Monday, November 30, 2009

Green jam

I know it is December, Christmas is coming and there should be some gingerbread recipe published now. Well, maybe next time. Today I am finally going to post my not so green jam made from green fruit.

Last year my brother gave me nice present from his holiday in France - green tomato, apple and orange jam made in one of the manor houses where he stayed. We had lots of green tomatoes from our garden - well, we did not have any greenhouse and Irish summer 2008 wasn't great. So inspired by the gift I made my own version of it and it turned out very well.
This year having greenhouse we actually had some red and yellow tomatoes, but still, some of them didn't have a time to ripe, so again the same question came up: what to do with them? I remembered this jam and the one we tasted in France - apple and kiwi. So I decided to try a combination: green tomato, apple and kiwi jam.
All the fruit was so beautifully green... Green is my favorite color, and that must be a reason why I like this green island so much...

Here is the easy recipe:
Chop 0.5kg of green tomatoes, 0.5kg of peeled and cored Bramley apples and 0.5kg peeled kiwis. Put them into a big pot together with 1kg of caster sugar and juice of one lemon and bring it to boil. Then let it simmer for good while. For testing if your jam is ready put one spoon of jam onto cold plate and run your finger through. If gap stays there and doesn't close, jam is ready.
Pour it into sterilised jars and screw the tops. Turn it upside down for few minutes just to seal. You can turn it back after short while.

Enjoy with nice bread or scone and cup of tea. And save some for later.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Northen Irish Delights

During October bank holiday weekend my mum came to see me. Weather wasn't so bad considering the time of year, so we decided to go for little trip up to the North. A bit of shopping, walking down the beaches (well, windy enough) and we ended up in lovely B&B in 200 years old building and dining pub right next to it. Mum ordered mussels (she never tried them before), but with strong doubts in her voice asked me: "Can we have something NORMAL as well - in case I don't like mussels?" Fish and chips with mushy peas was consider to be normal. Food was very, very nice, not quite like these pictures - flash doesn't do any good to food photos.

Next morning after tasty freshly cooked breakfast and more walking on beaches we went to Mount Steward Garden. The house was closed on Monday, but gardens (and cafe) were simply delightful. All the mature trees were showing off with colors - many shades of yellow, orange and bright red accompanied usual 40 shades of green. This is definitely the type of garden to visit in autumn. Unbelievable number of hydrangeas added to visual impact.

I believe this flower bed is usually planted with red flowering plants to form Red Right Hand - symbol of Ulster. And Harp cut out of hedge was good looking, too.

Some food goodies in the end - jams made by owner of B&B.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Linzer Torte

Some 2 years ago friend gave me interesting book Ein kulinarisches Rendezvous mit Baden -recipes and stories from the part of Germany where he lives. My German is very limited - consists of basic phrases and food vocabulary. This alows me to understand the list of ingrediences and some parts of method.
It is a bit odd to find Linzer Torte (Linz is Austrian city) in local German book, but this particular recipe works really well comparing to those I used before.

300g plain flour
250g sugar
150g grated hazelnuts (or almonds)
zest from 1 lemon
1 tsp grated cinnamon
200g cold butter
1 egg
good quality raspberry jam (of redcurrant jelly)
1 egg yolk for glazing

Put flour, hazelnuts, lemon zest, sugar and cinnamon into a bowl and stir. Add cold butter cut into cubes. Mix with your hand quickly until it resembles coarse crumbles, then add an egg and mix. Form the ball and leave it rest in the fridge for 1 hour.
Divide the ball into 2 parts. Roll the bigger part and place it in cake form - either round or oblong. Spread generous layer of jam over the pastry. Roll the smaller part, cut long stripes of pastry and arrange them on jam layer. Brush the pastry with egg yolk. Bake in preheated oven at 175 degrees for about one hour.
Here it is - and my recommendation: cut out a bit thinner stripes :-)

It tastes even better after 2 or 3 days and keeps very well in airtight container.