Posts Tagged cranberries

Is quickbread bread?

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I was switching the oven on for some roasted veggies, and there wasn’t time for real bread, so I scoured the internet for a recipe that was quick, and that mostly used stuff I had in the house already.

Cue orange-glazed cranberry bread from Sally’s Baking Addiction, which she said was super moist, and which fitted most of the have-the-ingredients requirements.

Except I didn’t want glaze, I’m not a great fan of streusel and I didn’t have any oranges.

So what? I had lemons (which I didn’t use in the end), and I had the candied orange peel I made earlier this winter and then forgot about in a corner of the fridge, and I wanted to experiment with spelt as well as regular flour.

Here’s the final version, with thanks to Sally for the inspiration.

Cranberry orange loaf

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup wholewheat spelt flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup frozen cranberries (recipe says chop; I didn’t)
  • 1/2 cup pecans
  • 1/2 cup candied peel
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white sugar sugar
  • 1 cup (240ml) buttermilk (no substitutions)
  • 1/3 cup (80ml) coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Mix the dry ingredients and set aside. Then whisk the egg with the sugar and add the fat and the buttermilk. Gently stir in the flour/salt/soda mix and then the cranberries, nuts and peel.

Bake at 350F for about 50 minutes.

Let it cool down before you take it out of the tin. It’s fragile when it’s hot.

And it’s delicious — moist, orangey from the peel, and with a beautiful cranberry tang.

One to make again.

 

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Cranberry capers

New Jersey canning buddy, the one who introduced me to home made jams and chutneys, snagged a half dozen bags of half-price cranberries in the post-Christmas sales, so I felt morally obliged to head down to New Jersey to help her use them up. We spent an evening scouring the internet for recipes, double guessed ourselves a few times and ended up with a highly gratifying selection. Can’t for the life of me remember where we got all the recipes, and our post-cook taste tests won’t really do justice to the finished product, so I’ll keep this to a picture and a list. In the order we made them:
Cranberry orange marmalade. Cranberries, oranges, sugar and ginger. What can possibly go wrong. I insisted on slicing the orange peel rather than processing it, and I don’t think we needed the pectin the recipe wanted. But it certainly looks good.

Cranberry chutney. A Bernadin/Balls recipe that included chunks of candied pineapple as well as cranberries, apples and ginger. A notch heavy on the cloves, if truth be told, but it may mellow with time

Moroccan chutney. It might have been this one, but we were looking at many options and I can’t remember which one we chose in the end. But I somehow suspect it wasn’t. The one we made seems spicier, and it doesn’t look anything like the picture. Maybe canning buddy can help me out.

Lime pickle. We made this last year, but I never got to take any home with me, so we had to try again this time. I’m not allowed to open it for another week or so (at least that’s what the recipe says), but it definitely has a kick.

There’s something very, very satisfying about a few dozen jars of Home Made Stuff.

 

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It’s all about cranberries

It’s not even the jamming season, and I’ve managed three weeks in a row of creativity, with at least one jackpot, a jam/chutney/marmalade combo that was knock-your-socks off good.

Inspired, I think, by two weeks in a row of a quince-cranberry creation, and by the the latest of my internet blog browsing, I settled for a cranberry, orange, apricot concoction that reads like a preserve and tastes more like a chutney. I tweaked the recipe a little to replace most of the honey with easier to handle sugar and threw in a splash of balsamic vinegar to add a kick. It was an almost-chutney without onions and without much vinegar. Did I mention that it was good?

Cranberry Apricot Marmalade

1 cup orange juice
3 cups fresh cranberries
1 orange, seeded and finely chopped (including peel)
1 tart apple, cored and minced (I peeled it as well)
12 dried apricots, chopped
1/3 cup honey
1 scant cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
Splash of balsamic vinegar

Combine orange juice, cranberries and chopped orange and simmer until the cranberries begin to burst.

