clementine preserve

Yours truly tried yet another food preservation attempt, this time using whole clementines.

The recipe is inspired from a recipe of my mom.

 

Ingredients

  • 8 clementine
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3.5 tbs of lemon juice
  • 1 tsp salt

 

recipe

  • wash the clementines and remove the stalk at the bottom
  • insert knife in 8-10 places throughout the clementines
  • add sugar and water, mix, and wait for 50 min
  • put on the stove and cook at medium heat for 70 min

      *at this point clementines should be softened and if you press lightly they should feel plump

  • add the salt and lemon juice and boil for another 30 min
  • pour in sterilized jars, close the lids, and rings. Makes 1 x 750 ml preserve
  • water or pressure can if you wish. I do not do either of this. So they will be kept at the fridge and consumed within weeks

Bon appetite! 🙂

radish pickle with jalapenos and mis-fortune of a strawberry marmalade trial

I wanted to cheer myself up with two new recipes; radish pickle and frozen strawberry marmalade.

It turns out I bought extra packs of radish, so why not to try pickling it? An adventure for me and a chance of limiting food waste. I think it will turn out to be right.

Frozen strawberry marmalade, on the other hand, turned to the dark side right at the end. I decided I could boil the jars to help preserve them. I was wrong – the pot was not deep enough. Then, I turned them upside down to sterilize at least the neck of the jars, and one or two of the jars leaked somehow. Goodness help me…..I aborted the attempt. Sadly, these marmalade will go to garbage now. Nevertheless, I am posting the recipe here because there was a 1/4 cup of the marmalade I had in a jar that I did not attempt to water-can and it is delicious. At least I have got 1/4 cup of it!!! 🙂

Radish pickle

  • 600 gr radish; washed and diced as thinly as possible
  • 2 jalapeno pepper, washed, and diced with the seeds
  • 5 garlic, grated
  • 1tbs+1tsp sugar
  • 1tbs+1tsp salt
  • 1 cup vinegar and 3 cups water-boiled

Boil the brine (vinegar and water); add sugar and salt – mix

place the diced radish, jalapenos, grated garlic in clean jars (mine were 750 ml jars; it made 2 jars)

add 2 cups of brine or as much as the jar can take

close the lid and secure the rings. Must be ready in a week or so

*added the next day: as being a pickle person, I could not help and try this pickle the next day. To my surprise it was ready and it was hot – thanks to jalapenos. If you are looking for a quick type of pickle, this is a must to try 🙂

 

Frozen strawberry marmalade

  • 1.5 kg of frozen strawberry
  • 4 cups sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • juice of 1.5 lemon (9 tbs)

place the strawberry on a container and mix with the sugar; wait for 1 hour util strawberry starts to release its juice, mix every once a while

add the remaining ingredients and bring to boil at medium heat (takes around 15 min)

boil for 15 min and then lower the heat to medium and boil an additional 30 min. It must reduce at the end

remove the scum and pour down the marmalade in sterilized jars (I boiled them for 15 min together with the rings. Lids were placed in hot water); leave around 1/2 inch room

clean the rims of the jars, place the lids, and secure the rings.

if you can pressure-can or water-can, you can keep these for some time. But if you are like me and cannot do this for some reason, then keep it as it is at the fridge and consume within weeks.

 

 

I hope you will be able to enjoy these recipes! 🙂

 

 

my love affair with self-sufficiency

Life is interesting.

I have never been interested in cooking or being self-sufficient.

In the last two years, however, this has change. I still do not like cooking but baking, pickling, and jamming have been awesome. I could not be more excited 🙂

Fermented food

Sourdough: I first became interested in baking bread and I now even have a sourdough starter that makes wonders every week 🙂 I have not purchased any store-made bread since May 2016. I also shared my sourdough and commercial yeast loaves with my fiends. What a joy 🙂

Kefir: I then was gifted by kefir grains within 2017 and i not only fell in love with kefir itself, but I made cheese/spread from it and even used it in baking bread 🙂 Drinking kefir makes me feel good and I know that it gives me the calcium that I need at my age in addition to many nutrients. I am very happy with it 🙂

Pickles: I did pickles before thanks to my mother, but I have never been this interested in it until recently – I love the beet and cabbage pickles I make! I think it is the benefit of living in a cold climate that the pickle lasts long without going bad and this way I always have a jar or two in my kitchen. I made three batches of beet pickles this fall enjoyed by myself and my friends 🙂

Sauerkraut: And tomorrow I will try my first ever sauerkraut! 

How about this? 

