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I once bought a jar of caramelised onion chutney at a fayre and promised myself that one day I would hunt out a recipe and make some myself.   It is a really useful addition to the store cupboard: delicious with cheese or cold meat, so especially good around Christmas when there are plenty of cold cuts, but also good stirred into gravy to add extra flavour.  If you like hot dogs then you could substitute this chutney for the fried onions and if you like sausage rolls then why not try the recipe on this site for Sausagemeat Plait substituting Caramelised Red (or White if you prefer) Onion Chutney for the Fennel & Apple Chutney.

Finding nothing particularly useable in my recipe books, I turned to the web and discovered several helpful recipes, in particular one from Tesco called Caramelised Onion Chutney, but I consulted other recipes as well.  One of these Red Onion & Balsamic Chutney, a Lesley Waters recipe on the Good Food Channel site, added orange which I wanted to include in my recipe, having made some onion marmalade (a mixture of seville orange and onions) some years ago. The Tesco recipe used a pinch of chill, but I used Piment d’Espelette as an alternative.  The recipe did not specify the type of onion, so I assume that it should be white ones, however as I had plenty I used red onions instead.  The only comment I would make is that I would have preferred the chutney to be pinkish rather than brown, reflecting the rosy colour of the onions.  The darkening came both from the brown sugar, even though I used light brown, the dark balsamic vinegar and the red wine vinegar.  If I did this again I woudl certainly use white wine vinegar and white balsamic vinegar and possibly white granulated sugar as well.   Ideally this recipe should be kept to mature for 6 – 12 months, according to the Tesco recipe.  I made mine at the start of November so by Christmas it will have matured for almost 2 months: not quite long enough I know but I plan to keep one jar by for next Christmas to see if it really does improve with age.

'Meanderings through my Cookbook' http://www.hopeeternalcookbook.wordpress.com

Caramelised Red Onion Chutney
(3 x 500g/1lb jars)

3tbsp olive oil
1·5kg/3lb onions – I used red onions
zest & juice of 1 orange
300g/10oz light muscovado sugar (or white granulated to help preserve colour)
200ml/7fl oz red wine vinegar (or white wine vinegar to help preserve colour)
3tbsp balsamic vinegar (or white to help preserve colour)
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1tbsp wholegrain mustard
½tsp salt
large pinch paprika
large pinch crushed chillies or Piment d’Espelette (Espelette pepper)

1.  Peel and thinly slice the onions.  Heat the oil in a large saucepan and using a low heat gently fry them for 10 minutes until they have softened.  They must not brown.

2.  Stir in 3 tbsp sugar.  Turn up the heat and cook the chutney for 3-4 minutes and allow the onions to brown, although if you want to preserve the pink colour of the chutney try not to let them brown very much.  Stir in the rest of the sugar and then add the remaining ingredients.

3.  Simmer the mixture gently for 10-15 minutes.  The liquid should reduce, the mixture thicken and turn a dark caramel colour.  (This instruction comes from the original: using white vinegars and sugar should hopefully preserve the colour a little better although adding the sugar will make it darken a little.)

4.  Wash the jars well and sterilise them.  I usually do this by filling the jars with boiling water and putting the lids in a bowl of boiling water.  I pour away the water just before filling each jar and immediately take the lid from the bowl and screw it on.

5.  Pot while still hot into the pre-prepared sterilised jars. Screw on the lids well and then turn upside down until cool, which helps with the seal, after which they can be labelled.  This can be eaten immediately but also keeps well.

7.  If you can wait that long it is recommended that this chutney is stored for 6 – 12 months before use.

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One of the enjoyable parts of food blogging has turned out to be the contact with other likeminded people.  A few months ago, out of the blue, I was emailed by ‘Macaron Queen’ (at least that is how I think of her!) Jill Colonna from Mad About Macarons.  Following a comment I had left her about fruit curds, Jill was asking me if I would like to submit a curd ‘guest post’ for her series of recipes using egg yolks (macarons use just the whites).  I have to admit that I don’t really know how the ‘guest post’ system operates.  I hope that Jill can use this post, if it is helpful, in her search for ways to use up leftover egg yolks.

Over the past few months I have been trying out different fruit curd recipes I have found online and in various books.  The initial post was for the traditional Lemon Curd – here is my latest discovery, Mango Curd.  This recipe, with amendments by me, is loosely based on one from Smitten Kitchen who discovered it in Bon Appetit, June 1998.  All curds are smooth but the silky texture of the mango seems to enhance the creamy smoothness.  Be generous with the mango as the flavour is rather mild and can get a bit lost.  I have a round gadget with a blade, a promotional item which I was sent free because I bought two mangoes in ASDA last year.  I would  not have paid the large sum originally asked for it, but it does divide the fruit very easily – they are not easy beasts to cut up, especially if a bit on the soft side!  I usually add some lemon juice to non-citrus curds as the flavour helps cut through the richness and sweetness but the original recipe used lime which I have kept as it is so good in combination with mango.  Delicious!

