Capsicum Jelly

This is an old family favourite.  When we had a glut of capsicums from the garden, this was the first thing we made.  Kind of like a sweet and sour sauce.  It was always great for dipping.  Hand me the Jatz!!  I’m sure it would be great with some cream cheese….hmmm

4 large capsicums (we used red and green or another colour just to make it look pretty)
2 tablespoons of salt
1 cup of white vinegar
2 cups of sugar

IMG_5272Put capsicums through the mincer… we have an old handheld one, it gives a good consistency, with 2 tablespoons of salt.

Leave for at least 2 hours.

Wash thoroughly and add 1 cup white vinegar and 2 cups of white sugar.

Cook 30 minutes or until jellied or thickened.

When cold place in a sealed container and use when required.

Yum.

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Strawberry Jam

IMG_9826We have made this recipe twice in as many weeks as strawberries were so cheap.

900g strawberries washed and hulled (if they were on the large side we cut them into a few pieces.

1kg sugar
juice of 1 lemon (I like a real juicy one otherwise I find the Strawberries too sweet)

Knob of butter
Jam Setta
Sterilised jars (3 x large jam jars or 5-6 smallish ones)

I suppose this is the sloppy cooks way but I find it turns out pretty scrummy.

Place the strawberries in a large bowl with about half the sugar and attack it with a potato masher.  I didn’t have a potato masher so attacked it with a meat mallet (very indiscriminatory though).  I didn’t smash the beejebers out of them, I just gave them a good talking to.  I like to see some strawberries in their form and some really squished.

Add the rest of the sugar and lemon juice, give it a stir and leave to sit overnight (if you are really desperate wait at least 3 hours). It should look very runny and foamy come morning with bits of strawberry.

Stir them well and place in a large saucepan over low heat until the sugar is dissolved. Place a saucer in the freezer.

Increase the heat and boil the mixture rapidly for around 20 minutes checking occasionally to see how the strawberries are… are they getting squishy and looking like yummy globs?

Check to see whether your jam is ready by placing a small spoonful on the saucer that’s been in the freezer and put back in the freezer for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, take the jam off the heat and remove the ‘scum’ (usually foam that congregates around the edges) with a slotted spoon or tea strainer.  Stirring in the knob of better helps to disperse any remaining scum.

Take the saucer out of the freezer and use your finger to push at the edge.  If the jam ‘wrinkles’ slightly at both edges, it is done.  If it’s still runny return the jam to the boil.  Remove from stove and stir in Jam Setta (the amount will vary depending on how set your jam is – I used 15g the first time with one large juicy lemon and around 7g the next with one and a half juicy ones.  Both set well… that’s the tricky thing about jam!  Best to try a small amount first, especially if the jam shows some indications of setting by itself).

If the jam is being lazy (not setting) place the jam back on the stove and stir until the Jam Setta is dissolved.  Do the freezer test again to test for setting.

Leave to cool for around 15 minutes and bottle.  I wash my jars in soapy water, rinse and dry with a micro fibre cloth then do a final dry in the microwave on low heat or in the oven on low heat.

Fill the jars right to the top as the jam will shrink slightly when it cools.

Enjoy!  It’s pretty yummy and makes a good gift.

Ma’s Pumpkin Fruit Cake

Ma’s famous Pumpkin Fruit Cake.  Any funeral, birthday or special occasion would see this cake made.  IIMG_9610f it was for Christmas, the plonk would be added along with some glace fruit… anything to tizzy it up.  Always yum and always very popular.

Now Ma, being Ma never was one for exact measurements… so here is how I make it nowadays.

2 eggs
1 cup sugar
4oz butter
1 pkt mixed fruit (approx 375g)1 cup mashed pumpkin (cold)
2 tbl golden syrup (generous)
2 cups SR Flour
1tsp vanilla essence

Cream butter and sugar till light and fluffy, add vanilla, syrup, pumpkin and eggs stirring well after each addition.  Add flour and fruit and stir until well combined.

