Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Victorian apple jam

A friend gave me a bag of apples that came from her neighbour's tree.  It's been an amazing year for apples and the neighbour just didn't know what to do with them all so when my friend picked the apples from the branches that overhang her garden, they were unwanted!  So she gave some to me, which was extremely kind.  I found this recipe on the internet but have changed it just a little bit and reduced the amounts by around half.  I'm glad I did as it made 9 pots of scrumptiousness!

Here's the original recipe:  http://recipewise.co.uk/apple-jam-victorian-recipe

This is what I did.

1.35 kg cooking apples
about 800g sugar (a mix of jam sugar and granulated sugar)
600mls water
the juice and rind of 2 oranges
some lemon juice
3 cloves
a small cinnamon stick
1 star anise and some bits from the bottom of the packet

Wash the apples, remove the stalks and any bad bits and roughly chop the rest of the apple, core, skin and all.  Place them in a preserving or large pan with 600mls water with the orange juice and zest and the lemon juice added, to stop the apples browning.  Throw in the cinnamon and the cloves.
Bring to a boil and simmer until the apple is cooked and pulpy.  Then push the lot through a sieve to get rid of the spice, skin, core and pips.

Put the hot sieved pulp back in the cleaned preserving pan.  Add the sugar and stir.  Leave until the sugar has completely dissolved

Put two saucers into the fridge (to test for set).
Bring to a good boil and simmer rapidly for about ten minutes.  Be careful as it spits - I used one of those mesh splatter guard thingies.
Test for set, removing the pan from the heat while you do so.  If not at setting point, boil for another five minutes and check again.  Repeat as needed.

When it has reached setting point, fish out the star anise, pour into hot, sterilised jars and seal.

So that's one for my friend, one for her neighbour and most of the rest will be great for Christmas presents.  Excellent!

Recipe: Cranberry, apple and orange sauce

This is what I did with the other half bag of cranberries after making the merry berry cherry jam.

half a bag of Sainsburies frozen cranberries
2 medium cooking apples, peeled, cored and chopped
the juice and rind of two oranges
half a stick of cinnamon
some water
three or four tbsp of granulated sugar (to taste)

Put the cranberries, apple, orange juice and zest (and any fleshy bits that come out as you're juicing the orange) in a pan with some water and the cinnamon stick.
Simmer until the cranberries and apple are cooked.
Add the sugar and stir in well.  Simmer again for a few minutes.
Allow to cool and pop into a freezer container and freeze if not used immediately.

You could push it through a sieve to make it smooth, if you want.  I might do that before using, depending on how much time I have.

I'm freezing it for Christmas and will add some port before using.

Recipe: Merry berry cherry jam

Catchy little name, isn't it?  I made this yesterday and it worked so I'm sharing it with you.  It's based around those bags of frozen fruit you can get - mine came from Sainsbury's.  You don't have to use exactly what I used, I am sure: for example, I used one bag of value berry mix because that's what I had in the freezer, it's not absolutely essential to the outcome, although I was impressed by the contents.  It doesn't make for a really value jam but it's great value for a jam of this quality, very delicious and perfect for Christmas presents!
I hedged my bets with the sugar and had half jam sugar because I wasn't totally sure of the pectin levels in the fruit.  Setting was not a problem!

Here's the recipe: it filled nine smallish pots.

1 bag Sainsbury's basics frozen berry mix
1 bag Sainsbury's frozen summer fruits
1 bag Sainsbury's frozen dark sweet cherries
Half a bag of Sainsburies frozen cranberries (the other half will make a sauce for Christmas)
400g jam sugar (with pectin)
400g granulated sugar
60 mls cherry brandy (optional, but it is the 'merry' part of the name)

Emply the contents of the berry mix and the summer fruits into a large pan or a preserving pan.  Add some water and simmer until soft and squishy.  I use my potato masher at this point too.  Then pour and press the fruits and liquid through a sieve and discard the seeds.
Return the fruit puree to the pan, add the cherries and the cranberries and simmer until they are soft.
If it seems too thick, add a bit of water.