I think I am moving in the right direction 🙂

 

Jam/marmalade:

And just within the last 5-6 weeks, I started experimenting with making jam; dried fig jam first, then orange and tangerine, and today the raspberry jam/marmalade 🙂

I feel like I am doing such a great job refraining from additives and chemicals in store-bought jams/bread/pickles. I must be rightfully proud of myself and I am!

 

Sewing

Okay.. I have not been as productive as I wished, but since I purchased my lovely sewing machine last year, I have done small stuff, including lots of covers for jars and discloth/cloth for the counter and window sills. I am yet to undertake a serious project, like a blouse or a quilt, but I know when the time comes, that will happen too 🙂

 

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These are newfound interests for me and they have been enriching my life, providing me healthy and affordable food/items, and I feel increasingly “able”.

I really am excited about this change in me.

 

Squirrel GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

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gif by:https://giphy.com/gifs/XSKhFtfGr1HYA

 

 

raspberry marmalade

 

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look at this colour. I dare you – look at it! 🙂 doesn’t this look fantastic?

Yours truly continues to explore the world of jamming!

I wanted to try berry jam this time and found raspberries on sale the other day – how lucky I am?

Part inspired from others on the internet, part improvised, here is my frozen raspberry marmalade recipe 🙂

Ingredients

  • 1 kg frozen raspberries (around 9 cups)
  • 4 cups sugar
  • juice of one lemon (8 tbs)
  • zest of a lemon

Recipe

  • Place the raspberries on a pot, cover with sugar, give a quick mix and let stand an hour or so
  • In the meantime, clean the jars. I used the dish washer and then placed them and the rings at pre-heated oven (220F) for 15 min. I pat-dried the lids using clean paper towel and set aside
  • At the end of one hour of resting, add the zest and lemon juice and bring the mix to boil on medium heat (takes around 10 min)
  • Continue to boil for 15 min until it reduces to half (make sure to mix to prevent sticking to the bottom of the pot)
  • Pour in jars, clean the rims, place the lids, and close the rings (makes one liter of jam)
  • Water- or pressure-can if you would like to keep them for a long time (like a year), otherwise keep at the fridge and consume in 3-4 weeks
  • PS. The recipes I have seen usually calls for equal cups of raspberry and sugar – I used 50% less this time and to me it is perfect. Adjust the sugar levels as you like.

Bon appetite! 🙂

 

Orange jam

Here is my second ever jam trial and first ever orange jam 🙂

I was mostly inspired by the recipe here, with minor changes.

Ingredients

  • 7 mid-big size oranges and 2 navel oranges (I decided to add these later and they were what I have had extra) – total around 3 pounds of oranges (including the peel)
  • 3 1/4 cups of sugar
  • Juice of one navel orange
  • Juice of 1 lemon (around 6 tbs)
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup thinly sliced orange peel

 

Recipe

  • Wash the oranges, peel, and remove the white coat as much as possible (also the seeds)
  • Piece the oranges as you please; I have used my hand to have around 2 cms of pieces
  • Pour over the sugar, mix, and put aside for 2 hours. Mix with a spoon every 30 min

Peels:

Put the peels on vinegar-water. After 1 hour or so, take out the peels and remove the white coat as much as possible. I found that putting the peels in water helps remove it with the help of a knife. It is not an easy task, but doable. After that, place the peels on a cutting board with inside up and use the knife the scrap the coat – it is surprisingly easy this way.

  • Cut thinly and put aside
  • At the end of 2 hours, add all ingredients except the peels and bring to a vigorous boil, continue to simmer at medium heat for 45 min – it should be reduced a little bit
  • Add the peels, continue to simmer at medium heat for another 30 min. Mix every few minutes
  • Cool down and pour into the jars, close the lid and the ring.
  • Makes 2 x 500 ml jam

Jars:

I washed the jars, rings, and lids in washing machine. Then placed in an oven at 220F for around 40 min in order to kind of sterilize

Verdict: It was somehow too sweet for me, so feel free to use less sugar, but otherwise, yummy :). I love the peels making a contrast with soft orange. I did not water or pressure canned it, so preserve it in the fridge and consume within weeks.

Bon Appetite!

 

 

 

 

 

spicy tofu and sour green beans

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I had heard somewhere about the spicy tofu and decided to give it a try today. It was well worth it; tofu had not ony a great texture but also a nutty falour. I improvised the sour green beans (sour because of the vinegar) and I am glad I have – they were interesting and surprisingly tasty 🙂

Enjoy!