'Meanderings through my Cookbook' http://www.hopeeternalcookbook.wordpress.com

Mango Curd
(Makes 1 x 1lb jar)

1 large or 2 small mangoes, peeled, pitted & chopped
115g/4ozs sugar
Juice of 1 lime (extra lime if solids not sieved)
Pinch of salt (or leave this out and use salted butter)
4 large egg yolks (or 2 whole eggs)
30g/2ozs unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

1.  Remove the large stone from the mango, cut into small pieces and purée, preferably in a food processor.

2. Combine with the sugar, lime juice and salt (if using). Add egg yolks or lightly beaten whole eggs. Purée for a little longer to thoroughly combine.

3. Push through a sieve into a large metal bowl with a large spatula or wooden spoon, pressing down well to obtain as much puree as possible. Discard the solids that remain in sieve.  (Alternatively omit this step for a thicker coarser curd – the yield will be higher and an extra half or whole jar required.)

4.  Place the metal bowl over saucepan of simmering water (but do not allow the base of bowl to come into contact with the water).  Add the butter and continue to simmer the mixture gently, stirring regularly, until it has thickened enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon.

5.  Wash the jars well and sterlise.  I usually do this by filling the jars with boiling water and putting the lids in a bowl of boiling water.  I pour away the water just before filling each jar and immediately take the lid from the bowl and screw  it on.

6.  Beat the curd until it is creamy.  Pour into the prepared jars, cover and label.  Store in the refrigerator and use within 4-6 weeks.

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Some time ago, in my search for alternative fruit curd recipes I found one for Banoffee Curd, posted by vintagehearth, which I have just got round to making.  I have to say it was delicious!

I made two slight changes, using soft light brown rather than dark brown sugar for a paler colour and adding lemon juice.  The sharpness of the lemon cuts through the sweetness of the curd and has the added bonus of helping keep the bananas pale in colour.  My only other advice would be to double the quantity of this recipe.  It takes only a little longer to cook a double batch and the single jar (and a bit over) yielded by 2 eggs is gone too quickly!  Apart from spreading on bread or toast, this would be wonderful as a cake filling or could be layered with crushed biscuits and cream or sweetened crème fraîche with some slices of fresh banana for an easy dessert.   When hunting for the original recipe again, I came across a second almost identical recipe, at the fruits of my labour which is for four rather than two eggs.  I would still add the lemon juice as well. 

'Meanderings through my Cookbook' http://www.hopeeternalcookbook.wordpress.com

Banoffee Curd
(Makes 1 and a bit jars)

10oz/280g soft light brown sugar
2 medium/large bananas
2oz/50g butter
2 eggs, beaten
Juice of ½ lemon (my addition)

1.  Using a fork mash the bananas in a large heatproof bowl.  (I found that they did not need pushing through a sieve but you can do this if you wish.) 

2.  Mix in the sugar well, which will help break up the bananas.

3.  Place the bowl over a pan of simmering water. Cut the butter into small pieces and add, stirring until it’s melted.  

4.  Mix in the eggs. Simmer gently until cooked, stirring regularly so that the thicker layer on the bottom is mixed through.

5.   Meanwhile wash the jars well and sterilise.  I usually do this by filling the jars with boiling water and putting the lids in a bowl of boiling water.  I pour away the water just before filling each jar and immediately take the lid from the bowl and screw it on.  Shake as much water from them as possible before filling.
Alternatively put the jars in an oven set to 180oC/350oF/Gas 4 for 10 minutes.  Be careful to put them on a dry surface when removing or they could crack.  Lids can be placed in a small pan of boiling water.  Shake as much water from the lids as possible before filling.

6.  Pot the curd into sterilised jars.  Once the jars are filled and the lids well screwed on, invert them to improve the heat seal.  Turn the jars the right way up once they are cool.

7.  All curds should be stored in the refrigerator and used within a month of production as they contain egg.

More curd recipes… (Comments to be left on the Curds page, please)
091005/101212

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Having made Crab Apple Jelly my recipe recommended that the remaining pulp in the jelly bag be made into Crab Apple cheese, a thick sweet puree, so never one to be wasteful I gave it a go.   Fruit cheeses can be so thick that they can be turned out with slices cut from them and were a feature of Victorian dinner tables.  Crab Apple cheese was eaten at Christmas time as a dessert, studded with hazelnuts and decorated with whipped cream, alongside a second dark coloured cheese made from Damsons.  As with apple sauce, it can also be served with cold meats.   The instruction was to sieve the apple pulp to remove the peel, cores and seeds.  These had not been removed as they were necessary to give a high pectin content to the jelly.  There was a sizeable amount of pulp but sieving the pulp was very time consuming and in the end I gave up.  I think an old fashioned mouli blender may have been more successful (the sort that used to be used before the advent of liquidisers and food processors.  In the end I opted to remove the pieces of peel, which thankfully were quite large, by hand, taking out any large pieces of core and seeds as well.  Then I used my metal potato masher to turn the whole mixture into a puree. 

