Food: Gower Gin & orange marmalade

Recently, my local greengrocers had a glut of oranges that needed using up. With a few on the turn, they weren’t able to sell them at their normal price (which is also cheap, might I add, defying the myth that living in Sweden is ‘expensive’). I was able to get a bag of at least 15 oranges for the measly sum of 5kr (43p) and only 3 of them were duds!

Needing to use this citrusy surplus up, I got my thinking cap (and my apron!) on and made use of them. Making a marmalade instantly came to mind, so the next question was, what to pair with it? As I didn’t want a boring old orange marmalade. Why, of  course gin! I used some gin from producers Gower Gin Co , from my home-city of Swansea, South Wales.  The resulting product is a punchy, citrusy marmalade that’s great spread on toast (has to be good bread, though), swirled through porridge, or gone full-circle and made into a cocktail.  The recipe below makes one big pot of the stuff, but feel free to double, even triple the recipe, you wont regret it!

To make you’ll need:

  • 6 oranges, (Seville oranges work best)
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 full kettle of water (mine can hold 1.2 litres of water)
  • 600g golden granulated sugar
  • 2 shots of gin, I used Gower Gin Co’s Gŵyr Gin

To start, cut all (but two) of the oranges and the lemon in half and juice into the a large pan, using a sieve to collect the seeds. Once you’ve done this, take out the seeds with a spoon and scoop out any flesh that had been collected by the sieve. Tip this into the pan. The rinds of all of these oranges and lemons are vital for the marmalade, so the next step is to cut them up and add them to the pan. Here’s where you can personalise the preserve to your liking, if you like it fine, cut it fine, but if you like it chunky, like I do, roughly chop up the peel. Add the water to the pan from a recently boiled kettle. It isn’t necessary, but I feel it speeds up the boiling process. Turn the hob to a medium-high heat. Add in the sugar and the remaining two oranges. Stir. You want to keep it to a rolling boil. Cook for 15 minutes. The reason I added in the two oranges in whole, is to give the conserve more body. A trick implemented by the makes of ‘whole orange squash’. After 15 minutes the fruits should be squidgy and soft. Remove and place into a mixing bowl. With a hand blender, give it a few pulses. What it should give is a very thick pureé, full of zesty goodness. Remove the pips with a spoon before pouring back into the pan. Cook for a further 30-40 minutes, giving it the ‘plate test’ every 10 minutes. The ‘plate test’ is if you drop a bit of the mixture onto a chilled plate/ saucer, it should start setting, forming a skin. You can test this by poking with your finger. If 40 minutes doesn’t do it, keep cooking and checking until it does.

When it finally passes the test, take it off the heat and leave for a few minutes. This is because we want to keep as much of the gin’s boozy punch as possible. After a few minutes stir in the gin and pour into a sterilised jar. Place the lid on and leave to cool to room temperature before placing in the fridge (if you pre-emptively place it in the fridge it can mess with the internal thermostat of the fridge). It’ll set up even thicker in the fridge over night. Good things come to those that wait 😉

 

Enjoy!

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Food: Bougie PB&J

I had half a punnet of strawberries that needed using up, so I decided to make them into a bougie conserve. So with it an easy way to pimp up your standard PB&J. Here’s how to do it. You can totally scale up the recipe, but I’m just jotting down what I had to work with.

For the Strawberry, lime & white rum jam

  • 100g strawberries, de-stalked
  • 50g sugar
  • 100ml water
  • Juice & zest of 1/2 lime
  • 1 shot of white rum (optional)

 

to make, simply put a pan on the hob on medium-high and place in the sugar, strawberries and the water. It should take a few minutes for it all to start bubbling, but when it does it will come together quite quickly, so don’t get distracted as it can burn easily. Cook for 5-7 minutes on high until you can see it all becoming a pan of red, strawberry flavoured loveliness. When you see that happening, take it off the heat and add in the lime zest, juice and the rum. As it will still be hot, be careful when mixing it in. Pour into a glass jar and leave on the countertop to cool before putting it in the fridge to set, preferably overnight.

 

The next day the jam should have set and be halfway between a jam and a firm compote.

 

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This is what I had left of the jam after scoffing it all down!

The next step to make is the peanut caramel. To make you’ll need:

  • 50g demerara sugar
  • 100ml water
  • 20g peanuts (I used roasted peanuts, but you can use un roasted too)
  • Pinch of salt. I used some exquisite Anglesey sea salt with Tahitian vanilla from Halen Môn

Like the jam,  add in the sugar and the water and cook in a hot pan until they start forming a light caramel, then add in the peanuts. Roll them around in the pan, without using a spoon or spatula and enrobe them in the caramel. Cook the caramel mixture out until it turns golden brown. Pour onto a silicone baking sheet (you can use a spatula now) and sprinkle with the salt. The flavour of Halen Môn’s vanilla salt will compliment the lime and strawberry of the jam perfectly. Leave to cool and harden.

