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Thursday, 28 July 2011

Potato Salad, Low Fat, With Mayonnaise

I love potato salad especially in the summer, but a table laid with cold meats & chicken drumsticks at any time of year, just isn't complete without it! There are a few variations you can do with the flavourings too, so all people can be satisfied. You can swap low fat Mayo & use the full fat kind if you are not watching your intake.
I am making this a lot at the moment as we are using potatoes we & friends are growing on our properties here in Bulgaria, nothing quite like freshly dug potatoes.
New Potatoes boiled in their skins ( you can off course peel them)
Low fat mayonnaise
2 tbsp Cider vinegar
1/2 - 1 tsp liquid sweetener or tsp2 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp English Mustard powder, OR Curry powder, OR leave out for Natural flavour
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Garlic powder
1/2 tsp Pepper
Minced onion (I leave this out)

Mix vinegar, sweetener, garlic powder, flavouring of choice, pepper, paprika & salt together. Once combined add onion if using & then add mayo, to your taste & stir well. Add to the potatoes coating well. You can thin with a little milk if it seems too thick for your taste.
Cover & refrigerate overnight to give the flavours time to combine.

Another variation is add 5 hard boiled, chopped eggs to the mixture. This is really nice & very tasty

Sunday, 24 July 2011

Marrow & Plum (no onion) Chutney

This is a really lovely chutney the mix of fruit with vegetable is lovely & it goes just as well with cheese as with ham in sandwiches & also with meat, salad & cheese board. A very versatile chutney.
My chutneys are without onion through an allergy but obviously if you are ok then please add a large onion instead of the garlic
Made with red plums but also can be made with the big purple plums, these are even fruitier.
2 Heads of garlic
1 1/2 kilo Plums
1 1/2 kilo Marrow de-seeded & chopped, remove peel if this is tough
1 litre Vinegar
1 tbsp Ginger
1 tsp Nutmeg
2 tsp Allspice
2 tsp Cinnamon
2 tsp Salt
1 kilo Sugar
Peel & de seed marrow chop small. Crush & chop garlic. Put plums into pan with little water & gently heat to release stones. Remove with a skimmer spoon. Add Garlic & Marrow to pan & stir. Add spices & salt & stir well then add vinegar, stir & bring to boil. Simmer till soft then stir in sugar till it is dissolved.
Cook till chutney is thick & you leave a channel behind as you draw a spoon through it. Pour into pre sterilised jars & seal.
Store for three months to mature the tastes. Will keep for over a year.

Old Fashioned White Plum & Cinnamon Jam

Well lots of plums this year so lots of plummy stuff :-) We have a white plum tree which is delectable, sweet & juicy. Gorgeous to eat off the tree but also makes a wonderful jam to be enjoyed through out the year. The white plums adorn lots of tree's around our village, so we will be scrumping more soon but these are the last fruit from our tree.
So a good recipe for white plum jam, easy & very tasty. Can use red plums too, they like cinnamon .
1kilo or more White Plums
1 kilo or more sugar (use the same weight in sugar as the fruit)
A little water
2 tsp Cinnamon
Put the plums in a large pan with a little water & simmer slowly till they release their stones. Skim out the stones & stir in the sugar. Stir till sugar is dissolved & then add the cinnamon. Boil rapidly for about 10 - 14 mins until jam has set. test on frozen plate. If not yet set then put plate back in the freezer & keep checking every couple of mins.
Easy peasy jam :-) no pectin just an old fashioned method

Marrow, Ginger & Lemon Jam

Mmmmmm I am always up for making different flavour jams. As I am growing Marrows this year & use them in chutneys I was wondering what else I could try out. Here is my first experiment. I looked up differing recipes & adjusted them slightly but its a very simple recipe & makes a very moorish jam, lovely on some fresh baked bread!
3 lb Marrow peeled de seeded & chopped small
3 lb Sugar
1 Lemon, juice & peel
2" piece of fresh root Ginger peeled & grated

Put the peeled & chopped marrow in a large pan with 1 lb of sugar. Cover & leave overnight.
Stir the now watery mixture & add rest of sugar. Bring to the boil then simmer on a slow roll for 1 hour. Don't forget to stir frequently!
Add the ginger, lemon juice & peeled & finely cut rind to the pan, stir & continue to boil till jam reaches setting point, test using the frozen dish method. Pour into 2 x 1lb sterilised jars & seal.

Coleslaw (Low Fat)

BBQ season is the best time of year to have parties. I especially love the garden party, formal & informal gatherings, of friends & if family are here too then I am in heaven!
I love coleslaw at any time but it is the best salad to have on a table & goes with all grilled meat.This recipe is light & fresh. I make this with low fat Mayonnaise but you can use the full fat variety if you wish
The measurements are dependant on how many servings you want, add or subtract as needed for vegetables keep the sauce amounts the same add more of individual ingredients to taste!

