Category Archives: Fruit

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 britinthesouth.com 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 britinthesouth.com

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 britinthesouth.com

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 britinthesouth.com

 

 

Muscadine Butter

Muscadines are native to the southern US and are a common sight in local farmers markets. Although tasty, the skins are thick and the seeds bitter so they are often more popular turned into wine or preserves than eaten raw.

Muscadine Butter from britinthesouth.comI recently was the lucky recipient of a batch when the remnants of hurricane Irma swept through Georgia as a tropical storm and a neighbor preemptively picked what he had left on his vines before the 60 mph winds came through.

Once the power came back on my thoughts turned to what to do with them and as luck would have it the theme for the September Food in Jars Mastery Challenge was fruit butters. When it comes to fruit butters I have never ventured beyond the standard apple butter so trying it with muscadines would definitely be a new departure for me.

Muscadine Butter from britinthesouth.comI have seen recipes for spiced muscadine jams and spreads but decided that experimentation could wait until next time and opted for a simple approach adding just sugar and lemon juice.

The result is just the right balance of sweet, tart and fruity, and I’m looking forward to spreading it on my toast, spooning it onto pancakes, adding to oatmeal, mixing it into yogurt……….

Muscadine Butter

2lb muscadines

1.5 cups sugar

8 tbs lemon juice

Place the ingredients in a pan and slowly bring to a boil over medium-high heat, lightly crushing them with the back of a wooden spoon, or a potato masher, as they warm up.

Gently boil for 15 minutes until the muscadines are soft and tender and have released their juice.

Remove from the heat and either pass through a sieve or a food mill to remove the seeds and skins.

Muscadine Butter from britinthesouth.comPut the resulting juice in a heavy bottomed pan and cook over low heat, stirring frequently, until it achieves a thick, spreadable consistency (80-90 minutes).

Pour the thickened fruit 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: 3x 4oz jars

 

 

 

 

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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.