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Recipe:

  1. slice up firm tofu (I used around 1 cup for this dish)
  2. coat them with the spice mix consisting of 1 part chili powder, 1 part turmeric, 1/5 part dry dill, and salt to taste
  3. fry both sides for 2-3 minutes in vegetable oil; set aside
  4. coarsely slice 1/2 onion and fry for 1-2 minutes in vegetable oil
  5. add 300 grms of green beans and add 1/2 cup of water – simmer for 5-10 min
  6. add 1/3 cup of vinegar and salt, simmer for an additional 2-3 min

Serve immediately

banana and hazelnut loaf

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While I love observing yeast and dough rise, collapse, and form bread, sometimes I am in love with the baking powder, too.

Why?

Because it gives quick results, like tea biscuits or fruit/nut loafs. After all, I am a lazy chef 🙂

I tried hazelnut and banana loaf today; totally improvised and totally worth it 🙂

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Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup hazelnut (dried and not crushed; you can replace it with walnut or other nuts/seeds)
  • 2 banana; thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbs baking powder
  • 1/4 cup butter; cut in small pieces
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp salt (optional; I kind of like the contrast sugar and salt make)
  • 1 cup 1% milk
  • 1 cup all purpose flour

 

Procedure:

  • Add sugar, banana, cinnamon, hazelnut, and salt in a bowl
  • In a separate bowl, whisk an egg; add the milk, butter, and flour and form a batter by mixing
  • Mix all together and pour in an oven dish brushed with vegetable oil
  • Bake at 375 F for 35 min
  • Do not forget to enjoy 🙂

green pepper and cheese puff

Here is an easy recipe,  especially for lazy chefs like myself 🙂

Succulent and soft inside. Green pepper made a great contrast with the soft texture of the dough. Try with spinach, zucchini, or other veggies.

Enjoy 🙂


Ingredients:

1 1/2 cup all purpose flour

1 cup skim milk

3 green peppers, thinly sliced

150 grms of cheese (I used Monterey Jack), grated

1/4 cup of salted butter, cut in small pieces

1 tbs of baking powder

1/2 tbs of salt

1/2 tbs of sugar

 

  1. Mix all ingredients in a bowl – do not over-mix (to help the baking powder do its job)
  2. Grease an oven pan (or place a piece of parchment paper in it)
  3. Pour down the mix in the dish
  4. Bake at pre-heated oven (400 F) for 35-40 min

 

 

red lentil soup

IMG_8270

Here is a delicious soup just perfect for the chilly fall and winter days.

1. Wash 250 grms of red lentil under cold water

2. Cut out a medium size onion and cook in olive oil (or sunflower oil depending on your choice)

3. Add the red lentil and cold water, boil and cook for 10 min (or longer if desired) until the lentil becomes fluffy and soft. Add salt

4. In a blender, mix the lentil-onion-water mix generously till it is consistent, put back in the pot

5. In a pan, heat up olive oil and put a table spoon of chili powder and let it bubble for a very short time to make sure the chili does not burn; take it off the stove.

6. Pour down the chili mix on top of the lentil soup, cook for an additional 1 minute

Bon appetite! 🙂

this soup can be served with lemon juice. For variety and more nutritious soup, while boiling the lentil, also add cut potatoes or rice.

“soft” meatball recipe

I enjoy meatball every once a while; either fried or cooked together with veggies as meal. There is also a meatball soup recipe that I will share later.

The fact that I am a lazy cook and do not enjoy cooking much, it is not surprising for me to end up with food that are okay but not necessarily tasty.

I have learnt a trick or two from my mom last summer. She provided the recipe and made me try it myself while she supervised me throughout the process. I must say the meatballs I have prepared, even though it was her recipe and she was there when I made them, did not turn out to be like hers :(. But I thought I would share it with you in case you would like to try them yourself.

I called them “soft” meatballs as they are softer than what I used to do. The trick is adding a generous amount of bread to the meatball mix.

here is my soft meatball recipe, not necessarily my mom’s (hers is something a lot better that I cannot possibly demonstrate 🙂 ). Moms rock!

For a pound of minced beef (medium is better as it contains some fat and preserves the smell and taste better. But if you are like me, you will opt for lean or extra lean minced beef, which is healthier);

  1. grate a small onion and one garlic and mix with the beef. Add a little pinch of black pepper, dried mint, and salt to your taste
  2. chop finely 1/2 bunch of parsley and add to the mix
  3. sprinkle 4-5 slices of stale bread with water (also works with fresh bread, but in this case make sure to use much less water; just enough to allow them crumble in your hands when you mush them. It is okay to be hard on the bread during this process; the idea is to make little pieces of them). Drain extra water by squeezing the bread between your hands. I think you can also use bread crumbs, but I have no idea how this one would turn out; so I am sticking up with bread.
  4. Add the crumbled bread to the beef, spice, and herb mix; add one egg and mix everything really well. Some people use food processor at this stage, but I am not in favor of it; it makes everything very fine..
  5. take approximately 30 grms of the mix (or a larger one – I like my meatballs small, much smaller than the burgers. You can adjust the size of the meatball as you please) and work on it with your hands to give a round and relatively thin shape
  6. freeze, deep fry, grill, or add to the meals as you please

