An easy sauce to lift your pancake game, a fresh blueberry maple sauce. Ready in under 5 minutes.…
Jam, Get a good one and it is a beauty. That right combo of fruit sweetness to tartness. I’m not a lover of sweet jams, particularly those that you get in the stores. I like my jams like I like my chutneys, tart. If you’ve ever made jam at home before, you know that all jam really consists of is fruit and sugar. This strawberry red currant jam is lovely sharp and runny jam, which is equally good on scones, oatcakes or ice cream.
Here in the UK we have no shortage of varieties of jam on the shelves. Many are pretty good, if you pay a good price. The cheap stuff is high on sugar and tastes poor. But it’s baffled me why we pay so much for good jam, when it is so easy to make at home. With my mother visiting, I took the opportunity to make her a British classic of scone with jam. As she is diabetic, the jam purposely has a lower sugar content. Luckily, she too enjoyed a tart jam rather than sweet.
First prep the fruit, I’m using strawberries(300g) and red currants (150g) and a love quantity of sugar (125g). Most jams call for a 1-to-1 ration, where the sugar equals the fruit in weight. This jam will be runny, and that’s a good thing. Toss in some lemon juice (peel too maybe) and bring to a boil for about 10min. Put in sterilized containers and leave to cool/set. Then enjoy, it will last about a week or less but will be worth it. Plus, for the diabetic in the family the lower sugar content means it is a bit nicer for them.
The perfect drink to have with strawberry red currant jam, well this is based on the premise you will likely be having the jam on scones. In that case drink tea, obviously! I would suggest Twinings English Breakfast with a bit of milk. You could have coffee, but why.
This calls for good’ol classical music, and as this is an English dish let the composer be English. Delius Piano Concerto in C is a good choice to have playing in the background.
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Strawberry Red Currant Jam
- 300 g fresh strawberries tops off and washed
- 150 g fresh red currants washed
- 125 g granulated sugar
- 1 lemon juiced
- Put all ingredients into a pan, and heat. You want the sugar to become liquid with the juice from the fruit, once this happens give the mixture a bit to mush it up the fruit. Bring this to a boil and then boil for about 10-12 minutes. Try not to stir it, but do skim off any foam.
- After 10-12 minutes, pour into sterilised jars while hot and seal. Let cool and set, and store in the fridge. Will last about week. Use on scones!
The delicious, sweet, spicy and tangy black forest barbecue sauce.
Oh, summer, you are here in the UK. Finally. That means, it is time again for barbecues, which as previously discussed the British are only really waking up to. While there are lots of important parts to a barbecue (eg the source of heat, the quality of the ingredients), the sauce for me is paramount to a good barbecue – for me it is the perfect time for the Black Forest barbecue sauce.
Too many barbecue sauces are so loaded down with sugar, they just don’t taste good. Just sickly sweet. I like a rich sauce, that adds to the beef or chicken or whatever it is you are grilling. Not overwhelm it.
My black forest barbecue sauce is inspired from visiting the valley in Nova Scotia in the summer and having loads of fresh cherries and fruit which I needed to use. Turns out it was really addition to a barbecue sauce, because while it has sugar in it, it relies on fruit for the bulk of its sweetness. That, along with the spices gives you a warming sweet spicy and fruity taste in one punch.
Pulling this sauce together is dead easy, just takes a bit of time. As it is a black forest barbecue sauce, you start with some brilliant sour dark cherries plus other black and red berries (fresh or frozen, it makes no difference). Add to that tomatoes, molasses, onion, and some smoky spices. Then go low and slow (this is a brilliant book if you are so inclined).
What is key with this sauce, is how you reduce it. As with any sauce, when you put the ingredients together is will be quite soupy. When you make this, you gotta let it reduce low and slow until it is nice and thick. It helps the fruitiness compete with the rich tomato and spices, and develop that deep flavour.
I like this on chicken and burgers, but anything your barbecue will probably be made better with a sauce like this.
Black Forest Barbecue Sauce
- 2 tablespoons salted butter
- 1 brown onion finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 2 cups passata or 2.5 cups of crushed tomatoes
- 1 cups roughly chopped cherries
- 1 cup other mixed berries such as blueberries, raspberries, blackberries and redcurrants.
- 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
- 1/3 cup orange juice
- 1/4 cup molasses
- 1/4 cup cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon Hot smoked paprika powder
- 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 2 teaspoons white pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- In a large, heavy pot melt butter and add onions. When onions are soft add garlic.
- Once you can smell the garlic in the pan, add all other ingredients. I start with the cherries and other fruit so they break down a bit first.
