Coffee Ganache Truffles

Valentine’s Day may be upon us but it isn’t too late to make some handmade chocolates for your loved one.

Coffee ganache truffles from britinthesouth.comThis is a variation on a basic water ganache recipe from Paul. A. Young, one of Britain’s best chocolate makers. No visit to London is complete without popping into one of his shops. His book, “Adventures With Chocolate” is a great resource for anyone wanting to dabble in chocolate making and he has a handful of handy chocolate making videos on his YouTube channel.

Water ganache is made with just three ingredients: chocolate, sugar and water, so is dairy free, and you can tweak the liquid to your heart’s content, so instead of water you can experiment with wine or beer or whisky or in this case, coffee. I used one of my favourite blends from my local coffee shop.

Coffee ganache truffles from britinthesouth.comYou simply bring your liquid of choice plus the sugar to a simmer until the sugar is dissolved, pour it over chocolate and then stir until it is melted into a smooth ganache. To turn the ganache into truffles you simply chill it and roll it into balls. In this case I finished the truffles by rolling them in cocoa powder, or you can get fancy and roll them in chopped nuts, coconut, chocolate sprinkles…….the only limit is your imagination.

Coffee ganache truffles from britinthesouth.comThey are pretty straightforward to make but the results not only look good but are smooth, intense and delicious.

Coffee Ganache Truffles

7oz dark chocolate (chopped into small pieces)

1.5oz dark muscovado sugar

1/3 cup strong black coffee

Put the chocolate pieces in a heatproof bowl.

Put the coffee and the sugar in a pan and bring to a simmer over medium high heat. Stir until the sugar has dissolved.

Pour the coffee and sugar mixture over the chocolate and whisk until the chocolate has melted and the ganache is smooth.

Let the ganache cool for a few minutes and then place in the fridge for a couple of hours to set.

Use a teaspoon to scoop walnut sized pieces from the ganache and roll into balls.

Roll the truffles in cocoa powder to finish. Shake off excess powder using a sieve.

Store in the fridge in an airtight container.

Field Pea Puree with Wilted Kale

This is a recipe with a Southern twist, inspired by a New York City restaurant dish that itself is based on a classic from Italy.

Field Pea Puree with Wilted Kale from britinthesouth.comKing is a bistro in the Soho area of Manhattan that serves simple comfort food influenced by the food of Italy and Southern France. Their recipe for “Chickpea Puree with Wilted Dandelion Greens” first appeared in the Wall Street Journal in February 2017.

A creamy warm puree of chickpeas topped with dandelion greens, which have been wilted and simply seasoned with salt, pepper and good olive oil, it is a comforting dish for the cold days of February. The New York restaurant version is based on a simple Italian dish known as “crema di ceci e cicoria”

Rather than chickpeas I turned in a Southern direction and tried a variation on the recipe with field peas. Field peas are plentiful and common in our corner of the south at the height of summer. Last year we saw plenty in our CSA box and cooked and froze a few bags ready to enjoy in the middle of winter.

Field Pea Puree with Wilted Kale from britinthesouth.comField peas thrive in the hot, humid Southern summers. They are a family of legumes that come in a variety of guises and go by a range of names from the well known black eye peas to crowder peas, cowpeas, pink eyed peas and lady cream peas.

Field Pea Puree with Wilted Kale from britinthesouth.comThawed from the freezer it didn’t take long to combine the field peas with some aromatics and turn them into a soft, warm puree which went perfectly with some simply cooked and seasoned greens. A truly comforting dish for a winter’s day.

Field Pea Puree with Wilted Kale from

Field Pea Puree with Wilted Kale

12oz cooked field peas (I thawed a bag that I had previously cooked and frozen)

1 sprig rosemary

8 small sage leaves

5-6 cloves of garlic, peeled and lightly crushed with the side of a knife

1 small potato, peeled and diced

1 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 bunch kale (or greens of your choice)

Put the peas in a heavy bottomed pan and add water to cover. Add the rosemary, sage, garlic, potato and 1/2 cup of the olive oil.

Bring to a boil over medium high heat and then turn down to a simmer and cook until the potato is tender, 20-25 minutes. Drain, reserving the cooking liquid.

Remove the rosemary, sage leaves and garlic cloves.

