Category Archives: Recipe

Feijoa Jam

Here’s the recipe for 10 kg of feijoa jam.

  • 6 kg feijoas
  • 500 g stewed apple
  • 300 ml lime juice
  • extra hot water
  • 4 kg sugar
  • Lots of jam jars

Halve or quarter (depending how keen you’re feeling) the feijoas into a very large pot. Don’t peel them or scoop them – use the whole fruit. The skin contains the distinctive, beautiful feijoa fragrance, and it should be present in the jam.

Tip the stewed apple and lime juice in, and cook it on moderate heat until the fruit starts to soften. Keep stirring to prevent it caramelising (or burning) on the bottom.

Stick-blend it once the fruit has heated through and has softened, and bring it up to a gentle rolling boil. You may need to add hot water to thin it (if it gloops and spatters big gobs at you, it’s too thick). Simmer it like this for a good 10-15 minutes. Keep stirring.

Tip in all the sugar. Dissolving sugar is endothermic and will cool the mix, and take several minutes on high heat to get back up to a rolling boil. Once boiling, it will take a further 10-15 minutes to get to setting temperature. Keep stirring.

When the jam has reached setting temperature, pour while still hot into preheated glass jam jars, and put the lids on immediately. As the jam cools, it will create a vacuum seal under the lid.

Testing for setting: you can do this with a jam thermometer, and wait until the mix gets up to 104°C. Or, watch for the way it drips off the spoon. If it runs off the bottom edge in one stream, it’s not ready yet; it’s at setting temperature when you get multiple, thicker drips from the spoon. Or, put a knife in the freezer. Drip some small drops from the spoon onto the cold knife and wait for them to cool. If the surface of the drops wrinkle when you prod them with your finger, it’s set.

 

A note on jars: use only glass jars with quarter-turn metal lids. Save them in a box in the garage for just this sort of occasion! Plastic jars will usually warp when you drop hot jam into them, and also probably contain Bisphenol A. Screw-turn metal and plastic lids won’t seal anywhere as well as quarter-turn metal lids.

Chilli sauce got a little out of control

So this time, I picked 16 kg of late, red jalapeño from Penray Gardens, fire-roasted it, and smoked it.

Along with several kilos of tomatoes and red bell peppers, this was a huge amount of ingredients. Luckily I had help from Shadley, Andrew and Tara in picking, roasting, smoking, chopping, stirring and tasting duties, and a fun time was had by all.

This all went in the pot with much the same recipe as last year (see my previous post). This time I made up a label in Inkscape using some nifty fonts from Font Squirrel, based on a 1920s French wine label.

It’s chilli season again

March always brings ripening red chillies, especially to my favourite market garden up the road. This year’s first small batch of sauce was made with mild poblano chilli, a small amount of very hot manzano chilli, capsicum and de-seeded tomato, all roasted and smoked with hickory, and simmered in vinegar, lime juice, onion, garlic, toasted ground cumin and honey.

Chillies from Penray Gardens.
Produce from Penray Gardens, March 2015. Clockwise from bottom left: bhut jolokia chilli (800,000 SCU), red capsicums, tomatoes, poblano chilli (2,000 – 5,000 SCU), manzano chilli (250,000 – 300,000 SCU), experimental smoky chilli sauce 2015, Batch #1.

Penray Gardens have pick-your-own chillies and capsicums for very good prices, and tomatoes for $2 a kilo. This haul is just under 8 kg (17 lb) of ingredients for around $30, which is good for 3-4 litres (a gallon or so) of sauce. I’ve also got enough bhut jolokia here to make an extremely ferocious hot sauce too.

I have also discovered that my Smokai smoke generator works much better when I undo the nut, pull the back off and clear all the tar out of the air intake. So good in fact, I’ve had some good feedback that this sauce might actually be too smoky, and I don’t want to make the same mistake many NZ craft breweries make with their hops. Sometimes more is not better! I’ll do a post soon about my experiments with smoking food, methinks.