Add the apple, apricots, honey, sugar and cardamom and cook for approximately 20 minutes, until the orange rinds are tender and the chutney has thickened. Add a dash of balsamic vinegar, for the sheer hell of it.

Bottle in sterilized jars.

Waterbath for 10 minutes if you feel so inclined.

Rating: 5 (out of 5)

Even fresh out of the jar, this was a relish to die for. I served it with barely grilled organic salmon, dusted with curry powder and salt and pepper, along with barely steamed green beans, braised with butter and garlic, and the lemony sweet potato salad/side dish from a while back. There were four of us, and we just about polished off the jar as well as hoovering up all the salmon, most of the beans and almost all the sweet potatoes.

I don’t think I’m going to be giving many of these away.

Oh, and I also made a few more jars of that pink grapefruit marmalade from a couple of weeks back. It’s just so pretty, a  coral red with sliced up bits of pinker peel.

Rating to come.

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If at first you don’t succeed…

Well, it’s not that we didn’t succeed last week, with a quince-focused canning bonanza. But bringing four jars back to Canada from New Jersey really didn’t quite seem like the winter jamming session I was looking for. So two of us took advantage of the California quinces in Toronto shops to try two recipes again. The quince ones, of course.

Quinces really are curious fruit, like an apple/pear cross with a fuzzy peach like coating that rubs off to reveal a shiny golden skin. The fruit itself is almost inedible raw,  and hard as hell to peel and core. Recommendations are a potato peeler to get the skin off, a large and heavy knife to quarter them and a melon baller to remove the stone-hard cores. Two people help as well. You can get quite a quince production line going.

After a quick taste test of last week’s adventure, we started with a variant of the quince juniper chutney, although we speeded things up by chopping everything in the food processor, and then using kitchen scissors to snip the large bits of onion that got left behind.  We added ginger for an extra kick, and I managed to screw up the measurements by forgetting how much I had weighed and then adding more vinegar by mistake. Here’s a guesstimate of what we did, adapted from “My Mum’s Quince Chutney”.

Quince juniper chutney (makes 8-9 250-gram jars)

2 kg quinces, peeled and cored, and grated in food processor
2 large onions, grated in food processor
2-1/2 cups of sugar
2 cups of white vinegar, 1 cup of cider vinegar
3-teaspoons of juniper berries lightly crushed
1-1/2-teaspoon salt
A 2-inch piece of ginger, peeled and finely grated
Lots of fresh ground black pepper

Put all ingredients in a preserving kettle and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about two hours until it’s golden and almost boiled into a puree. (The recipe says deep pink and loose jam. I guess I used a different type of quince.) Stir regularly, to make sure it doesn’t burn.

Bottle in sterilized jars. Water bath 10 minutes.

It tastes pretty good right now. I think it will be even better in a couple of weeks, after the flavors meld together.

From there we moved on to the quince cranberry concoction from last week, again with a few tweaks, including a a shift toward more quince and less cranberry, more ginger and a notch less sugar. We added a spoonful of Chinese five-spice (which turned out to be a seriously inspired choice) and cooked it a lot less.

Quince cranberry jam (12 jars)

2 pounds fresh cranberries
2 pounds quince, peeled and cut into 3/4 inch cubes
8 ounces candied ginger, sliced very thin
1 tsp Chinese five-spice
4-1/2 cups sugar
5 cups water

Place sugar and water in a non-reactive pan and heat on low until sugar is dissolved, turn up heat and bring to the boil.
Add quince and five-spice and bring to the boil again. lower heat and simmer for a good hour until quince darkens and gets soft and syrup begins to thicken a little.

Add ginger slices and cranberries, bring back to the boil, continue boiling on medium-high until the cranberries pop and soften. Cook until it’s set — it took about 10 minutes.

Fill sterilized jars and water bath for 10 minutes.

