Thursday, 25 February 2010

Lemon Curd for Mothers Day March 14th

I promised you the recipe for lucious Lemon Curd in time to make some for Mothers Day, which is March 14th this year in the UK. I hope you have been looking out for a lovely bowl to put it in to make your gift even more special. This recipe makes about 1.5 8oz jars - roughly!

Wash and rinse your jars and put to warm in a medium oven while you make the Lemon Curd.

You can make this over a saucepan of simmering water but it is much quicker to make it in a microwave, if you have one.

You will need:-

3oz caster sugar
1 large, juicy lemon, grate rind, squeeze juice
2 large free range eggs
2oz butter, cut into small cubes

Place grated rind and the sugar into a 1 pint-ish bowl. Squeeze the juice from the lemon into another bowl and whisk in the eggs. Line a sieve with a piece of muslin, if you have it, and strain the eggy lemon mix through onto the sugar. Discard the muslin, if used. Add the butter to the bowl and then microwave on half power, if possible in short bursts, until mixture thickens.

I usually do 1 minute on half power, stir, repeat a couple of times and then go onto 30 sec bursts on half power, stirring in between. How long it takes to thicken will depend on your microwave, but it is usually no more than 5 minutes total. You don't want to end up with lemon flavoured scrambled egg so BE PATIENT! The mixture should just coat the back of a spoon when ready - it will thicken as it cools.

If you are making this to give straightaway then pour into the bowl or jar. If you need to store it then pour into your prepared jars and seal immediately.

The Lemon Curd must be stored in the fridge at all times because of the egg and dairy content and you should aim to use it within 6 weeks of making - not usually a problem!

It is delicious on toast, scones, with meringues or used to sandwich together a sponge cake - maybe some whipped cream? Or pack a couple of home made scones in a basket with a jar of lemon curd and a few fresh flowers - perfect. ( Be sure the recipient knows that it must be kept in the fridge )


Sunday, 21 February 2010

Country Living Fair

We are very excited to have secured a small stand at this spring's Country Living Fair at the Design Centre, Islington 24th-28th March. It is tiny, tiny, tiny as it was a late booking - the last stand available in the WiRE area (Women in Rural Enterprise) I don't know what we will be able to shoehorn into the space but come along and see us anyway as we will have some exciting announcements to make - can't tell you now! I hope to have some brochures from Country Living with some ticket discounts on, so if that interests you, then email the office ( see below ) and we will send you the details as soon as we have them. We will have some show offers as well for you on the day. See you there!

Saturday, 20 February 2010

Wholegrain Mustard with Beer - on YouTube now!

I have been working ALL DAY creating the Making Wholegrain Mustard slideshow which is now on YouTube. Making mustard is so easy, no cooking involved, as in heating things up, and the variations are endless. It's a whole subject in itself. There are step by step instructions, the recipe and loads of pictures. It is the very same recipe I used when I won Gold at The Great Tastes Awards in 2008 ( didn't have time to enter last year!), so it is tried, tested and approved.

Have a go and let us know how you get on. Don't forget you can get mustard seeds, cider vinegar and sea salt from the website if you find them hard to find.

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

Mother's Day

Had a great time at the Marmalade Festival in Cumbria at the weekend - my they work hard! Over 800 entries to taste and evaluate, 1800 visitors to organise and make cups of tea for - thank you to everyone involved. I met up with Dan Lepard, who writes for The Guardian, and champions good honest food, so we like him - see his website . Some great items plus a useful forum. David Whitehouse was there helping the talented amateurs with problems over setting points, information on making pectin stock, whilst simultaneously helping to ensure the event ran smoothly - and listening to me! And they say men can't multi-task.

My preserving thoughts are turning towards Mother's Day which this year is 13th March. Yes, I know it almost a full month away but I am thinking home-made here which takes a little planning. How about a lovely dish of home-made lemon curd - there is nothing like the taste of this and in my opinion the only thing to eat it on is a teaspoon! The lemon curd is made very quickly and I will be bringing you the recipe for it a bit later. However, it might be fun to search the charity shops to find a pretty glass or bone china bowl to put the lemon curd in, rather than a jar. You can cover the top with film or cellophane if travelling and you still have a gift after the contents vare eaten. That's what takes the time. Finding the bowl. So get to it and check back soon for the recipe, which couldn't be easier.

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Pancake Day February 16th

Now that you have made some marmalade use some to make this yummy, quick and eaaaasy Marmalade Sauce to go with your pancakes on Pancake Day, February 16th. It's delicious.

Sunday, 7 February 2010

Red Onion Marmalade

No, I know it's not that kind of marmalade, but a friend asked me for a recipe so I thought I could share it with you too. It's great with good sausages, steak, barbeques or with a tasty cheese.

You will need:-

3lbs / 1.5 kgs red onions, finely sliced
12 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
12 tablespoons olive oil
4 teaspoons black mustard seeds
4 teaspoons whole coriander seeds
150ml red wine vinegar
8oz / 250g dark muscavado sugar
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Tip the onions into a large pan and add garlic, olive oil, mustard seeds and coriander seeds. Stir well to combine and cook gently over a low heat for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Stir in the vinegar and sugar and continue cooking slowly for a further 15-20 minutes until the onions are translucent and reduced. Stir in 4 tablespoon water and continue to cook for 10 minutes until thick and sticky. Season to taste and pot up into warm, sterilised jars.

The instructions say store for up to 2 months ( but we have kept it for a lot longer, sealed, and it has been fine )

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Sugar n' Spice - and all things vinegar!

Just up on the website today - bulk quantity wine and cider vinegars! I have never seen these sizes in the shops and they are a great saving on the bottle prices. Saves taking all the empties to the recycling as well. We have red, white and cider from that tried and trusted company Aspalls. We have also managed to track down Certo pectin, which I know many of you have difficulty in finding in the shops, as they only tend to stock it in the main jam making season. We have price-matched Tesco and Waitrose so you can't say fairer than that.

There is also the wonderfully crumbly Maldon sea salt - I have tried others but always come back to Maldon, especially when making mustards and chutneys. I tend to use good old table salt for salting things like red cabbage and the ingredients for Piccalilli to save a bit, but for added flavour I like the Maldon.

We have other hard-to-find spices as well for you - things like Allspice, which isn't the same thing as Mixed Spice and shouldn't be substituted. The Allspice Berries are wonderfully pungent when bruised slightly, and then added to a spice bag for warm flavoured chutneys. We have yellow and black mustard seeds all ready for a spot of wholegrain mustard making. I'll be posting the method on YouTube soon - would make a fantastic Easter present for hard-to-buy for Dads and Uncles. Not being sexist - but you know what I mean!

We shall be adding to our range of ingredients as time goes on - once we find it for us, we will share it with you.