The recipe, as with the one for Crab Apple Jelly, was from The Penguin Book of Jams, Pickles & Chutneys by David & Rose Mabey.  The resulting puree was very sweet indeed.  We ate it with pork but we have also found it is equally as good eaten as jam.  I think it would be good spread on slices of bread and made into a Bread & Butter Pudding.  This version is simply apple and sugar, with no other flavourings as recommended by the original recipe which said the wonderful flavour of the apples would speak for themselves. I have seen other versions which are flavoured with cinnamon or ginger.  Would I make this again?  Probably, just because I don’t like to see waste, however I would have to think of a way of making it less time consuming, perhaps by removing the peels, cores and seeds but still cooking them in a small bag within the jelly bag, possibly.  I wonder if anyone reading this has had a similar experience and how they solved the lengthy sieving process?  Your comments and thoughts would be welcomed!

'Meanderings through my Cookbook' http://www.hopeeternalcookbook.wordpress.com

Crab Apple Cheese

Puree left over from Crab Apple Jelly
Sugar (amount equal to weight of sieved puree)
Straight sided jars, or similar, so that the cheese can be turned out.

1.  After making the Crab Apple Jelly, turn out the puree in the jelly bag and sieve to remove pips and skins.  These are laborious to remove but it is important that they are included in the mixture as they add to the flavour. 

2.  For each 1lb/545g of pulp weigh out 1lb/545g of sugar.

3.  Discard the peels and pips and place the pulp in a saucepan.  Stir in the sugar and cook until it is dissolved.  Cook until very thick. 

4.  Wash the jars well and sterilise.  I usually do this by filling the jars with boiling water and putting the lids in a bowl of boiling water.  I pour away the water just before filling each jar and immediately take the lid from the bowl and screw it on.  Shake as much water from them as possible before filling.
Alternatively put the jars in an oven set to 180oC/350oF/Gas 4 for 10 minutes.  Be careful to put them on a dry surface when removing or they could crack.  Lids can be placed in a small pan of boiling water.  Shake as much water from the lids as possible before filling.

9.  Pot into the prepared jars.  Cool and label.  The cheese should be kept for several months and may shrink slightly in storage, which is normal.  Serve as a dessert or with cold meats.

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On a bright and sunny mid September day my eye was drawn to a small tree of what I thought were probably crab apples, but not a variety I had ever seen before.  They were the size of small plums but the colour of pale red cherries, the tree thick and the ground carpeted with the fallen fruit.  This same day we had made our annual trip to Plum Corner, this year sadly (and literally) unfruitful, so there were containers in the car which I filled instead with the fallen crab apples.  Some research when I arrived home indicated that this was a variety of  Crab Apple (or Malus) called ‘John Downie’.  I don’t remember seeing such pretty crab apples before, usually the ones I see are yellow ( a variety called ‘Golden Hornet’).  I also read that the best place to gather the fruit was, as I had done, from the ground.  My initial intention was to extract the pectin to help with jam making, however I also planted some of the fruit.  Eventually I wouldn’t mind my own little tree, though I’m not worried about growing one that would yield enough fruit for cooking purposes!

 

Expecting the liquid to be very sour I was pleasantly surprised at its sweetness, with just a slight sharpness, once it was strained through the jelly bag so I wondered if I could use it for something other than just pectin.  In The Penguin Book of Jams, Pickles & Chutneys by David & Rose Mabey there was a recipe for Crab Apple Jelly where the resulting fruit pulp could then be turned into Crab Apple Cheese.  As I love the idea of wasting nothing I had to give it a go, retaining just a little juice for pectin for my jam, which I froze.   This variety of Crab Apple gives a jelly that is fiery red in colour and other varieties will give different shades, but all are delicious with pork.  My only complaint about the jelly is the inevitable small yield from what seems a good quantity of apples, but this is the case with any fruit jelly product.  Under no circumstances should you be tempted to squeeze the jelly bag to extract more juice, as you are aiming for a clear jelly and the squeezing will make the juice cloudy.  In the end be thankful for the small amount you get.  Just enjoy its wonderful colour and clarity.

Crab Apple Jelly (Malus ‘John Downie’ or another variety)

Crab Apples
A small amount of water
Sugar

1.   Collect a good amount of apples and wash them well.

2.  Chop them up without peeling or coring and put them in a large saucepan with a very small amount of water (just enough to stop the apples from burning and sticking to the pan).  Cook over a gentl heat until they are soft, stirring occasionally.

3.  Stretch a jelly bag over a jug and spoon in the apple mixture.  Suspend the jelly bag above the jug and allow to drip at least overnight, but preferably for 24hours.  Do not squeeze the contents of the bag at any point or the juice will become cloudy.

