Thursday, April 3, 2014

Figs again and a bit of rain today

Firstly, yes I'm still slicing and dicing the figs. This morning I made another batch of jam. I also made fig ice cream, using this recipe I found on Pinterest:

It's in the freezer as I type, quite a different technique to either the parfait style ice cream I usually make (see recipe here), or the 'custard' type of ice cream where you heat the egg yolk mixture. This one you just whip the egg yolks and sugar then add cream, milk and vanilla then put in ice cream machine. The fig 'sauce' is layered with the ice cream after it has spent a while in the freezer to firm up some.

Meanwhile, the fig and chocolate cake/bread was a great success. The recipe made quite a lot of mixture - I ended up filling 2 loaf pans, although I must say they didn't rise a great deal. I'm always hesitant to fill a cake pan more than 1/2 way in case it doesn't cook in the middle!

And the other thing about today is that we finally had a bit of rain, didn't last long but it was a reasonable shower. Has been so dry for so long that we really need the rain. I'm especially pleased because I sowed a whole lot of peas this morning!

Yes those are rain clouds!

That's not mist it's rain!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014


Yes, today is FIG-ORAMA day. Seriously. Fig city. Fig overload. Not that I'm complaining, not really...they are delicious of course and a real treat.

 But they don't keep well, a few days at best in the fridge - and they have taken over our fridge space (we have 2 fridges also!). So this morning I have made a batch a fig jam:

And chopped up a whole lot to dry in the dehydrator:

I overdried the last lot of figs I dried in the dehydrator, probably a combination of cutting them too small and just plain leaving them in the machine too long. So this time I cut these ones in halves and the bigger ones into thirds. Might take a bit longer to dry that way but I hope to avoid the crunch effect. They should be dry but still pliable.. Following some dehydrating guidelines I've dipped them in ascorbic acid (vitamin C) liquid prior to the drying. This is "an antioxidant that keeps fruit from darkening and enhances destruction of bacteria during drying". Sounds good to me! Fortunately I had the ascorbic acid left over that I bought a while back for use in bread making.

The next fig project will be a cake, fig and chocolate:

This is a recipe I haven't tried before. Makes a loaf type of cake. I'm hoping it will be tasty.

Spent a lot of time yesterday evening drooling over fig recipes on Pinterest!

Friday, March 28, 2014

Apples and applesauce

It's apple season here on CTF. I am steadily working my way through mountains of apples. OK 'mountains' might be a slight exaggeration, but there are certainly quite a few kilos!
Here is a big box of delicious 'Reinette du Canada' apples - a French heirloom apple - that I picked yesterday. This variety is great for cooking, but it can also be eaten as a dessert apple. We usually cook it.

Some of these apples get quite big. The biggest one I picked was 500g (18 oz)!

So I'm busy in the kitchen still - this time making applesauce. It's really easy to make, just a bit time consuming - as all preserving can be, when you're dealing with large quantities of fruit. From a bit of research on the web it seems that some folk just chop the fruit and then when cooked put it through a food mill to remove the pips and skin etc.
I prefer to peel, core and slice then cook up and puree with my stick blender (immersion blender) until I have a nice smooth sauce. Then I process in my trusty Fowler's Vacola water bath unit.

It's been great to finally put these old 'Agee' preserving jars into action. I've had them stored away for just the time when they'd be needed. They were given to me by a work friend quite a few years ago now.

Disappointingly though, when getting them out of storage I noticed quite a lot had small cracks on the base. Some of them you could feel that it was broken but some of them G and I thought might be just where the glass came out of the mold rather than damage, they had like a tiny line on the base but no obvious break or chip.

I am going to have to test the ones we're not sure about to see if they'll be OK to use. I found a site that said to boil the jars in water for 15 mins to test them, has anyone tried this? I'm loathed to throw away what may be a potentially usable jar, but on the other hand I don't want any disasters with jars full of fruit cracking and leaking!