In a food processor, puree the field peas and potato with the other 1/2 cup of olive oil and 3 tablespoons of the cooking liquid.

Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add more oil or cooking water as desired to achieve a smooth consistency.

Meanwhile, take a bunch of greens (I used kale), and cook in salted water until tender. Once cooked, drain and then season with salt and freshly ground black pepper and a drizzle of olive oil.

Spoon the puree onto a plate, drizzle with a little more oil and serve with the greens on top.

Lemon Ginger Marmalade with Ginger/Lemon Liqueur

Not for the first time this winter, the South has been hit by a blast of arctic weather. The temperature is well below freezing so the snow is not going to disappear any time soon, and with the roads slick with ice most of the city is hunkered down at home.

It’s the perfect day to retire to the kitchen and cook something cosy and warming to fill the house with delicious aromas. A perfect marmalade day.

Lemon ginger marmalade with ginger lemon liqueur from Back home in Britain it is the middle of the short lived Seville orange season and marmalade making will be in full swing. As Seville oranges are hard to come by in my neck of the woods, I opted for a lemon and ginger marmalade, with a splash of locally distilled lemon and ginger liqueur to dial the flavour up a notch.

The result is a delicious golden coloured marmalade with a great balance of sweetness and bitterness and the ginger and the liqueur providing some gentle warmth. The perfect way to bring a ray of golden sunshine into a dull winter day.

The recipe is loosely based on this one from Vivian Lloyd.

Lemon ginger marmalade with ginger lemon liqueur from

Lemon Ginger Marmalade with Ginger/Lemon Liqueur

12oz lemons

0.75oz peeled fresh ginger

2oz finely sliced crystallised ginger

30 fl.oz. water

1.5lb granulated sugar

2 tbs lemon ginger liqueur (I used “Lawn Dart” from Atlanta’s Old 4th Distillery)

Yield: about 36oz

Scrub the lemons, and then juice them, adding the juice to a large pan along with the water.

With a sharp knife, separate the lemon peel from the the membranes and pips inside the lemon. Put those to one side.

Slice the peel into thin strips and add them to the pan.

Finely chop the membranes from the lemons. Bruise the fresh ginger, then securely tie it in a piece of muslin along with the chopped membranes and the pips from the lemons. Add this little package to the pan.

Leave the fruit to soak for a few hours or even overnight to help extract the pectin. The following day, bring it to the boil and then turn down, partially cover and simmer for two hours until the peel is tender and the marmalade has reduced by about a third.

Whilst it is cooking, place a couple of saucers or small plates in your freezer to enable you to test later for when the marmalade has set.

Remove the muslin bag and add the slices crystallised ginger to the pan.

Add the sugar to the pan and stir until the sugar has dissolved.

Bring to a rolling boil for 8-10 minutes. Towards the end of the cooking time add the liqueur. Test for a set by putting a small spoonful of the marmalade onto one of the frozen plates. Return it to the freezer for a couple of minutes then test by pushing your finger through it. If it is thickening and the surface “crinkles” when you push it, it is set. If the consistency is still liquid carry on cooking for a little longer.

Once the marmalade has reached its setting point, remove the pan from the heat.

Allow to cool for 10 minutes, removing any scum that has formed on the surface.

Pour the marmalade into sterilised jars. Apply lids and then process in a boiling water bath canner for 10 minutes. If you need to know more about water bath canning there is a good introductory guide on the Ball canning website.

Yield: 36oz

Whisky-Infused Blackberry Cranachan

As I have mentioned before, I am a big fan of turning surplus fruit into alcoholic beverages, such as strawberry bourbon or strawberry liqueur. Years ago when I lived in London I was fortunate to be just a few minutes walk from woodland which would be abundant with sloes and blackberries in the late summer and autumn. The classic English tipple of sloe gin was my introduction to the alchemy of infusing fruit in alcohol to create something wonderful.

Whisky-infused blackberry cranachan from britinthesouth.comSince those days I have expanded my repertoire of fruit infusions. Most of them follow the simple method used for making sloe gin but occasionally I seek out a new recipe idea or technique. One great resource for this is “River Cottage Booze” by John Wright, a renowned forager from across the pond who regularly writes in The Guardian as well as appearing on River Cottage TV programmes. It was from him that I found this recipe for blackberry whisky. I recently bottled some after a long infusion, and whilst the bottles will now quietly mature for another year or two, I had the more immediate reward of a batch of whisky infused blackberries.