4.  Reserve the apple pulp for crab apple cheese, if you wish.

5.  Measure the strained liquid and weigh out 1lb sugar for each pint of strained juice.

6.  Dissolve the sugar in the juice in a medium sized saucepan and bring to the boil.  (If you have obtained a large quantity of juice then it may be appropriate to use a larger saucepan.)

7.  Turn the heat down a little and, stirring regularly, reduce the liquid until it starts to set.  (I small amount dripped onto a saucer than has been in the freezer will wrinkle when pushed if it is ready.)

8.  Wash the jars well and sterilise.  I usually do this by filling the jars with boiling water and putting the lids in a bowl of boiling water.  I pour away the water just before filling each jar and immediately take the lid from the bowl and screw it on.  Shake as much water from them as possible before filling.
Alternatively put the jars in an oven set to 180oC/350oF/Gas 4 for 10 minutes.  Be careful to put them on a dry surface when removing or they could crack.  Lids can be placed in a small pan of boiling water.  Shake as much water from the lids as possible before filling.

9.  Pot into the prepared jars.  Cool and label.

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This jam contains a surprise – a secret ingredient: secret because it is there but you cannot taste it (at least we could not) but essential for bulking up the other ingredients so you can make a good quantity.   It is a perfect recipe for using up a glut of courgettes, or for when you find one hiding under a leaf which has reached marrow sized proportions – or are the recipient of post Harvest Festival bounty!  The secret ingredient is, as you have probably guessed, courgette or marrow…

I came across this at Tinyinc where it was called Marrow & Ginger Jam, but I have renamed it: the jam was very gingery and very lemony (but so ‘un-marrowy’)!   I made just a few small tweaks to the original recipe. Firstly, I weighed the marrow and used this as a measure for the other ingredients using 1 lemon and 30g root ginger for each 40-45g unpeeled marrow/courgette and sugar equalling the weight of the marrow/courgette).  Secondly, as with Tinyinc’s recipe, I did not want lumps of vegetable in my jam so I liquidised the marrow down to a puree, which made it silky smooth, apart from the ginger and lemon shreds.   Thirdly, I grated the ginger and added the outer peelings to the bag containing the lemon pips and shells.  I find a bag made from the (clean!) knotted foot of a pair of old tights makes a really good alternative to my muslin bag which would have been far too big for this. Fourthly, I used ordinary sugar without added pectin with no setting problems. I did wonder if it needed some apple to help the set, but risked a batch without finding it set easily.  This is a wonderful jam, with a translucent yellow colouring not dissimilar to lemon curd, which I know will become a family favourite and I can see myself making again and again.  Tinyinc advised that the flavour matures and intensifies if the jam is stored first (which may prove difficult).  As for uses, apart from spreading on bread or toast, (a good alternative to ginger marmalade), tonight I stirred some into yoghurt with some lightly poached figs (apple, pear or plum would be good too) – it would also be delicious as a cake filling.  When you have made this jam, don’t tell people the secret – see if they can guess – surprise them!

Warning: Do not try to make a double batch in one pan.  Reducing the extra liquid will be difficult and leaving it to cook down for a long time could lead to the sugars burning.  I speak from experience!  I apply this rule to all home made jams and chutneys: nothing worse than a bitter burnt flavour lurking in the background.  I find using the widest saucepan I have gives the biggest surface area for the quick evaporation of liquid.

'Meanderings through my Cookbook' http://www.hopeeternalcookbook.wordpress.com

Surprise Lemon & Ginger Jam
(Makes about 3 x 1lb jars)
Weigh the marrow/courgette first and adjust the recipe proportionately: 1 lemon and 30g unpeeled ginger to 40-45g vegetable.  The weight of sugar should be the same as unpeeled marrow/courgette.  The quantities below are those specified in the original recipe.

1.25kg marrow or courgette (peeled, deseeded and in small dice)
1.25kg white sugar
3 lemons
90g fresh root ginger (peeled and grated)

1.   Put two or three saucers in the freezer.  (These will be used to test to see if the jam is cooked enough to set.)  Peel the marrow, remove the seeds and cut into small dice.  Place in a large saucepan.

2.  Remove the lemon zest using a zester, if available, or the large holes of a grater (being careful not to remove any white pith) and set aside.  Cut the lemon in half and squeeze into a jug.  Place the empty lemon shells and pips into a small muslin bag (or foot section of a clean pair of tights).

3.  Add a small amount of the lemon juice to the pan, cover with a lid and gently cook the marrow until transparent.  If necessary add some more lemon juice to stop the marrow sticking.  Spoon the marrow and any collected liquids into a blender and liquidise until smooth.  Alternatively the mixture can be mashed for a slightly coarser texture or, providing the dice are very small, left as it is.