The color is glorious, even more red than in the picture, with golden chunks of quince showing through the red. Canning buddy (and photographer) took half the jars, absent canning buddy gets half of the other half, which leaves one to give away and two for me. I can hardly wait.

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It started with a flat of figs

It all started with a flat of figs, a steal at $5.99 from a not-really farmers’ market somewhere outside Princeton, New Jersey.

It ended with 26 jars of five different concoctions, and a definite challenge to Newark’s Airport Security when I head back to the Great White North with four of them tomorrow. Checked luggage time for sure.

But in between times, it really was sort of fun.

The excuse was a weekend visit to the friend who invented canning (well, in my book at least), and while we did plan to get out for a long walk in the winter sunshine today, somehow we never got that far.

So let’s see what we did:

Apple fig chutney

I’ve coveted this chutney ever since I bought a slim recipe book from Australia’s Women’s Weekly magazine a few years back, but fresh figs have always been sold at such a silly price that I never acted on the desire. But at the New Jersey price, what did we have to lose? It’s a basic chutney recipe — take fruit, vinegar, sugar, spices and simmer til thick — but this one seemed good straight out of the pan, while chutneys normally have to mellow for a month or so.  We ate it with cold roast lamb. It would go equally well with cheese, or sausages or anything else that’s going.

Fig and apple chutney

12 medium figs, coarsely chopped
1 large onion, finely chopped
3 medium apples, peeled and finely chopped
1/2 cup finely chopped dried apricots
2 cups brown sugar
2 cups white vinegar
1 cup dry white wine
*1 cup sultanas
*1/4 cup tomato paste
*1 clove garlic
*2 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp ground cardamon
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

Combine ingredients and simmer until thick. Bottle.

You can’t get easier than that.

*We omitted the sultanas, and didn’t miss them at all. We also omitted the mustard seeds, because we didn’t have any and the garlic, because we forgot it, and we substituted home-made crushed tomatoes for tomato puree.

Quince juniper chutney

Next up was a quince chutney, which is all part of my campaign to persuade canning buddy to plant a quince tree in her extensive back yard. The internet pointed to something called my mum’s quince chutney, which sounded as though it ought to be good. First there’s the use of ‘mum’ instead of ‘mom’ which appeals to my Brit-roots, and then there’s the liberal use of juniper berries, which add an earthy bitterness to things like gin (and chutneys).  Ours is golden rather than pink, but perhaps that’s because the quinces were green rather than golden. It’s pretty mild right now. Maybe an extra kick next time. Or maybe it just needs to mellow.

Interesting sidenote here. A BlackBerry dictionary doesn’t recognize the word “quince.” I tried.

The canning game continued today, after a diversion to Trader Joes and the shopping mall, where I came home with a lined, wool Anne Klein jacket for $30 (huh?).

Lime pickle

This is another Australian Women’s weekly recipe. I have no clue how it tastes, because I was on the phone failing to buy a house for the crucial finishing moment so didn’t even get to lick the pan. But it was a pretty straightforward mix of spices, vinegar, limes and chili, boiled for 20 eye watering minutes and then canned.

Persian grapefruit marmalade

A scarily easy venture, if you ignore the messy start of peeling and depulping big pink-fleshed grapefruit and boiling the peel up three times to lose some of the bitterness. We got four coral red jars from three rather small grapefruit and a couple of cups of sugar. Easy and very, very nice.

Quince cranberry jam

Back to Tigress in a Jam, perhaps my favorite blogging canner for this one, and again it was faster than the recipe says it is. In fact it just about burned while we were thinking about other things, and it’s almost purple rather than orange red. I will double the ginger next time, and maybe cut the sugar just a notch. And I will also watch things more carefully. Burnt-on jam really isn’t the easiest thing in the world to clean.

It’s in the top right of the picture, a deep, deep cherry red.To round things off, we made a supermoist three-ginger cake, which used root ginger, crystallized ginger and powdered ginger, along with pulped up overripe pears.

Did I ever mention how much I like ginger?

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