Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Orange and Blackberry Marmalade

I've been trying to be better about making sure that I use up all of the odds and ends in the fridge lately, rather than finding myself pitching formerly useable food after I left it to spoil in the far corners of the crisper. Oh, the shame. It has certainly never been intentional but sometimes you lose sight of a lemon or bit of herbs or that last few baby zucchini. It takes a slightly concerted effort to adequately survey the fridge and plan accordingly but it's the right sort of effort that reminds you that food is not disposable and that sometimes the best bits of creativity stem from using what is at the ready, as opposed to running off to the shops.

This Orange and Blackberry Marmalade was just one of those bits of creativity. Nothing was yet spoiled but it was one of those situations where I didn't get through as much fruit as I had planned that week and was faced with a slew of oranges and berries on the edge. In avoiding a killer kanker sore, I opted to do something else with the oranges rather than set a bowl before myself and start peeling.

Now, this is not a very sweet marmalade. It gives you just a hint of sweetness but really leaves it to the sweetness of the fruit. It's more about the fruit in general. (Though I am convinced that, thinned out, this could be a decent glaze on meat.... thoughts?) Far be it from me to dictate how sweet your fruity concoctions should be. We eat more than enough sugar around here, so it feels good to me to reduce it here and the low sugar pectin allows for that. But tweak away! Add some honey or agave nectar for a more complex sweetness. Add some more sugar or brown sugar. Up to you.

The best thing to do is to taste your marmalade after it stews together a bit (maybe at the 40 minute mark or so) and decide if it suits your taste, keeping in mind that the orange rind may be a bit tough still. Just remember you're tasting for sweetness not doneness!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Paprika Candied Almonds

A few weeks ago, while enjoying a great dinner as part of a girls night, I ate the most wonderful paprika almonds. They were wonderfully salty, rich in a smoky paprika, and coloured the most perfect red. We devoured them. Then we went to a movie. Then I went home.

And then I dreamed of smoky paprika almonds. 

I adapted my recipe from Smitten Kitchen who adapted it from another source as well. While I kept the sugar ratios similar, I increased the spices significantly... even sprinkling a bit of extra paprika on some of the cooling nuts afterwards.

These were ridiculously addictive. I don't know how often I can make them and have them in my house. I don't have overwhelming needs to eat all of the chocolate in the house or finish the bag of chips or spoon or spoon and spoon until I reach the bottom of the ice cream tub. I like a treat, then can typically put it away and carry on. These nuts ruined me for that. I would eat one, then two, then another five, then another handful... I. Could. Not. Stop.

And I'm okay with that. I think you'll be okay with that as well. 

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Candied Ginger and Lemon Cornmeal Scones

Between the lemon curd and the marmalade, I had visions of a Sunday tea with scones and crustless sandwiches and pinky fingers in the air as we sip from our china tea cups.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Pate a Choux

The other night, I was thinking about my foodie goal of spending more time in the world of French cooking. Aside from watching Julie and Julia and enjoying my Mastering the Art of French Cooking (mostly for the mother sauces), I really haven't spend much time experimenting with French cooking. As I pondered, I got up from the couch (that seemed to require a great deal of effort yesterday after the lengthy dog walking trek that we had in the mid afternoon) and grabbed that tome of Julia's expertise, returned to the couch and started flipping through.

After going back and forth, I decided on something that I had been intimidated by previously and was so completely French that there was no doubt that it was one more step towards my foodie goal. 

Pate a Choux!

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