Here’s a quickie from the Preserves part of the last chapter of English Food.
You can use any herb you like. On my allotment there are vast amounts of mint, lemon thyme, chives, sage and oregano.
Pass the juice through a jelly bag and allow to drip overnight.
Halve and core 2 pounds of cooking apples such as Bramleys seedling, but don’t chuck out the cores (they are a valuable source of pectin). Chop the flesh and blitz in a food processor. Tip them into a preserving pan or stockpot with the reserved cores. Tip in 15 fluid ounces of cider vinegar to prevent the apples from discolouring. Next, deseed and roughly chop 3 red peppers and 4 red chilli peppers. Blitz those up too and add to the pot.
Bring to a boil and simmer for a good 20 minutes. At this point there will be an absolutely delicious smell. Savour it – the smell from this aromatic sharp concoction is wonderful! Strain the hot mixture through a jelly bag and allow it to drip overnight.
Next day, measure the volume of juice you have and pour it into you pan. Stir in granulated sugar – you’ll need a pound for every pint of juice. Once the sugar has dissolved, turn up the heat and boil for 20 minutes.
#283 Jellied Stock. I won’t write a review for this as it’s not a dish in itself, but I will say that it was a very satisfying process; condensing that big set of ingredients into the viscous well-flavoured stock. Made me feel like a real baker.
This is a dessert that I had been looking forward to making for a while – I was just waiting for strawberry season. What could possibly not be delicious about strawberries, coconuts and cream?? Griggers doesn’t say anything about where it comes from; whether it was modern at the time of writing or if it has a good stoic history in the annals of English cookery. Scroll down to the picture, though, and you have to assume it’s probably from the Fanny Craddock School rather than the Alexis Soyer School.
It’s a little bit of a faff this one and the coconut cream needs to be made well in advance because it contains gelatine and that needs to set. To make it, bring ¼ pint of single and soured cream slowly to a boil along with a split vanilla pod and 4 ounces of desiccated coconut and 7 fluid ounces of water. Let the mixture simmer for 10 minutes and let it cool down until ‘tepid’. Pass through a sieve and add either powdered or leaf gelatine dissolved in 6 tablespoons of water; follow the instructions in the packet and make enough for a pint of liquid in total. Also add a good tablespoon of grated creamed coconut and add sugar and lime juice to taste. Griggers says: “the citrus juice is an enhancer, it should not be identifiable”. Pop the cream in the fridge and allow to cool and reach an ‘egg white consistency’. At this point, fold in ½ pint of whipping cream that had been whipped stiffly. Pour the whole mixture into a lightly-oiled decorative jelly mould and allow to set. To turn it out, dip the mould in hot water briefly before upturning it.
#245 Coconut Cream with Strawberry Sauce. Oh, I had looked forward to this one for so long; I should have learned by now that some of these desserts are just plain rubbish. And this one definitely fits into that category. The coconut cream was pretty tasteless bearing in mind the number of what should be delicious ingredients that made it up. Next time, strawberries and cream will be served. 3/10.
A good dessert to make if people are round because you can make it a couple of days in advance.
The tea in question for this tea cream recipe is green gunpowder tea. Green tea is a strange thing – I don’t ever drink it because it tastes of a combination of washing-up water and seaweed. Bleurgh. However, having it with cream and sugar did appeal slightly more; cream and sugar never taste bad, now do they!?
FYI: green tea comes from the same plant as our more familiar ‘black’ tea (e.g. PG Tips, Tetley, etc), but is unfermented thus retains its natural green colour, as opposed to black tea which turns its dark colour due to oxidisation during fermentation. Green tea is popular in China and Japan as we all know – but also in Muslim counties where it is forbidden to drink fermented tea. How bizarre. Anyone know why this is?
To make this tea cream mix together half a pint each of double and single cream in a jug. Pour around three-quarters of it into a small saucepan along with two tablespoons of sugar and an ounce of green gunpowder tea. Slowly bring to a boil, though keep on tasting it as you don’t want the tea to be ‘over-stewed’. Pour the hot cream into a bowl through a sieve. Taste again; if too strong add more cream. Use either a packet of powdered or five leaves of leaf gelatine to make the cream set. It’s best to follow the instructions on the packet at this point but generally you dissolve the powdered stuff in a little hot water and stir it into the cream, or soak leaf gelatine in cold water until soft and stir into the still-hot cream. Pour the whole lot into a mould – buy a fancy one if you can, I did. Cover with cling-film, allow to cool and then place in the fridge until needed. Turn it out onto a plate – you will need to dip the mould in hot water briefly to help loosen the jelly, I left it in too long and it went a little liquid around the edges. Serves five or six.
#201 Tea Cream. A funny one this one. I really liked the creaminess of the ‘jelly’, but the tea taste – though strong when hot, diminished greatly when chilled so I couldn’t really tell it was there. I certainly liked it enough to give it a second go at some point though. It did look very good in its fancy shape. 6/10.
As we are being constantly reminded of Global Recessions and Credit Crunches in the news, I thought it’s best to get as thrifty as possible and make some meals out of leftovers. I’ve managed to get two extra things out of the feast I made – one of which is a recipe from English Food, the other one of my own devising.
I made the Kickshaws from the leftover puff pastry trimmings. They are very easy to make – good one to make with kids if you’ve got any and don’t mind getting their filthy little paws in you food.
Roll out your puff pastry trimmings thinly and cut out circles of around 3 inches in diameter. Next, place a scant teaspoon of jelly or jam in the centre and use milk or beaten egg to make little parcels or turnovers; I used bramble jelly, quince jelly and apricot jam. Deep fry at around 160°C for a few minutes until the pastry has puffed up and golden brown. Sprinkle some sugar over them and eat warm. I poured some double cream over them that was also left over from big feast.
#126 Kickshaws – 8/10. Kickshaws go right back to Medieval times, though survived until the Eighteenth Century, though we don’t really make them now. We should definitely bring them back though as they are delicious. They are definitely being made every time there are trimmings to be used up!
The quinces I bought the other day were beginning to look a bit sad and I needed to use them up with something. I really like quince, so quince jelly was the obvious choice – making a few jars of this would mean I would still be eating them way beyond their season had ended.
By the way, this recipe can be followed as is but with medlars, sorbs or crab apples, so if you are lucky enough to know where their might be some growing near you try this jelly.
Quince jelly can be used like any fruit jelly, but is typically an accompaniment to cheeses, game and turkey.
#114 Quince Jelly – 6.5/10. A nice conserve, but I perhaps more apple than I should have, as the quince flavour is not super strong and is sweeter than I’m used to. That said, I used as jam and I think it’ll be a lot better with some game or cheese. Also, the recipe’s very good as I got four jars of jelly from just two quince!