Place in square fruit cake tin lined with foil (21cm approx) and bake in moderate oven for about 45 minutes.  If the top starts to brown too much cover with a piece of foil.

Ma says:  “It’s a very adaptable cake.  Add more or less fruit or different types of fruit.  It doesn’t seem to alter the success of the cake.  I often use just a mix of what I have on hand.  I also add 2tbl of rum, brandy or sherry if I want it to keep longer or to make a richer cake.”

When I make it, I like to add almonds and some ginger and figs.

Creamed Velvet

An old favourite.  Ma used to always use more sherry/rum than what was required.

2 Jam Rolls
8 ozs cooking chocolate
3 eggs – separated
3 tablespoons of sherry or rum
Melt chocolate and sherry/rum in saucepan over boiling water, stir in beaten egg yolks, cook a couple of minutes.  Allow to cool.  Beat egg whites until they form peaks, add to chocolate mixture.  Line a basin, about the size of a small mix-master bowl, with grease proof paper.  Put a layer of jam roll then a layer of chocolate mixture, alternate these to the top of the basin.  Cover and leave in refrigerator a day or two to set.  Turn out and cover with whipped cream and slivers of almonds or grated chocolate.

Corned Beef and Onion Sauce + what to do with leftovers

Corned Beef (at least 1.3kg will feed 3 people and give you enough for sandwiches)
I usually buy from Aldi or the butcher at around $7.99/kg.

Rinse the Corned Beef and trim all the fat off

Place in a large saucepan and cover with water.  Add around a tablespoon of brown sugar; a good splosh of brown vinegar and 4 cloves.  Bring to boil and then simmer for around 30 minutes per 500g.  If the fork comes out clean, it’s done.  Wrap it in foil and place it in the oven to keep warm.

While you are cooking your Corned Beef.  Make your Onion Sauce – slice 2 medium brown onions and place them in a saucepan just barely covered with water with a bit of salt.  Boil the bejeepers out of them until they are translucent.  Add cracked pepper and thicken with cornflour mixed with evaporated milk.  Keep adding the evaporated milk until the sauce is as you like it.

Empty your Corned Beef saucepan and add your vegetables and water and bring to boil.  We usually have potato, carrot, suede and anything that takes our fancy. Enjoy!

Leftovers

Sometimes there are some… If you have around 300g or more you can make Red Flannel Hash or Corned Beef Fritters (if you have less).

Take your leftover Corned Beef and roughly chop it into pieces and put it through a hand mincer or similar.

IMG_5272Add a Red Capsicum, Carrot and Onion.  Add Tomato Sauce and mix until just holding together and place in a casserole dish.  Top with mashed potato and sprinkle shredded cheese on top.

Bake in a moderate oven until heated through and cheese melted.

This was always a big family favourite.

If you don’t have enough corned beef to make the hash try Fritters.  Mix up 3/4 cup self-raising flour; 1 egg, 1/3 cup of milk until smooth.  Mince up your Corned Beef and add it to the mix.  Cook in a frypan with oil until golden brown.

Recipes with Ma

My Ma was a heck of a cook in her day, experimenting with international dishes and filling us kids with the most wonderful food imaginable.  Dad was a baker by trade with the bakehouse being in the family for over 100 years.  Dad kept a full vege patch and friends in their circle shared a multitude of other fruits and vegetables.  Between the two of them they raised money for the community through jams, pickles and cooking.

I thought I’d place some of the recipes that Ma and I have shared over the last few years as well as some great high fibre ones… stay tuned.’

It’s funny, I was mentioning the idea of recipes to Ma and she encouraged me to share them with you.  She told me she thought that there were a lot of elderly people out there that didn’t eat properly… How very true, not only does your taste go as you get older, but if you are by yourself, preparing food can be a real chore.  Especially when the food you want to buy comes in larger quantities than one person can use or is more expensive if you buy a smaller amount.  I’m sure Ma will help me sort out the best ones.