Whisky-infused blackberry cranachan from britinthesouth.comMy answer of what to do with them was inspired by the Scottish dessert of cranachan, traditionally made with whipped cream, whisky, honey, raspberries and oats. Usually, the whisky is added to the whipped cream but as I already had blackberries that had been soaking in whisky for many months I felt I had enough alcohol in the dish. After their long infusion the blackberries tasted good but had lost a little of their colour and were a little on the dull side in terms of appearance, so I crushed all of them to stir into the dish. If using fresh fruit you can reserve some for garnish.

Whisky-infused blackberry cranachan from

Whisky-Infused Blackberry Cranachan

1oz oats

4oz whisky infused blackberries

1 cup heavy whipping cream

1 tbs honey

Put the oats on a baking tray under a moderate grill for 8-10 minutes, turning frequently, until they are lightly toasted.

Crush the whisky infused blackberries.

Whip the heavy whipping cream until thick. I used a stand mixer but you could do it by hand or use a hand held electric mixer.

Once the cream is thick, stir in the honey, and then gently fold in the oats followed by the fruit.

Spoon into two serving dishes and serve immediately.

Apple Paste

The final challenge for the year in the highly enjoyable Food in Jars mastery challenge was fruit pastes.

Selecting a fruit to experiment with was a fairly simple choice: I had a glut of apples and I had gone slightly overboard buying a wide range of different cheeses for Christmas so I thought a thick, sliceable apple paste would make an ideal partner to many of those cheeses, something like the classic British “fruit cheese” or Spanish quince membrillo.

Apple Paste from britinthesouth.comThe technique is fairly simple and recipes abound online.

I went for the simplest approach I could find, using just fruit, sugar and a little lemon juice. The apples are coarsely chopped, skins and pips included, and then cooked until soft in a little water. They are then drained and passed through a food mill to produce a soft pulp to which sugar is added and then cooked low and slow until a dark, rich, thick paste is produced.

Apple Paste from britinthesouth.comI tried it with a number of cheeses. It worked particularly well with Thomasville Tomme, an aged raw cow’s milk cheese from the South of Georgia, but would also be great with a mature cheddar.

Apple Paste

2.5lbs apples

12oz granulated sugar

2 tbs lemon juice

Wash and roughly chop the apples. There is no need to peel, core or deseed them.

Put in a large saucepan and cover with water. Bring to the boil over medium high heat and cook until soft, 12-15 minutes.

Pass through a food mill or sieve, leaving the skins and pips behind to yield a soft, mushy apple pulp. Return this to the pan, add the sugar, and cook over a low heat, stirring regularly, until the apple pulp darkens and solidifies to a thick, spreadable paste. This can take 2-3 hours so you need to be patient and regularly check and stir to ensure the apples don’t stick or burn.

Apple Paste from britinthesouth.comLine a suitable food container with parchment paper. This quantity will produce a paste approximately 6″ x 6″ x 1″.  I split mine between a couple of glass containers about 3″ x 4.5″ to produce an attractive looking small slab of paste for the Christmas cheeseboard.

Spread the paste in the container so it is even, then leave for at least 2-3 hours, preferably overnight, before using.

You can serve in simple slices but if your paste is solid enough you can use a cookie cutter to turn it into decorative shapes for your cheeseboard.

Apple Paste from



Chocolate Tiffin with Brandy Soaked Raisins, Crunchie, Maltesers and Digestive Biscuits

December is here and I’m busy thinking about sweet treats for the festive season.

Chocolate tiffin is pretty easy to pull together but the finished result is delicious and I find slightly addictive. Cut into squares it is easy to bring out at Christmas gatherings or to wrap attractively to give as a gift.

Chocolate Tiffin with Brandy Soaked Raisins, Crunchie, Maltesers and Digestive Biscuits from britinthesouth.comBelieved to originate from Scotland tiffin is just another variation on what would be known as a fridge or icebox cake in other parts of the world as it doesn’t need baking, just chilling. At its most basic it consists of crushed biscuits and raisins mixed with melted chocolate and allowed to set. British chocolate company Cadbury’s make a “Tiffin” bar which is essentially raisins and biscuits in milk chocolate. It was reintroduced last year after being off the shelves for more than a dozen years.

