July 17, 2017

Peppermint Blackberry Jam - It is refreshingly different!

This will be the last jam recipe that I will share from my crazy jamming session last Monday.
I have used peppermint in jams before and my boys (who are a wee bit peppermint crazy) love this one.

peppermint blackberry jam It is refreshingly different!
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Making peppermint blackberry jam is super easy:
25 biggish leaves of fresh peppermint (I used moroccan peppermint, it pops up every where in my garden, some might call it a weed the way it spreads, but can anything that is so delicious be a weed?)

1 kg of blackberries

500 grams of gelling sugar (in the US jelly sugar) for the ones new to making jam this one has added pectin that allows you to use only half the amount of sugar.

Bring all to boil, let boil for 5 minutes on a medium setting while stirring. Whizz until most of the blackberry seeds are gone.

Bring back to boil and after positive gelling test fill into sterilised glas jars. A detailed how-to for sterilising jars and any jam making or canning basics you can find here.

peppermint blackberry jam It is refreshingly different!

I hope you you are enjoying your summer and will leave you to jam making for now!

July 07, 2017

Blackberry Chocolate Jam - Indulge in this divine combination

On Monday I was in a crazy jamming session. Not the music one but the juicy one! So here I am sharing yet another recipe. This one is for blackberry chocolate jam. I have never tried to mix chocolate with jam before. This was a first and I really like the outcome.
indulge in this divine combination - dark chocolate blackberry jam

For this nerve balm of a jam, aka blackberry chocolate jam you need:
450 grams of Blackberries
Juice of half a lemon.
100 grams of dark chocolate
250 grams of gelling sugar (in the US jelly sugar). Using gelling sugar will allow you to use only half the amount of sugar.

Bring Blackberries and gelling sugar to a boil, whizz until most of the blackberry seeds are not visible anymore!
Take pot off the hot hob and add chocolate in little chunks. Now stir until dissolved!
Fill in sterilised jars while still hot and screw lids on tightly. Now turn the jam jars upside-down. Let cool to room temperature while upside-down. Label and voilĂ  your Blackberry Chocolate Jam is ready for use!

dark chocolate blackberry jam

Preparing your own jam really is no rocket science and well worth the work put into it. Some of the ingredients in bought jam give me goose bumps...like why does it need food colouring? Why would you add 60-70% of sugar? Do you really want to eat jam with corn starch syrup?

A detailed how-to for sterilising jars and any jam making or canning basics you can find here.

I hope you will enjoy your blackberry chocolate jam. If you combine this one with peanut butter on some sweet bread. You should feel heavenly instantly!

July 01, 2017

Strawberry Blueberry Jam - simple and divine!

Making Strawberry Blueberry Jam is no rocket science. In fact it is so super simple that I was seriously considering it unworthy writing a blogpost. But I thought, what if you have never tried this? Simply didn't think of it? This is such a great combination for a jam jar and if you haven't tried it wait no longer. I made 4 different varieties on Monday and this one is my most favourite! I actually only wanted to write about blackberry peppermint jam and blackberry dark chocolate jam. (they will follow) But over the week I fell in love with the strawberry blueberry combination that I simply had to share. Seriously, try it with a dollop of cream cheese on a pancake and you will understand what I am talking  about.

June 26, 2017

Banana Hazelnut Smoothy - another tasty and fast way to use up those overripe bananas

banana hazelnut smoothy, great use for overripe bananas

This is a smoothy my kids and I currently are somewhat addicted to. It is also a great way of using up those overripe bananas.

June 14, 2017

Dandelion and Herb Pancake with Feta and Daisies - And no, I haven't gone bonkers - it is delicious!

I think my husband has given up been sceptical when he gets served things like dandelion and herb pancakes garnished with daisies served with a dollop of dandelion pesto....
But honestly it was so yummylicious that my forever-pasta-for-every-dinner-requesting-boys gave it a thumbs up as high as our universe, that´s the 5 and 6 year old ones, the older one, aka my husband was rather surprised how good it tasted. I was told I am aloud to serve it again! And have since made them 3 more times. Every time with the same success rate.

