Monday, April 30, 2007

A few days at the beach

Here are some images of Twofold Bay, south of Eden on the NSW coast. It's a beautiful spot. I've just had a few lovely days there, staying in a cabin right on the beach in the company of my best and oldest friends. Just the ticket.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

SHF#30 Rose and Watermelon Jam

I thought it was time I jumped into the deep end of food blogging and joined a food event. Sugar High Friday, the great event started by the domestic godess, seemed perfect. Especially as this month's theme of flower power, being hosted by coconut chutney, seemed so perfect.

I have long been wanting to try a recipe of watermelon and rose jam that is in Tessa Kiros's book, Falling Cloudberries. First of all, I love the flavour of rose. Secondly, I have never cooked with watermelon and was intrigued by the notion.

So this summer I decided that I would give it a go.

And the result, well I was not disappointed. The jam has a lovely light flavour. As for the texture, watermelon flesh is surprisingly robust. I made the mistake of cutting the pieces large thinking that they would dissolve away into nothing. But no, they hold together incredibly well.

The jam is on the thin side. Which is great for use with puddings. Tessa suggests a buttermilk pudding. I served it with a steamed pudding and custard. Yummy.

I could not get hold of any untreated rose petals, so I used rosewater instead. Only a very small amount is needed so as to not overwhelm the delicate flavour of the watermelon. Rosewaters vary in intensity. An idea might be to cool small amounts of jam to taste as you add. This will provide you with the most satisfactory outcome.

Rose and Watermelon Jam
(adapted from Falling Cloudberries)

Sprinkle 1kg of watermelon flesh with 400gm of caster sugar. Cut few thin slices from a lemon and juice the remainder. Add to the watermelon and sugar. Cover and leave overnight.

Bring to the boil in a saucepan. Lower the heat and simmer for 1 hour, stirring frequently. Use a hand blender to make the jam as smooth or chunky as you wish. When ready the jam should resist sliding down a plate. Remember it will be quite thin.

Add petals from an untreated rose or rosewater to taste. Pour into sterilized jars.

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Friday, April 13, 2007


Yaaaaaaaay!!!!!!! At long last my new laptop is up and running. Broadband is up and running all be it at a snails pace. You can't have everything. I am just grateful that the thing is working.

But enough of my whinging. This is about crumpets.

As the first chill winds of winter trickled across my spine my thoughts invariably turned to things hot and toasty. There's nothing better on those freezing July nights than curling up on the sofa in flannelette pyjamas, dressing gown and slippers with a plate of steaming crumpets dripping with butter and golden syrup.

Making them is a bit less fun. I think they are the kind of cooking that requires a few attempts to perfect.

Getting the right consistency in the batter is important. It should be thick, but pourable. Getting them to cook through to the top without overcooking the bottom is difficult. The temperature has to be just right. If you turn them too soon, the batter smooths over and you lose the holes that allow the butter and syrup to soak through. You end up with a thick english muffin looking thing.

As for the taste, I really enjoyed them. The consistency is more bready than brought crumpets.

Even so, making them was worthwhile and I will certainly be doing it again.

(adapted from bills Sydney Food)

Heat 11/2 cups of milk until warm. Stir in 11/2 tspn of sugar and 7gm of yeast. Stand for 10 minutes until bubbles form.

Beat milk mixture into 375gm of sifted flour and a pinch of salt. Cover and stand for 1-1/2 hours until doubled in size.

Mix 1/2 tspn of bicarbonate soda into 200ml of water and beat into batter.

Heat frying pan over a medium heat and lightly grease. Heat 4 x 8 cm rings. Turn heat to low and pour around 3 tspn of batter into each ring. Turn once bubbles have formed and a skin has developed over the top of the crumpet.

Repeat until all the batter is used.

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