montjoye: (Default)
( May. 1st, 2016 10:26 am)
Jotting this down because the dessert pizza topping combination last night really worked, though the (doushkasmum's home built, wood fired) oven wasn't at optimum temp and the base didn't cook properly.  It had cooked a bunch of really good savoury pizzas first and I put the sweet ones in too quickly after the fire was replenished.

On your pizza base, put a thick smear of ricotta, another goodly spread of apricot sauce. Top with dark chocolate buttons and slivered almonds.

Come to think of it, I could do something like this at home if I really wanted.
montjoye: (Default)
( Apr. 9th, 2016 10:58 am)

Yet another thing with apricots. This was a kilo frozen, halved, overripe apricots found in my freezer on defrosting the other day. Defrosting this gives lots of liquid and sludgy apricots, not neat halves that one could dry. So my latest experiment was to try for dried apricot leather.

Boil down the apricot goop as far as you can. I got it to a thickish paste. The dehydrator I have on loan didn't come with supports for fruit leather, so what to use? I went with flattened patty cake cups. They sort of worked but were not the best thing. I took the rounds to dry enough to sit on the drying racks without sticking or falling through. By that stage, the fruit had glued itself to the papers. I got the rounds off with a flat knife but it was hard work. Then I further dried the rounds to a successful result.

I'd say the technique works, but I need better substrates for the initial drying phase. Silicon baking sheet?

The finished dried rounds:

more pics )
montjoye: (Default)
( Apr. 8th, 2016 08:43 pm)
2.5 litres apricot juice/pulp (yield from 4kg after freezing, defrosting and squishing through a brew bag, last year yield was 3L)*
(no campden or pectinase, first time without, lets see if we get haze problems?)
18 litres clear apple juice (Aldi)
4g wine yeast nutrient
champagne yeast

starting density 1.045, yeast pitched today.
27th April, 1.004.

*so in 2015 I think I managed two rounds of freeze and defrost. I also simmered the apricots a bit to help release the juice, but panicked that it would ruin the flavour or cause haze. Neither of these feared problems eventuated, I got an extra half litre of apricot juice and one of my best drinks ever. Lesson in that for 2017. 2016 fruit only had one extended freeze.
Based on my favourite Apricot Rhubarb chutney but twisted towards orange, inspired by recipes on the net (by Delia and Antony Worrall Thompson)


Apricot Orange Chutney:

2 kg apricots, stones removed, halved
zest  and chopped flesh of one orange
1/2c sultanas
500ml (2 cups) cider vinegar
1 c (210g) light muscavado sugar
1 tablespoon ginger, finely grated (well out of a jar)
1 teaspoon salt
1 red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
½ t cloves (lifted out towards the end of cooking)
1/4 t nutmeg, freshly grated
1t tumeric
1 teaspoon coriander seed}
2 t mustard seeds}
½ t cardamom seeds}- dry fried, then partially ground in the mortar
plus the cassia sticks from the sauce below

Heat slowly until sugar dissolved, then boil gently until thickened. Remove cloves and cassia towards end of cooking. Bottle.


This year's apricot sauce:
2 kg apricots, stones removed, halved
1kg white sugar
finely grated rind and juice of a lemon
2 cassia sticks

Heat slowly until sugar dissolved.
Ignore with lid on while finishing some other stuff for maybe half to an hour. This allows the cassia to infuse. Remove cassia, blitz apricots, replace cassia, simmer for 10min, remove cassia, bottle.
montjoye: (Default)
( Feb. 5th, 2016 11:28 am)
A new experiment in the "things to make from apricots" category. There are very few things made from desecrated coconut that I like. I did used to like apricot delight though and the recipes I have found are full of it. I stopped eating the commercial version because it has the food colour that my digestion doesn't like (annato/160b). A home made version looked simple enough so I've had a go. All the recipes I've seen start with dried apricots. That seems a waste when one has a surfeit of fresh ones available.

500g fresh apricots, destoned and roughly chopped (these were frozen and defrosted).
~3 heaped dessert spoons apple jelly*

boil that lot down until well thick enough to part and show the bottom of the pot. Reduce heat as you go and stir often
Mix in 1 cup desiccated coconut
press into a tin lined with baking paper.
fridge "overnight" **

then one can roll in more coconut. I think I'd rather try to dry them off somehow, or store in those tiny sweet papers.


