FIG JAM

8 October 2009

SP-fig-jam-detail
SP-fig-jam
FIG JAMWhile I was in England I also managed to fit in a little jam making, and not just any jam making, but fig jam, my favourite. As luck would have it my uncle had made friends with one of the local sellers at his fruits & veg market. They just happened to have some figs that were passing their prime, but were just perfect for jam making. We bought almost 2kg for under a fiver!

Kip does not mess around when it comes to jam. The figs were washed, mashed, cooked, bottles and voilà – fig jam. And to be honest it should be that easy.  No muss no fuss. What I liked best is that the jam is not too sweet, he avoids the trap of saturating it with sugar, so that you can still taste the fruit. And just wait till your try this on a piece of hot bread, or with yogurt as a desert.

Here is another fig desert recipe to try!

FIG JAM

SP-handmade-sliced-ham

Sliced ham recipe

SLICED HAM RECIPE :  Just back from a great weekend in the English countryside. I was visiting Kip & Elise, my Aunt & Uncle and managed to fit in a spot of cooking. There is something about their kitchen that leads to cullinary experimentation and this time it was trying my hand at making pressed ham for sliced cold meats (luncheon meats).

Kip has made it for us in the past and we agreed that the taste, texture and reduced salt content will convert you in a heart beat. You can really taste the bay leaves, juniper berries and cider in the ham, which shaves perfectly into paper thin slices, just wonderful in a sandwich.

Not only does it taste better but making your own sliced ham is far more economical than buying it at the supermarket or butcher and stays fresh longer without that nasty oxidised taste, as you slice it as needed. Kip even keeps the stock and uses it to make wonderful green split pea soup, which will post in the future.

HAM RECIPE

PUMPKIN SOUP

17 September 2009

SP-Pumpkin-soup

PUMPKIN SOUP

It is pumpkin season again! I hadn’t quite realised to what extent until last weekend when we were driving through the Swiss countryside and came across huge stalls of every size, shape and colour of pumpkin imaginable. The food bells went off in my head and after much shrieking I had Olivier turning the car around to make a pit stop.

Here things work on the honour system – you take a pumpkin and leave money in the penny jar. If you forget, the headless horseman will come after you that night to remind you. Kidding! So we loaded up the boot, settled the account and drove home with 5 extra ‘friends’.  Now it was a question of what to do with them – soup seemed like a good start.

The secret to this recipe is the use of two different types of pumpkins:

  1. The potimarron (aka Hokkaido squash or kuri pumpkin) a small, intense orange pumpkin with dense bright orange flesh and sweet taste with a hint of chestnut (marron = chestnut in French).
  2. The muscade of Provence which is a large pumpkin, orange/grey in colour with lighter orange flesh, contains more water and has a less sweet taste.

The mix of the two makes the perfect soup. This recipe will also come in handy for my brother who recently bought a second-hand bicycle in Rotterdam which came with a hand blender (don’t ask)!

PUMPKIN SOUP

sp-roasted-chestnuts

***NEWS : ROASTED CHESTNUTS (MARRONI)***

The appearance of roasted chestnuts, or marroni as they are called here, is the sign that Autumn has arrived in Switzerland. Dotted around the city of Geneva, are little wooden huts with steaming cauldrons of roasting chestnuts, wafting their sweet nutty scent into the cold air.

This is a popular snack, which draws passersby into the lines of anxiously waiting people, for a paper cone of these toasty warm nuggets.

When I enquired about how they were made, the lady told me it was simple:

  • Ingredients = chestnuts!
  • They are normally from the chestnut-growing region of Ticino in the Italian part of Switzerland
  • Directions :cut a small slit in the shell for the steam pressure to be released & pile them into a cauldron. Cook at 100°C for 25 mins
  • Eat while warm

NOTE : The slit in the shell is particularly important, otherwise imagine popcorn, but on a larger scale!! When I was a little girl, I found this out the hard way, after placing a tray of perfectly plum chestnuts into the oven, only to have them exploding half an hour later. Needless to say I learned my lesson.

The taste of roasted chestnuts is tender and rather sweet. It gives you a warm and comforting feeling like being curled up in a thick blanket. So the next time you are strolling around Geneva or another Swiss city, from September through to December, I highly recommend treating yourself to few.

 

CARROT & PEAR SOUP Recipe

22 September 2008

EMILY THE GREAT’S CARROT & PEAR SOUP

First there was Catherine the Great of Russia (1729 – 1796), and then a few hundred years later, came Emily the Great, my good friend, who proudly gave herself this name at the ripe old age of 2, for surely one great lady in history deserves another!

And a great lady she is, one who I am proud to know, and who was a lifesaver (the pink kind with a gold star) at my wedding this September 6th. So how does the soup fit in you may ask – well in amongst the dress fittings, dinners, last minute ribbons, welcome packages, speech preparations, vows etc, we all had to eat…. so each member of the family took turns putting something delicious together.

Emily’s contribution to the soup pot – was in fact soup, her version of fresh garden carrot, autumn William pear, and spicy Cayenne pepper. Top that with oven baked, olive oil & garlic croutons, and you have a great fall dish, that I couldn’t wait to put on the blog. Afterall today is the 1st day of autumn / fall.

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RECIPE

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