Lemon Curd

This is one of my all time favourite preserves to make, as not only is it delicious on toast or warm bread, but can be used in desserts.  Use it as a filling in a cake, swirl into a creamy fool or make up a quick lemon meringue pie.  Homemade lemon curd is relatively easy to make and store.  I always use unwaxed lemons and find that this recipe is a great way of using up left over lemons, that you are not sure what to do with!

 

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Ingredients
• 450g Caster sugar
• 4 Unwaxed lemons (zest and juice)
• 4 Eggs gently beaten
• 100g Butter
Sterilising Jars
To sterilise your jars you will need to wash and rinse in hot soapy water, or put in a hot cycle of your dishwasher.  Dry them, then place on a clean baking tray and put into an oven at 150 degrees centigrade for about 15 minutes.

You need to place a bowl over a pan of hot water, taking care that the water does not actually touch the bottom of the bowl.  Place all the ingredients in a bowl and mix round.
Keep gradually mixing and eventually after about 25 minutes the mixture will start to thicken.  You can tell when the mixture is thick enough by taking about half a teaspoon out and placing on a cool plate for a few seconds.  As it cools it should start to thicken, if it is still too runny then keep cooking for a further few minutes.
Place into sterilised jars making sure you leave a good gap between the top of the lemon curd and the jar lid. Do not place the lid of the jar on immediately, just let it loosely rest on top until the lemon curd mixture has had a chance to cool down, otherwise you will end up with condensation.
I then place a disc of greaseproof paper on top before putting the lid on.

Pineapple Chutney

Just recently I have seen some low prices in stores for fresh pineapple.  As well as enjoying it in juices, smoothies and eating it as it is, I also like to make a pineapple chutney which tastes so good as an accompaniment with many things.  I add it into a sandwich, as a dip for poppodums with a curry and with salads.  If you like your chutney to have extra heat, then add a bit more chilli.  Occasionally when I have a glut of tomatoes I will add a few of those in too!

 

pineapple chutney

 
Ingredients
• 2 Pineapples peeled, cored and chopped into small chunks
• 3 Red onions, peeled and finely chopped
• 1 Red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
• 1 tsp Turmeric
• 1 tbsp Nigella Seeds
• 1 tbsp Yellow mustard seeds
• 1 Inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
• 2tbsp Sunflower oil
• 250g Soft brown sugar
• 180ml Cider vinegar
• 1 tsp Salt
(For 3 x 300ml Jars)
Heat the oil in a heavy based saucepan.  Add the spices and onions and cook for around four minutes.  Add all the other ingredients and simmer for around about an hour until thick.  Pour into sterilised jars.  Allow to cool before you cover the jars with a close fitting lid

Blackberry Jam

Yet again I have been in the hedgerows picking some great produce!  Plump juicy blackberries are great for picking now, and when you look at what the supermarkets are charging for them, then you may be in for a shock.  I picked a kilo of the best uncultivated fresh blackberries for absolutely nothing yesterday, whereas a leading supermarket was charging £2.50 per 150g.  I almost dropped through the floor.  My stash of blackberries in my freezer, will see me through the winter months for puddings and pies, but I have also made some fabulous jam and thought I would share the recipe with you.

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Ingredients

1kg of Blackberries
1Kg of Jam Sugar (Has the added pectin)
Juice of 3 lemons
Sterilised jam jars
Place a small side plate in the freezer

Wash the blackberries and strain them to ensure no bugs are lurking within them.  I tend to put the blackberries in a bowl of water and leave them for a few minutes, that way any insect will feel like it has been drowned and floats to the surface.

Get a large stainless steel pan and place the blackberries in with the lemon juice.  Simmer gently, stirring from time to time for around 5 minutes.  Add the sugar and continue to stir and cook on a low heat, for around 10 minutes until all the sugar has dissolved.  Increase the heat to a gentle boil, ensuring that you keep stirring.  The temperature for the jam needs to reach around 105 but you will see it start to thicken as it coats the back of a spoon.  You may see a slight blackberry scum on the surface, scoop it up and discard it.

To test to see if the jam will set, remove the side plate from the freezer and place a blob of jam on it.  After a few seconds it should firm up to a jam consistency.  If it hasn’t, then continue cooking for a further few minutes.

Leave the jam in the pan to cool for a good ten minutes or so, before transferring it to sterilised jam jars.  Place a greaseproof lid on the top, along with your lid and then store in a cool dark place.

Recipe – Tropical Fruit Punch

If you fancy something refreshing in the hot weather and do not want to resort to alcohol, then I can highly recommend this lovely fruit punch.  I have given you a list of fruit I use, but feel free to swap, change and add ingredients such as cherries, melon, pears or raspberries too.

tropical fruit punch

Shloer Sparkling Apple Juice chilled
Carton of Mixed fruit juice (tropical) chilled
Sparkling Water chilled
Some strawberries halved
2 Kiwi Fruit chopped
2-3 Pineapple Rings Chopped

In a jug place 1/3rd of the sparkling apple juice, 1/3rd of the fruit juice and 1/3rd of the sparkling water. Then add all of the fruit. It is better to have the juices chilled already so that it is more refreshing. Serve immediately.

Lower Sugar Juicing Recipe

Further to my blog post yesterday entitled “To Juice or Not To Juice?’ as promised, I have listed below a juice recipe which is said to contain less sugars.  It is an acquired taste, but if it means that I can avoid some sugar spikes which can happen with fruit juices then so be it.  I still want to enjoy my freshly squeezed orange juice in moderation, which will be no issue to those who like me, have a decent balanced diet.  To sit drinking only juice at every meal sitting for weeks, just because daft celebs do it, is in my opinion not very bright and not something I would advocate.

green juice

It is VERY green which may just put some of you off but if you are into your juicing at the moment then this is another recipe to try out.  It still does not answer the argument about the fibre element that I wrote about, but I know many of you have bought juicers and want to use them.  Mine is now off into the back of my pantry again, as I imagine many others will do after they get bored of it.  I enjoy all the ingredients individually and so want to eat them raw and as whole as possible.  Yes I do eat raw cabbage, and have done for years as a salad.  I cut it up and mix with a little white wine vinegar and olive oil.

So I hope you enjoy this green beast recipe, but also hope vegetable and fruit phobes will start to enjoy such produce as part of a proper meal, so that they can enjoy all the benefits.

The Green Beast

  • 130g Cabbage
  • 2 Pears
  • 1 Celery Stick
  • 30g Watercress

Place all the ingredients in your juicer and whizz up.  It is best served over ice.