Author Archives: britinthesouth@gmail.com

“99”

In the middle of summer I often find my mind drifting to memories of back home.

At this time of year I particularly miss the English seaside, even though most of my childhood memories revolve around spots along the East coast where the breezes can be strong, the beaches pebbly and the murky North Sea rather cold.

"99" soft serve ice cream and Cadbury's Flake from britinthesouth.comNo seaside trip was complete without an ice cream, usually a “99”. For the uninitiated, a “99” is a cone of soft ice cream with a Cadbury’s Flake sticking out of it. A little research shows that no one really knows exactly where or when the “99” was invented or where the distinctive name came from, but pretty much everyone in Britain knows exactly what it is.

"99" soft serve ice cream and Cadbury's Flake from britinthesouth.comAn authentic “99” relies on soft serve ice cream so it is almost impossible to recreate at home. You really need to get it from a kiosk or an ice cream van serving a famous British ice cream brand like Mr.Whippy. That is why most people think of it as a treat, associating it with days out and special occasions.

Luckily, I found a way to replicate this iconic summertime treat in the heart of Georgia.

First I tracked down a couple of local sources for Cadbury’s Flakes, and stocked up.

"99" soft serve ice cream and Cadbury's Flake from britinthesouth.comSecondly, I had made a note of a video published a couple of years ago by Saveur magazine on making your own soft serve ice cream at home, using a stand mixer and dry ice.

The mix for soft serve is much lower in fat than regular ice cream and needs to be frozen much more quickly than a regular home ice cream machine will manage. You achieve this by putting the mixture in a stand mixer, churning it with the paddle attachment and slowly adding adding spoonfuls of dry ice which rapidly freeze it, whilst also bubbling like crazy and sending clouds of dry ice smoke around the kitchen, which is a lot of fun.

"99" soft serve ice cream and Cadbury's Flake from britinthesouth.comJust a few minutes later you’ll have ice cream with the taste and texture of soft serve. Just add a Cadbury’s Flake to give yourself a taste of an English childhood.

The full recipe and details for the ice cream are here: https://www.chefsteps.com/activities/soft-serve-ice-cream

 

 

Blackberry Chutney

When we venture out to our favourite pick-your-own farm we often go crazy and pick a bucket or two more than we intended. They never go to waste; we always find some way to preserve them.

Blackberry Chutney from britinthesouth.comA number of years ago we had a mountain of blackberries on our hands. We had already made jam, shrub and liqueur, as well as selling a bucket to a local chef.

Blackberry Chutney from britinthesouth.comFor the remaining berries I looked to Marisa McClellan’s “Food In Jars” for inspiration and it was a strawberry chutney recipe that caught my eye. I followed it pretty closely apart from swapping out strawberries for blackberries and was very pleased with the results. We now make a big batch every year, inevitably giving some of it away to friends that rave about it. Over the years I have reduced the amount of star anise used from the original recipe, and find I need a longer cooking time to get the consistency I like but have otherwise been pretty faithful to it.

It seemed the perfect candidate for this month’s Food in Jars Mastery Challenge from Marisa for which the topic is hot pack preserving.

It is a delicious sweet and sour blend of fruit, vinegar and spices that goes well with cold meats but is particularly good with cheeses like mature cheddar or a strong blue.

Blackberry Chutney

4 pounds blackberries

1 large red onion, finely chopped

2 cups light brown sugar

2 cups apple cider vinegar

1.5 cups golden raisins

1 lemon, seeded and chopped

3 tablespoons yellow mustard seeds

1 tbs salt

2 tsp red pepper flakes

1-2 small pieces of star anise (broken from a whole star anise)

 

Place the blackberries in a large pot and lightly crush (I use a potato masher).

Blackberry Chutney from britinthesouth.comAdd all the other ingredients to the pot. Stir to mix and then bring to a boil over medium high heat.

Reduce the heat to medium and cook until most of the juice has evaporated and the mixture has reduced to a thick and syrupy consistency. This can take 90-120 minutes. Stir regularly and keep an eye on it as it can easily stick to the pan if you neglect it and/or have the heat too high.

Blackberry Chutney from britinthesouth.comOnce it has achieved your desired thickness remove it from the heat.

Pour the chutney into sterilised jars, leaving 1/2 inch of headspace and then process in a boiling water bath canner for 20 minutes. If you need to know more about water bath canning there is a good introductory guide on the Ball canning website.

