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#31 gekko

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Posted 15 July 2010 - 03:17 PM

Gekko,
I have both of the spices, but purchased because they sounded intresting rather than because I knew what to do with them. The Spice Shop in Notting Hill is a terrible sauce of temptation. I must have about 4 different types of salt, for example, including Pink Himalayan, Smoked Viking (from Brittany), Flers de Sel (the Camargue) and Black Volcanic! At least it doesn't go off unlike the spices. I may try smoking my own salt in France...


Wow, that's an impressive salt collection. I've put z'atar and sumac in my basket twice on Ocado but it always comes out when I get to the end and realise how much I've overspent. Every month it's the same - I add everything I'd really like and then empty about a third out when I nearly fall over at the cost of it all :D. Maybe one month, they'll make it through to the checkout but I've thrown so many jars of spice out in the past, I'm a bit more wary these days. So often, you end up using a spice a few times and then you just leave it to go musty in the back of the cupboard for about 5 years :rolleyes:.
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#32 RachelF

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Posted 15 July 2010 - 03:58 PM

Not sure about impressive. Sad or bad maybe! I buy spices like some people buy shoes! The ktichen smells nice though now that I have stacked them all up on shelves. I would really love to have a proper spice cupboard.
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#33 Janee

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Posted 15 July 2010 - 07:22 PM

I am sure it's delicious.
I wouldn't dare make marmalade. Boiling sugar and all that. Although I have 3 redcurrant bushes it would seem that need harvesting. I am trying to resist buying the cheapish jam maker from Lidl just because I am scared of making jam properly/by myself.


Redcurrant jelly is dead easy to make, I just follow Delia's recipe. You can boil up the fruit stalks and all, I don't even use a jelly bag, just a seive.
Pick them, stalks and all and freeze them if you haven't time to do anything with them now. You don't need a jam maker as such, just a very large saucepan. But if you haven't time the birds will love them :P

#34 RachelF

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Posted 16 July 2010 - 07:58 AM

Redcurrant jelly is dead easy to make, I just follow Delia's recipe. You can boil up the fruit stalks and all, I don't even use a jelly bag, just a seive.
Pick them, stalks and all and freeze them if you haven't time to do anything with them now. You don't need a jam maker as such, just a very large saucepan. But if you haven't time the birds will love them :P


Thanks! Freezing is a good option as I am off on holiday tonight.
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#35 RachelF

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Posted 24 July 2010 - 02:36 PM

I am having fun playing with ingredients in France. Simple things, such as globe artichoke with viniagrette - Delia's instructions for cooking artichoke have put me off for years, but it's not that hard.
Yesterday I had a go at a recipe from the Good Food Magazine - beetroot 'carpaccio' with what was supposed to be ricotta, creme fraiche and chives, but ended up, on account of what I had in my fridge (it not being an option to just 'pop to the shops' in deepest darkest rural Normandy) and the fact that I am experimenting with my foolhardy purchase of a food smoker... cooked beetroot (sliced with a mandolin - very messy - it looked like I had murdered someone, and my fingers are still slightly pink) with a drizzle of balsamic, served with faiselle fromage frais mixed with finely chopped parsley, two cloves of smoked garlic, a smoked shallot seasoned with ground smoked pimientos and smoked fler de sel salt. (Going a bit mad on the smoked front there, but the falvour wasn't overwhelming.)
The beetroot and faiselle mixture didn't work that well together it has to be said, but seperately worked quite well. Not sure how I would serve the faiselle if I did that again and served them seperately. Maybe oatcakes...
I will probably end up trying smoking beetroot, although I suspect that won't work.
Smoked potatoes...? Olives?!
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#36 Summit Lover

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Posted 25 July 2010 - 09:04 AM

Hi Rachel, is it easy to smoke things?

#37 RachelF

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Posted 26 July 2010 - 10:29 AM

Yes, in a word, although I need to keep an experiment notebook - it's a bit hit and miss re timings and temperatures. Right now I have aubergines, peppers, feta, garlic and shallots on the go.
I have a small fridge-sized Bradely's smoker, which I bought in a moment of insanity. (The web site is somewhat amusing - definitly not marketed at vegetarians.) It was problematic in West Norwood because you can't leave it out in the rain, but it's coming into its own in the barn in France. You can get stove top ones though that don't choke your house with smoke. I haven't used one, but they are a lot cheaper. Only hot smoking though so no good for cheese, I suppose.

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Here's the Bradley one:

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woh. The prices have come down for Bradleys. I think I paid about £400 5 years ago for mine! (Hence insanity!)

Edited by RachelF, 26 July 2010 - 10:31 AM.

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#38 Summit Lover

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Posted 31 July 2010 - 01:38 PM

Has anyone had a bash at home made tomato ketchup? Am thinking of having a go...

#39 RachelF

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Posted 01 August 2010 - 06:30 PM

I've never tried it, not having had much luck preserving things (going moudly issues etc.) but I would be interested in hearing about your results, should you attempt it. Do you have a glut of tomatoes?!
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#40 Summit Lover

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Posted 17 August 2010 - 07:41 PM

I've never tried it, not having had much luck preserving things (going moudly issues etc.) but I would be interested in hearing about your results, should you attempt it. Do you have a glut of tomatoes?!

I have to say (rather immodestly) that it is lovely! Pretty easy to make (I loosely followed a couple of recipes from the internet), although a little messy in the early heating stages as the mixture splutters and splatters somewhat (wear an apron!).

I decided not to sieve the mixture (ok - I actually couldn't be bothered :P ) although I liquidised it thoroughly - it is none the worse in my opinion for the omission.

#41 RachelF

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Posted 18 August 2010 - 04:43 AM

Sounds good. If my tomatoes ever ripen, I may give it a go.
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#42 RachelF

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Posted 18 August 2010 - 08:55 AM

ok I am probably now certifiably insane, but latest smoking experiment: crumpets. The first was nice, but the second. Let's just say I only took one bite. You can have too much of a good thing.
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#43 guineagirl

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Posted 18 August 2010 - 09:15 AM

Does anyone have ideas/recommendations for preserving chilis? I have a beautiful chili plant but find the chilis themselves a bit too hot to use in cooking as they are, so was wondering if the flavour could be made a bit milder if they were preserved.

However when I looked into recipies for making chili oil I was a bit terrified by references to risk of botulism (!) and I'm not too confident at the idea of dealing with quantities of hot oil. Any ideas of how else I could use them?

#44 RachelF

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Posted 18 August 2010 - 09:24 AM

Try roasting them, peeling them, then blitzing them in a food processor, with or without garlic, and with olive oil, then stick them in a sterilized jar and make sure they are covered with olive oil. I did some like this in April and they are still fine even though they weren't in the fridge for some time. If you barbecued them (sorry: smoky obsession) they would be even better.
Re heat, remove the seeds before blizing and just used small amounts of paste.

I have had success with chilli oil too, although the one time I tried to preserve barbecued peppers, they went mouldy. I didn't realize that there was a botulism risk for chilis, although I know there is for garlic.
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#45 Archie

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Posted 18 August 2010 - 01:06 PM

If you fry them and chop them add a little melted butter and put them in ice cube trays and put in freezer.
Then when you need enough for a chilli dish throw in a cube.