Sunday is frequently my batch cooking day. This day saw me whip up a selection of condiments: chilli preserve, ginger syrup for my soda stream, ginger lemon butter and the crowning achievement of the day – rosella jam! I have never made it before, and never even made jam before so it was an exciting experiment and a great success.
I got hooked on chilli after avoiding it and not really “getting it” for most of my adult life. It just makes everything hot and you don’t taste the flavours, I used to think. Not any more, now I am fully hooked and my addiction is getting worse every week. I read that chilli affects the same receptors in the brain as heroin – the opiad receptors. Which means your tolerance goes up over time and you get physically addicted to the stuff. So now I out chilli into all my dishes, including chocolate truffles and even coffee. To make it easier to add to stuff, I stole my neighbours brilliant idea of preserving chilli in batches. I think once my own chilli bushes produce sufficient amount to satisfy my increasing addition I might not need to preserve it, but for now I buy large batches at the market and do the following:
Put on gloves! I can stress that enough, otherwise you will end up with birning skin wherever you touch for the following few hours, whose yet getting it in your eyes.
Slice in half and get the seeds out. I love planting everything I buy, but if you don’t then just leave the seeds in for extra kick.
Put it through a food processor, chopper or just mince by hand.
Put in a jar with some salt and olive oil. My neighbour also adds vinegar equal portions with oil, but I have tried this last batch without to see how it goes.
I have had my soda stream for a while now and it has helped me to increase my water intake greatly. I jut can’t seem to drink enough no matter what tricks I try, but bubbly water I can’t seem to get enough of so I decided carbonation is probably not as bad as dehydration. I used to have my soda with freshly squeezed lime or lime and vanilla extract (for that cream soda flavour) but got bored so decided to make ginger syrup. It’s jut a matter of chopping the singer or grating it and simmering in hot water with sweetener for a while. I don’t use sugar in my cooking so I went with honey on this one. And instead of just simmering I put it in a bowl on a trivet into my pressure cooker while making the jam. Strain it after its done and keep the meat to make cookies, add to jam, etc.
I had a pressure cooker jam recipe for a couple of year in my recipe book but never attempted it. So when I saw Rosella for sale at the market and recalled someone said it has a lot of pectin and is thus good for cooking I decided it was time to try my hand at jam making.
The recipe called for 1 part strawberries and 3/4 of their weight in honey. I added about 200ml honey to the bag of rosella (peeled the flesh and discarded/planted the seed pod). Cooked it on high for about 10 minutes until enough liquid ran off the fruit to kind of cover the bottom of the pressure cooker, then put the trivet with the bowl of ginger syrup inside and locked the lid. It took a very long time to get to pressure, probably ly because it had so little liquid in it compared to my normal stews. But once it did I counted 2 minutes as the recipe suggested and then turned off the heat for natural pressure release.
Once cooled off I took the ginger syrup out and put the jam back on medium heat and continued to cook. The recipe said something about getting it to 105′ C and passing the gelling test. But I just waited till some liquid cooked off and the jam became jam like.
It ended up quite tart and not overly sweet. I did ad about 7 drops of stevia into it which is my natural sweetener which I use when I want to minimise the sugars. And I was simply running out of honey also. But I quite like it tart and it will be the perfect accompaniment to either 2 minute microwave bread, patties or mixed into my coconut yoghurt.
Ginger lemon butter
I have been perfecting lemon butter recipe for a while now because I have a lime tree and I try to eat low carb so a “butter” version of a otherwise sweet desert is right what I need.
The basic lemon butter consists of:
zest and juice of 2 lemons, but I usually use at least 6 limes or more
100g butter – I go heavy on the butter but it’s my personal preference
Sweetener to taste. It really depends on your preferences here so taste ad you go. I mix some honey and some stevia in mine
Put everything in a bowl over some boiling water and mix for about 10-15 minutes and watch it gel up as you mix. If the temperature is too hot the eggs begin to cook and you will see white chunks. Just true it down a little or simply enjoy egg bits in your butter, who cares. Once it’s gelled up enough for your taste turn off heat and put in jars and store in the fridge. It will become even more solid in the fridge once the butter solidifies. This one was a variation on the them because in added ginger flesh discarded from the syrup making.
And there you have it, a few hours of creativity supplied me with several weeks of tasty treats to enjoy.