*sugar or honey are in the recipes. I've been trying to use up this perfectly successful but unexciting apple jelly.

** I'm planning to see how it is tonight, hoping to take some to dinner which gives me a tasting panel :-)

the initial mix described above didn't set. The next day I kneaded in ~3/4c almond meal and 1/4c sugar. It was still soft and sticky. I didn't want to lose too much apricot flavour so I rolled the mix into little discs and 10B was kind enough to let me use his dehydrator overnight. These work now. Not what I was aiming for but  they hold their shape, are dry to the touch and tasty enough. Sort of dried apricots but with other stuff mixed in. I will probably experiment again later.

montjoye: (Default)
( Jan. 6th, 2016 08:25 pm)
We left picking too late!  When I arrived to check out the tree, the fruit left on the tree looked well ripe and lots of fruit was on the ground. We gleaned the salvageable fruit from the ground and I picked all the ripe fruit. There was a little left on the tree but only a very little. We stoned and bagged 8kg of clean fruit and 2kg of "less than wonderful but likely ok if well cooked" and sent all this to the freezer. I also took 5.5kg home. 3kg of mine are now jam. Most of the rest are also stoned and frozen.

3kg apricots, destoned and cut in 8ths
{kernels from 1kg
{pits from 3 lemons
{rind of one lemon
above tied in cloth
juice of two lemons

(10B's lemonade lemons this year.)

very low heat until liquid and simmering
add 2.5kg sugar
rest 1hr

bring to boil
remove stone bag (a few escaped, which I mostly fished out during the boil)
boil ~20min, stirring to avoid sticking.

This made 11 jars of apricot jam

I'm not doing Apricot brandy this year. I don't like it enough to spend $30 or so on the needed brandy, especially when I'd rather have the brandy straight or available for hot chocolate. Must remember actually that apricot brandy is pretty darn good in hot chocolate. I still have some from previous years.

montjoye: (Default)
( Aug. 16th, 2015 12:30 pm)

Kitchenaid has done it’s maiden mix. On an experimental cake no less. This is an apricot cake based on a favourite pumpkin cake recipe. I managed to use up about half the pulp that needed a home. If the cake tastes anywhere near as good as the raw mix did, it’ll be a winner.  It worked beautifully. Less apricot flavour when cooked but the cake texture is excellent. Less salt next time.


Kitchenaid vs old Kenwood observations

The motor starts nice and slow so mixing in flour was no issue. Win! The Kenwood starts fast so sends flour all over the kitchen.
I like the manual lift of the mixer head. No spring assist so no shock movement to splatter things.

The beaters don’t clear the bowl when raised enough to sift in flour without removing the bowl.
The kenwood bowl is easier to pour/scrape out of.

I think in both cases the beater height needs adjusting downwards a bit. Neither pick up all the mix at the bottom of the bowl. The kitchenaid mixes from the sides of the bowl better though.

As pumpkin spice loaf, minus: 1/4c sugar, nutmeg, cloves (less salt)

second version had 3/4c suger again, only a pinch of salt, 1/2t cinnamon, bit less of ginger. Turned out beautifully but still not very apricot flavoured when cooked.

as muffin cups or drop cakes, bake 20-25 min.

montjoye: (Default)
( Jun. 26th, 2015 11:46 am)
A attempted repeat of a successful 'speriment

3 litres apricot juice/pulp (yield from 4L after freezing, defrosting and squishing through a brew bag)
treat apricot with campden and pectinase for 36hr at ~12deg *
18 litres clear apple juice (Aldi)
4g wine yeast nutrient
champagne yeast

starting density 1.049, yeast pitched today. I'm concerned about the health of this yeast. It sank and didn't foam on hydrating. I can always repitch if it doesn't take off. (it was fine, and champagne yeast since then has behaved like this for me)

*1 campden tablet, 1/2t pectinase. 24hrs in a warm place-except like last time it was more like 35hrs in a cool place.

Fermented at ~16C. Only took ~11days.
FG 1.005
ABV 5.7%
With sincere thanks to 10B for netting efforts, hospitality and picking permission, I begin this year’s apricot notes. Usual picking date is in the first few days of Jan. So today, being tired and brainless, I went off to see how they looked. Seemed more approachable than frock cutting. To my surprise, a bunch were ready to pick. So, duh, I did. There are plenty more left on the tree that will come ripe in the next days.