The joy of making your own tiffin is that it gives you endless license to customise it to your own tastes, choosing the type of chocolate, what type of biscuit and what other additions to use.

Chocolate Tiffin with Brandy Soaked Raisins, Crunchie, Maltesers and Digestive Biscuits from

Cadbury’s “Tiffin”. Good, but not as good as homemade

After a good deal of experimentation I’ve landed on the basic technique from this recipe from the brilliant chocolate maker Paul.A.Young but have then taken it in my own direction. I love his  suggestion of a blend of dark and milk chocolates which makes for a well balanced chocolate layer. Like him I use digestive biscuits for crunch (usually McVities) and raisins, but for this version I soaked the raisins overnight in brandy to make things a little more christmassy. If you want to skip the alcohol, plain unadulterated raisins will work fine. From his recipe I skip the glace cherries (not a big fan) and hazelnuts (allergic) but I do add a couple of other ingredients from the world of British confectionery. Maltesers add both texture as well as nuggets of malty flavour, whilst Crunchie bars add little pockets of honeycomb sweetness.

Chocolate Tiffin with Brandy Soaked Raisins, Crunchie, Maltesers and Digestive Biscuits from britinthesouth.comThe boozy raisins, crunchy biscuits, and the little flavour bombs of Malteser and Crunchie all combine beautifully to create an incredibly moreish chocolate treat.

Chocolate Tiffin with Brandy Soaked Raisins, Crunchie, Maltesers and Digestive Biscuits

4oz raisins

1 tbs brandy

2 Crunchie bars (40g / 1.4oz each)

3 bags of Maltesers (37g / 1.3oz each)

8oz Digestive Biscuits

4oz butter

6oz light agave syrup

0.5 tsp salt

6oz milk chocolate, chopped

6oz dark chocolate, chopped

The evening before you want to make the tiffin, mix the raisins with the brandy and leave to soak overnight.

The following day, start by placing both Crunchie bars in a freezer bag and bash with a rolling pin to crush. The aim is small chunks, not too big, and be careful not to produce a pile of Crunchie powder.

Chocolate Tiffin with Brandy Soaked Raisins, Crunchie, Maltesers and Digestive Biscuits from britinthesouth.comCrush two of the three bags of Maltesers in a similar fashion. The other bag of Maltesers will be left whole.

Crumble the digestive biscuits. Once again aim for small chunks rather than fine crumbs.

Line an 8×8″ baking pan with parchment paper.

Place the butter, agave syrup and salt in a medium pan and melt together over low heat, stirring frequently.

Add the milk and dark chocolate to the pan and stir continuously until smooth.

Chocolate Tiffin with Brandy Soaked Raisins, Crunchie, Maltesers and Digestive Biscuits from britinthesouth.comAdd the Crunchie pieces, bashed and whole Maltesers, raisins and crushed biscuits to the chocolate mix and stir well to ensure that everything is coated.

Chocolate Tiffin with Brandy Soaked Raisins, Crunchie, Maltesers and Digestive Biscuits from britinthesouth.comSpoon the mixture into the lined baking tray and carefully spread it until level.

Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before cutting into generous chunks and enjoying.


Curtido: Fermented Cabbage Relish

I’m no stranger to the art of fermentation, having been making beer and wine for over 30 years, but my adventures in fermenting food have been a little more limited.

My efforts have been largely limited to simple cabbage based ferments such as sauerkraut or kimchi, occasionally experimenting with other vegetables such as collard greens and tomatoes.

curtido - fermented cabbage relish from britinthesouth.comThe theme for the November Food in Jars Mastery Challenge was fermentation and although I went with a cabbage based recipe it included quite a few other goodies and was something completely new to me: curtido, a cabbage relish from El Salvador that typically also features onions and carrots and is seasoned with oregano and lime juice.

