Monthly Archives: April 2013

Lemon Butter

I decided to make this recipe because I know my mum loves lemon butter and I’d like to give her som I’ve made myself rather than one I’ve bought from the store, and because my husband also has a thing for lemon tarts and anything else that’s lemony. I could take it or leave it, but maybe if I make my own it  will be super delicious and convert me?!

First off, I grated the peel (using my microplane) and juiced 6 lemons, added all of that to a saucepan, then added 400g of caster sugar to it. I heated it until the sugar was melted, then added 150g of good quality (I used Lurpak) butter and waited until that melted. I then transferred the lemon butter mix to another bowl which I sat on top of a saucepan of water, and gently heated the lemon butter. I then beat 5 eggs, placed a sieve on top of the bowl, poured the beaten eggs into it and quickly mixed the eggs into the lemon butter. I then gently heated this mixture (being careful not to let it boil as this would split the mixture) for around 30 minutes until it started to coat the back of my wooden spoon.

I then filled my jars with the lemon butter and it’s now cooling!

Advertisements

Orange Marmalade

I’ve always loved marmalade, one of my favourite memories was being a kid in my auntie’s kitchen in Ireland, eating her homemade marmalade on homemade brown bread with a cup of tea, so delicious! Today I’ve finally had a go at making my own marmalade after receiving a delivery of 28 Mason jars yesterday.

Firstly, the recipe I used asked for Seville oranges, but I don’t think these are in season here yet, so I went to my local grocery store to see what they had in stock. They had the standard Navel oranges imported from the U.S. and 3kg bags of Australian Valencia oranges, as well as lots of Imperial mandarins. I decided to mix things up a little, and ended up using 1.5 navels, 4 valencias and 1 mandarin, as well as 1 lemon.

I filled my pot with 2.25 litres of water, added all the juice from the fruit to it, saved all the pith, pits and skin and popped the pith and pits into some muslin cloth. I made sure to remove all excess pith from the orange skins, then julienned it. I then tied up the muslin cloth and put both it and the julienned peel into the pot.

I let this simmer for a little over 2 hours, until the peel was nice and soft. Then I removed the muslin cloth bag, squeezed out as much of the liquid as I could, then added around 700g of caster sugar. The recipe I used said to use 1.8kg of sugar, but this seemed like way too much, so I started off with just the 700g. When I tasted it, it was already sweet enough, maybe even too sweet, so I added the juice of half a large lemon which seemed to balance it out ok. I let the sugar dissolve and come to a rapid boil for around 20 mins, then began testing to see if it had reached its setting point. I ended up waiting another 30 mins until removing it from the heat because I didn’t think it was set enough.

I then let the marmalade rest for 20 minutes, before pouring it into sterilised jars, sealing them and labelling. The photos below document the main steps I took in the whole process.

I just had a piece of toast with my marmalade on it, and it may sound like I’m bragging or biased, but I think it is one of the nicest marmalades I have ever had, success!

Piglets

This is one of the first recipes I learnt when I was a little girl of around 10. The recipe came from my mum’s Australian Women’s Weekly Cook Book – a gift she was given either as a wedding present or as a gift from her workmates before she left to give birth to me. I remember I used to sit for long periods of time, just reading the recipes and staring longingly at the delicious photos of sweets and cakes, then try and wrap my head around the complex looking method for making a cheesecake crust and lining a tin with it. This is the front cover:

womens_weekly_cookbook

This recipe could be found in the ‘batters’ chapter of the book. My mum used to make these for us kids, and she would affectionately refer to them as ‘piglets’ (when they were actually pikelets). Unfortunately, this meant that I called them piglets for quite a long time, not even realising their proper name was pikelets.

I quickly learnt this recipe off by heart because I’ve made them so many times. In fact, when I was in high school I remember whipping them up a few times as a spur of the moment thing at friends’ places. Every time I make them I’m immediately transported back to my childhood. We always added sultanas to ours, the textural ‘pop’ you get as your teeth sink into the plumped up sultanas in the cooked batter was what we loved most. We ate them as they were, piping hot, or with some butter.

