montjoye: (Default)
( May. 28th, 2017 01:12 pm)

How many times will I rework these cherries? This has all been sort of fun, but frustrating too. I'm much happier when my cooking actually works. If I ever end up with cherries to cook again, I might make a cordial perhaps, or a chutney with proper proportions. If there is any attempt at jam, there will be apples involved to try to get a set.

Half a box of cherries came home with me from mrsbrown. I pitted them and tried to make marmalad with 1:1 fruit to sugar weight. That didn't seem to be working, so I bottled it, thinking I'd made jam instead. Checking it after it had cooled and sort of set, the consistency was odd. Very thick, ultra sticky. Sort of half way to toffee. Way too stiff to spread on bread or cake, but it would still flow, very slowly. So I let it sit for several months in the jars while I dealt with festival and a bunch of other things.

IMG_9971 .

Then a few days ago, those jars were getting in my way. So I drained them over several days into a pot, but the simple method of upending them over a rack. One still needed persuading.

IMG_0789 IMG_0804

I heated this mix gently until it was fairly runny and blitzed it with the stab blender to break up the cherries. In the first round, I had just pitted the cherries, not chopped or mashed them. Then I brought it to a boil and took it up to 116C (should make fruit jelly). I poured it into a pan lined with baking paper and set it aside. The last bit that needed scraping out of the pan had obviously received more heat and gone closer to toffee, so I put that out separately.


After this was fully cold, it was fairly clear that the more cooked bit had set, but the jelly hadn't. I couldn't face trying again for jelly. I've had a couple of failed attempts in the past too. Maybe it's just not my dish.


So I managed to cut up the toffee into serving pieces (by golly it's tasty) and put them into some little chocolate papers I've had for ages*. I also wrestled some of the not-jelly into papers, stopped when I'd filled the only decent storage box I have for such things. Besides, I was loosing the will at that point.

This pic is after the jelly had time to flow slowly to levelish. The toffies are the ones still holding some sort of shape.


Then... I got the rest of the jelly off the paper and into a pan. Not easy! I proceeded as follows below.

~525ml failed cherry jelly
1c cider vinegar
1/2 c water
~1t ground spices
allspice, cinnamon, ginger, mustard, clove (in decreasing amounts

heat gently to combine
boil ~7min

This has way too much sugar for normal chutney but should hopefully give a manageable consistency. If I like it, reproducing it won't be straightforward. Prior to boiling, the syrup tasted like liquid sour lollies, in a good way. I have hopes that after some maturing time, it might do well in a bacon sandwich, like the syrup from quatrefoil's fickled pigs.


*(from reverse garbage I think, perfectly clean and unused though)

montjoye: (Default)
( Mar. 9th, 2017 12:51 pm)
Festival salt meats are in their cures. It's 5 weeks to game on.

730g eye fillet (after trimming). This is my standard recipe. From:

100g salt
100g white sugar
5g Prague power #2
5g peppercorns}
3ish g fresh rosemary leaves}
3g juniper berries} ground in coffee grinder with a little of the salt

Reserve half the mix
Rub other half into meat
Seal in zip lock bag- fridge for a week, turn daily
Dry off meat, rub in other half of cure, repeat the week of fridge+turning.
Quick water rinse, dry. Vinegar rinse (I put vinegar in a small bowl and use a cloth to pat it on the meat), dry off again, weigh and record.
Tie, wrap and hang as per link until 30% weight lost. (I invert it every few days in the first week. If the cloth gets wet, change it).
Slice thinly and eat- with olive oil and lemon juice is recommended.

I think this was 600g when hung?
at 2weeks ish drying 450g wrapped. so 25% of weight lost. Theoretical end weight 420g?  this calculates out to ~$71/kg. Ouch. I'll use a cheaper cut of meat next year.

Salt pork
- experiment based on bresaola recipe. I usually just pack it in lots of salt. Trying for a more elegant product, but still an air dried one.