This haul was ~11kg

Tonight, the really squishy ones went into brandy
~700g (17) apricots
Split kernels of 15
300g sugar
~600ml brandy (as much as would fit in the jar).

More cooking needs to happen tomorrow.


yet there is more: )

and still more )
Well, probably more like "Apricot Sparkling Small Mead". I'm still experimenting with alcoholic things to do with the annual apricot crop. The other inspiration this year is another kilo jar of Baggytrousers own honey. All home grown! including the lemons- juice gleaned over time from various sources.

The recipe is informed by three of my previous brews: Apricot wine, Apricot cider and Honey beer.

. IMG_4082

Proposed Apricot Champagne mead
3kg apricots
~half cup lemon juice ice cubes
Half cup strong black tea
Defrost, mouli
1 tsp pectinase
1 campden tablet
Combine, cover, wait 24hrs. (ready tonight)

~1kg honey
Say 3L water
Heat, boil 5min, skim, cool

All to fermenter, make up to 10L
2g? Wine yeast nutrient
Champagne yeast

While I wait for the campden tablet to do it's work, I have the honey sitting in a jar of hot water to aid in it's extraction.

Will need to rack before bottling, but the apricot cider worked well and that sat on the pulp for a couple weeks before racking. So doing this at the same time as a beer should be ok, hmm, except the lager may take longer. At the worst, I’ll have to buy or borrow another fermenter.

This all went to the fermenter first thing Monday 18th. OG 1.052 or a little higher, the pulp I think was causing problems getting a good reading.

Now ferment has started, the pulp is floating, borne by the bubbles.

Bubbling seemed to be inhibited by this pulp layer. Funny, I expected it to sink. After a week the ferment had slowed. Ran the lower clear liquid off to a clean fermenter (7.5L in 30L pot looks lonely).  Within a few hours that was bubbling slowly but more evenly. Strained the remaining liquid (~1L) through cloth to a PET bottle (not sure it is sterile). It can ferment there and get bottled if it seems ok

2 weeks ferment.
Finished at a gravity of 1ish so ~6.5% alcohol.
Bottled into 23 small stubbie bottles*, sugar charged. Very pale, not much apricot colour left.
Flavour rather strange. Not horrid but not pleasant either. Might have overdone the lemon juice? Let’s give it some time and see how it goes. There is hope. The apricot wine of 18mths ago started as evil rocket fuel and is now pleasant to drink.

*two bottle are from the PET secondary- lids marked with three dots

montjoye: (Default)
( Aug. 16th, 2014 03:53 pm)
I did the Substitution Lager mash today. I do like mash day, it feels so purposeful. The colour seems to be at the dark end of amber to my eye. Brewsmith thought it would be at the pale end of amber. Hmm. However, mash temps were excellent, only lost one degree and the density came out pretty much bang on target. Yay me! Taste is fairly hoppy, bit of caramel. I'm feeling hopeful.

. .

I'm supposed to be out, but I finished up a bit late, and I'm feeling heavy headed and insular. Brewingly insular it seems. There has been an apricot mead plan floating about in my head for ages. I've finally settled on a recipe today, the apricots are out of the freezer and defrosting as I type.

Also as I type, I'm drinking the last of my "Time will tell" robust porter. In a week, the new brown ale should be ready to drink.

montjoye: (Default)
( Jan. 5th, 2014 01:23 pm)

Big thanks to tenbears for netting the apricot tree again this year. I figured it was about apricot week so I enquired as to the state of the fruit. It was reported that some were "apricot coloured" so I went over to investigate. I got in first, sorry to everyone else that wanted to pick. There will be more fruit ripe very soon! Two small trugs ~half full turns out to mean about 10kg of apricots.


So ~half kilo went into brandy
3kg to jam
2kg to chutney
2kg to freezer for someone else to cook
~2kg are left as eating fruit or to ripen a bit more.

I'd quite like a few more to brew with later, but will see how others and the tree go over the next week.


Posting to capture the recipe before I forget.

>1cup apricots strained from the brandy they had been sitting in since January. Zapped with the bamix.
~1.2 blocks cooking choc, melted
1/4 cup heavy cream (45% butter fat)

-combine these, leave in fridge overnight to sort of set (could probably use freezer next time. The alcohol will likely prevent it going solid)
-form to balls (sticky!)
-put in the freezer for a few hours. Try not to get any ice crystals on them, it upsets the covering chocolate.
-melt another block of chocolate (70% cooking choc this time)
-dip the balls and set on non stick paper to cool and set.