It was a good opportunity to use some of the glut of napa cabbage from my CSA box as well as some of the fragrant oregano I had dried from my own garden.

curtido - fermented cabbage relish from britinthesouth.comGoogle “curtido” and you’ll find wealth of recipes, all very similar with slight variations. I followed this one with a few tweaks.

The result was a tangy and tasty, like a fermented coleslaw and it makes an excellent side dish or is great on a burger.

Curtido: Fermented Cabbage Relish

1lb chopped napa cabbage

1 tbs pickling salt

5oz carrots, sliced thinly on a mandolin

1 small onion, thinly sliced

1 jalapeno, thinly sliced

1 green apple, peeled and thinly sliced

1 tbs dried oregano

Juice of a lime

Put the cabbage and salt in glass or metal bowl, massage the salt into cabbage then leave for a couple of hours. The leaves should start to soften and yield some moisture.

Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well to combine. Spoon the mixture into a quart jar and press down well.

curtido - fermented cabbage relish from britinthesouth.comI used a fermentation kit from which provides everything you need to start playing about with fermentation in wide mouth mason jars. It comes with a silicon fermenting lid, and airlock and a glass weight which fits neatly in the jar to press down the vegetables below the brine.

If you don’t have any of that gear just put some cloth or paper towel on top secured with an rubber band and place on a plate to catch any liquid that might overflow.

Keep the jar out on a counter top for 2-3 days, checking occasionally that the liquid is bubbling and the mix has a tangy smell and flavour.

After that you can transfer the jar to your fridge and enjoy within 3-4 weeks.

Dried Tomatoes: Feta and Tomato Dip

We invested in a dehydrator many years ago and have found it a very useful way to help deal with gluts from our garden and CSA box.

The most common items we dry are apples for snacking and cabbage to add to soups and stews in the winter. We have also found it great for drying herbs from the garden when they start growing out of control.

Dried Tomatoes: Feta and Tomato Dip from britinthesouth.comOurs is a 4 tray Excalibur brand dehydrator which are easy to find online. It is easy to use and has proved very reliable over many years of use.

One of the options for the Food in Jars mastery challenge for October was dehydrating so I thought I’d have a go at something I haven’t tried drying before: tomatoes. We preserve loads of tomatoes at the height of summer but most of them are turned into sauce, paste or jam.

Even though the end of October beckons there are still a few late season tomatoes around in my part of Georgia. Last week’s CSA box included some grape tomatoes which made ideal candidates for the dehydrator.

Prepping them was easy: I just washed them and halved them, before loading them onto the dehydrator trays. Some folks season them at this stage or marinate them before drying but I just left them as they were, preferring to season when I come to use them in the future.

Dried Tomatoes: Feta and Tomato Dip from britinthesouth.comHaving loaded the tomatoes into the dehydrator I set the temperature to 135 degrees F and turned it on. They took around 9 hours in total. Larger tomatoes would take a bit longer. The trick is to regularly check them to see if they have achieved the desired result where they are dry and slightly leathery.

Dried Tomatoes: Feta and Tomato Dip from britinthesouth.comOnce they have cooled store them in an airtight jar. I look forward to using them to get a burst of summer flavour in some of my winter cooking but I couldn’t resist putting some of them to use sooner than that. I softened some in oilve oil before whipping together with feta and yogurt to make a tangy and tasty dip.

Feta and Tomato Dip

0.25 cup dried grape tomatoes

3 tbs extra virgin olive oil

0.5 cup plain yogurt (I used fat free)

2oz crumbled feta cheese (I used an excellent goats cheese feta from a local farm)

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Dried Tomatoes: Feta and Tomato Dip from britinthesouth.comPut the dried tomatoes and the olive oil in a bowl and leave for 30-40 minutes for the tomatoes to soften a little.

Put both the oil and tomatoes in a food processor and blitz for a few seconds to start chopping the tomatoes.

Add the yogurt and feta and process until blended into a pink hued chunky dip.

Season to taste with salt and black pepper. As feta tends to be salty you may only need the black pepper.

Enjoy with crudites or on crackers.


Fava Bean Bruschetta with Pecan Dukkah

I have written before about my love for dukkah, the Egyptian spice mix of nuts, herbs and spices. I always have a jar on hand in the kitchen and find it a remarkably versatile ingredient, adding a burst of flavour and texture to so many things. I sprinkle it on roasted vegetables, enjoy it with bread and olive oil and have even added it to chocolate.