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Halen Môn’s Anglesey Sea Salt with Tahitian vanilla.

Now to make the foundation of it all, the toast. I used some great sourdough from a local bakery here in Malmö, Organic Bakery, that I rescued with this great app here in Sweden and also in London called Karma. They work with local businesses to sell their ‘end of the day’ produce at a reduced price. Meaning the consumer reduces food waste, supports local businesses and gets amazing quality food for a fraction of the price. (Not a sponsor but if you’re in London or Sweden it would be silly not to check them out!).

Anyway, back to the toast…

Top that warm toast off with some tasty dairy-free ‘butter’ and top with a thick layer of peanut butter. Spread the jam on one half and place pieces of the now cooled salted peanut caramel brittle on the other. Top with a few sliced strawberries and devour!

 

Enjoy!

 

Food: Easy Oatly mango ‘kulfi’

When the Oatly branded product of their Orange Mango oat drink came out, loads were sceptical, is it ‘milky’? Is it ‘juicy’? And some where perplexed altogether (I like the product as it is!). You can find it in the UK at IKEA stores and it’s available from supermarkets here in Sweden.

 

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Oatly Orange Mango Oat Drink. Photo: Oatly

 

Here is a quick way you can use it creatively. To make a light but sweet kulfi-style Indian dessert.

(Makes 4)

To make you’ll need:

  • 200ml Oatly Orange Mango oat drink
  • 8tbs Oatly fraîche/ other non-dairy sour cream
  • 3tbs coconut chips (optional)
  • 3tbs golden syrup/ corn syrup
  • Pinch of salt

Simply mix the Fraîche and the syrup together in a bowl and slowly add in the Orange Mango, continuously stirring. Next, add in the coconut chips for added texture and the salt and stir through, then simply pour it into molds. I used silicone cupcake moulds, but feel free to use what you have and place in the freezer for at least 3 hours to set. When ready to serve take them out of the freezer a couple of minutes before you’d like to plate up and de-mould. Serve with fresh fruit, chopped nuts and a sauce. I served them with an easy raspberry and cardamom coulis.

To make:

  • 200g fresh or frozen raspberries
  • 1tbs icing sugar/ powdered sugar
  • 1tsp ground cardamom
  • Pinch of salt

To make it couldn’t be any easier. Place all the ingredients into a small saucepan or frying pan and heat on low until the raspberries start exuding their juice. Take off the heat and blend it down with a food processor. Strain out the seeds and pour in a jug. Leave to cool for serving.

To save time, I’d make the coulis whilst the ‘kulfi’s are in the freezer. The result should be a light vegan-alternative to a very rich Indian dessert. Purists will say it isn’t the same as a real kulfi that takes hours, but for a quick, convenient dessert that’s dairy-free it’s not bad at all!

Enjoy!

Food: Raw vegan ‘semlor’

As it’s semlor season here in Sweden for Fettisdagen, or ‘Fat Tuesday’, when these buns are traditionally eaten before lent. The traditional semla is a cardamom- enriched bun with homemade marzipan, called ‘mandelmassa’ and plenty of whipped cream. For this raw vegan version, I’ve decided to use persimmon/ kaki/ Sharon fruit in place of the bun. I was going to use peaches, but they seem to be impossible to get at the moment, not being in season.  As I’ve used persimmon, I decided to top it with a bit of matcha powder, a nod to the asian heritage of the fruit,

 

Makes 6 mini semlor bites

To make you’ll need:

  • 3 persimmon/ kaki/ Sharon fruit
  • 1.5 litres of water
  • 1 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1 tsp almond oil
  • 1 shot of amaretto (optional- don’t use if want to make it totally raw vegan)
  • 2 tbs raw agave syrup
  • 1tbs matcha powder, to top

For the mandelmassa:

  • 150g soaked almonds
  • 150g coconut sugar
  • 1-2 tbs water

For the coconut & cardamom cream:

  • The ‘cream’ from 2 tins of full fat coconut milk
  • 3 tbs raw agave syrup
  • 2 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste/ fresh vanilla bean

 

Start the night before by making up the syrup. Mix the water with the almond oil, agave and cardamom. I also added in some Amaretto, in the spirit of the decadance of a semla bun, but by all means, take it out.  3 big persimmon will make 6 mini semlor buns. To make them, I’d recommend slicing each fruit into 4 equal pieces and cutting out the middle with a round cookie-cutter. This should leave you with a top and bottom bun for each ‘semla’. If there is any lefover persimmon, simply chop it up and keep in the fridge, it’s a great addition to any curry or jerk recipe. De-leaf the top and place into a shallow dish. Once you have done this with all 3 fruits, cover with the syrup. This should soak up all those cardamom & almond flavours of the syrup. Leave overnight.

The next day, turn the persimmon buns in the syrup and make the mandelmassa. I used the recipe off this blog  to make it, but essentially, de-skin the almonds and blend it up with the coconut sugar in a food processor, adding a teaspoon or two of water to bind.