4.  Peel the ginger, grate using the large holes of the grater and add to the lemon zest.  Add the ginger peelings and any very fibrous pieces to the small bag with the leftover lemon pieces.

5.  Return the marrow mixture to the same pan, add the remaining lemon juice, the lemon and ginger.  Stir in and dissolve the sugar.  Knot the bag of bits and add it to the pan.

6.  Bring the mixture to the boil and then turn down to a rolling simmer.  Stir regularly, pressing down on the bag of bits occasionally and reduce until the mixture has reached setting point.  Test for a set by putting a half teaspoon of jam on a saucer from the freezer.  If, once it has cooled a little, it wrinkles when pushed with a finger, it should be ready to pot.  If not ready then leave for 5 minutes and try again.  (This took about 25 minutes for two-thirds of the full amount above.)

7.  Wash the jars well and sterilise.  I usually do this by filling the jars with boiling water and putting the lids in a bowl of boiling water.  I pour away the water just before filling each jar and immediately take the lid from the bowl and screw it on.  Shake as much water from them as possible before filling.
Alternatively put the jars in an oven set to 180oC/350oF/Gas 4 for 10 minutes.  Be careful to put them on a dry surface when removing or they could crack.  Lids can be placed in a small pan of boiling water.  Shake as much water from the lids as possible before filling.

8.  Remove the small bag of bits, scraping the jam from the outside and squeezing it with tongs and place it on a saucer.  Any extra juices that collect on the saucer should be stirred back into the jam before you start potting.

9.  Pot into the prepared jars.  Cool and label.

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Last year I wrote about our chance find of damsons in a hedgerow on a lane in rural Oxfordshire and subsequently turning them into Spiced Damson Chutney.  We determined to return to the spot this year in the hope of picking them again but were disappointed to find, as we were a week or two later, they had all been either eaten by birds or taken by someone else – or possibly it was just not a very good harvest this year.  Some you win, some you lose!  However, all was not completely lost as, wandering along the hedgerow, I discovered a good crop of sloes and filled several boxes.  Last year I made Sloe Gin in time for Christmas (now is the time, by the way – there may just be some left in your area and they can be frozen).  I picked some Sloes for my parents and then wondered what to do with the remainder as, having some in the freezer already, I didn’t really have space for any more.

This recipe from The Penguin Book of Jams, Pickles & Chutneys by David & Rose Mabey for Sloe & Apple Jelly attracted me.  It is recommended for serving with mutton, rabbit or jugged hare  and although we don’t eat hare, I do like both lamb and rabbit so it seemed worth a go.  I think it would also complement duck, in a Chinese influenced dish with some added oriental spices.  Duck in Plum Sauce is a favourite dish from the Chinese takeaway!  On reflection, I probably should have used a smaller saucepan in the final stage.  My only disappointment was that the jelly thickened quickly and was ready before I had prepared the jars.  By the time the jars were ready it had cooled slightly and started to set.  The texture would not win it any prizes, however the taste is delicious, which is what really matters.  I would make this again, although using a smaller pan for the final stage and hope one day to post a better picture.  The apple is needed as sloes are low in pectin so need it to set successfully.

'Meanderings through my Cookbook' http://www.hopeeternalcookbook.wordpress.com

Sloe & Apple Jelly
(not very much – a small jar)

1lb/454g sloes
1lb/454g apples
water
sugar

1.  Wash the sloes and if picked before the frost, prick them with a needle.  I successfully crushed them in the pan with a potato masher.

2.  Wash the apples and remove any bad bits and then roughly chop them.  They do not need to be peeled or cored.  Add them to the pan with sufficient water to just cover them.

3.  Simmer gently until the fruit is quite soft, stirring occasionally and pressing more with a wooden spoon to encourage juice to come out of the sloes.

4.  Strain the juice through a jelly bag suspended over a measuring jug.  Do not squeeze the bag as this will cause the jelly to be cloudy.  Leave for 24hours or at the very least overnight.

5.  Dispose of the pulp in the bag. 

6.  This stage needs to be done before finishing the jelly which will reduce quickly.  Wash the jars well and sterilise.  I usually do this by filling the jars with boiling water and putting the lids in a bowl of boiling water.  I pour away the water just before filling each jar and immediately take the lid from the bowl and screw it on. 

7.  Measure the strained liquid into a medium sized saucepan adding 1lb/454g sugar for each pint of liquid and bring to the boil. 

8.  Boil fast to set – a little placed on a saucer that has chilled in the freezer will wrinkle slightly when pushed with your finger.  Pot into the prepared jars.  Cool and label.  Serve with mutton or lamb, rabbit or jugged hare, or with duck prepared with Chinese spice flavours.

