Dark Whisky Marmalade

 

 

It has been all about Glasgow in our household for the last 11 day as our athletes have fought their way on to the medal table at the Commonwealth Games. For anyone who isn’t aware the Commonwealth Games is like the Olympics for the countries of the British Commonwealth. Countries that range from the Pacific Islands to as far away as Kenya and Jamaica. As armchair cheerleaders it is tough to pick a side as we both have vested interests in the Kiwis, the Scots and of course our adopted homeland Australia. Luckily all teams have performed well and it is fun to be able to cheer on three countries as they swim, run and cycle their way to Commonwealth glory and of course what’s not to love about stadiums of enthusiastic Scots singing “500 Miles“; the unofficial anthem of the games.

It should be no surprise then that this week’s blog post is inspired by the flavours of Scotland or one flavour in particular; whisky. Now for anyone who thinks I can’t spell, whisky from Scotland does not contain an “e”. The word whisky in Scottish Gaelic is “uisge beather” which translated means ‘lively water’ or ‘water of life’. So does that mean this whisky marmalade is the marmalade of life?….hmmm food for thought. I have carried the small bottle of whisky, pictured above, around with me for years. It was given to me by a friend when I travelled around Scotland and as luck would have it I may be married to the only Scot in the world who doesn’t like whisky with or without an “e” ….oh wait that is definitely a really bad stereotype :).

Moving right along, the orange and lemon trees are positively groaning with fruit so now is the perfect time to make jam or marmalade. It wasn’t until I was halfway through the process that I remembered why I hate making marmalade (chopping up peel is no fun) I just have to remind myself that the end product is worth all the effort and fuss. As per the name this is a dark marmalade due to the dark brown sugar and the treacle that has been added.

Dark Whisky Marmalade

Recipe

Adapted from The Australian Womens Weekly Preserves.

 Ingredients

  • 6 medium oranges approx. 1.2 – 1.3kgm
  • 2 medium lemons
  • 1.5 Litres water
  • 440gm white sugar
  • 440gm dark brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons treacle
  • 2 tablespoons whisky.

Method

Peel oranges and lemons and slice the peel thinly. Chop off any hard pith from the edges of the segments and remove seeds. Chop the orange and lemon segments into chunks.

Place the chopped peel, chopped segments and water in a large saucepan and bring to the boil. Cover saucepan with lid, reduce heat and simmer for approx. one hour or until peel is soft.

Measure the peel mix and then add 1/2 cup of each sugar to every cup of mixture.

Add both sugars return to the heat and stir until dissolved. Bring to the boil then boil uncovered for 40 minutes. Test using the gel method as described below.

Gel Method:  To check if the jam is set, place a small dish into the freezer. Once the dish is cold pour a small teaspoon of jam onto the dish. Place the dish back into the freezer to cool. Remove from freezer and run your finger through the jam, if the line sets then the jam is ready to pour into jars.

Stir in the whisky. Pour immediately into HOT sterilised jars. Seal immediately. I use transparent preserve covers to seal my jams.

Once opened, keep jam refrigerated.

 

Raspberry and Vanilla Tea Cake

 

Raspberry and Vanilla Tea Cake

I always fancied living in another era, it probably comes from secretly reading too many bodice ripping romance novels or, not so secretly, reading Jane Austin or maybe even watching too many episodes of “Downton Abbey”. I can quite imagine myself as Elizabeth Bennett the first time she clapped eyes on Mr Darcy or as Lady Mary swanning around the vast corridors of her stately home in all her satin finery. I think I could become quite a master at casting a gimlet eye at the hapless servants as they scurry about with their dusters and coal buckets while I swanned off to afternoon tea.  However, knowing my luck if I lived in that time I would be the one more likely to be carrying the coal bucket or serving the overlarge tray brimming with ‘cakey’ goodness while at the same time cowering under the acid tongue of the Dowager Duchess … so much for my delusions of grandeur.

I recently discovered that “high tea”, as we call it in Australia, was not originally the delightful gathering of ladies sharing gossip over a leisurely cup of tea with some dainty cucumber sandwiches and tiny bite size cakes. It was, in fact, a custom from Victorian times where the working class of Britain would come home after a day of back breaking work to partake in more substantial fare more akin to an evening meal. The term ‘High’ comes from the height of the table where tea is served, high being a dining table and low being a coffee table.

Anna the Duchess of Bedford is credited for the popularity of the afternoon tea. It was common practice at that time (1800s) to have a late evening meal so by the time 4 o’clock rolled around hunger pangs were starting to set in. Anna would counter this by having tea and biscuits served in her rooms to keep her going until dinner time – clearly she is a woman after my own heart. Anna began sending out invitations to her friends to join her for afternoon tea and it soon became such a popular way to socialise that other middle and upper class households also began adopting the practice of an at home afternoon tea.

Nowadays high teas, or afternoon teas, are more likely to be held in hotels than in your own home, but if you fancy recreating your own version of Downton Abbey and  inviting some friends over to revive a tradition this raspberry and vanilla cake would be perfect for your own “at home” afternoon tea. Now I just have to wonder what Mr LG would look like in a butler’s uniform…hmmm.

Raspberry and Vanilla Tea Cake

Recipe

Adapted from Donna Hay Magazine Issue 76.

Ingredients

  • 120gm unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 220gm caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 225gm plain flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 125ml milk
  • 100gm frozen raspberries
  • vanilla sugar.

Method

Preheat oven to 160°C. Spray a 26cm loose based tart pan with oil. Line the base with baking paper.

Mix flour and baking powder together in a medium bowl.

Beat the butter, vanilla extract and caster sugar together until light and smooth.

Add eggs one at a time mixing well between additions.

Remove bowl from mixer. Add flour and then milk in two separate additions mixing with a spatula until fully combined,

Scrape batter into the tart pan and smooth the top with a knife or palette knife.

Press frozen raspberries into the top of the batter.

Sprinkle with vanilla sugar

Place pan on a lipped baking tray in case batter leaks from the tart pan.

Bake for 35-40 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.

Allow to cool completely in pan before turning out.

Dust with icing sugar before serving.

Raspberry and Vanilla Tea Cake