 

To make the cardamom cream, spoon out the coconut cream portion of 2 cans of full-fat coconut milk into a bowl, adding the ground cardamom, agave and vanilla bean paste. Whip up into a thick and aromatic cream.

 

When you’re ready to assemble your mini persimmon semla, take them out of the syrup and pat dry. roll a little ball of the mandelmassa and squish into the palm of your hands. Top the bottom of the buns with the disk of mandelmassa. Next, spoon on about a tablespoon of the cream. Top with the ‘top bun’ of persimmon and dust with some matcha powder.

 

Enjoy!

Drink: Kladdkaka cocktail

This week in Sweden it was kladdkakans dag, which is a day for the unctuously good gooey chocolate cake, called a kladdkaka (sticky cake), like a Swedish brownie. I wanted to do a vegan version, but instead of just re-creating the cake, I’ve used it as inspiration for a cocktail.

Serves 2

To make you’ll need:

  • Handful of lightly burned oats, soaking in 100ml water
  • 100ml of leftover coffee, I like to use what’s leftover in my French-Press, (so for this I used Coaltown Coffee’s Black Gold No.3)
  • 400ml oat milk, I used Oatly
  • 1tbs cocoa, sifted
  • 50g good quality chocolate (at least 70%), melted, I used Svenska Kakaobolaget
  • 3 shots of Vodka, I used Stoli
  • 1tbs vanilla sugar
  • Ice

Serve:

  • Vegan whipped cream
  • Pinch of cocoa

Start by placing your oats in a pan and toasting them on low. Rather than letting them go golden brown, you need to take it just a bit further so they start to burn, not too much however. You need the nutty-bitterness that will be imbued in the liquid. Take off the heat, place into a bowl and pour in the water. Let the oats soak until they make the water a golden hue. like the picture below:

 

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After this, leave it to cool. When ready, strain the liquid through a sieve and place the golden liquid in a separate bowl. Now, take your melted chocolate and whisk that into the liquid, before adding in the cocoa, whisking thoroughly. Then add in the vanilla sugar.

 

In your cocktail shaker, place the chocolatey mixture, along with the cold coffee, oat milk and your 3 shots of vodka over the ice. Shake vigorously and serve in a tall glass. Top with some vegan whipped cream and a sifting of cacao.

 

Enjoy!

 

Food: Lime & lavender marmalade

As I mentioned in my previous recipe of my raspberry limemade, I still had a surplus of limes, that needed using. The solution: this delicious & floral marmalade. Great in porridge, on toast or atop a decadent cheesecake and so simple to make!

To make you’ll need:

  • 8 limes, sliced thinly
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • 400g sugar
  • 600ml water
  • 1tbs dried lavender

Start by placing the lime juice, sugar and water in a pan. The sugar should start dissolving in the acid of the lime juice. Place on the hob and turn the heat up high. Now, start slicing the limes up thin, by using a mandolin. Make sure you use the safety guard provided with the mandolin as otherwise, it’s a guaranteed trip to the emergency room, for you.  After you’ve sliced up the fruits, drop them into the now bubbling water and cook on a simmer for 40 minutes. During the last 10 minutes sprinkle the dried lavender and stir, so it disperses evenly.  Set aside and leave to cool slightly before pouring into your chosen bowl/ jar. The pectin in the pith and flesh should help set the marmalade overnight.

Enjoy!

Food: Peaches with apricot, cardamom & lemon fraîche

Here’s a quick recipe for a dessert perfect for cooling down in the Summer sun.  The flavours also give a taste of the exotic, so even if you’re stuck at home, you can feel like you’re on holiday

Serves 2

You’ll need:

  • 4 peaches ( I used doughnut peaches as they are in season)
  • zest of 1/2 lemon
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 shot of lemon vodka (optional)
  • 2tbs sesame seeds, toasted

Apricot fraîche:

  • 1/2 tub of vegan crème fraîche/ yogurt ( I used Oatly fraîche)
  • 2tbs icing sugar, sifted
  • 2 apricots, chopped finely
  • 1tbs ground cardamom
  • Zest of 1/2 lemon
  • Squeeze of lemon juice

 

Start by making the fraîche. Add all of the ingredients in a bowl and mix throughly. You can either then place it in the fridge to firm or do as I did and use the freezer. It will start to create a slightly frozen texture, like a semi-freddo.

Whilst it’s in the fridge/freezer you can prep the peaches. Cut them in half and de-stone. This is usually a messy job, so I tried to keep it intact by poking the stone through the other side. once this is done, heat up a pan on a medium heat. Place the peach halves in the pan, flesh down. cook until they begin to colour. Flip and cook for a few minutes. Squeeze the lemon juice over them and sprinkle them with the lemon zest. Take them out of the pan and place them into the serving bowls. This in an optional step, but I like pouring a shot of lemon vodka on them too! Take the fraîche out and dollop it on top. Finish with a sprinkle of toasted sesame seeds. I’d recommend you pair it with a Tokaji wine.

Enjoy!