Category Archives: Fruit

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.

 

Poached Pear with Spiced Chocolate Sauce

Poached Pears with Chocolate Sauce

I have been going a bit overboard on the pear and chocolate recipes lately, but really who can blame me, it is a match made in culinary heaven. That being said I promise this will be the last one for a while.

I needed a dessert on Saturday, but didn’t have that much time to prepare one so I went with something that is so simple to make, but still makes a stunning impact on the plate. To give it a bit of extra bling I used gold leaf on the stem of each pear.

If you prefer you can make the chocolate sauce with out the spices by simply omitting the addition of the poaching syrup.

 

Recipe

Poached Pears with Spiced Chocolate Sauce

Ingredients

Poached Pears

  • 4 pears
  • 1 litre (33.81 fl oz) water
  • 250gm (8.82oz) sugar
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 star anise
  • 1 vanilla pod, split
  • 2 whole cloves.

Chocolate Sauce

  • 100gm (3.53oz) dark chocolate, chopped coarsely
  • 100gm (3.53oz) pure cream
  • 20gm (0.71oz) honey
  • syrup from the poached pears.

Method

Place water and sugar in a saucepan over a high heat. Heat water until sugar has melted and water is clear.

Turn down heat and add pears and spices. Place a cartouche** over the pears. Simmer approx. 10-15 minutes or until the pears are cooked. Test pears by gently putting a knife through the pear. If the knife slides in and out easily the pears are cooked.

**A cartouche is a sheet of baking paper cut into a round shape slightly smaller than the saucepan. This will keep the pears in the syrup and will help them cook evenly.

Carefully remove pears from the syrup with a slotted spoon and place on plates or a serving tray.

Set aside the syrup for the chocolate sauce.

Place the chopped chocolate in a heat proof bowl.

Place cream in a small saucepan and bring to the boil. Remove immediately from the heat.

Pour hot cream over chopped chocolate. Leave it to sit for a couple of minutes then stir until completely combined and smooth.

Allow chocolate to cool and thicken slightly.

Add some of the syrup (a few tablespoons at a time) tasting in between additions. Keep adding until you are happy with the flavour. Don’t add too much or the sauce will be too runny.

Note: The flavour of the spices in the chocolate will be stronger the next day. If you like the spice flavour you could make the sauce the day before and refrigerate it overnight. To soften the sauce place in a microwavable bowl on the lowest power setting for 10 seconds at a time until runny.

 

Poached Pears with Chocolate Sauce

 

 

Pear Almond and Chocolate Tea Cake and some exciting news!

I have some exciting news this week. I will be contributing a fortnightly baking recipe to “Wee Love Baking” which is a cake design and baking blog operated by Sharon Wee.  Sharon is an amazingly talented cake artist who teaches all over the world. Her blog showcases cake design techniques, details of her classes and baking recipes. I am very pleased to be working with Wee Love Baking.

Things will continue as normal at the Lemon Grove Cake Diaries with the addition of a link to any recipes I post over on Wee Love Baking. Please check out my first post using the link below.

Pear, Almond and Chocolate Tea Cake

Pear Almond Chocolate Tea Cake

Around the world the “tea cake” means different things to different people, it ranges from a yeasted fruit bun, a sweetened soda roll to a large dense cookie […] Read more…,