1/2 -1 cabbage
4 - 8 Carrots
Bunch spring onions
Low fat or fat free mayonnaise, amount according to your liking
2 tbsp Cider vinegar
2 tbsp Dijon mustard or grainy mustard
1/2 tsp liquid sweetener or 2 tsp Sugar add more if necessary
1/2 cup plain very low fat yoghurt, full fat if wished.
2 tsp Lemon juice
Salt & Pepper
Tomato ketchup can also be added, why not split into two bowls one with ketchup & one without ;-)

Shred cabbage, carrot & chop onion. Mix together in a large bowl.
In a separate bowl mix together yoghurt, mustard & vinegar.
Stir well.
Add salt, pepper, lemon & sweetener.
Stir all ingredients together really well then add mayonnaise& make sure
At this point you can add the tomato ketchup.
Pour mixture over the vegetables & work it through so all the veg is covered.
It can be thinned with a little milk if necessary.
Now store covered, in the fridge over night, for the flavours to meld. It can be eaten the same day if time is short.

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Low fat Vegatable Frittata

I use seasonal vegetables for this quick & filling meal. Its great at the end of a busy or very hot day & can be served with minted new potatoes, potato salad or a refreshing Shopska salad & some lovely fresh bread "-)
The above is made with Courgette mint & tomato

I use fry light instead of oil
8 eggs lightly beaten
Chopped Spring onions
1 large Courgette or small Marrow
Salt & pepper
1 tbsp chopped fresh mint use dried if fresh is not available
1 tbsp fresh Parsley or 1 tsp Parsley dried
2 large Tomatoes sliced
You can use Peppers, mushrooms & add garlic use your imagination but keep it simple :-)
Spray pan with fry light or lightly oil
Fry the onions & courgette over a high heat stir for 8 mins till lightly browned & tender.
Lightly beat eggs & add the mint, parsly, salt & pepper.
Pour mixture over the vegetables & cover.
Cook on a low heat for 15 mins then put uncovered under a medium grill for 5 mins till set & lightly browned
Easy, quick & filling.

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Visinata Traditional Romanian Cherry Brandy

Visinata is a traditional Romanian brandy & a joy to make. I got very excited as I was fermenting it & now look forward to decanting it & off course tasting it.

1lb Cherries
8oz Sugar
1 bottle of Vodka

Put the washed cherries into a large jug or pot, preferable one with a lid. Do NOT remove the stones.
Add the sugar & stir through the cherries, very well, making sure they are all coated. Cover jug/pot with muslin cloth & lid, if the lid has a small hole, if not just the cloth but put elastic band round to give a seal.
Stir the fermenting mixture twice a day for two weeks making sure all cherries are coated. You will end up with lots of liquid in the pot.
After the two weeks add the bottle of vodka, or more if you have it. Stir well. Seal the lid I used electrical tape to seal the hole & sides of the lid. Now macerate for 3 months. Strain the liquid through a muslin cloth intop sterile bottle's.
Use the cherries in chocolates after, Mmmm

Plum, Apple & Cinnamon Jam

It's now plum season & we are picking 2.5kilo's a day, every day,  from our tree's & its difficult to keep up with preserving them. I have been making lots of plum jam but as they keep coming I decided to try something different. This is a really lovely preserve with a nice aroma as well as being very tasty.
750g sml Plums
750g Eating Apples peeled, cored & chopped
1tsp Cinnamon or more to taste
450 ml Water
1.5 kg Sugar
Put whole plums & chopped apples in a large pan with the water. Heat till plums go soft & release their stones easily, when pressed against the side of the pan. Use a skimmer to take out the stones. Add sugar ^& stir to dissolve. Bring to a rapid boil stirring frequently to stop jam from catching. Boil like this until the jam has reached setting point. Check this by putting a plate in the freezer & putting a tsp of jam on it, leave for a min & if the jam wrinkles then setting point is reached. Jam won't be fully set until it has cooled right down.
Have 3 x 1lb jars already sterilised & fill.  Secure lids & as it cools down the lids should pop.