900g pork belly, without skin or bones.
150g salt
55g  dark brown sugar
5g Prague power #2
5g peppercorns}
leaves from large sprig of thyme} ground in coffee grinder with a little of the salt

Same method as above.
I think that after festival, I'll do another piece of pork belly with even ratio salt/sugar and see how that works. The previous pancetta recipe I tried, failed for me but used way less cure.

at 2weeks ish drying 625g wrapped. Say 583g if another 5% lost. ~$36/kg.
Neither of these costs accounts for the meat weight that needs to be purchased and isn't used for the salt meat.

Both are now (22nd March) out of their cures, rinsed, vinegar washed, dried, wrapped and hung to dry. Looking good so far. Bresaola was 600g straight out of the cure.

to think about for next time:
"the number of days the ham will be salted is 2.5 times it's weight in pounds" -research by watching River Cottage :-)
montjoye: (Default)
( Aug. 31st, 2016 03:26 pm)
I went searching for the post from last time I made strawberry jam, but there wasn't one. So this time there will be. Strawbs were 3 punnets for $4.

I pretty much followed Pam the Jam's recipe. Except it would seem that English jam sugar is lots weaker than Jamsetta. I used about a quarter of a 50g packet of Jamsetta, plus  I boiled the peels and cores of three pears (from the pear compote I had just prepped) in about 100ml of water and strained off the liquid through a cloth. Otherwise this is 1kg of strawbs, 900g sugar, 100ml lemon juice and Pam's method. Good colour eh?

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. 9th, 2016 10:21 am)
Allium free tomato ketchup take 2. Identical to the first try but with double the spices and no celery (because I didn't have any). The first one was good enough for me to eat it all in about 6mths.
Website of inspiration:

1 jar tomato passata (~700ml)
2/3 cup vinegar (I used cider vinegar from Weaver)
slosh water
generous half cup of brown sugar
3/4t salt
1/2t mustard powder
1/2t freshly ground black pepper
2 clove
2 allspice berry

Passata to saucepan. Rinse with vinegar. Rinse again with small amount water. All into saucepan.
Add all other ingredients
bring gently to boil. Stir lots or it will spit.
Simmer further until the consistency looks like tomato sauce.
Remove whole spices
Bottle in sterilised vessel.
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)
( Mar. 2nd, 2016 12:55 pm)


All put into cure two weeks ago, or 5 weeks before game on

800g eye fillet

100g salt
100g sugar
5g Prague power #2
5g peppercorns}
large sprig fresh rosemary-leaves stripped}
4g juniper berries} ground in coffee grinder with a little of the salt

Reserve half the mix
Rub other half into meat
Seal in bag- fridge for a week, turn daily
Dry off meat, rub in other half of cure, repeat the week of fridge+turning.
Quick water rinse, dry. Vinegar rinse, dry off again, weigh and record.
Tie, wrap and hang as per link until 30% weight lost.
Slice thinly and eat- with olive oil and lemon juice is recommended.

Salt pork
~1kg pork belly, preferrably with skin removed by a good butcher. (turn that into crackling and try not to eat all at once)
pack pork in salt (in ziplock bag is easiest). Fridge for a week, turn daily
Drain off liquid, add more salt. Fridge for a week, turn daily
Quick water rinse, dry. Vinegar rinse, dry off again, weigh and record.
Rub a mix of ground pepper, cinnamon and cloves in the surface
wrap, tie and hang.

This year the pork is in three pieces because the butcher was crap. Not using these people again for meat to be preserved. Fingers crossed the smaller pieces still work.

Weights- I forgot again and these are with cloth, ties and clips
Bresaola- 610g
Pork - 500g, 375g, 125g.

montjoye: (Default)
( Feb. 19th, 2016 02:37 pm)
In the last few years, I've pickled pears for festival. I nearly bought some pears when I found them cheaply, but then remembered there were still peaches on the tree, so I've pickled them instead! This is 1.8kg peaches done in a sweet/sour pickle, by Pam the Jam's recipe from the River Cottage preserving book.  They might look messy to serve, but if the pears are anything to go by, they should taste nice served with cream and macaroons.

We've proven in previous years that the left over vinegar syrup makes great cordial, and I thought I may as well put the pulp/nectar strained from the syrup, into a jar too. I suppose that might work as a light chutney type thing?


