Christmas present making is underway and I am determined to actually make all teacher, neighbour, postman, market providore gifts this year. The postman has been delivering a few more Thermomixes to my door in the last couple of months and he deserves something for having to put up with me answering the door in pjs and bed hair. The apple man at Kelvin Grove Markets regularly gives me a bag of slightly scarred fruit for free, so it is only fair he gets a jar of that produce back in return.
I have posted a winter fruit jam – perfectly timed for school fetes – with Pear and Ginger Jam. Now for your summer fruit jam recipe. Peaches are a great fruit to jam with because they are often found squishy in your fruit bowl or at least a few battered ones at the bottom of the bag when you get home from the store/market. Nothing better to do with squishy fruit than turn it into jam. This jam also makes your house smell wonderful while cooking it. And if you steam the fruit first as per instructions below to make removing the skin easy you end up with a rosy coloured water that is perfect for making Turkish delight without having to use food colouring. See further posts once I perfect my jelly setting techniques for this one.
Take a kilo of peaches. Any kind you like. If you have a lovely fruit providore relieve them of peaches that have scars or are slightly bruised and won’t sell. You are likely to get these either free or much cheaper than your perfectly formed, photogenic fruit. Cut a cross in the bottom of each peach and fit into the steamer basket and Varoma. Pour water to 1Litre mark (halfway up) in Thermomix bowl. Insert steamer basket, lid and put Varoma in place. Select Varoma heat, 20 minutes, speed 2. Check peaches to see if skins can be easily peeled off. If peaches still too firm cook for a further 5-10 minutes.
Allow the peaches to cool a little so you can peel them without burning your fingertips. Pour out the water from the bowl – keeping it if you plan to make jelly with the peach hued liquid. Peel peaches and remove the stones. Set peach flesh aside. Peel the zest from two limes. Quarter a granny smith apple, leaving core in. Place zest and apple in Thermomix and blitz for 10 seconds on Speed 9. Scrape down sides and check if its all chopped finely enough. If not, blitz again.
Press scales button and weigh in peach flesh. Juice zested limes and add juice to Thermomix bowl. Match the total weight of peaches and juice with raw sugar. I ended up with around 600g peach flesh and lime juice and so added 600g raw sugar to the bowl. Put the lid on and select Varoma heat, 25 minutes, speed 2. Put as many jars as can fit in Varoma and put on top. This way you can sterilise and heat your jars while you make your jam. Put a saucer in the fridge so you can test the setting of your jam.
Cooking time will depend on how much water is in the fruit, which varies from fruit to fruit. Once the timer finishes, open the lid and spoon a little onto the cold saucer to see if it sets or runs around. This is a good opportunity to taste test as well. For my last batch I needed to put it back on to cook for a further 10 minutes until it was at a setting stage. This gives you extra time to steam some more jars. Once it is setting on the cold saucer decant the jam into your sterilised, warm jars. I find doing this over a tea towel helps with cleanup.
Just a note – if you find the jam is too chunky, resist the urge to blend it after cooking. This will cloud your jam. It will still taste the same, just won’t look as nice. I speak from experience. Now, just to see who the cloudy jam will go to. Might be a good test to see which members of my family read my blog.
Its been an under the weather week in this house. I don’t know about you, but after spending too many days housebound with the dreaded lurgy I feel like burning all pajamas and bedding associated with the illness. I may have read too many plague books. Luckily that urge isn’t strong enough to act on, it just tends to lead to a lot of washing in hot water.
My illness was in the throat, so I was off my tucker for a bit. Horrifying I know. Instead of thinking of all the tasty creations I could make for dinner I turned my thoughts to what my giant tonsils would let pass them with the least amount of pain.
I tried soup. No. Heat = pain. Also, my lovely husband, who was learning how to make soup in the Thermomix while looking after a sick wife and children, thought it was a good idea to throw in a chilli. In normal circumstances that would be fine with me. In this case, no. Heat two ways = lots of pain.
Next I tried sorbet. Yes. Ice worked much better. An added bonus was using up some fruit from our ever abundant fruit bowl. I did pink grapefruit. Some vitamin C there. I ate some shortly after I made it, then put the rest in icicle containers so I could access some icy soothing as many times as I needed.
As I often do when faced with unfamiliar things I turned to Quirky Jo. She has some very good green juice recipes. I tried the Shrek Juice for the kids (cup of ice, peeled orange x 3, handful of spinach leaves). They actually like it! Look!
For a grown up version, I went with Jo’s Favourite Green Smoothie, which is a frozen banana or two, snapped into thirds and thrown in, 2 apples in quarters (I did core, though Jo suggested you don’t need to), 1 peeled lime, 2 cups of ice (or a few more cubes – I wanted it icy cold to numb the tonsils), 300g water and a torn up smallish bunch of washed kale. You could use spinach, or even lettuce instead. I had bought some kale and wasn’t sure what to do with it. Muttering Housewife hadn’t said nice things about it, in fact, compared its taste to horse blankets, so I was a bit scared. It had started looking a bit sad and soggy in the fridge so I thought I should chuck it into this juice mix before it went too far. Mix all this up on Speed 10 for 2 minutes for a completely smooth texture. It makes a good amount, enough for 4 serves.
I managed to finish a schooner of it and I couldn’t taste any horse blankets. It wasn’t too sweet, but flavoursome. More a fruit juice taste than a vegetable juice taste. The banana gave it a creamy texture, so I suppose smoothie could be used to describe it. I still prefer to call it juice. And I will call it that when I make it every time I have any greens on hand. It is a great breakfast option as it has a great nutrition boost and good for iron absorption with leafy greens and vitamin C. Also quite a good afternoon pick me up.
I realise there may be friends who knew me in my 20s who may wonder what has happened to me.
I was very happy to see a big box of quinces at a reasonable per kilo price at our local market recently. It meant I had an excuse to try out making quince paste!
They are a less than appealing looking fruit and the preparation methods you generally find for them don’t help their cause. But if Maggie Beer can do it so can I. For I have the added super power of a super kitchen tool.
I followed the best bits of a few recipes and hints I found from Thermomixer, Tick of Yum and Recipe Community, which were variations of recipes from the beautiful (but not yet mine) Thermomix recipe books In the Mix and Devil of a Cookbook. Keeping the peel and core in the process, but separating them from the flesh while cooking made it really easy to follow and the paste set beautifully. So much so that I allowed it to cool a little too long and then had a lovely set jelly in the processing bowl which I then had to lever out and squish in to molds. Just over a kilo of quinces makes a shed load of quince paste. I am now in search of a gigantic wheel of stinky cheese to eat with it.
This is just a small part of the quince paste produced in my inaugural batch. You will note that the result is not quite as neat as Maggie’s. Next time I won’t get distracted once I’ve finished cooking it. Apparently it keeps for an age as long as you take the least precautions against the extreme wildlife or weather that are an everyday part of living in Queensland. As with everything I am making for the first time the use by dates are an experiment in mould identification and the sniff it and see test.