Saturday, April 23, 2011

Spring in My Step!

Now playing: Monty Python - Always Look On the Bright Side of Life
via FoxyTunes

Here is the next installment from the British baking book. Going in order in the book had us waiting so long, as it is an Easter recipe. Also, Easter is later this year due to the moon's goings on. On further research I found that these biscuits are also called Sedgemoor Easter Cakes. These are very tasty morsels, do try them!

They were traditionally given at Easter time tied up in a stack of three, to represent the trinity.....If you are into that sort of thing.

Once again you should look at an earlier blog to remind yourself how to make mixed peel:

Preheat the oven to 200 C/ 400 F/ Gas Mark 6

Cream together:

125 g. butter, softened
75. g. sugar

Add the yolk of an egg and reserve the white. Give that a mix.

Sift together:
A good pinch of salt
A good pinch of baking powder.
small pinches of:
200 g. flour

Add this slowly to the wet mixture until it comes together.

Mix in:

2 heaping tsp. mixed peel
50 g. dried cherry, currant and sultana mixture

Incorporate the fruit well.

Roll out on a floured board to 5mm thick. Cut into rounds using a fluted cutter.

Place in the preheated oven and bake for about 10 min. total, or until firm and pale golden.

At about the 7 min. mark brush an egg white wash and sprinkle with sugar.

In my further research of these biscuits, it is also good to add cassia oil and/or a drizzle of brandy to the dough. Cassia oil was used to embalm the body of Jesus hence was used. A bit gruesome for me to think about...I will try to find some to use next time however. I will definitely be glugging some brandy in them next time!

Makes 16 biscuits

The mixed peel will come in handy for the next recipe in the book - Cornish Fairings.

****"He that eats till he is sick must fast till he is well." ~English Proverb****

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


Now playing: Stone Sour - Sillyworld
via FoxyTunes

In my experience kumquats are either loved, or hated violently. When I say violently, I picture the twisted, puckered face of the unsuspecting (usually front of the house people) taster. They usually have some choice words describing their displeasure. Those that love the citrus fruit can appreciate the contrasts of sweet rind and more sour centre.

In California, I had a kumquat tree, but didn't know what to do with the fruit. Since then, I have learned several ways to use them. As a demi-chef in England, I used them as a petit four plate garnish. I boiled and cooled them and rolled in sugar and when an order came in, I would sprinkle with powdered sugar and brulee with a torch in about three layers of sugar. They can be eaten raw, made into marmalade, used to infuse liqueurs and another 100 ways.

They seem to be found very seasonly in stores. It is a good thing to preserve some in various ways. Here is an idea of one such way:

Kumquats in Caramelised Tequila Syrup

300 g. sugar
100 ml. water

Make a caramel, quickly add:

4 oz. orange juice, warmed

Heat again to melt any clumps. Strain and add:

4 oz. tequila

Set aside.

Prepare 24 oz. kumquats by washing and cutting in half long ways. You may remove any seeds you see fit to. Try to preserve any of the juice and add to syrup. Poke several times on the rind side with a skewer. Arrange between 2 wide-mouth pint jars. Pour the syrup over, dividing equally between the jars. Macerate for at least 24 hours in the refrigerator.

Use as a garnish for desserts. It is good with ice cream! I have another idea for them when they are ready, you can see that in the future.

More ideas from Kumquat growers Inc.

How do you eat a Kumquat?

****"And, of course, the funniest food of all, kumquats." ~George Carlin****

Thursday, April 7, 2011

The Preserved Lemon Song

Now playing: Led Zeppelin - The Lemon Song
via FoxyTunes

I may have used that song for a lemon blog before, ah well. Tis a good tune!

I will start yet again with a link to a past blog. It has the way to make preserved lemons included in the centre of the page.

Another, and actually the main use of the preserved lemons I made, is a tagine dish. Equipped with the handmade tagine my daughter bought for me a few years ago, here's how it goes:

Chicken Tagine

4 chicken breasts, skin and silver skin removed, cut into pieces
2 large caramelised onions
2 small handfuls of fresh cilantro, chopped
2 small handfuls of fresh parsley, chopped
1 large clove of garlic, minced
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon saffron threads, toasted and broken (optional)
1/4 c. green olives
1 preserved lemon, sliced in strips, or juice of a Meyer lemon
2 tbsp. olive oil
1/4 c. chicken stock
4 dates, chopped
Drizzling of honey
14 oz. chick peas

Marinade the chicken overnight in garlic, 1 handful cilantro, 1 handful parsley and the spices.

Heat the diffuser. Add the oil, then the chicken, lightly brown. Add chicken stock and slowly bring to a simmer.

Add the olives, preserved lemon strips, dates (...or sultanas)and chick peas to the chicken and drizzle with the honey. Toss to mix a bit. Cover and place on a diffuser over a medium-low heat.

Keep moist as needed with chicken stock.

I've been using a cast iron skillet as a diffuser to make my tagine.

Continue to cook for approx. an hour.

Serve garnished with the rest of the fresh herbs and a side of couscous and/or flatbreads.