Friday, 8 July 2011

Cherry Brandy Recipe

We make our own Rakia (Bulgarian Brandy) here every year. I now have three seasons maturing away & have been reliably informed by both Bulgarian & English that it is Mnogo Dobre, very good :D This makes me very happy but it really is in the maturing! We have a very good Grape Rakia from 2009 & close behind is good Apple & Grape Rakia from October 2010. These come out when we entertain & I am building the collection, but with gallons of Grape 2011 & the next lot of grapes growing I felt I should be divewrsifying our cellar :)

So here are some recipes made with the less matured Rakia. They wont be ready for three months & then I may mature them for longer, unless off course our friends decide to drink us dry :D
You can off course use plain old shop bought rubbish ;-D ;-D ;-D
1lb Cherries washed
3oz Sugar per large jar
1/4 pint ish Rakia or Brandy or to top of jar
1lb sterilised airtight jar
Keep the pips in the cherries & place them in the jar, pour over the sugar & top with Rakia or Brandy.
Gently shake the jar to dissolve the sugar. Gently shake or roll if possible once or twice a day for two weeks making sure the sugar mixes well & eventually dissolves completely. You don't want a layer of sugar on the bottom of the jar! Leave to steep for 3 months then decant into sterillised bottles & use the fruit as you wish, on ice cream in cakes you can even make chocolates with them ;D

Strawberry Liquer

We make our own Rakia (Bulgarian Brandy) here every year. I now have three seasons maturing away & have been reliably informed by both Bulgarian & English that it is Mnogo Dobre, very good :D This makes me very happy but it really is in the maturing! We have a very good Grape Rakia from 2009 & close behind is good Apple & Grape Rakia from October 2010. These come out when we entertain & I am building the collection, but with gallons of Grape 2011 & the next lot of grapes growing I felt I should be diversifying our cellar :)
So here are some recipes made with the less matured Rakia. They won't be ready for three months & then I may mature them for longer, unless off course our friends decide to drink us dry :D
You can off course use plain old shop bought rubbish ;-D ;-D ;-D Oh & you can substitute Vodka for this one
8oz Strawberries washed culled & cut into half
8oz Sugar per large jar
Rakia, Brandy or Vodka to fill jar
1lb sterilised airtight jar
Fill the jar with the strawberries add the sugar& top up with the alcohol. Seal the jar then shake gently to dissolve the sugar but try not to bruise the fruit.
Store in a cool place & use a rolling motion to mix the fruit & alcohol every day for two weeks.
Then store for 3 months. Decant into sterilised bottles & use the fruit in cooking or as a dessert, I shall be making ice cream just for this ;D

Elderflower and Lemon Cordial

A beautiful summer drink to be diluted with water, so it will last. Tall glass, diluted cordial, sprig of mint and ice cubes, Mmmmmmmmm

20 Elderflower heads
Juice of 6 lemons
1.5kg Sugar
1.2ltr (2.5 pints) Boiling water

In a large bowl (I used a bucket) put the elder flowers squeeze the juice of all the lemons, add the grated rind if you like. I added the rind it gives a lovely zing. Mix in the sugar.
Pour over the boiling water, stir till the sugar has dissolved. Skim of scum if needs be, and cover with a clean cloth.
Stir the mixture twice a day for five days.
Strain the mixture through a muslin cloth, (be careful not to spill it as its very sticky), into sterilised bottles and refrigerate. You can freeze it in plastic bottles too.
Dilute with water, add ice cubes a slice of lemon and a sprig of mint. Enjoy, on hot summer days there is nothing quite like it to quench the thirst!

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Lemon Drizzle Muffins

A nice refreshing muffin for summer, something a bit different & just as popular as the fruit ones.
250g Plain flour
100g Sugar
3 tsp Baking powder
Grated zest 1 lemon
1/2 tsp Salt
180 ml Milk
80 ml Veg oil
1 Egg

Juice 1 Lemon
2 oz Sugar
Heat oven to 200c (180c fan)
Mix together well flour, baking powder, sugar, salt & zest. In a seperate bowl mix milk, oil & egg.
Add the flour mix into milk & fold till flour just moistened.
Spoon into cases & bake for 20 - 25 mins till risen & golden.
Cool on a wire rack
While muffins are cooling make drizzle
Mix juice into sugar & heat till sugar is dissolved. Poke holes into cooled muffins & spoon drizzle over.
Store for 24 hours in airtight container so muffins can develop their texture & flavour.

Fresh Cherry Muffins

Its cherry season here & one of the wonders of fresh cherries, apart from eating them by the handful, is what lovelies we can make with them.
These muffins are gorgeous but please make them a day before you want to eat them as they get their muffiny texture & the flavours come out better. So no cheating (Libby) or you will miss out big time :D

225g Plain flour
3 tsp Baking powder
100g Sugar
75g Margarine
225ml Butter milk (milk mixed with lemon juice)
4oz Cherries washed stalks & pips removed & quartered
1tsp Vanilla essence or sachet (Bulgaria)
12 muffin cases
Heat oven to 200c
Cream sugar & margarine together. Add the flour & baking powder, dont beat it. Add vanilla, stir then add milk, fold in to just moisten Fold in the cheries & spoon imediately into the muffin cases
Bake for 20-25 mins till risen & golden. cool on wire rack then store in airtight container for 24 hours.