OR - if you're OK with loads of seeds in jam (I am not), just bung the whole lot into your preserving pan with some water and simmer untill it's all soft.  You might need to add a little more sugar if you don't sieve out the seeds

Add 800g sugar (half being jam sugar), stir well and leave for the sugar to dissolve.  If you use saucers to test for set, now is a good time to pop them into the fridge.

When the sugar has dissolved, bring the jam to a rolling boil and cook, stirring, for about five minutes before checking for set.  It does set quickly so it's worth taking the pan off the heat while you are doing this.  If it has not reached setting points, boil for another five minutes and try again.

When the jam has reached setting point, take it off the heat (if it isn't already) and add the cherry brandy.  Stir it well and reboil for a minute.

Allow to stand for five minutes or so before pouring into hot sterilised jars and sealing with a waxed circle and lid.

Monday, 28 October 2013

Oaty bread rolls

This not my idea - my blogging friend, Diane, posted about this and I thought it was such a good idea I would try it too.  Basically, it's exactly the same as a normal white loaf but 100g of the flour is replaced by 100g oats, zizzed to a flour consistency.

My ingredients, therefore, were:
100g oats, zizzed to a flour consistency
400g strong white flour
1 heaped tsp yeast (the kind that doesn't need starting off)
1.5 to 2 tsps salt (to own taste)
25g butter
315 mls water

Made the usual way, in Thermione for the kneading and rising and then by hand for the rest.

Normal method:
place the flour, oat flour, yeast and salt and mix well.  Rub in the butter.  Add the wate and mix to a dough, then knead for about ten minutes until smooth and stretchy.
Cover and leave to rise.
Knock back down and shape into whatever - I made rolls.  Place on prepared baking sheet or loaf tin, cover and prove.  Bake in an oven that is 230C when the rolls go on, then turn the oven down to around 180 immediately.
They take about 20 to 25 minutes to cook.  Then cool them on a wire rack.

Very, very delicious!  Thank you very much, Diane.

Tuesday, 22 October 2013


Oh, dear, it's a whole week since I posted anything.  So sorry.  I just don't have time to try out recipes right now.  I will be back!

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Not storecupboard anything!

B :  toast with jam
L:  School dinner: Fish fingers, etc; crumble.
D:  Goodness only knows because I won't get home until nearly nine o'clock.  It's going to be a long day!

Monday, 14 October 2013

Storecupboard Monday

Easy peasy as there's plenty left over from yesterday

B:  Toast and jam (both home made so very delicious)
L:  shredded pork sandwich, key lime pie, plums
D:  Pork, roasties, broccoli, carrot, gravy, spiced apple and plum sauce, lime key pie (well, it does need eating up!)

Sunday, 13 October 2013

Recipe: Slow (very slow) cooked pork shoulder

OK, to my guests have come and gone and the pork was a hit (they had seconds!) so this is what I did.  I know it looks a bit long winded but it isn't really, most of the time it is just cooking!
Photo borrowed from Google Images.
I started last night after Strictly.  Into my slow cooker went two onions, chunked, four small carrots sliced long ways (slightly wizened and needed using up), a pork stock cube and about 1/3 can dry cider (it happened to be fizzy but that didn't matter).  Then on top I crammed in the pork shoulder.  All I can remember is that it was over 1k and under 2k, probably nearer to the 2k than the 1k.
Then I set it to low and left it until around 8:00 this morning (the house smelled delicious when I woke up this morning).

Then out came the pork and I took off the skin and most of the external fat.  I poured out the stock and veg (into a strainer) and, to replace it, in went one very large bramley apple, peeled, cored and sliced, four ripe plums and two star anise (or is it star anises?) which were quite old so perhaps one would be enough usually.  Then onto that went another third of cider and then the pork on top.  On went the lid and it cooked on low until around 12:30.  The pork absorbed just a tang of fruit and spice.