My go to recipe for dukkah is based on pistachios but recently I picked up a big bag of Georgia pecans from a farm shop and simply had to try a batch of pecan dukkah. I was delighted with the result.

Fava Bean Bruschetta with Pecan Dukkah from britinthesouth.comAs luck would have it, this coincided with having a batch of broad beans, or fava beans as they are known on this side of the Atlantic, on hand. One of my favourite vegetables, fresh ones are pretty hard to find in my neck of the woods so I invariably grab some whenever I find some. Extracting the beans from their velvet lined pods is a particularly enjoyable thing to do.

Fava Bean Bruschetta with Pecan Dukkah from britinthesouth.comI lightly boiled the beans until tender whilst toasting some slices of whole wheat bread. I then spread a generous layer of fresh goats cheese on the bread and then liberally sprinkled it with some of the dukkah before adding some of the cooked beans and adding more dukkah on top.

It made for a simple yet deeply satisfying lunch dish.

Fava Bean Bruschetta with Pecan Dukkah from

Pecan Dukkah

4oz shelled pecans

1 tbsp cumin seeds

1 tbsp coriander seeds

1 tbsp sesame seeds

1 tsp chili flakes

1 tsp sea salt

Lightly toast the pecans over medium heat in a small pan until they are aromatic, about 4-5 minutes. Keep a close eye on them as they can burn easily. Remove from the heat, allow them to cool a little, then roughly chop them.

In the same pan, gently toast the cumin and coriander seeds over medium heat until they are aromatic, about 4-5 minutes. Place in a pestle and mortar and lightly crush.

Gently toast the sesame seeds in the same way and then add to the pestle and mortar along with the chopped pecans. Bash them until the nuts are broken into small pieces, then add the chili flakes and salt and stir well to combine. Transfer to a jar where the mix will keep for a few weeks.



Spicy Pickled Green Tomatoes

Summer in this part of the world has finally finished. The temperatures have dipped slightly and the stifling humidity of a few weeks ago has dissipated, making this one of my favourite times of year weather wise.

Spicy pickled green tomatoes from britinthesouth.comThe corn, cucumbers and peaches have disappeared from our CSA box, to be replaced by squashes, sweet potatoes and apples.

I am trying to make the most of the last remnants of this year’s tomato harvest before they too disappear until next summer. This weekend I oven roasted a big batch of cherry tomatoes with garlic and thyme and then passed it through a food mill to make a batch of deeply savoury sauce to freeze for the winter.

Both in the garden and at the market there is a sudden glut of green tomatoes as the hours of sunlight in the day begin to wane.

As a kid in England I remember my Mum struggling to come up with a use for the green tomatoes left in our garden at the end of summer. I recall that green tomato chutney seemed to be the only option anyone could think of and no one had much enthusiasm for either making or consuming it.

Here in the South, green tomatoes are much more of a staple, and I have come to love the classic Southern fried green tomatoes.

Spicy pickled green tomatoes from britinthesouth.comWhen faced with a small glut of green tomatoes I opted for pickling them. I used this recipe from Food In Jars for inspiration but tweaked the end result in a different direction by changing out the seasonings for something a bit spicier.

The result is great: a sharp, tart, spicy pickle that goes particularly well paired with a creamy goats cheese or a brie or camembert.

Spicy Pickled Green Tomatoes

1lb green tomatoes

1 cup water

1 cup white vinegar

1 tbs pickling salt

1 tsp black peppercorns

4 garlic cloves

1 tsp mustard seeds

1 tsp red pepper flakes

Combine the water, vinegar and salt and bring to a boil.

Put the following into each sterilised 8oz jar:-

0.25 tsp black peppercorns

1 garlic clove

0.25 tsp mustard seeds

0.25 tsp red pepper flakes

Cut the tomatoes into wedges and pack as tightly as you can into the jars.

Pour the brine into the jars, leaving a headspace of half an inch. Use a chopstick to remove any air bubbles and top up with brine if necessary. Apply lids and then process in a boiling water bath canner for 15 minutes. If you need to know more about water bath canning there is a good introductory guide on the Ball canning website.

Yield: 4x 8oz jars