Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Homemade Water Biscuits, Cheap and wonderfully moreish

These are a tasty treat for the lunchbox, and easily made with very little expense.  The only fiddle is rolling out and cutting, but that is easily done quickly.

In a bowl put 1.5c of flour, rub in 50-100g butter (depending on how "short" you like them), and add enough cold water to make a soft dough.

Roll our super thin, wafer thin.

Brush with a little oil  and shake on some salt or other flavours, then cut into shapes and bake in a hot oven(180-200C) for about 10mins till browned slightly.

Flavours:  salt, chickenstock, beefstock, dried herbs, dried onion.

They stay crispy in an airtight container, but I really love them hot from the oven.

Great spread with homemade pate.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Dryer Balls!!

(Not what they sound like LOL)

These are little patchwork or woollen balls that you put in with your washing in the dryer.  They help the washing "move around" inside the dryer, causing the air to circulate better and hence a shorter drying time = less money spent on electricity.  A bit like how you put an old sandshoe in when drying sleeping bag to keep the loft in the feathers.

Now, I know what you are going to say about dryers...we shouldn't use them!  and I do try not to.  But sometime when the weather is conspiring against you and the washing just won't dry any other way, I resort to it.  My dryer is actually a fairly recent addition to our household.  We have had it about a year, I really wish I had it when we lived in Cromwell cos there in the winter it was so hard to get washing dry that I used our local laundromat in desperation.

However, I have made  some more "dryer balls" and a pix will come soon of these cuties.

(pop about 4 in the dryer with your washing)

Thursday, February 9, 2012

25 Jars of Apricot Jam + Recipe

Mark and I made jam last night....24 Jars of it!  What a wonderful thing it looks on the bench, one for every fortnight of the year.   Glorious, fragrant, thick, soft and sweet, on scones, toast and more.

Apricot Jam

(We made 5.5kg of fruit)

Weigh the fruit, and for each kg use 1c water.  Weigh out an equal weight of sugar.

Stone the fruit first, just by splitting them in half and picking out the stone.  There is  no need to chop the fruit up, it mashes down somehow during cooking.
Add the fruit and water to a large pan and S L O W E L Y heat to pulp the fruit.  This can be a bit tricky not to burn the fruit at this stage, if you try to rush you may be disappointed.  So take your time and stir well and often.

Meanwhile wash your jars, and put into the oven at 100C to steralise.
When the fruit has pulped, add all the sugar and bring as quickly to the boil as you can.  You want a good rolling boil.

Don't worry about the froth, we will take care of that shortly.  Test for "setting point".  After about 10 mins, put a small spoonful onto a plate.  Pop into the fridge and let the piece of jam cool.  Then push it with your finger, if the top of the puddle wrinkles where you push it, you are ready!  If you were worried about not being able to get it to set easily, you can buy Jam Setting stuff which is Citric Acid and Pectin, but you can also add the juice of a lemon or two to the same effect.  Generally Apricot jam is pretty easy to do without added extras, but no worries if you want to err on the safe side.
(In this pix the jam is not quite done yet, just showing the technique)
Once you have reached setting point, skim off the froth, and stir in a teaspoon sized piece of butter afterwards to remove any remaining scum.
Then leave it to cool for 10-15mins, mainly so you don't burn yourself!

Pop the hot jars onto a cloth or board (so they don't crack with meeting a cold object) and ladle in the jam up to about 1/2cm from the top.  I use cellophane covers, which you wet then secure over the jar.  As the jam cools it creates a vacuum, to prevent any mould forming.

Label your jars then admire, then eat!