Soft but pretty yummy. They need the chocolate coating to keep their shape.

. . IMG_3098

IMG_3100 IMG_3108

I think the second attempt had two block of chocolate, no cream and the finished balls just rolled in good cocoa. Much firmer, less effort and just as tasty.
montjoye: (Default)
( Jun. 30th, 2013 05:37 pm)
For my records, and maybe your interest.

I've racked the Apricot Cider to a clean fermenter. There was rather a lot of pulp which I wanted to leave behind prior to bottling. I added 200ml of sugar which is what I calculate is the equivalent of bottle charging. Except I was too overwhelmed by other things today to contemplate bottling. So I suppose I have to let that sugar ferment and then add another lot on bottling.

I strained the remaining 2L through cloth and let it settle overnight. Now I'm drinking the mostly clear liquid. It tastes light and perfumed, perfectly pleasant, though flat of course. It's not sweet but it is less dry than the harvest cider.  It's also 5.5% alcohol but doesn't taste it. More after the extra sugar ferments. Density at this stage is 1.006.

1 week later- bubbling had stopped so I bottled it with another sugar charge. Fingers crossed. Most went into my stash of rekorderlig bottles.

BTW- I sampled the scottish ale today. It hasn't finished carbonating. Not really surprising given how cold it has been. It's a bit sweet, which is slightly icky but will correct. Otherwise tastes good but very light.  I'll be planning my next beer to be higher alcohol! I was going to mash on Sat but couldn't face it, or even the prep for it due to both the work situation and an overload of other projects.

I also did the next step of the orange bitters on Sat. Strained off the (water) liquid through a cloth, squeezed for maximum volume and flavour. Boiled briefly to sterilise. Added sugar syrup (2T raw castor, 1T water, warmed to dissolve). Combine all this with the brandy infusion. This now needs to settle and I'll rebottle if sediment drops out. Still smells amazing. It's about half as strong as it should be by the recipe, but hopefully that means it will still work by using twice as much.

montjoye: (Default)
( Jun. 10th, 2013 11:29 am)


Moooorrre 'Speriments!

This project was born of having ~3kg of apricots lanquishing/taking up room in my freezer. One lot had been there from last year's harvest. I already have jars of both apricot jam and sauce in the pantry and apricot wine maturing in the brewing cupboard. So... here is a try at another thing:

2 litres apricot juice/pulp (yield after freezing, defrosting and squishing through a brew bag)
treat apricot with campden and pectinase for 36hr at ~12deg *
2 litres clear pear juice
16 litres clear apple juice (Aldi)
4g wine yeast nutrient
champagne yeast

I am told pear juice naturally contains some unfermentable sugars. I'd have used more if it were cheaper. This 2L was $7. Whereas we can get apple juice for $1/L.  If this turns out to be drinkable, I'd be more willing to spend more on pear juice when we have next year's apricot crop to play with.

starting density 1.048

*1 campden tablet, 1/2t pectinase. 24hrs in a warm place- well it wasn't warm and 24hrs was during dinner prep last night.

montjoye: (Default)
( Feb. 21st, 2013 07:45 pm)
I'm just home after a few days away and not really in the best frame of mind to be doing this, but time she is a ticking.

-um, one should close the ruddy tap before pouring the precious wort into the fermenter. Eejit. That frame of mind thing?

-so starting gravity came from the sponged up spilt wort, at least not a total waste and I sure wasn't going to run any more off!
1.069 +10L water gives1.045 or thereabouts. So likely finished alcohol of 4.4%. Should have been higher but maybe increasing the grain to water ratio of the mash doesn't work proportionally? Spilling a bit didn't help either.

-The weather is not cooperating. Ferment is supposed to be at 20C. Fridgeing half the wort has given me a starting temp of 20C- but I won't be able to keep it there :-(

-just waiting for the yeast to hydrate prior to pitching.