Yield: 4 pint jars

Cream Tea Truffles with Scones, Strawberries and Clotted Cream

Summer has definitely arrived. Here in the South the days are long and both the temperature and the humidity levels are firmly in the 90s.

Cream Tea Truffles with Scones, Strawberries and Clotted Cream from britinthesouth.comAcross the pond the last couple of weeks have seen the tennis at Wimbledon when my thoughts automatically¬† turn to the vast amount of strawberries and cream that would have been consumed during the two weeks of the Championships, washed down with copious amounts of champagne and Pimm’s.

Strawberry season is long gone in the South but I can still temporarily transport myself back to the English summertime with a traditional cream tea of scones with strawberry jam and clotted cream.

Like many English food traditions the exact origins of the cream tea are lost in time and the south western counties of Devon and Cornwall both argue that their versions are true and original. They even disagree on whether the jam or the cream should go on the scone first (cream first in Devon, jam first in Cornwall).

For the uninitiated, clotted cream is another creation of south west England, a delicious spreadable cream, rich in fat, made by gently heating full fat cow’s milk and then skimming off the thick creamy crust that forms on top as it cools. It is commercially available in the UK but can be hard to find in the USA. Luckily you can make at home with a little patience.

Scones, strawberry jam, clotted cream. A wonderful trinity of delicious ingredients and when thinking about cream teas I couldn’t resist the thought of transforming them into a bite sized treat. The English summer in a single truffle.

First you need to assemble your ingredients. For scones, my go-to recipe is this one from River Cottage. River Cottage is also the recipe source for the jam I make every strawberry season, from their excellent book, “The River Cottage Preserves Handbook”.

Cream Tea Truffles with Scones, Strawberries and Clotted Cream from britinthesouth.comYou can make your own clotted cream by gently heating cream and scraping off the thick crust that forms on top as it cools. The key is gently heating it without boiling it, so it can be done in a low oven, a slow cooker or on a stove top in a double boiler. I went the double boiler route, using this recipe for guidance.

It is then simply a case of combining the scones, strawberries and clotted cream with chocolate to give you a delicious taste of summer.

Cream Tea Truffles with Scones, Strawberries and Clotted Cream

3oz scone

2oz clotted cream

2oz strawberry jam

3oz white chocolate

6oz milk chocolate (to coat)

Crumble the scone into a bowl. Add the strawberry jam and clotted cream and stir to combine.

Cream Tea Truffles with Scones, Strawberries and Clotted Cream from britinthesouth.comGently melt the white chocolate over medium heat in a double boiler or a glass bowl over a pan of water. Once melted add it to the scone / jam / cream mixture and stir together. When cool, place in the refrigerator until the mixture is firm.

Taking a teaspoon full of the mixture at a time, roll into balls to form the centres of the truffles. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, then return to the fridge to firm up again.

Cream Tea Truffles with Scones, Strawberries and Clotted Cream from britinthesouth.comMelt the milk chocolate for the coating in a double boiler. Dip the truffle centres in the melted chocolate to coat and place on baking parchment to set before enjoying.

Yield: 18 truffles

Sweet Lime Posset

I can happily spend hours browsing in some of the large ethnic grocery stores around Atlanta, with aisle after aisle of obscure Asian, Hispanic, European and Middle Eastern ingredients.

Sweet lime posset from britinthesouth.comI’m often drawn to the citrus selection, which offers fruit never seen in regular supermarkets, such as pomelos, sour oranges and makrut limes.

Sweet lime posset from britinthesouth.com

I recently stumbled upon a mound of what looked like large lemons but were labelled “sweet limes”. I’d never seen these before so jumped online to educate myself. Commonly found in South and Southeast Asia it is a different fruit to regular and key limes, and as the name suggests the flavour is sweeter and more mild. I couldn’t resist grabbing a few to play with.

Sweet lime posset from britinthesouth.com

Although a primarily Asian fruit I decided to give my sweet limes an ancient British treatment and turn them into a posset. Dating back to the middle ages, a posset was originally a spiced hot milky drink, with the milk curdled by the addition of wine or ale. Over the centuries it has evolved into more of a dessert which is set rather than liquid but is still made by curdling cream.

Sweet lime posset from britinthesouth.com

In Asia sweet limes are often simply used in drinks so I was disappointed when I squeezed and tasted some and found the juice rather bland, so I added a little regular lime juice to my posset to ensure a good citrus tang in the final result, which turned out to be a perfect summer dessert: light and creamy with a delicate lime flavour.