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Oranges, being expensive to import, were considered a luxury around 200years ago when the tradition of marmalade making was first recorded.  Seville marmalade oranges, which are small and slightly bitter, are available for just a few short weeks in the early part of each year and are not always easy to find: I usually look for them around my birthday in mid-February. Home made marmalade cannot be beaten, despite it being rather labour intensive, but it is definitely worth the effort.  Just play some favourite music or find something good on the radio to make the squeezing and chopping more enjoyable.  My book contains two almost identical recipes: a light coloured one, called Seville Orange Marmalade and the second, a variation of the same recipe, called Dark Seville Marmalade.  I discovered in other books that this second one, which is much darker in colour and always chunky, is often called ‘Oxford’ marmalade as it was first made and sold there, being popular with the university dons and students.  Followers of the Oxford v Cambridge University boat race will be aware that the team colours are dark blue for Oxford and light blue for Cambridge.  With this in mind, I have named the lighter colour ‘Cambridge’ marmalade, though I am aware that marmalade is not blue – or especially connected to Cambridge!

The recipe, which I have adapted for both types of marmalade, comes from my well used jam and pickle book: Home Preserves by Jackie Burrow.  I found that 1½kg/3lb of Seville oranges yielded a too large quantity for my biggest pan, so I divided the mixture between two big pans after the initial cooking time before adding half the sugar to each pan. (This involved straining off the cooked peel as well as dividing the liquid.)  The treacle needed to give a darker colour to Oxford marmalade was added to just one pan.  Some Oxford marmalade recipes also add root ginger, up to 60g/2ozs (depending on personal taste) is suggested for the amount of oranges in my recipe.  As with jams, marmalade cooked for too long can take on a tainted burned flavour.  Dividing the mixture helped it to cook down to setting point quicker, so for this reason I may take this step again in future.  Marmalade making is not a short job, so make sure you allow plenty of time.  The original recipe said it would take 2 hours to cook but my total making and cooking time was nearer 5 hours, although this did include the time taken to divide the mixture into two pans, however once the marmalade is cooking it does not need constant watching.  If you have freezer space, Seville oranges freeze well so they can be used at times when normally unavailable.

'Meanderings through my Cookbook' http://www.hopeeternalcookbook.wordpress.com

‘Oxford’ (& ‘Cambridge’) style Seville Marmalade
(Makes around 8 x 1lb jars)

1½kg/3lb Seville oranges
2 lemons
3½litres/6pints water
3¾kg/6lb sugar (if making just ‘Oxford’ marmalade then use brown sugar)
2 x 15ml (tablespoons)  black treacle (‘Oxford’ marmalade only)
Up to 60g/2ozs root ginger, peeled & chopped/grated (personal preference) to taste – see above

1.  Wash the oranges and lemons, halve and squeeze out the juice and pour into a large pan.  Put the pips into a muslin bag (I use the cut off foot and lower leg from a clean pair of old tights) and tie so it dangles into the juice in the pan.

2.  Slice the orange and lemon peel into shreds, thickness according to personal taste although traditional Oxford marmalade is very chunky. Add the shreds to the pan, pour in the water and bring to the boil. (If I was adding root ginger, which is not in the original recipe, I would add it at the same time as the peel.) 

3.  Reduce the heat and simmer for about 1½hours or until the peels are very soft.  Remove the bag of pips, squeezing well so all the juice drops back into the pan. (Try using this between two spoons as the mixture will be hot.)  This is to allow the pectin contained in the pips to help the marmalade to set.  (It was at this point that I divided the mixture between two pans, straining the peels and liquid so they could be divided more equally.)

4.  Put some saucers in the freezer to chill.  These will be needed when the marmalade is checked to see if it has reached setting point. 

5.  Add the sugar (and treacle if you are making Oxford style marmalade) and stir well over a low heat until dissolved.  Boil rapidly until setting point is reached – a teaspoon of mixture placed on a chilled saucer will wrinkle when pushed with a finger.  Remove any scum that has collected – some people do this by adding a knob of butter but I have not found it to be successful.

6.  Allow the mixture to cool slightly before potting.   While it is cooling, wash the jars well and sterlise.  I usually do this by filling the jars with boiling water and putting the lids in a bowl of boiling water.  I pour away the water just before filling each jar and immediately take the lid from the bowl and screw  it on.

7.  Pour into the prepared jars, cover, wipe if needed and label.

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If you are having a Turkey this Christmas the chance is that there will be some Cranberry Sauce on the table.  It’s difficult to get excited about the shop bought variety, however, even if it is one of the better quality brands.  I usually find it is not worth the bother – a bit like having jam with my main course – so I pass it on to the next person.  This year I have found several variations for a relish made using fresh Cranberries and chose to make this one which adds orange as well as ginger, which we love. It was lovely.  Sharp, fruity and spicy but not particularly sweet.  (I had seconds!)  Another version substituted Clementines, always available at this time of year and combined them with Star Anise … perhaps another year.  The family eat Cranberry Sauce throughout the year with roast chicken and also in sandwiches with an unexciting slice of cold chicken.  I once made a large ‘hand raised pie’ using hot water crust pastry with layers of chicken, ham, sausagement and cranberry sauce.  It was a quite lot of work but great fun to do and a satisfying result in more way than one, I remember!  I ought to make one again some time.  Whilst this recipe for Cranberry & Orange relish is wonderful for Christmas and special occasions, I shall make one of the ‘shortcut’ recipes for improving a jar of pre-purchased cranberry sauce for everyday use.  Recipes for these are given after the recipe.