In other news- the apricot wine has been working again slowly since the weekend.
montjoye: (Default)
( Feb. 2nd, 2013 02:31 pm)
This little 'speriment had finished fermenting about a fortnight ago. So much for 30 days, rack, 30days, bottle.Today I finally had both time and a clean* siphon set up.  So at 24days I have racked it ** to a clean demijohn***. I was concerned about leaving a 'finished' ferment to sit for another 30days. So I've made a sugar syrup from 1cup water 1/2c sugar, boiled, cooled a bit and added to the clean demijohn prior to siphoning. Good idea? not sure. Is there enough yeast remaining to wake up and eat it??. Now I plan to warm it and keep it warm for a while and see what happens.

So far the liquor smells like wine but tastes VERY rough. Tee hee. It does say to mature for a year. I like 'speriments, but ones that work are the best kind. We will see.

.     .     .

*borrowed. Thanks to mrsbrown and mrbassman
**first time ever, excitement. It worked fine but I did manage to splash the last of it across a fair area of floor
***also borrowed, same source. Thanks again.

UPDATE: see that peg in the last pic? DON'T do that. I'm so glad I didn't go out. The rubbery coating on the heating band melted and filled the room with fumes. Argh. New brew heating gear needed!

montjoye: (Default)
( Jan. 9th, 2013 06:01 pm)
is underway! Am I mad? will this taste any good? In a year we might know.

• 2-1/2 lb. apricots
• 7 pints water (3.3L)
• 2 lb. sugar
• 1-1/4 tsp. acid blend *
• 1 tsp. pectic enzyme
• 1/4 tsp. grape tannin*
• 1 crushed Campden tablet
• yeast and nutrient (yeast will be Vitners Harvest CY17)

In primary fermentation vessel (7L stockpot), combine all ingredients except yeast and apricots, stirring to dissolve sugar. Wash, pit and dice apricots. Place in grain-bag, tie top, and squeeze as much juice as you can into vessel. Place grain-bag of pulp into vessel, cover, and set in warm place for 24 hours.
Add yeast, cover, and squeeze pulp daily to extract more juice. Stir twice daily. After five days, strain juice from grain-bag, discard pulp, transfer liquor to secondary fermentation vessel, and fit airlock.
Rack after 30 days and again after another 60 days. When clear, rack again and bottle. Allow to age one year or longer.

[Adapted from Raymond Massaccesi's Winemaker's Recipe Handbook]
sourced from :

*I used juice of 2 lemons and ¼ cup black tea instead, as per some of his other recipes.

I'm thinking frozen fruit might work better? Breaks down the cell structure?
montjoye: (Default)
( Jan. 6th, 2013 08:53 pm)
-apricots rather stole my weekend, but I've had fun.
-that sugar I bought when I'd forgotten I'd already bought some- has found it's destiny.
-when piling a 10L trug full of apricots, the lower ones will get a bit squished. Not a huge issue except I should start sorting out some pretty (read- not squashed or pecked and should last a few days) ones for eating closer to the top of the trug.
-it takes rather a hard blow to extract the kernel from the apricot pit
- this is noisy and probably ought not be done as early on a Sunday morning as I did it today
-have you ever noticed that apricot kernels are shaped like tiddly winks? I'll be finding them in random places for a while I think :-)

but now there is Jam!

apricot jam 2013
and rather later there will be both apricot flavoured brandy, and brandy flavoured apricots.

recipes )
montjoye: (Default)
( Jul. 1st, 2012 01:20 pm)
It's a nervous thing to have multiple people relying on one's 'speriments for their dinner.

I'm writing this down in case it works marvellously and we want to repeat it. Or if it flops I'll have a reference for what didn't work. Fingers crossed for the former.

2 granny smith apples, peel core, large dice
half head celery - 1cm slices
1 head fennel- coarsely chopped
pop half the above into a large greased lidded pot

large lump o' weaver's pork. possibly a rib roast- shoulder actually. we need to label better next time
-brown in little olive oil
put meat on vege bed in pot
put rest veg around meat

deglaze pan with 1 stubbie "Son of Jethro" cider (still very acid for the record)
add ~250ml chutney made from Ali's apricots(plus lemon, spices etc)
add 1 pig spoon of salt, goodly grind of black pepper
pour over meat and veg

150deg oven- intending 4hrs or so

It got 4.5hrs, was deemed yummy. We ended up taking the meat off the bone once cooked, chopping it up and returning to the veges. So more like a stew in the end, but not quite. Good flavour. Strangely both sharp and rich at the same time.



montjoye: (Default)


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