Bone appetite! 🙂

PS: for variety, experiment with adding other spices (such as cumin; make sure to use a little amount as cumin has a strong taste that can override the other ingredients’ aroma) or adding 1 spoon of tomato paste; I had eaten the one with the paste which had a very nice color 🙂

limiting the food waste; first blanching and pickling adventure :)

Seeing veggies go bad in my fridge makes me sad. That usually is the case with the herbs, such as parsley and cilantro, which go bad quite easily. I am getting more and more warmer to the idea of frozen food.

In my recent visit to Athens, one of the things I have done was to check a grocery store (I love it – you can find out many different things, which is always a delight for me). I particularly remember how well the frozen veggie section was; okra, spinach, beans, and others; the veggies looked real and fresh. Nothing like what I do see in my store here; frozen, discoloured, and full of little pieces of ice.).

To take this at my hand and to start keeping my veggies fresh and un-wasted, I decided to look for info on the internet (for example, this site) and talked to my mom.

I tried dicing and freezing my onions in the freezer. That is great as I use onion a lot and sometimes buy more than I can consume. I am now checking my onions time to time to pick those which seems like going bad; I chopped them up and put in my freezer last week for the first time and used some for cooking this week – it works! :).

I also learned about blanching. I tried it today with carrots and zucchini. Honestly I do not think it will work with zucchini as it is a moist veggie, but I thought I would give it a try; it is better than wasting them. I am also very hopeful about the carrots.

This is the process I followed:

  1. wash, peel, and trim the ends of carrots
  2. cut in to pieces as you wish: I had cut them in rounds as well as vertically; the latter one I love in meat meals and the round ones can be used in soups or meals. I am also planning to try mashing them up later.
  3. Boil them in water for 2 minutes. I added a little bit of salt as they say it help with keeping the colour.
  4. Immediately take the veggies and place into ice-water until they become cold (2-4 minutes). This step is supposed to stop the cooking process. I think I needed more ice in my case. next time I will put less water and more ice. TIP: blanched carrots taste and smells so good; please give it a try 🙂 I ate a couple of them – it was irresistible 🙂
  5. drain well, place in freezer bags, remove the access liquid and all the air as much as you can, label with preparation date, and place into the freezer.
round or circle cut carrots :)
round or circle cut carrots 🙂
vertical cuts; great for meat meals :)
vertical cuts; great for meat meals 🙂
they are so nicely boiling :) the bubbles made me joyful :)
they are so nicely boiling 🙂 the bubbles made me joyful 🙂
I think I needed more ice :( well, next time :)
I think I needed more ice 😦 well, next time 🙂
look at the brighter color of these lovely carrots after blanching! :) I had read somewhere, exposure to heat does this to carrot and it is supposed to be good for our body :)
look at the brighter color of these lovely carrots after blanching! 🙂 I had read somewhere, exposure to heat does this to carrot and it is supposed to be good for our body 🙂
frezzer bags are ready and labeled (at the bottom; not shown here). I am not hopeful about the zucchini but let's see how it goes :)
frezzer bags are ready and labeled (at the bottom; not shown here). I am not hopeful about the zucchini but let’s see how it goes 🙂

I also got a recipe for cabbage pickle from mom; I do not think I did follow exactly as she said, but here it is:

  1. wash and dice the cabbage (I used half a head)
  2. peel and grate 5 – 6 garlic; mix with the cabbage
  3. add 1 table spoon of chili pepper and mix; I love my pickles hot but you can adjust it as you please
  4. place the mix in jars; fill 1/3 of the jars with vinegar (I used apple vinegar)
  5. in a bowl, mix 2 table spoon of salt, 1/2 table spoon of sugar, and water; mix well. I have a feeling that I needed more salt, but then I would not like too much of salt so I am not sure how this will go.
  6. add this mixture to the jar till it is filled. My mom recommended putting something on top as a “weight”, like a small plate or something, to keep the cabbages immersed in the liquid. I did not have anything that small so I could not, but if you have place it on top prior to closing the lit. Close the lit and set aside. My mom says they will be ready for consumption in a week 🙂
I am sure it will not taste like my mom's, but not bad for the first trial :)
I am sure it will not taste like my mom’s, but not bad for the first trial 🙂

I am so excited! Not bad for a girl who does not like to cook 🙂

I am determined to do whatever I can do eliminate food waste from my life – cannot wait to try others! 🙂

cheers

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