OMG these were tasty! So many flavours. Not to everyone's taste as a sweet, though doushkasmum and I loved them. R suggested serving them with roast pork, which I think is a grand idea.
I had said that Luciano the peach tree didn't give me any useful fruit. This year is different. I was alerted to the presence of fruit by a few found sitting on the ground a couple of days ago. Rummaging under the leaves, I found quite a crop. I picked all the ripe ones which came to about a kilo and am in the process of making chutney from it. I guess there is another 2-3 kilos? on the tree still ripening.

It would seem these are white peaches. No the tree wasn't labelled well when I bought it. Even ripe, the skins are green, but the insides are white with a pink centre and a lovely scent.

I've used this recipe (link below) with a few changes:
-in place of the onion, I sauted a similar volume of celery, plus added two handfuls of sultanas to the mix
-there was about 800-900g peach flesh instead of the 700g in the recipe
-4 chillis instead of 6, and mine were deseeded (old ones from the freezer)
-ginger was a heaped dessert spoon from the jar in the fridge

Here are all the ingredients in the pot. I love this stage, ready to go and before it goes all brown and gloopy.


And four little jars of chutney, nice and thick. Smelled wonderful while cooking.


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. 29th, 2016 01:56 pm)
This is the damson vodka after 16 days. Something about the colour inspired me to look up whether making gin by steeping is a thing. Turns out it is! So I went mad and added 10g juniper berries, about 1/2t coriander seed, 1 cardamon pod (these all crushed a bit) and a fingertip piece of cinnamon. I should try it in a week to see how it tastes. 'Speriment!

Apparently traditional pink gin is just regular gin with a dash of angostura bitters.


strained a week later on 5th Feb


take the booze soaked fruit, wipe off the gin botanicals, pop into a saucepan, barely cover with water, bring to a simmer for 10min. Moule to remove stones.

take the resulting 500ml of slush back to the saucepan. Add 300g sugar. Stir to dissolve, bring to a boil for 10min, bottle.


In early March, the liquor tasted wonderful. Very fruity and the juniper and vanilla were nicely obvious. It was better cut with soda water than straight.
In July, these pleasant flavours had faded away, leaving sharp flavours. I've just (10th July) added some vanilla bean bits from the vanilla sugar jar, and another 10g of juniper.

and strained two weeks later. oops. The recipes I've read suggest infusing between a day and a week.
montjoye: (Default)
( Jan. 13th, 2016 08:22 am)
Putting this here too so I can look it up later:

Not what i was in the mood for tonight but I've just picked a peck of plums, pricked and put them to pickle.

Well my baby damson tree had it's first crop of fruit and the birds had started in. I'd rather they had a bit more colour but they are softish to touch and squirting juice at me when I pricked them. I didn't fancy freezing them and I had no gin but I did have vodka of unknown provenance* in the cupboard. So we will see how this goes. It also has just a heaped dessert spoon of sugar. Hmm, wonder if I have a vanilla bean I could throw in?

These pictures show the 600g I picked last night. This morning I found another 200g. Apparently it's hard to find plums on the tree at night. Who'd have thought?

*I'm not much of a vodka drinker unless you happen to be offering Grey Goose.



then 5 more fruit found and added Jan 23rd. Vanilla bean removed at that stage
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.

an experiment that worked SO well. I've made two lots of raspberry vinegar over the last few years but haven't used or given away enough of it. Today I had a go at making a meat marinade from it. Best dinner I've made in a while

For two large but inexpensive lamb forequarter chops(quantities below are only estimates):
1T raspberry vinegar
2T white wine
1T olive oil
1t dijon mustard
2 substantial rosemary sprigs

mix all above, marinate meat for a couple of hours. Drain meat and fry, trying not to burn the marinade residue. Baste with a little marinade to keep the meat moist. When cooked, remove meat from pan to a plate to rest. Add remaining marinade to pan, cook down about half to make a sauce. Serve over meat with salad. So yum.

pic )
montjoye: (Default)
( Nov. 24th, 2015 12:53 pm)
I came into some mulberries, yay.

