Sunday, 28 February 2016

Seville Orange Marmalade

The Sunday Post: When oranges are in season, i go crazy for the blood oranges, and have at least 1 a day, sometimes even two!! This year i decided to make marmalade, as we have it most weekend mornings, and knew it would get eaten super quickly, and as this post goes up, i can grantee that at least 1 of the large jars have been demolished, and a small dent will have been made in another.
seville orange marmalade thin cut spread on slice of buttered sourdough bread
The oranges are pretty easy to find in the supermarkets at this time of year, and easily spotted, as there often packaged quite differently to normal oranges. It might seem like a bit of faff, having to finely chop all the peel, when you can pick up a jar of marmalade for 50p, but i promise you its well worth the effort, any guests will try and sneak a jar away with them!!
seville orange marmalade thin cut spread on slice of buttered sourdough bread
Just make sure you have enough jars, to store the marmalade in, otherwise you might end up having to use a bowl like me, if you realise at the last minute. I also recommend sterilising your jars before use, so the marmalade will keep for longer unopened.
I also added 1/2 tbsp of black treacle for a more oxford marmalade taste, as this is what we usually have. If you want a full on oxford, add in 1 tbsp of treacle. I also added in the juice and pith of 1 lemon (with the orange pith), to add in more pectin and another element. If you wanted to create something a bit different for a gift, add in the juice, and pith of a couple of blood oranges, for a different colour and taste.
seville orange marmalade thin cut spread on slice of buttered sourdough bread
homemade orange marmalade thin cut
homemade seville orange marmalade

1kg Seville oranges
3.4L water
2kg sugar

1. juice all the oranges into a very large saucepan, along with the water
2. scoop out all the seeds and pulp into a muslin and tie it up, then place into the saucepan
3. finely julienne the rind, or blitz it up depending on how you like your marmalade, personally i prefer to hand cut it to get nice strips
4. add in the rind into the saucepan, and leave to soak overnight, to help extract the pectin
5. bring the pan up to a simmer, leave to cook uncovered for 1 1/2 hrs to 2 hrs, or until the peel is very soft. When the peel is ready it should look slightly see through and feel soft
6. remove the muslin, and squeeze at as much juice as possible. discard the muslin
7. bring to the boil until setting point 105c, without stirring. This may take about 10 mins.
8. leave to cool for 10mins, before filling the jars. Cover with wax disc, and seal. 
breakfast table with homemade Seville orange marmalade and fresh sourdough bread

Friday, 26 February 2016

Beef Rendang

We're now well into the Year now, and I'm sure occasionally your healthy eating and fitness resolution, has been broken at least a couple times. Well, i can help on the meal front, but maybe not the exercise front (but new workout gear, is always the best way in my opinion). A good, old curry is exactly what you need, and in my option Thai curry's are the best as the are so fresh but warming at the same time. They are also a lot healthier, without the oil that Indian curry's have.
beef rendang with asian greens
This curry is super easy to make, and one of the most flavoursome, I've ever had. Plus, once you've seared the meat, you add in the rest of the ingredients, and leave it, so it's perfect for a dinner party, especially at this time of year as its so warming with the chilli. Its also super easy to double up if your feeding a large crowd.
thai beef rendang with asain greens
I would also like to apologise, that i couldn't wait any longer to take photos of this, because this is my old worktop, and as you can probably tell by previous posts, that my new worktop is much more photogenic.
beef rendang with asian greens
 If your worried about the meat being tough, i sometimes cook it fully with the lid on, so the liquid doesn't evaporate, then for the last 30mins of cooking, i take the lid off, to reduce the liquid, until it thick. Serve with Asian greens, lightly steamed. If you are feeling hungry serve with fluffy coconut rice. For a hotter curry leave the seeds in more of the chillis, instead of taking some out.
beef rendang with asian greens
beef rendang with asian greens

2 red onions, roughly chopped

5 garlic cloves, peeled
2 tbsp grated ginger
6 large red chilli, 3 deseeded, 3 with seeds
3 lemongrass stalks, white part only
3 tbsp oil
2 tbsp ground cumin
2 tbsp ground coriander
2 tsp turmeric 
2kg stewing steak
400ml tin coconut milk
2 cinnamon sticks
1 tbsp tamarind paste or lime juice
2 tsp sea salt
1 tbsp soft brown sugar

1. place the onion, garlic, ginger, chilies, and lemon grass into a food processor and blend to a paste.

2. heat the oil in a large heavy-based pan over a medium heat. Add the paste and the cumin, coriander and turmeric and cook, stirring, for 2 mins or until fragrant.
3. Add the stewing steak and cook over a high heat for 4-5mins or until the beef is just sealed.
4.  Add the coconut milk, 400ml water, cinnamon stick, tamarind paste, salt and sugar and bring to the boil.
5. Reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 2- 2 ½ hrs , stirring occasionally, or until the meat starts to break up and most liquid has evaporated. 
6. Serve with steamed rice and steamed asian greens e.g. pak choi.

beef rendang with asian greens

Friday, 5 February 2016

Carrot and Lentil Soup

Personally, i think that January, when it still cold and wet, is a rubbish time of year to go on a diet. Luckily soups are healthy, and are perfect for those freezing days, where you just want to stay bundled up in bed all day and the frost still hasn't thawed by lunchtime. This is definitely my favourite soup that I've ever made, despite losing the tip of my thumb at least twice!!(graters are dangerous things you know!)
healthy soup
By far tastier than shop bought soups, and better for you, without any preservatives. The lentils which are full of protein, and fibre to fill you up, without the need to snack later in the day. The carrots, add essential vitamins and minerals, antioxidants that will help clear skin and aid digestion . The added bonus of the chilli and cumin seeds, add flavour and added health benefits such as keeping away the flu, and clearing away the sniffles.
healthy soup
Personally I would love to make with chicken stock, as I think it tastes better, but if your vegetarian, or like me have a vegetarian in your family, then feel free to use vegetable stock. If your vegan use a dairy free milk, or top with more stock. I personally like to top with feta cheese for an added tang, plus it helps it to cool down quickly, as I'm very impatient but feel free to not put it on, or add a dollop of plain yogurt if you don't have any. healthy carrot and lentil soup
healthy carrot and lentil soup

2 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp chilli flakes
olive oil
750g carrots, grated 
140g red lentils
1 l veg/ chicken stock
1/2 cup milk

1. lightly toast the cumin and chilli flakes, until fragrant, set aside around half
2. add the rest of the ingredients, bring to boil, then simmer for 15 mins or until the lentils are cooked
3. blend until smooth
4. sprinkle with the reserved cumin seeds and chilli, sprinkle with feta or a dollop of yogurt if wished

healthy carrot and lentil soup