Sweet Lime Posset

2 cups heavy cream

5 tbs granulated sugar

3 tbs freshly squeezed sweet lime juice

2 tbs freshly squeezed lime juice

Put the cream in a pan, add the sugar and bring to a boil over medium high heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar.

Boil for 4 minutes ensuring the sugar is dissolved and making sure the cream doesn’t burn or boil over.

Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the lime juice. Allow the mix to steep for 20 minutes.

Stir the mixture again and then spoon into serving dishes. Once it is cool, refrigerate for at least a couple of hours to set before enjoying.

 

Georgia Peach Bellini Truffles

It’s peach season here in the peach state and I’ve already knocked out a batch of jam from some of this year’s crop.

Although the jam is fantastic generously spread on hot buttered toast I couldn’t resist having a go at a batch of chocolate truffles, trying another twist on my favourite recipe for alcohol infused truffles.

Georgia Peach Bellini Truffles from britinthesouth.comMy inspiration was the classic Italian Bellini cocktail, a mix of prosecco sparkling wine and peach puree. The truffles just need chocolate, peach jam and a little bit of prosecco, so you’ll have some left to sip as you eat the truffles.

It’s a pretty simple recipe and the results are delicious.

Georgia Peach Bellini Truffles from britinthesouth.com

Georgia Peach Bellini Truffles

8oz white chocolate

8oz dark chocolate (I used Ghirardelli 60%)

4oz Peach Jam

4 tsp prosecco

Georgia Peach Bellini Truffles from britinthesouth.comMelt the white chocolate over medium heat in a double boiler (or use a glass bowl over a pan as I do).

Once melted add the jam and prosecco and stir to combine. Allow to cool and then put in the fridge until the mix is firm.

Use a teaspoon to scoop walnut sized balls from the chocolate mix and roll into balls. Put the balls on a baking tray lined with parchment paper and then return to the fridge to firm up again.

Melt the dark chocolate over medium heat in a double boiler and then coat the chocolate balls. Once again place them on a parchment paper lined baking tray for the chocolate to cool and set before enjoying.

Georgia Peach Jam

The topic for the Food in Jars mastery challenge for June is jam. As I live in the Peach State and the first of this year’s Georgia peach crop has just started to show up in local farmer’s markets it seemed the ideal candidate to turn into jam.

Georgia peach jam from britinthesouth.comSadly, the Georgia peach crop for 2017 is estimated to be 80% down due to a warmer than average winter followed by a spring freeze, so I need to take advantage of what I can get my hands on before the supply dries up.

Georgia peach jam from britinthesouth.comMy jam is based on Marisa’s recipe from “Food in Jars“, although I tweaked the amount of cinnamon and nutmeg from the original recipe.

The jam turned out really well and will be a welcome reminder of this year’s crop when the limited supply disappears.

If you have any spare jam, you can use it to make a decadent treat: bellini truffles. Click here for the recipe.

Peach Jam

2 lbs fresh peaches, peeled, pitted and coarsely chopped

2 cups granulated sugar

Zest and juice of a lemon

0.25 tsp cinnamon

0.25 tsp nutmeg

3oz pack of liquid pectin

Put the peaches and sugar in a large non-reactive pan and stir well to combine. The peaches should start releasing their juice. Bring to a boil and add the lemon zest and juice, cinnamon and nutmeg. Cook over high heat for 15-20 minutes.

Georgia peach jam from britinthesouth.comAdd the pectin and and bring to a rolling boil for 5 minutes. The jam should have thickened. Remove from the heat.

Pour the jam into sterilised jars, leaving 1/2 inch of headspace 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: Three 8oz jars

 

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Serviceberry Shrub

I wrote last year about my delight in discovering a serviceberry tree on public property in my neighbourhood, which gave me the chance to do a spot of urban foraging and make something delicious from the berries I picked.

serviceberry shrub from britinthesouth.comI’m glad to say that I have subsequently spotted a few more serviceberry trees within walking distance of my home meaning I can grab a decent haul of the sweet red berries but leave plenty on the tree for other foragers and birds.

serviceberry shrub from britinthesouth.comThe window for picking is relatively short. There was about a one week period where I was making daily strolls to pick berries from the abundant supply. I then returned from a couple of days out of town to find that the trees were bare of berries and that was it for this year.

Luckily I had gathered enough to make something delicious. Last year I opted for a sweet, thick syrup, perfect with pancakes. This year I decided to turn my berries into a shrub, or drinking vinegar. I make these regularly, especially when I have a glut of strawberries or blackberries, but have never tried with serviceberries before.