While that was cooking I strained the stock, left it to cool so I could take off the fat and then made gravy by simply adding bisto - it was a very flavoursome stock and had jellied really well.  Surprisingly, there was very little fat but what there was helped to roast the potatoes.

About half an hour before eating I took out the pork and kept it warm in a covered roaster.  I pushed the apple and plum mix through a sieve to make a smooth, spicy sauce (edit: and I added some sugar to taste).  Just before serving I turned the oven (the range oven, not the slow cooker) right up and popped in the pork, uncovered so that the outside got some colour.  Then I roughly sliced it (it was falling apart so didn't take any effort), spooned over some gravy and served it on a platter surrounded by roasted potatoes with the gravy and spiced fruit sauce on the side.

Thank you to P and N for liking it so much.  Once I think of a name, I will dedicate it to you!  :-)

And it was quite frugal too although in no way cheaper than chips.  The pork was half price which helped and there's enough left over for one good meal or two more modest meals.

Recipe: Maggie's Lime Pie

(warning:  not terribly frugal or healthy)

You can get the full recipe with amounts here.  Well worth looking.

I have to say it was the easiest dessert I have made in a long while.  The base is the usual biscuit and butter base, made in Thermione.
I zested the limes very finely, then squeezed all the juice out.  I mixed together the double cream and sweetened condensed milk, added the zest, then poured in the lime juice.  Maggie is quite right - as I stirred the juice into the milky/creamy mixture it just 'magically' thickened.  It was fascinating.  Then I poured it over the base, smoothed off the top and popped it in the fridge to keep overnight.  Later on I will sprinkle over chocolate shavings as a decoration and will serve it with double cream.  Scrummy!

And finally I scraped the bowl.  Then scraped again.  For  two pins I would then have licked the bowl to get every little bit out!!  That's how delicious it is.

Saturday, 12 October 2013

More about the meal on Sunday

Changed my mind again.  I get worse as I get older.  I think I will do the pork in a more savoury stock and make the spiced apple, plum and onion sauce separately.  That will then give me stock for a nice gravy as well as the sauce.  The apple taste will be there anyway because of the cider.
And the dessert will be this, taken from maggiedon's blog (which I miss now she has stopped posting entries).  Easy, quick and I know it is sc rummy.  One day I will try it with lemon but for tomorow lime will do.
Image taken from Maggie's blog, as referenced above

Friday, 11 October 2013

Thinking about pork

Firstly I shall 'do' it in the slow cooker.
Secondly, I think I will use onion, apple, plum, star anise and cider and make a gravy separately.
If I do it over Saturday night, there will be time to attempt to crackle to skin on Sunday morning.

I can but try!

Wednesday, 9 October 2013


 . . . for the silence.  I'm too busy to try recipes right now.  But I will be back, that's a promise (or do I mean 'threat'?)

In the meanwhile, do any of my readers have a good recipe for slow roasted pork?  If so, please let me know - via the comments, if needed.

Many thanks.

Sunday, 6 October 2013

Recipe: turkey pate

Last weekend I slow roasted a turkey leg and got loadsa meat from it.  Here's one way of using up leftover turkey - useful for the post Christmas meals, I should think.  Amounts are somewhat variable and to taste really.  It was scrummy on hot buttered toast with some home made salsa on the top and it was dead easy to make!  What's not to like?

Turkey pate:
butter (for frying and to add to the pate)
1/2 small onion, peeled and chopped
1/2 red chilli (or to taste), deseeded and chopped
1/3 red or yellow pepper, deseeded and chopped
cooked turkey*
100g soft cheese**
Garlic puree
salt/pepper/squeeze lemon juice

Melt some butter in a frying pan and gently fry the onion and pepper until it is all soft.  Add the chilli for the last five minutes.
Turn the heat up a little bit and add the turkey to warm it up.  This is because it's likel;y been in the fridge and warming it softens it and makes it zizz better.
Spoon the contents of the pan into a blender (I used a mini chopper and did it in two halves because that was to hand and I was too lazy to wash the Hermione bowl!).  Add a dollop of butter, the soft cheese, a squeeze of garlic puree, a little salt (you can add more later if needed) some pepper and a good squeeze of lemon juice (or lime juice might be nice).
Zizz the whole lot until it is the texture you want.  I like mine quite smooth.
Taste and add any extra seasonings, butter, etc, as you want.  I found it just about right first go.