Here’s the recipe:

1 cup of Self Raising flour
0.5 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
2 tablespoons of sugar
1 egg
3/4 to 1 cup of soured milk (depending on how runny you want the batter) – I now use buttermilk whenever I have it, but we always used to use normal milk with 1 teaspoon of white vinegar to sour it
1 dessertspoon of butter, melted
0.5 cup sultanas (optional – you can add none, less, or more, depending on what you like)

1. Sift flour and bicarbonate of soda into a bowl
2. Add the sugar and combine with flour
3. Make a well in the centre and add the egg
4. Beat the egg into the flour whilst slowly adding the soured milk or buttermilk
5. Stir in the melted butter
6. Add the sultanas ( you could add anything else you like here too – e.g. dates, lemon or orange zest, cinnamon, banana, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, nuts, chocolate – anything you like!)
7. The batter is now ready for use, heat a frypan or crepe pan with some unflavoured oil (e.g. canola) or use clarified butter (ghee)
8. Place tablespoon-sized portions of butter onto the hot pan
9. When you see bubbles forming on the pikelets, flip them over
10. Once browned on both sides, pop them onto a plate
11. I like to serve them with butter and maple syrup, but you could have them on their own or with jam and cream, honey and ricotta – use your imagination!

IMG_2786 IMG_2787 IMG_2789

Pickling and Jamming

I’ve often thought about making jams, chutneys, pickling things, jarring things, but it seemed a bit scary and I had no idea where to start. I saw a workshop here in Sydney where they teach you how to pickle, so I booked myself in, it was only an hour, but I learnt so much, I ended up with 5 pages of notes about pickling and it really didn’t seem as hard as I had thought – our teacher said if we can bake a cake then we can definitely pickle.

So yesterday I went to The Chef and the Cook in Camperdown and picked up some jars, and a little pickling toolkit, and today I pickled!

First up was pickled young ginger – basically you finely slice some young ginger, pop it in a jar, boil up some rice vinegar, salt and sugar and pour it over the sliced ginger, then seal the jar, that’s it!

I really wanted to have a go at bread and butter pickles too, so I picked up some beautiful baby cucumbers from Eveleigh markets, sliced them up with some white onion, made a brine of white wine vinegar, sugar, turmeric, mustard seeds and dill and filled the jars with it, it smells delicious and I can’t wait to see how they taste. I’ll be having a burger night very soon!

The other thing I wanted to make was quince jelly because I had all this leftover quince stock from poaching the quinces for my tart! All I did was boil the stock (1 litre) for around 20 minutes, add 100g of oven-warmed sugar, then boil for another 20 minutes and fill and seal the jar, it tastes delicious.

Once all the sealing was done and I was happy with how they’d turned out, I wanted to make them look a bit special, so I gave them cute little tags which were leftover from my wedding last year!

Quince and Frangipane Tart

Another of Lorraine’s recipes, this is truly delicious!

I poached the quinces the night before (I didn’t read the recipe all the way through and it turns out this is a 3 hour process!) so that they would be ready to use in the morning. I also made the frangipane filling and stored it in the fridge overnight.

The pastry for this tart is sweetened – a ‘Pate Sucree’ as the French call it. This isn’t a shortcrust pastry though, it’s still lovely and flakey.

After lining the tart tin with the pastry, I popped it in the freezer for 5 minutes so that it would set nicely. Lorraine suggests not blind baking this particular tart though as the frangipane takes a long time to cook, this may cause your base to overcook if you’ve already blind baked it. I filled the frozen and uncooked tart case with the frangipane (although I think I overfilled it as I wasn’t expecting the frangipane to puff up so much in the oven!), then pulled out my poached quinces, cored them and sliced them and placed them on top of the frangipane and popped them in the oven for around an hour. I then glazed the tart whilst it was still hot.

Lorraine suggests making a quince jelly out of the leftover stock from poaching the quince, which I decided to do, see my next post for details!

Pear and Ginger Brown Butter Tart

This is Lorraine Godsmark’s Pear and Ginger Brown Butter Tart. It uses an unsweetened cream cheese pastry which comes out beautifully crisp and flaky.

I lined the tart tin the night before and froze the whole thing. Then in the morning I blind baked the tart shell (straight from the freezer) before filling it, on the bottom shelf of my oven, on top of a pizza stone for 20 minutes. I then removed the pie weights, egg washed the shell and baked it for another 10 minutes. Unfortunately I don’t think I blind baked the shell for long enough as it was still underdone and the pastry puffed up. I’d say this is because the pastry started frozen.

The night before I also made the pear and ginger compote, the recipe didn’t have too much sugar so the compote was still quite tart which I liked. I also made the brown butter topping the night before.

After the shell had cooled, I filled it with the compote and then piped the brown butter topping. I baked the tart for around 40 minutes. Here are some photos I managed to capture during the process.

Pastry workshop with Lorraine Godsmark

On Tuesday I had the pleasure of attending a pastry class with Lorraine Godsmark at Accoutrement in Mosman. It was a fantastic class where I learnt a lot of handy tips, as well as some amazing recipes. The next couple of posts will be the products of that class.