The result is absolutely delicious; it’s a pity that I’m going to have to wait another year until I can make some more.

Serviceberry Shrub

Ingredients

12oz fresh serviceberries

1 cup distilled white vinegar

Granulated sugar

serviceberry shrub from britinthesouth.comPlace the berries in a glass or ceramic jar, crush lightly and add the vinegar.

Leave to steep for 4 days, stirring or shaking daily.

After 4 days strain the fruit. Then add the sugar: I use a 2:1 liquid to sugar ratio but you can adjust to your personal taste. After straining I had around 10 fl.oz. of liquid so I added 5oz of sugar to it and then gently heated it in a pan over medium heat, stirring regularly until the sugar dissolved, about 10 minutes.

Once the shrub is cool, bottle it and store in the fridge.

I usually drink my shrubs diluted with sparkling water.

Pickled Garlic

The topic for the May Food in Jars Mastery Challenge was cold pack canning, which as the name suggests, involves putting the food in the jar cold and uncooked before adding liquid and processing. It is a quick and straightforward method but some vegetables and fruits are more suited to this treatment than others.

pickled garlic from britinthesouth.comI found this month’s subject more challenging than previous months purely because of finding something suitable to preserve. I prefer to use seasonal produce from the farmer’s market when I can and many of the best candidates for cold pack canning simply weren’t in season yet.

Luckily, as the clock ticked away towards the end of the month, my friends at Riverview Farms came to the rescue, bringing bundles of freshly picked garlic to the farmer’s market. This wasn’t the dried old stuff with papery skins that you find in the supermarket but plump and juicy garlic cloves not long out of the ground. They are easy to peel and large cloves means it is a quick and easy exercise to fill the jars and before you know it you have some good looking jars of pickled garlic stashed away.

pickled garlic from britinthesouth.com

I followed Marisa McClellan’s recipe for “Pickled Garlic Cloves” from “Preserving by the Pint”, using homemade pickling spice. Her recipe made 3 half pint jars but I only managed 2, probably because of the large garlic cloves I had.

Pickled Garlic

1 pound fresh garlic, peeled

2 cups red wine vinegar

1 tablespoon pickling salt

2 teaspoons pickling spice (see recipe below)

Put the vinegar in a nonreactive pan, add the pickling salt, and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the salt.

Put a teaspoon of the pickling spice mix into each of the two half pint jars, then pack the garlic cloves as tightly as you can into the jar. Pour the hot brine over, leaving half an inch of headspace. Tap the jars to eliminate any air bubbles, wipe the rims, apply the lid and ring and process in a boiling water bath canner for 15 minutes.

Yield: 2 half pint jars

Pickling Spice

3 tbs yellow mustard seeds

1 tbs coriander seeds

1 tbs whole allspice berries

1.5 tsp red pepper flakes

1 tsp ground ginger

2 inch cinnamon stick

4 cloves

2 bay leaves

Make the pickling spice mix, Lightly crush the mustard seeds, coriander seeds, allspice berries and cloves using a pestle and mortar. Break the cinnamon into small pieces and rip up the bay leaves. Add to the mix along with the red pepper flakes and ground ginger. Mix well to combine.

pickling spice from britinthesouth.com

 

Pistachio Dukkah Chocolate Bark

Dukkah is an Egyptian spice mix, typically made from nuts, herbs and spices which are dry roasted and then pounded together. In the last couple of years it has cropped up increasingly in food magazines, TV shows and on restaurant menus. The ingredients can vary but typically include cumin, coriander seed and sesame seeds. The nuts used are often hazelnuts or peanuts but almonds and pistachios make fine dukkah too.

pistachio dukkah chocolate bark from britinthesouth.comI first discovered dukkah a few years ago thanks to Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, and his brilliant 2011 book and accompanying UK TV series “River Cottage Veg Everyday“. My copy of the book is so frequently used that it is in danger of falling apart. His version of dukkah uses pistachios, and I always have a jar of it on hand in the kitchen. Hugh recommends the classic serving method of dipping bread first in olive oil and then in dukkah. That is a delicious way of eating it but I sprinkle it on all sorts of dishes to add a burst of flavour.

pistachio dukkah chocolate bark from britinthesouth.comIt only recently occurred to me to try mixing dukkah with chocolate. In recent years I’ve had chocolates laced with all sorts of spices and chili and they have always been delicious so I’m not sure why it took me so long to think of this.