I then just spooned the lot into a container, smoothed it down and put it in the fridge, covered.  It sets nice and firm and slices easily so if you wanted, you could line a container with easy leave, cling film or similar and then turn it out afterwards.  For posh, it could then be decorated with a bay leaf, some cranberries, and so on.

*The brown meat is best, it has more flavour.  As for how much, how long is a piece of string?  Imagine one of those take away chinese plastic tubs - about as much as would fit in there is the best I can do.
** I used philly because that's what I had, but any kind would do.  Probably the 'light' versions wouldn;t work so well because they are more watery.


Change of plan - breakfast was toast with turkey pate and salsa and it was extremely good.  I now have to work out how I made it for a recipe.  I wish I could remember!

Very definitely a store cupboard Sunday

Unfortunately, the meal yesterday was postponed.  More about that on the other blog.

So today's food is:
B:  toast and jam
L: pasta and mince (I hadn't got round to making the lasagne or the cheese sauce), roasted tomatoes, plum crumble
T:  scrambled eggs on toast, banana bread.
All cupboard, freezer or garden supplied!

Saturday, 5 October 2013

Fruit salad jam: a recipe to avoid waste

The background story is on my other blog, 'Diary of a Teacher' (do go and read).  Suffice it to say I had a lot of fruit left over after making fruit salad at school so I made jam.
This is the recipe.

Fruit salad jam

apples (eating)
kiwi fruits
plums (not part of the original salad but the other day they were reduced in Morrisons and I know why now - they were never going to ripen.  Not good for snacking, great for jamming because they're moderately high in pectin so that's what I used them for!)
preserving sugar (or ordinary granulated) - see below for amount.
possibly some lemon juice

All the fruit had been prepared for fruit salad beforehand which was nice and saved a lot of time for me.

Pile all the fruit in a maslin pan, add some water (I added enough so that the fruit was 2/3 covered - it wasn't a lot).  Bring to a simmer and cook for a while until; the fruit is mushy and soft.  It took about 30 mins as it was a very gentle simmer.

Then push the lot through a mouli or a fine sieve.  The mouli allowed a few kiwi seeds through which looks very nice.  A sieve would give a much smoother texture and no little black specks.

Weigh the sieved fruit and return to the wiped-around maslin pan.  For each kilo of gloopy fruit, add around 65-70% of preserving sugar.  My fruit came to just under 1.5 kilos and I added 1 kilo of sugar.  All the fruit was sweet so I wasn't going for the weight for weight method.

Stir well and leave for the sugar to dissolve in the warm fruit.  I left mine overnight at this point as I was feeling rather tired by then.

Before boiling put two saucers in the fridge (if you check for set this way - I always do), wash the jam jars and place on a tray in a warm oven

Heat the fruit/sugar mixture to a rolling boil, stirring often.  It's pretty gloopy so take care with hot jam spitting.  After boiling for five minutes, take the pan off the heat and check for set.  If it hasn't reached setting point, boil for another five minutes, remove from heat and check again.  I had decided that if it hadn't set after three checks I would add lemon juice but I didn't need to.  It was nicely set at the third check.

After setting, spoon off any scum (there wasn't any this time), ladle into hot jars and seal.  Allow to cool, label and store in a dark place until needed.

It does taste good and I've called it fruit salad jam.

A dinner for two . . .

Today is the day I have a friend around for an early dinner.  The challenge is to make a three course meal for £2.50 a head (excluding drinks).
The menu has changed and wobbled around a bit and virtually come round full circle but I have now decided . . .