This recipe was part of Delia Smith’s Christmas cooking article in the December 2009 edition of the ASDA instore magazine.  She recommends that any left over relish is great served with pâté and potted meats.  It keeps well in the fridge for up to two weeks from the date it was made, although it would keep a little longer if potted into sterilised jars. An attractive jar filled with relish with a pretty lid cover or wrapper and would make a good seasonal gift.

'Meanderings through my Cookbook' http://www.hopeeternalcookbook.wordpress.com

Cranberry & Orange Relish
(Enough to serve 8 – fills 4 small shop sized cranberry sauce jars)

450g fresh cranberries – I successfully used previously frozen and thawed cranberries
Zest and juice of 1 large orange – wash before zesting
½ teaspoon ground ginger
75g sugar
4cm piece of cinnamon stick
4 cloves
2-3 tablespoons port

1.  Chop the cranberries well, using a food processor or small chopper and place them in a saucepan.

2.  Remove the zest of the orange with a zester or potato peeler so you have very fine shreds. Squeeze the orange and add to the pan, along with the strips of zest, ginger, sugar and spices.

3.  Heat the mixture to simmering point, stir well, cover the pan and simmer very gently for about 5 minutes.  (Delia Smith recommends using a kitchen timer as it is so easy to forget about it.)

3.  Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the port.  When it has cooled, pour into a serving dish and cover with clingfilm.  Keep it in a cool place or the fridge until needed.  The cloves and cinnamon should be removed before serving!  Alternatively, while still hot, the relish can be poured into sterilised jars with sterilised lids.  Once cooled the relish can be kept for a little longer as the jars should be airtight, although it is recommended that they are stored in the fridge.

Shortcut ways to ‘improve’ a jar of standard shop purchased cranberry sauce:
Zingy Cranberry Sauce (from the ASDA instore magazine, December 2007)
Place 80ml port and the juice and finely grated zest of an orange in a pan and gently boil until thick and syrupy.  (You could add some spices too as in the above recipe if you wish:  cinnamon stick or star anise, ground ginger, cloves.)  Stir in a 150-200g jar (depending on brand) of shop purchased Cranberry sauce (not Cranberry Jelly).  While still hot, pot and seal.
Cranberry and Apple Relish (Found on the ASDA website)
Put a peeled, cored and finely chopped Cox or Granny Smith Apple, 5tbsp orange juice and 50g raisins in a small pan along with the contents of a 150g jar of Cranberry Sauce (not Cranberry Jelly).  Stir over a low heat until well mixed, then simmer for 3 to 4 minutes until the mixture thickens.  Turn into a bowl and leave to cool. Alternatively while still hot, pot and seal.

I do not know what the shelf life of these shortcut versions would be and suggest they are eaten fairly quickly and stored in the fridge. 

Both of these recipes sound easy enough but are untested, but sound as if they would be worth a try.  If anyone does make them I would appreciate any feedback as to their success. Thank you.

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I wanted to make Lemon Meringue Ice Cream and the recipe called for good luxury shop bought or home made Lemon Curd.  Shop bought?!  (Even if it is luxury.)  Lemon curd is so easy to make and I had the ingredients in the fridge so it was no contest.  I’m surprised I don’t make it more often: it never lasts long!  When I had used the half jar needed to make the Ice Cream we still had a good quantity to spread on bread or stir into yoghurt.  You can make other citrus curds using the basic recipe: Orange Curd is a favourite and Lime Curd is lovely too (see below for more information on these).  I’ve seen a recipe for Blackberry Curd which I would like to try as well (actually it’s blackberry and apple): another way to use some of the blackberries in the freezer that we picked earlier in the summer.

There are lots of recipes for basic Lemon Curd around and the proportions and ingredients were all virtually the same. It is important that curds are cooked slowly without boiling otherwise the eggs will curdle (scramble!).  If this starts to happen then the curd should be removed from the heat immediately and whisked well, which may save the mixture.  If the curdling disappears then the mixture can be returned to a gentle heat.  The mixture will thicken as it cools so do not overcook.  The quantities given should make about 2 x 1lb jars.  The shelf-life of curd is very short and they should be stored in the refrigerator and eaten within 4-6 weeks maximum. The conventional way to make curd is on the stove top but I have also successfully made it in a Slow Cooker.  I have given instructions for both methods.  I have also seen a Pressure Cooker recipe and I expect that it is possible to use a Microwave,but once you have a good and easy method why change it!  Unless otherwise indicated, the recipes stove top method below come from The Penguin Book of Jams, Pickles & Chutneys by David & Rose Mabey.   (The Slow cooker method is from The Cordon Bleu Slow Cooker manufacturers Instruction & Recipe Booklet.)