Chipotle sauce

Penray in Otaki have pick your own chillies for $5.95 a kilo at the moment, so I was more or less obliged to take some late season red jalapeño off their hands in order to make chipotle sauce. A true chipotle is a completely dried and smoked red jalapeño chilli, and these are rehydrated in hot water to make a sauce. After a bit of looking online, I took an average and cut some corners, and I seem to have managed a good chipotle sauce with a fair amount of heat, a bonny colour, and a good blend of smoke, sour, citrus and fruity chilli flavours. First, equipment you will need:

  • A large roasting pan
  • Mortar & pestle
  • A smoker
  • Hickory chips for smoking
  • A very large jam saucepan, at least 8 litres (2 gallons)
  • Stick blender

Ingredients (these are approximate amounts, I pretty much made it up as I went along):

  • 7 kg (15 lb) red jalapeño chillieschipotle_20140418_1
  • olive oil
  • 1 bulb of garlic
  • 2-3 large onions
  • 2 tbsp cumin seed
  • 2 tbsp salt
  • 450 g (1 lb) tomato concentrate paste
  • 300 ml (½ pint) juice of lemons and limes. That’s quite a lot; about 5 lemons and 10 limes, probably more
  • 300 ml (½ pint) cider vinegar (other vinegars would probably do)
  • Lots of boiling water, to stop it glooping and spattering everywhere

chipotle_20140418_2Preheat the oven to grill at least 240°C.

Pour all the chillies in the sink, fill it up with cold water and give them a good old wash to get all the mud, insect poo and residue off the outside. De-stem and halve the chillies and place cut-side down in an oven tray. If you have sensitive skin, wear gloves; my arms were rather pleasantly on fire, from fingernail to elbow, for the rest of the day.

Put the tray of chillies in the chipotle_20140418_3oven to grill for at least 15 minutes or until the skins are well blistered and just beginning to blacken. (I had to do this step several times… 7 kg is a lot of chillies!)

While this is going on, get the smoker fired up with a few pine cones and kindling, and leave to burn down to form a good bed of embers.

chipotle_20140418_4Once the chillies are done, optionally remove the blistered skins (I left some of them on for a bit of texture and colour) and place them on trays in the smoker.

Pile up a load of hickory chips on the ember bed and close the lid on the smoker. Go drink some good wine, and leave chillies to smoke for a good few hours (at least 3 hours if you can manage it), the longer the better. Whenever the smoke starts to die down, get in there with some more wood chips and your best brass player breathing practice. Rinse and repeat for as long as you can be bothered, really.

At some point during the smoking stage,chipotle_20140418_6 grind the cumin in the mortar & pestle, and finely dice the onions and garlic. In a hot frying pan, dry-toast the ground cumin seed until fragrant, then tip in a bit of oil and sauté the garlic and onion with the cumin, and set aside.

Pull your now gloriously smoky chillies out of the smoker and tip into a truly gargantuan saucepan (I don’t actually have one, so I used two merely enormous saucepans instead). Add the sautéed onions and all the other ingredients, and stick-blend it, adding sufficient boiling water to thin it to a sauce consistency.

chipotle_20140418_8Bring it to the boil then simmer it for about 2 hours, stirring as needed to keep the bottom from sticking. It should reduce slightly and thicken. Like any pickle or jam, if it is glooping and spattering everywhere and sticking to the bottom, it is probably too thick; add water.

Once it has reduced and become slightly glossy, transfer it into pre-heated jars and seal immediately. This is where you re-use all those jars with quarter-turn metal lids you kept. These jars are best because unlike plastic lid jars, they will vacuum seal as the contents cool, and won’t leak air over a 2-3 year shelf life.

This recipe made sauce for 13 x 330 ml jars and 4 x 500 ml bottles, which is about 6.5 litres (1½ gallons) altogether.

chipotle_20140418_9

Paneer Masala

Ingredients:

  • 1 turmeric root
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 2cm bit of ginger
  • 2 chillies
  • ghee or oil for frying
  • ½ lb (250 g) paneer, cubed
  • 1 tin of tomatoes
  • 1 tsp of ground cumin, coriander, cardamom, cloves, pepper
  • 1 red capsicum, sliced
  • ¼ cup of cream
  • handful of fresh coriander

Grate the turmeric, garlic, ginger and chop the chillies, add some oil to a pan and fry for 30 seconds, then add the paneer and move it around until it’s browned on all sides (about 3-4 minutes). Throw in the tomatoes, spices and capsicum, and simmer for 2 minutes. Add cream and coriander at the very end and serve immediately on rice.

Salmon cakes

Here’s how I made yummy salmon fish cakes out of last night’s leftovers.

  • 275 g cooked salmon, bones and skin removed, flaked
  • 275 g leftover potato bake, stovies, frittata etc. (or use mashed potato with a little grated cheese)
  • 1 egg
  • a little chopped red – e.g. red pepper, chilli
  • a little chopped green – e.g. fresh herbs, rocket, spinach, green beans
  • 1 tsp paprika and/or chilli powder
  • salt and pepper
  • flour

Bung it all in the processor and pulse until combined (but not puréed). Turn into a bowl and fold in enough flour to make a soft, not firm but not sloppy, mix.

