Monthly Archives: January 2012

The Crystallized Candy – Orange Time

I don’t quite know why we took on this challenging and time-consuming endeavour, but the yumminess – or should I say nominess – at the end was totally worth it!

Given the healthy diet we were on, Mom and I started eating a lot of grapefruit, this gave mom the idea of using the peel rather than chucking it out. Although to be fair we are very good and compost everything in the back garden, which in turn feeds dad’s veggie patches.

So we took 6 oranges and 6 grapefruit and took off the peel and sliced it, removing any extra pith. We boiled all the sliced peel in water, for at least 2 hours, I left it longer and changed the water several times. The aim here was to remove the bitter taste that the rind and pith have through the water (the way you remove salt from a ham through soaking it). It also softened the peel and you definitely had to leave it boiling until the pith went clear on the peel, sort of translucent. I noticed that this happened in the grapefruit more so than in the orange. 

Once  that was done strain them and make up a 1 to 1 sugar syrup, ie. 1 litre of water to 1 kilo of sugar. Use this measurement until you have all the peel in a pot and completely covered in sugar syrup. Bring to the boil and add 3 tablespoons of sugar once it is cooling down mixing it in until dissolved. Leave to cool overnight in syrup.

The next day, and the following seven days repeat this procedure, boil, cool and add 3 tablespoons of sugar. What you are doing is saturating the peel with sugar so as to perfectly preserve the pretty little creatures! Nom nom nom.

7 days later, drain them, and I chose to save the delicious orange syrup that was left and it has proven a hit on a bit of toast (it’s like marmalade without the rind) or drizzled over ice-cream! Once drained pop them out in single layers and leave them to dry this could take a couple days. You’re looking for them to be really dry and small sugar crystals forming on the outside!

To cover them in chocolate, temper the chocolate you’d like, we used dark chocolate but milk is nice too! Tempering chocolate prevents the over drying and splitting of chocolate and that awful crumbling after several melting attempts. Melt two thirds of all the chocolate you are using, melt in a microwave or in a bowl over hot water.

Remove from the heat and stir. Add the last one third of chocolate and stir in while the already melted chocolate cools.

Dip the orange candy into the chocolate, touch off the side of the bowl and place to dry.

Serve with coffee as an after dinner petit fours or just as a scrumptious treat. Nom nom.

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Christmas Festivities and the New Year

I was slack in not getting this up in a timely manner, But i’d feel awful if the actual turkey never got to see the void that is the web! Christmas was delightful, a couple of kinks on the cooking front could have gone better. On a whim a family member decided it may be a good idea to include aniseed in the gravy. Let’s not do that again – but the rest was delish and everyone was full.

The pudding. Ah the Christmas pudding. I have a penchant for a good Christmas Pudding.We often have a couple in the house and would have one at Easter too if we felt like it. They keep for ages and must simply be neatly packed and sealed in a tupperware box, or in a fridge.

It’s quite a homey desert and the little brother makes the brandy butter and this year again a nameless family member made the custard. It split. BUT still tasted delicious and was gone before anyone could say “it split”.

There were a few cold shoulders about that custard. There is nothing like a creamy smooth custard on a fruity cake like a Christmas Pudding. That funny weird split consistency where no matter what you can’t get the curdled feeling to go – not great for a custard. That said the taste is usually just a delicious and the whole jug disappeared – who cares about a Christmas faux pas anyway!

Christmas day problems aside I actually prefer the POST-Christmas day foods that a fantastic turkey and ham can give you! I could live off cranberry and turkey sandwiches for life if I had too – there is something so nom about them it’s difficult to describe, but there is just very little that can beat a chunky slice of good bread, toasted with a very thin scraping of mayo on it, a teaspoon of cranberry sauce  and some left over turkey.

We are also big fans of the Turkey and Ham en Croute. It’s our adaptation of the Turkey Feuilletes that you see floating around. Using the old favorite Quick Flaky Pastry and preparing a turkey-ham filling. A couple of onions are browned at the bottom of a pot in butter, and chopped mushrooms, button, chestnut whatever mushrooms you like are thrown on top. A lot of people use bacon at this point, we decided one year why use a new pack of bacon when we have all this delicious Christmas ham floating around. Dice up 200-250grams of ham and add it to the onion and mushrooms. Add the turkey diced too 200-300 grams On top of this add a tablespoon of flour, add a little more if you feel its needed, and stir until everything is covered with a little bit of flour that’s now gone soggy in the meat, mushroom, onion and butter juices. This will thicken the sauce once you add the chicken stock next, 400ml,  in little quantities stirring the whole time. Let it simmer on the heat and pop in 100ml of creme fraiche. Add a cup of frozen peas to the mix and when they’re soft leave it to stand.

Roll out the Quick Flaky Pastry into one large square, about 5mm thick if you can, avoiding holes. Using a spatula spoon the mix into the center of the square of pastry and fold each of the corners inward. Bake in the oven at 180-200 degrees Celsius until golden brown on top and bottom. Slice and serve hot.

The New Year is all about those new year resolutions, I still haven’t decided on one, so I’ll hold off on that for the moment. In the middle of exams in college so we’ll see about the next update. It will most certainly be on the next project: Candied Crystallized Fruit

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