I’m glad I did. The spicy mix works brilliantly with dark chocolate and the result is quite addictive.

Pistachio Dukkah Chocolate Bark

Pistachio Dukkah:-

6oz shelled, roasted, salted pistachios, coarsely chopped

1.5 tbsp cumin seeds

1.5 tbsp coriander seeds

2 tbsp sesame seeds

2 tsp chili flakes

0.5 tsp sea salt flakes

Gently toast the cumin and coriander seeds over medium heat in a small pan until they are aromatic. Keep a close eye on them as they can burn easily. 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 pistachios. Bash them until the nuts are broken into small pieces, then add the chili flakes and salt. Transfer to a jar where the mix will keep for a few weeks.

pistachio dukkah chocolate bark from britinthesouth.com

Chocolate Bark:-

6oz dark chocolate (I used 60% Ghiradelli)

8″ x 8″ baking tray lined with baking parchment

3oz pistachio dukkah

Gently melt the chocolate using a double boiler or by placing a heatproof bowl over a pan of water over medium heat. Once the chocolate is melted add 1oz of the dukkah to it and stir to combine. Pour this mixture into the baking tray and spread into a smooth layer with a spatula.

While the chocolate is still molten, sprinkle the top with the other 2oz of dukkah.

Place the tray in a fridge to set for about an hour before enjoying.

pistachio dukkah chocolate bark from britinthesouth.com

 

 

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Quick Pickled Sweet Peppers

I’m a sucker for eye catching produce and in particular am often unable to resist the colourful pepper section at one of my favourite Asian markets in town. They have a vast array, ranging from mild to really hot, including many you simply wouldn’t find in a regular grocery store.

quick pickled sweet peppers from britinthesouth.comLast time I was tempted by the red poblanos, which I turned into pepper jelly, but this time a pile of sweet, mini, multi-coloured bell peppers caught my eye. They were the perfect subject for the quick pickle treatment for this month’s Food In Jars Mastery Challenge.

quick pickled sweet peppers from britinthesouth.comAs the name suggest, quick pickles are fast and easy. You simply make a brine with vinegar, water, sugar (or another sweetener of your choice) and spices. As they are kept in the fridge they do not need any sort of water bath processing or special equipment. Just prep your vegetable of choice, stick it in a jar, pour over the hot brine and you will soon be enjoying crisp, tasty pickles.

The taste of your final product will be heavily influenced by your choice of pickling spice. Of course, you can just go out and buy a jar of ready made pickling spice but where is the fun in that? Make your own and you can customise the flavour and spice level to your own liking.

quick pickled sweet peppers from britinthesouth.comFor my quick pickles I loosely followed a recipe from Cathy Barrow’s “Mrs.Wheelbarrow’s Practical Pantry”. I started with her basic spice mix but cut back on the cinnamon, which I often find overpowering, and made it a little spicier.

This was a quick and fairly simple recipe and the peppers were ready to eat within a day of making them. I’ve already enjoyed them on veggie tacos and added to sandwiches and salads. They may not have the shelf life of water bath processed pickles but they don’t look like lasting long anyway.

Quick Pickled Sweet Peppers

12oz mixed sweet mini peppers

1 cup water

1 cup white or apple cider vinegar

2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

1 tbs salt

1 tbs granulated sugar

1.5 tsp pickling spice (recipe below)

Pickling Spice

3 tbs yellow mustard seeds

1 tbs coriander seeds

1 tbs whole allspice berries

1.5 tsp red pepper flakes

1 tsp ground ginger

2 inch cinnamon stick

4 cloves

2 bay leaves

Make the pickling spice mix, Lightly crush the mustard seeds, coriander seeds, allspice berries and cloves using a pestle and mortar. Break the cinnamon into small pieces and rip up the bay leaves. Add to the mix along with the red pepper flakes and ground ginger. Mix well to combine.

quick pickled sweet peppers from britinthesouth.comPrep the peppers by washing them and cutting them into thin slices. As I used small peppers they were the perfect size to fit in a jar. Larger bell peppers will work but might need cutting down to smaller strips. Pack the peppers into a sterilised quart jar.

quick pickled sweet peppers from britinthesouth.comIn a nonreactive pan combine the water, vinegar, garlic, salt, sugar and pickling spice. Bring to a boil and then simmer until the sugar and salt have dissolved. Pour the brine into the jar, ensuring the peppers are covered. Once the jar has cooled down pop a lid on.

Leave for about 24 hours before trying. Store in the refrigerator and use within a month.