100_8294 Lemon Curd

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Lemon Curd
(Makes around 2 x 1lb jars)

Grated rind & juice of 4 lemons
4 eggs
100g/4ozs butter
450g/1lb granulated sugar

1.  Wash the lemons well and remove zest with a zester or a fine grater, making sure that no white pith is removed.

2.  Put the lemons in a microwave, if available, and give a short burst of heat (about 20seconds) which will help the lemons to yield more juice.  Squeeze the juice from the fruit.

3. Stove top method:
a.  Place juice, zest, sugar and butter in a bowl over a saucepan of boiling water or in the top of a double boiler.
b.  Simmer until the sugar is dissolved, stirring well.
c.  Allow to cool for 5 minutes.
d.  Add the beaten eggs and continue to simmer the mixture gently, stirring regularly, until the mixture has thickened enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon.
e.  (The recipe suggests that if it doesnt seem to thicken a small amount of ground rice could be added: my curd took over half an hour so be patient!)

4. Slow cooker method:
(from The Cordon Bleu Slow Cooker manufacturers Instruction & Recipe Booklet)

a.  Preheat the slow cooker for 20 minutes.
b.  Place juice, zest, sugar and butter in a saucepan until the sugar is dissolved.
c.  Allow to cool for 5 minutes.
d.  Add the beaten eggs and stir well.
e.  Place in a 1litre/2pt pudding basin covered with aluminium foil or a lid and place in the crock pot bowl.
f.  Add boiling water so it reaches half way up the sides of the pudding basin.
g.  Using the higher setting (my crock pot has high & low setting) cook for 1 to 1½ hours or until the mixture has thickened enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon.

5.  Wash the jars well and sterlise.  I usually do this by filling the jars with boiling water and putting the lids in a bowl of boiling water.  I pour away the water just before filling each jar and immediately take the lid from the bowl and screw  it on.

6.  Beat the curd until it is creamy.  Pour into the prepared jars, cover and label.  Store in the refrigerator and use within 4-6 weeks.

Lime Curd (not yet pictured)
Method as for lemon curd, but substitute 5 or 6 limes depending on size.

'Meanderings through my Cookbook' http://www.hopeeternalcookbook.wordpress.com

Orange Curd
Method as for lemon curd, but substituting 3 to 4 oranges depending on size.

'Meanderings through my Cookbook' http://www.hopeeternalcookbook.wordpress.com

St Clement’s Curd
‘Oranges & Lemons
say the bells of St Clement’s …’

(from the English Nursery Rhyme)
Method as for lemon curd, using 2 or 3 lemons and 1 or 2 oranges depending on size and the balance of flavour required.

'Meanderings through my Cookbook' http://www.hopeeternalcookbook.wordpress.com

Blackberry Curd
Method as for lemon curd, but replacing the 4 lemons with 4ozs peeled, cored & diced cooking apple and 12ozs blackberries stewed together and sieved, mixed with the juice of 1 lemon.  The pectin in the apples helps set the curd more quickly so the yield is slightly higher: about an extra half jar of curd.

'Meanderings through my Cookbook' http://www.hopeeternalcookbook.wordpress.com

Banoffee Curd
(Adapted from a recipe at Vintage Hearth)

'Meanderings through my Cookbook' http://www.hopeeternalcookbook.wordpress.com

Mango Curd
Recipe loosely based on one from Smitten Kitchen who discovered it in Bon Appetit, June 1998

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I have also found recipes for the following curds, some of which will eventually appear here.
Apricot
Apricot & Cardamom
Blackcurrant – Recipe 1
Blackcurrant – Recipe 2
Clementine
Chocolate & Chilli
Coconut & Honey
Elderberry
Elderflower
Gooseberry – Recipe 1
Gooseberry – Recipe 2
Lemon & Blood Orange
Lemon & Lime
Lemon & Tangerine
Lime & Ginger
Passionfruit – version 1
Passionfruit – version 2
Pineapple – version 1
Pineapple – version 2
Pineapple – version 3
Pink Grapefruit
Quince
Raspberry
Raspberry & Gooseberry
Rasberry & Black Pepper
Rhubarb
Seville Orange Curd
Strawberry
Strawberry & Orange
Tangerine (Tangerine Curd Ice Cream)

Various: orange, lime, apple, apricot & gooseberry
Also: Mango, Ginger, Rhubarb & Ginger, Lime & Coconut, Ginger, Honey & Lemon, Orange, Honey & Ginger, Tomato, Apple (usually with lemon), Pineapple & Passionfruit

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