Pumpkin, Walnut and Raisin Loaf

I just ended a three month baking hiatus and this was a yummy way to end it 🙂 I will put the original site I got the recipe from but I did change it just a little, increasing the amount of butter, walnuts, raisins and spice and I made the method easier. Served hot with butter it’s very delicious, on day 3 it still has a nice and moist texture.

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4 oz (100 g) butter

1 1/3 cups sugar

2 eggs,

1/4 cup water

1 cup pumpkin puree

1 2/3 cup flour

1 tsp baking soda

1/3 tsp salt

1/2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp ground cloves

1 cup walnuts

3/4 cup raisins or sultanas

Preheat oven to 350 (180) deg and prepare 1 large or 2 small loaf pans.

Soften butter and cream with sugar. Add eggs and beat, add pumpkin puree and water and beat well. Add sifted dry ingredients – the flour, spices, salt, baking powder and soda. Fold in the walnuts and raisins, pour into tins and bake a large one 55 – 60 minutes, smaller ones around 35 – 40 minutes.

The original recipe was found at About.com – submitted by Diana Rattray

 

 

 

Feijoa season – Chutney, freezing, ice cream etc

There are plenty of feijoas coming off the trees this year. I understand in some countries these are called Pineapple Guavas, they are one of our favourite fruits.

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What we are doing with them!

A very good friend of mine, the very lovely Diane :), sent me this recipe for Feijoa Chutney. I had been going to try another recipe but used this as it has alot of dates rather than an awful lot of sugar for sweetening. Its delicious and comes from Digby Law.

1kg feijoas
500 g onions
300 g raisins
500 g pitted dates
500 g brown sugar
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1 tablespoon curry powder
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
4 teaspoons salt
4 cups malt vinegar
Wipe the feijoas, trim ends and finely slice them by hand. Finely chop
the onions and coarsely chop the raisins and dates. Combine all the ingredients
in a large saucepan, bring to the boil and cook very gently for 11/2 – 2hrs, until
the chutney is thick. Make sure the chutney doesn’t catch on the bottom of the
saucepan.
Spoon into hot clean jars and seal.
Makes about 3 litres.
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Feijoas freeze really well, simply scoop pulp out and freeze, I freeze in 1 cup and 11/2 cup bags for use in smoothies or baking.
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Banana, Feijoa Ice Cream
Freeze 2 bananas and one cup of feijoa pulp till frozen. Remove and put in bowl of food processor. Leave 5 minutes to soften then add 3 tablespoons yogurt, 2 tablespoons cream (optional) and 1 tsp vanilla. Process till thick and ice-creamyish. This is so delicious I forgot to  take a photo before we ate it!
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Fejoa and ginger jam recipe here I made it last year but have not made it again yet. It’s very nice.
Feijoa Cake recipe I make which came from Joan Spiller, this is delicious and I heartily recommend it!
Last year we tried drying feijoas but didn’t much  like them ourselves so haven’t done them this year but they were nice additions to things like Homemade Muesli, with figs and walnuts

Drunken Plums (Liqueur)

This is so simple to make but takes 2 months to develop. Wash plums and cut in half, remove the stones.

Layer in a jar with sugar. Around 1/4″ sugar to each layer of plums. You need to use a jar that has an airtight lid.

Once full pour over cheap vodka or gin until it reaches the top. Seal and date.

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Leave in a dark cool place for two months, turning daily or as often as possible eg Turn onto it’s lid the second day, back onto bottom third day.

After two months all the sugar will be dissolved and a most divine (and potent liquid) will have formed.Image

 Strain through a large strainer, then through a finer one for clarity. Bottle and it’s ready to drink. Image

The fruit tastes delicious, very much like boozy prunes. It can be eaten as is with cream or ice-cream or baked in a pudding.

Two preserving jars made 1 1/2 wine bottle sized bottles of liqueur and I wish now I had made alot more as Jess (Rabid Little Hippy) told me to 🙂IMG_3519

Dark Chocolate and Beetroot (Beet) Mudcake

I have tried chocolate and beetroot cakes in the past but this one is by far the best. This is not too rich, heavy or sweet and both the texture and flavour are perfect. This recipe is by Gretchen Lowe and Homestyle Magazine, April/May edition.

This uses 250 g of pureed beetroot and I will be cooking some up to keep in the freezer for future cakes. The icing I used was a normal chocolate butter icing (a cheaper option for me) but I will give the recipe for the chocolate ganache she used.

200g Dark chocolate (at least 62% cocoa)

4 tblspns hot espresso

200g butter

135 g flour

1 1/4 tsp baking powder

3 tbsp cocoa

5 eggs, separated

250 g cooked and peeled beetroot, pureed

190 g castor sugar (this can be made by putting normal white sugar through a blender)

GANACHE:

400g dark chocolate

400ml cream

ALTERNATIVE CHOCOLATE ICING:

50 g butter softened

1 tablespoon cocoa

little boiling water

1 tsp vanilla

approx 2 cups icing sugar

Preheat oven to 180 deg C. Line a 20 cm cake tin with baking paper.