For the crumb mix:

  • 2-3 tbsp pumpkin seeds
  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds

Grind to a coarse powder in a processor or mortar.

Roll the mix into patties and dust in a little of the crumb mix. Shallow fry in hot oil until golden. Since the ingredients are already cooked the mix only needs to heat through; they won’t take long! Serve immediately.

Testing steaks

How do you know when your steaks are done? Here’s a handy rule of thumb.

My cousin’s a bit of a chef. Poke the steak with the index finger of your right hand. Now touch the thumb and index finger of your left hand together, and poke the fleshy bit of your palm at the base of your left thumb. That’s rare. Now touch the thumb and middle finger together, and poke the same bit again. That’s medium rare. Thumb and ring finger, that’s medium, and thumb and little finger for well done. (photo to follow)

Beef Stroganoff

Serves 2, Preparation time 30 mins max.
If you’ve got some mushrooms lying around that need eating, this one’s perfect. Even though the earliest Stroganoff recipes didn’t have them, so what? Here’s a hark back to the original, but with mushrooms, otherwise it’s just wrong.

Beef Stroganoff on potatoes and spinach
Beef Stroganoff on potatoes and spinach
  • 2-3 large brown field mushrooms
  • oil or lard for frying
  • 12 oz (400 g) beef, sirloin, topside or similar
  • 1 tbsp mustard seeds (or 2 tsp mustard powder)
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 glass of red wine (and one for the cook)
  • crême fraiche or sour cream (yoghurt if slimming)

Accompaniment:

  • 3-4 potatoes
  • 8 oz (250 g) spinach
  • 1 tomato, deseeded and diced as a garnish.

Cut the mushrooms into strips and fry in a casserole with a little oil. Cover to sweat for a few minutes. Meanwhile, Cut up the beef into thin strips. Grind up the mustard seeds (or use mustard powder) and combine with the flour, salt and pepper in a bowl, and toss the beef strips in it to coat with the mustard mixture. Fry the beef in a skillet until browned, then add to the casserole. Add the wine to the skillet and stir to pick up the flavours, and pour into the casserole. Add the crême fraiche and stir. Simmer on low for 10-15 minutes.

This should be enough time to slice the potatoes thinly and sauté in the skillet for a few minutes. Add the spinach, cover and sweat until the spinach is done.

Mound the potato mixture in the centre of the plate as a base, and pile the Stroganoff on top. Drizzle the gravy over with a spoon, and garnish with deseeded diced tomato.

Professional!

Refried Beans (Frijoles Refritos)

Refried beans are awesome with salsa and yoghurt.

  • olive oil
  • 2-3 rashers of bacon, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, diced
  • 1 tsp whole cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp chili powder or paprika (to taste)
  • salt and pepper
  • 2-3 dollops of Frijoles Negros (see recipe)

Heat some olive oil in a pan and add the chopped bacon, garlic, and spices and fry for a couple of minutes. Ladle in some beans from the pot and mash with a potato masher. Continue to fry and stir for a good 10 minutes, or until the beans begin to brown and stick to the pan.

Serve in tortilla with yoghurt and a good fresh salsa made from diced deseeded tomato, red pepper, chili, garlic, spring onion and lemon juice.

YUM

Black Beans (Frijoles Negros)

Here’s the recipe I’ve been using lately to make Frijoles Negros – black beans, Mexican-styles. The Flying Burrito Brothers can go take a leap. This is also surely one of the easiest things to make.

  • 450 g (1 lb) dried black or turtle beans
  • 900 g (2 lb, two tins) tomatoes
  • 750 ml (3 cups, two tomato tins-ful) water, or stock
  • 2 onions, finely diced
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, diced
  • chili (to taste), seeded and diced
  • 3-4 bay leaves
  • ½ cup red wine
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • olive oil

Soak beans overnight in a large bowl with plenty of extra water to allow them to swell up.

Strain and discard the water from the beans and put them in a large casserole pot with the chopped tomatoes, water, onions, garlic, chili, bay leaves and wine. Bring to the boil gently and simmer for 2-3 hours or until the beans are al dente.

Crush the cumin seed, coriander seed and pepper together in a mortar and pestle. Heat a little olive oil in a pan and toast the spices until aromatic. pour into the beans and stir.