June 08, 2017

How to make any old cheap withered wooden chair look like an expensive teak wood chair

As you might remember I refurbished an old teak wood chair back in April (If you missed it, click here). I was surprised for how little money you could make it look like a new chair. I was also surprised when I read on the label of the teak oil can, that teak oil was actually made on a base of linseed oil  and you could use it on any wood. There was still so much oil left in that can and no more teak wood furniture in this household so I thought of this very withered and old looking Ikea garden table and chairs set that I still had from my long passed student days.

May 30, 2017

Dandelion Syrup - Because Dandelions are no Weed!

As I have mentioned before Dandelion should not be considered a weed, it has many health benefits and the different parts of the Dandelion can be a tasty addition in your cooking or baking.

picture collage to promote Dandelion Syrup with Dandelion flower heads and a bottle of Dandelion syrup

Today I share with you our Dandelion syrup recipe which I have been making for the past 4 years every spring. We eat it with pancakes instead of maple syrup and I also use the dandelion syrup in cooking and baking. I like to add a table spoon of it so my bread dough as a starter help for the yeast or sour dough. It also adds a little extra flavour to the bread.  Dandelion syrup is also said to be a cough remedy if combined with ginger and used one teaspoon per day. But I have not tried this yet as we usually use thyme extract from our trusted pharmacy as a cough remedy which works wonders for my boys and they love taking it.

To make the dandelion syrup I send my boys out in the garden every spring with a bowl each and tell them collect me as many fully opened yellow Dandelion flower heads as you can.  This is this years result!

dandelion flowerheads after collecting for dandelion syrup

Once those bowels are filled with flowers we all sit down and pluck off just the yellow bits of the flower.
little boy plucking dandelion flower heads for dandelion syrup

plate full of plucked dandelion flowers for dandelion syrup

Next I browse them off with cold water and then put them in a sauce pan for every 3 cups of yellow Dandelion tips ( loosely filled into cup not squashed) you add  4 cups of water.

Bring to boil and then let cool down and let stand at room temp (18-22C) for 12-18h.
Pour boiling water into the bottles and caps which you want to use for storing the dandelion syrup. This is to sterilise them. Next discard water in caps and pour either vodka, rum or any other drinkable high percent alcohol into the lids to sterilise them. That little amount of alcohol I pour into dandelion liquid, just to not waste it, it isn't really part of the recipe, it is more an ongoing joke between me and my husband, that I am not wasting his good stuff just because I want to sterilise my caps. Once you have all this prepared pour the dandelion-water-mix through a  tight meshed sieve into another pot. Make sure all dandelion flower bits are caught by the sieve and are discarded onto your compost pile. Bring the remaining dandelion infused water to a boil and add for every 4 cups of it 500 grams of raw brown sugar and the juice and zest of one organic lemon.
zested lemon for dandelion syrup

Leave at mild boil with no lid for at least 10 mins stirring it most of the time.
Fill into your sterilised bottles screw lids on and store in fridge for up to a year!

bottles of dandelion syrup

a bottle of homemade dandelion syrup decorated with a dandelion flower

The dandelion syrup is a versatile addition to your food. A bottle will go a long way, similar to maple syrup or golden syrup. It is a great substitute for sweetening with something other than the usual sugar, maple syrup or honey. Especially in the vegan kitchen where the cook is also thinking green and doesn't want to use maple syrup or rice syrup for various reasons (making and transport would be two major ones coming to my mind) this is a great addition to the pantry. Nearly anyone with a backyard has Dandelions, they are easy to spot and identify. There isn't really much where you can go wrong and if you are new to foraging, this one would make a great start. 

What was your first foraging experience? Mine were Blueberries and wild garlic both in an old forrest. 

I hope you enjoye this recipe.

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