Melt the chocolate in a bowl over a saucepan. Then pour in hot coffee and stir in the butter, leaving till softened. Remove from heat and cool slightly.

Meanwhile sift flour, baking powder and cocoa into a bowl.

Separate the eggs and whisk yolks until frothy. Stir the yolks through chocolate mixture then fold in pureed beetroot.

Whisk whites till soft peaks form. Fold in sugar. Fold into and through the chocolate mixture then fold this mixture into the combined dry ingredients.

Pour batter into prepared tin and bake 35 minutes. Do not over-bake.

When cooked leave to cool before turning out of tin to decorate. When cold the cake can be cut into two layers.

CHOCOLATE GANACHE:

Place chocolate into a bowl. Heat the cream till nearly boiling then pour over chocolate, stirring gently till combined. Leave a room temperature till ganache has reached a spreadable consistency. Smooth generously between the layers and around the sides of cake. Cake can be topped with fresh berries or figs.

CHOCOLATE ICING:

Melt butter, add cocoa and vanilla. Add icing sugar and beat into a thick cream, adding boiling water as required to make a soft consistency. Icing will firm on cooling.

I made in a larger tin so only had one layer. Nice served with whipped cream.Image

 

 

 

Golden Yogini Milk

I love Chai Lattes, there is a place I go once a week for the best ever Spicy Chai Latte and I had decided to try making them for myself. I have been experimenting with recipes online but none of them come close to it for flavour.

When I saw this recipe I thought I would try because of the turmeric, it’s very good for the pain of fibromyalgia. Apparently this drink is great for a peaceful sleep but I have been having it mid-morning. I added ginger and a small amount of honey and THIS is well and truly as good as satisfying as my special chai lattes.

Turmeric is a great anti-inflammatory, it also is good for lifting spirits and calming anxiety. Don’t let the turmeric put you off trying this, it doesn’t taste at all like curry in this drink 🙂 I altered the recipe a little the second time around to make a bit spicier….to suit my tastes. I also raised the amount of coconut oil in this as I have been trying to incorporate more in my diet in small ways.

The original recipe comes from Katie Silcox and she calls this her Guardian Angel Medicine. She also discusses the merits of drinking this, Ayurvedic medicine and plant allies. Check out her lovely blog, her post and comments on this soothing, very moreish hot drink. I would probably suggest making her version first and seeing if this is spicy enough for you.

Any option to dairy milk will work with this.

Golden Yogini Milk:

1 tsp coconut oil

1 1/2 tsp turmeric

1/3 tsp ground cardamom

1/3 tsp cinnamon

1/3 tsp ground ginger

pinch nutmeg

1 cup milk

1/2 tsp honey (optional, to taste)

Melt the oil gently in a pan. Once melted add the spices and stir through. Once you can smell the spices add the milk and stir well. Bring to the boil. Remove from heat and pour into a blender. Blend for 20 seconds. NOTE: You will not want to leave the vent covered because of the steam (I had a nasty burn years ago from doing this) Cover loosely with a cloth instead. The resulting drink is rich, frothy and deliciously fragrant and spicy.

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Plum Jam

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When making plum jam either the plums can be halved and stones removed before cooking or you can remove them with a slotted spoon while it’s boiling (they float to the top). If the stones come away easily I would recommend doing that…the other way can take ages.

Plum Jam:

1 kg plums

1 kg sugar

250 mls water

Wash the plums and de-stalk if necessary. Sterilise jars by heating in a slow oven for 1/2 hour at least. If using metals lids sterilise these by boiling in water for 10 minutes.

Put plums in a large pot with the water and cook about 30 – 45 minutes (lid on) till pulpy. Stir in sugar and boil gently until thickened and test a little in a saucer in the fridge, if it comes out with a skin on top it will set. Makes around 7 – 8 smallish – med jars. IMG_3317

Pickled Cucumber

We had an abundance of Apple Cucumbers this year.

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They are slightly milder and sweeter than green cucumbers and not quite as acidic. Plus we like their size and they are always a reliable crop.

I found this recipe on http://www.ifood.tv/recipe/pickled-cucumber There are many recipes out there, I chose this one because there is not not alot  of added seasonings and spices, I felt the cucumbers could retain their flavours with this recipe. Green cucumbers are used in the original.

This is the basic original recipe, I did 4 times this amount of vinegar mix and about 18 or so apple cucumbers with four onions.

Pickled Cucumbers:

3 large Cucumbers

4 large Onions

4 tablespoons salt

2 1/2 cups White distilled vinegar

3/4 cup white  sugar

1 tsp each of mustard and celery seeds

Slice the cucumbers and onion the night before (or minimum 2 hours) Sprinkle with the salt in recipe and toss. The next day drain off liquid and rinse with cold water. Pack into sterilised jars. Simmer the vinegar, white sugar and spices for 3 minutes. Cool till lukewarm and pour over cucumbers and onions. Seal.

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