everything. Shake up with a little oil for a salad dressing that packs a punch. Drizzle onto roasted everything. It’s even great on vanilla ice cream. The contrasting flavour notes are fabulous. Gastrique is a vinegar based sauce. I learned about it from one of my favourite books – Beyond Canning by Autumn Giles. I had forgotten about it. I made a lovely plum version probably a year ago. This one is close to the original recipe which is also made with raspberries. I put a twist on it with thyme. Balancing out the fruit with some herbs. Perfect. Just make this up, pop it in a jar in the fridge and use at whim. It will last for ages in the fridge. If you want to make a bigger batch and keep it in the pantry, you will need to sterilise jars and follow proper canning procedures. If you can get it, I highly recommend using part thyme flower honey.
Prep Time : 30 Minutes | Cook Time : 10 Minutes | Total Time : 3 hours | Difficulty : Easy
Hello my lovelies! It’s all pickles all the time around here at the moment. It’s a great way to experiment with flavours with very little effort. I love classic cucumber pickles. I am the only one at home who does. It’s okay. I eat enough of them for both of us. This recipe is adapted from one given to me by the lovely Nic Murray. Who is incidentally now my boss. I added chillies. Natch. My first attempt didn’t come out very spicy at all – the pickle juice dulls the heat. So you may need to experiment a couple of times if they don’t come out hot enough for you. Pickles are super easy – just be careful not to shock the jars with major heat changes as they can break. I have only ever had problems with one brand of jar with this but we should be careful always.
Prep Time : 15 + 10 Minutes | Cook Time : 5 Minutes | Total Time : 90 Minutes | Difficulty : Easy
Hello my lovelies! Part two of the back to front week! My brain is back to front this week as well. A mix of information overload and upset routines. But we forge ahead. In style. I have been meaning to make pickled ginger for a while and was prompted to go ahead and do it by a post on Instagram. I got together that recipe and some others and have made my own franken-pickle. Because I am obsessed at the moment I added chilli. It actually rounds out the heat and fruitiness beautifully. Everything is mellowed by the pickling but still has a satisfying bit of burn. This is a super easy quick pickle. It comes together in a flash. Then you have to wait a few days. The extra days are worth it. Be VERY careful slicing with a mandoline. I am living proof that while you will survive and go on to live a full life, you may have a slightly misshapen thumb for a while… Try to use the plumpest freshest ginger possible. The older the ginger the more heat it has and the root can get woody and tough.
Prep Time : 15 + 15 Minutes | Cook Time : 2 Hours | Total Time : 3 Hours | Difficulty : Moderate
Hello my lovelies! When I saw the name of this recipe I absolutely had to make it. I pumped up the hot part with some fresh chillies and swapped the malt vinegar for apple cider. Malt vinegar reminds me too much of terrible faux mayonnaise made with the vinegar and sweetened condensed milk. Sorry mum. If you saw my post yesterday you will know I had a chilli adventure at the market. I recommend that you try to identify chillies before you buy them. Be careful adding them to this recipe. You can always add more later if you need to but you can’t take them out! This is a lovely fruity sauce that packs a punch. If you want it to. I’ve become a bit of a wuss about heat but I am addicted to this. If there are more tender family members around make sure you have adequate ventilation while cooking as some chilli vapour does circulate… You will need a bit of time
Prep Time : 15 + 10 Minutes | Cook Time : 30 Minutes | Total Time : 1 hour | Difficulty : Moderate
Hello my lovelies! I am a gooseberry fan. They aren’t super easy to get a hold of here but have a great unique flavour. While there are sweeter varieties they tend to be very sour when raw unless they are very ripe. So they are perfect for preserving. You can buy them frozen, or find someone with a bush or two. I usually take some from my parents at Christmas but this year they had moved the bushes to a different garden bed and they were sulking about it. I added warm ginger to this jam to balance the sharpness. It’s a winning combo. Anything with ginger is a winning combo in my book. I used raw sugar this time because it’s what I had. White sugar will give a brighter coloured and flavoured preserve but both are delicious.
Prep Time : 15 Minutes | Cook Time : 20 Minutes | Total Time : 1 hour | Difficulty : Moderate
Hello my lovelies! NZ limes are just coming on. And by coming on I mean are less than the $30 a kilo that imported limes cost. So it’s a good time to start adding lime to everything. I have had trouble in the past with curds. There is a lemon curd recipe on this site that is not my best work. They can be finicky and require babying and are easy to overcook. A lot of modern recipes have a very high proportion of eggs and butter and too little sugar. Yes I just said that. Sugar is the world’s great emulsifier. It brings ingredients together like nothing else. Too much butter will split as the curd cools and you will get a grainy texture. Too many eggs gives the curd too much eggy flavour. In my opinion. It also adds to the risk of splitting because of overcooking. This curd is based on my mother’s recipe. It is smooth and velvety. It is packed with pure lime flavour. I have made this curd as lemon and as lime and both are amazing. We don’t need to add zest to it. The juice provides enough flavour and we can do away with the straining step at the end. We are using a double boiler because it protects the curd from fast or uneven heating. I tend to make a half batch to have a jar in the fridge for myself. I’m the only one who eats it. Scale up and down as you see fit. Remember that it is stored in the fridge so don’t go overboard. If you want to make this through the year, juice limes when they are in season and freeze the juice for using later.
Prep Time : 20 Minutes | Cook Time : 1 Hour | Total Time : 90 Minutes | Difficulty : Moderate
Hello my lovelies! It’s time to move past tomato sauce. Until I post a recipe for one. But for now we are talking plums. I love to cook with plums. They have a depth of red fruit flavour that is versatile and rich. Sweet juicy plums made into a tangy, smoky sauce that goes on everything. It adds a burst of bright fruity tang and smoky heat. Perfect for burgers. This sauce will take a bit longer to make than the jams we have been talking about the last couple of weeks. But it’s gentle supervision of a bubbling pot. No heavy lifting. We are even going to use the food processor to do the chopping for us. This recipe is adapted from one of my favourite books, The Modern Preserver, written by a Kiwi living in London. It started life as a distinctly asian sauce. By changing up the seasonings it becomes altogether different.