Starter:  Turkey pate with melba toast and a tomato salsa.  The turkey is what's left from last week's slow roasted leg and will cost around 40p.  The bread is home made and the salsa will be made with home grown tomatoes, home grown chilli and an assortment of other veg - red pepper, onion, etc.  It will cost about 30p

Main:  Lasagne.  it was going to be vegetarian but Morrisons had some lean beef mince at half price.  The pasta will be home made and the veg (I always add a stack of veg to a lasagne: unauthentic it most certainly is but I don't care!) will be from the garden or what I have in the fridge.  The cheese is a rather nice Morrison's mature cheddar and, guess what, was on special and is 5p per 10g.  I haven't costed out the lasagne but I will be surprised if it comes to more than £2.00 in total.  I might have runner beans with that - shocking, I know, but it's MY meal!  :-)  And they're free!!!  And delicious.

Dessert:  Autumnal spiced plums from the freezer.  Around £1.00 for both.  I shall make custard too, home made so very good value.

I reckon it will come to around a fiver in total but have to do the maths more precisely as I make the various bits.

Friday, 4 October 2013

Store cupboard Friday - probably

B:  Toast with blackberry toffee jam
L:  soup, mini-tomatoes, fruit
D:  Something tasty from the freezer.  Can't be bothered to go and look yet!

Thursday, 3 October 2013

Not store cupboard Thursday

. . . because I am having a school lunch today.

B:  Toast and blackberry jam
L:  Chicken pie, sweet corn and green beans.  Fruit
D:  er - not sure.  < goes to freezer >   Ah, yes.  I shall fry some chopped bacon and add to is some of my tomato and red better sauce and some cooked pasta - not home made pasta this time as I don't have the time to make it.  Grated cheese would be nice over the top!  And I have fruit in for dessert.

fostermummy has moved!

If you were a follower of fostermummy, she has been forced to move her blog and you can now find it here at www.frugalmummy.blogspot.co.uk
Please do go along and let her know you've found her again.

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Store cupboard Wednesday

B:  toast and jam.  Not only do I have bread to use up, I also need to start eating the many jams I so lovingly make!!  So toast and jam is  my breakfast this week and beyond.
L: turkey and chutney pate sandwich, tomatoes, banana loaf, plums
D:  I didn't finish off the pie yesterday to today is the last bit.  Turkey pie, fried beef tomatoes (from dad's plant), fresh pear for dessert

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Store cupboard Tuesday

B:  Toast with home made jam (spiced apple cheese and blackberry and apple jam)
L:  Turkey and chutney sarnie, mini tomatoes, banana loaf
D:  The last of the turkey pie (it's been so delicious, another on the 'do again' list, maybe after Christmas), fried tomatoes.

All this turkey talk reminds me, I must keep an eye on Kelly's of Danbury - they should have their Christmas turkeys on order soon!

Slow roasted turkey leg: cheaper than chips

Borrowed from Google Images
You need a turkey leg - a whole one, not just the drumstick bit although I suppose you could do this with the drumstick, it's just that you get a whole load more meat from the complete leg!  The one I got was just over £3.00 and when I consider how much meat it gave me, it's the best value ever.  It's fed the equivalent of six people in a pie and there's still lots left for other things.

Anyway . . .

I chopped a couple of small onions and a couple of rather floppy carrots I found at the bottom of the fridge and put them in a roasting dish.  I then added some water with some chicken stock powder (you could use a cube), some mixed dried herbs, some black pepper and a good sloosh of dry white wine.  I then popped the turkey on top and covered that with some streaky bacon.  Last of all I covered the lot in foil so that it was completely sealed, leaving a bit of a 'tent' at the top for the air to circulate.
Then it went into the oven at about 150C-ish for four or five hours!

When it came out, the meat was just dropping off, it was so easy to strip the bones.  All the leftovers after straining the stock went into the slow cooker with the bones, skin, etc, and some water, for another slow cook to make a bit more stock.

Brilliant value and it was so flavoursome.  I only needed to add some thickening granules to the first stock to make the best gravy ever.  Yet another I shall do again!