Mulberry sauce/jelly

1kg mulberries- double frozen in this case
1kg granny smith apples- cored and roughly chopped

Put each fruit to different saucepan. Cover with water. Boil each until soft. Strain through separate bags. combine equal volume of juice from each fruit (it was close enough, I used the lot). Add 2/3cup sugar for each cup of juice.(This worked out to 2.2L juice, I used 5cups sugar) Add juice of one lemon. Heat gently until sugar dissolved. Boil for 3/4 to 1hr or apparently until it starts spitting. I wasn't aiming for a set but was aiming to repeat the excellent flavour of the not really set sauce from two years ago. However I seem to have a better set than last time, thank goodness I chose to put it in jars not bottles. Lets hope the flavour is also as good.

Mulberry cider
the apricot cider worked so well last time that I thought this was worth a try

1 litre mulberry juice(yield from 1.4kg after freezing, defrosting, bringing to boil, squashing with a masher and squishing through a brew bag). Treat with campden and pectinase for 24hr at ~18deg *

18 litres clear apple juice (Aldi)
4g wine yeast nutrient
champagne yeast

even at ~5% in apple juice, the mulberry contributes plenty of colour:


starting density 1.046
Dec 18th 1.005. 5.3% (slightly effervescent)
bottled with half sugar Dec 19th

*1 campden tablet, 1/2t pectinase. 24hrs in a warm place
This was a successful experiment so share the recipe I shall. Allium free tomato ketchup for the win.
Website of inspiration:

1 jar tomato passata (680ml)
2/3 cup vinegar (I used cider vinegar from Weaver)
slosh water
generous half cup of brown sugar
3/4t salt
1/4t mustard powder
1/4t freshly ground black pepper
1 clove
1 allspice berry
3 inner stalk celery tops (recipe calls for celery salt but I didn't have any)

Passata to saucepan. Rinse with vinegar. Rinse again with small amount water. All into saucepan.
Add all other ingredients
bring gently to boil. Stir lots or it will spit.
Simmer ~10min, remove celery tops
Simmer further until the consistency looks like tomato sauce.
Bottle in sterilised vessel.

montjoye: (Default)
( Feb. 25th, 2015 01:02 pm)
have just been put in their cures.

Salt pork
~1kg pork belly. Ruddy butcher did cut off the skin like I asked but also cut all the upper fat off too. Damn. We will still have salt pork but thinner and with less fat. I had to take a slice off the side to get a smooth block. Oh well, the little offcut is marinading and will be dinner. I'll have a go at making crackling from the skin.
(offcut marinaded in honey/soy etc and slow cooked in a tiny saucepan with the new simmer mat, served with 2min noodles and veg- heavenly.)

13th March- quick water rinse, pat dry, cider vinegar wash, dry again, rub in spices (pepper, cinnamon, cloves), wrap and hang. 580g

25th March- 480g, 82%

discussions last year with a knowledgeable butcher said that this should be made from eye fillet. Eep I said then, and used a small girello roast instead. This year I found a fairly cheap eye fillet and have used that. Otherwise all the same recipe. I'm making a small saucepan of stock from the little offcuts. The large offcuts are enough to make small beef wellingtons if I have the energy and interest for that. Maybe I will just fry them as steak.
Steak with mushroom cream sauce was pretty fab.

13th March- quick water rinse, pat dry, cider vinegar wash, dry again, wrap and hang. 500g
25th March- 400g, 80%

I forgot to weigh either bit of meat properly pre salt. Bother.

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 )
montjoye: (Default)
( Oct. 8th, 2014 03:13 pm)


While I can still remember what I did. Made up recipes are better written down! Then if one likes the result it can be repeated. Or altered as one sees fit from a known starting point.

Raspberry sauce
350g purple raspberries (picked by moi last summer, have been living in freezer since)
Juice of one meyer lemon
Slow heat to simmer, mash, take off heat
Add 175g sugar, stir until dissolved
Back on heat- bring to low boil for 5min

Strawberry Pear sauce
1.5punnets strawbs + one pear=550g prepared fruit
Juice of one meyer lemon
1/2t ground ginger, 1/4t each ground cardamom, nutmeg
Slow heat to simmer, blitz, take off heat
Add 250g sugar, stir until dissolved
Back on heat- bring to low boil for 5min

You might see the bits of raspberry that were left in the funnel and made it into the first strawpear bottle

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.




montjoye: (Default)


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