- Simmer for at least 40min, although I found longer better. Stir to ensure it isn’t catching on the bottom of the pan. The point is to reduce the moisture content.
- Use a hand blender to make it smooth. If should have a dark colour to it, and be thick and cling to the spoon, and without any excess water.
For added fun, I’ve added this to FiestaFriday! Worth having a look at what others are cooking up!
It has been very sunny and warm recently, and on weekends like that I just love being able to eat breakfast in the backyard (or back garden). There is something totally relaxing about being able enjoy fresh coffee, a newspaper, and breakfast. Some days, it feels like a toast day, other days cereal. After a recent trip to Austria, I’ve become a big fan of continental breakfasts and muesli and granola. Especially when teamed with thick yogurt, and some type of a compote.
‘Rhubarb Berry Compote – Love it with breakfast, gobble it with ice cream or over a some cake.’
So, when I visited my local farmer’s market and they were selling fresh local rhubarb. It reminded me so much of having the stuff growing in our back yard in Nova Scotia. Sure, I felt like making a apple rhubarb pie, but the need to be healthy has been weighing on me so instead I bought it to turn into a muesli topping. Not least because most compotes you by in stores are loaded with extra sugar, more like a jam.
Indulging in my passion for all things tart, I took the rhubarb home and got started. The resulting rhubarb berry compote is slightly sour brilliance.
Chop the barb and toss into a heavy pot. At the same time peel and chop two slightly sweet apples (I humbly suggest Jazz apples), and chuck them in too. Finally, add the red berries, lemon zest and a bit of sugar. If you like it sweeter, add a bit more sugar.
Toss it in a pot, turn it on low, let the fruit break down and cool. Add water if too thick. A squeeze of lemon juice helps the acidity level. It will disappear quickly. Love it with breakfast, gobble it with ice cream or over a some cake. I topped it on some granola, with thick skyr. Delicious.
Rhubarb Berry Compote
- 5 cups Diced rhubarb
- 2 Sliced and diced peeled apples
- 1 cup red berries - red currants raspberries, maybe a blackberry or two
- ⅓ cup Sugar
- ½ cup Water
- Lemon juice to taste
- Zest of one lemon
- Clean all fruit, chop the rhubarb and place all fruit and zest into a thick pot. Sprinkle over sugar. Slowly heat, stirring occasionally. Let the fruit break down and become syrupy. If too thick add some of the water to thin.
Breakfast is easily one of my favorite meals, and it is a great way understand a culture. Wanna understand NYC, go have breakfast, wanna understand the English have a fry up. If you want to understand our family, try our toasted muesli. It represents a lot about us.
Back in April we decided we needed a holiday, and took off to Salzburg for a week. It was one of our best decisions, it is a stunning place to visit. The mountains we amazing, the people very friendly and the food. Oh the food. A rich combination of Viennese and Bavarian food, and it works so well.
It reminded me a lot of food from down in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, which as a the name suggests has a history of Germanic immigration. Reminded me even more when I tucked into a plate of bratwurst and sauerkraut.
I could go on about the goulash, or the schnitzel, but the real treat was the breakfast spread. Our hotel, Bloberger hof, had an excellent continental breakfast. Pastries and cakes, fresh cheese, wide variety of breads and meats. All that, and sweet muesli bar. Every morning it was my go to dish.
Here in the UK, we have tons of brands of muesli in the shops. Some good, some not so good. It might have too many oats, or the mix of fruit/nut to cereal is weak. Really, the only way to get a mix that is right is to do it yourself. My toasted muesli is very representative of our family. It is a constant, and reminds us of lots of our travels. Plus is a great way to enjoy the start of the day.
So my recipe is for a toasted muesli, inspired by our visit to Salzburg. A mix of oats, almonds and other grains with a higher toast. Finally a large amount of dried fruit gets chucked for good measure.
- 250 g Porridge oats
- 25 g Wheat germ
- 75 g Rye flakes
- 100 g flaked almonds
- 200 g raisins sultanas and dried papaya.
- ¼ tsp cinnamon
- Turn the oven up to 170C. Spread oats, wheat germ, rye flakes and almonds onto a baking sheet. You may need two, and you want a wide surface area. Lightly dust the top with the cinnamon. Toast in the oven for 10-15min. You will want to shake to shuffle about halfway through. You want a good aroma, and a slight golden tinge to it all. Take out and let cool.
- Once cool, mix in the dry fruit and store in a airtight container. Use with milk, or yogurt and some fresh fruit.