Category Archives: preserves

Syros – Herb Central

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Walking around Syros is like tramping through a herb garden. We have been exploring the island, driving to the north of island as far as the road goes and then heading off on foot. It’s not only beautiful but smells delicious too. We’re sure all the goats that graze are self marinating!.

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There are swathes of thyme, rosemary, fennel and sage and carpets of camomile with lots of bees buzzing happily about their business. There are plenty of hives dotted around the countryside and the honey is delicious.

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The paths lead down to hidden beaches, it can a bit of a clamber but the destination makes it worth it.Lots of hidden coves that are deserted and clean blue sea. The sea is cold. Too cold for me to enjoy swimming but I keep trying!

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Capers are growing on the rocks. This is all news to me – I have to admit I had never considered where capers did grow, but there you go – little bushes sprout out of craggy rocks with capers on the end of the branches and very funky flowers. Apparently June is the real caper picking and pickling season but they are beginning now. No wonder so many dishes are served with capers here.

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We had delicious basil and caper pesto the other day, drizzled over goats cheese.
Very simple and very delicious. It’s certainly worth a try and I’d say it’s equally delicious served with fish.
Here’s the recipe

Basil and Caper Pesto

1 cup basil
1 cup parsley
zest and juice of 1 lemon
1tsp Dijon mustard
2dsp capers
approx 150mls olive oil

Put everything except the olive oil into a food processor or blender and buzz to a paste then drizzle in the olive oil. Don’t add salt , the capers are salty enough

Eat with whatever you fancy – cheese, pasta, fish……


Breakfast Gold

Homemade marmalade is so delicious that even though each time I make it I say ‘ never again’ , come the next year somehow I don’t resist the temptation to buy Seville oranges. Especially when they are on special offer. I was passing by Urru in Bandon where, just beside the door, was HALF PRICE Seville oranges. Before I knew what was happening I had bought the lot. Five kilos.

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Each year the epic chore of marmalade production seems to hit some kind of memory lapse. Maybe the hard work ¬†entailed to achieve the result’s a bit like having a baby. The results are so magnificent the human brain conveniently bypasses the agonies involved in bringing this wonder into the world. My daughter says it’s obviously a long time since i had a baby!!

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But I have to say five kilos was bit excessive. I spent two and half hours juicing, scraping out all the pith and pips and then finely slicing the orange peel.

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And I only did half. Two and a half kilos of juiced , pithed and sliced seville orange peel lolling around in my kitchen in a bath of juice and water. The pith and pips have been parcelled up in a piece of muslin and are marinating overnight together withe the peel to encourage the relase of the pectin.

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Fingers crossed tomorrow I just have to hop up, cook the peel then boil the lot up with some sugar to make marmalade.

Meanwhile it’s relaxing on the kitchen counter.

And there are another two and half kiosk looking for attention or a good home!!

 

 


Bottled Sunshine

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Our grandson has discovered the raspberries.He grazes his way around the plants everyday looking for the ripe ones, it’s become part of his daily routine. At least it’s not the birds this year. I enjoy hanging out with him and his enthusiasm is infectious. We usually end up about fifty fifty which means I have a cupful and he has a bellyful.

I’ve been taking my cache down to the kitchen and putting them into bottle of white wine vinegar. At this stage I’ve just about filled bottle no 2 and they look and smell delicious.

It’s the simplest thing to do – just get bottle of white wine vinegar and post the raspberries in, leave to macerate on the windowsill for two weeks giving the bottle the odd shake.

After two weeks strain the vinegar through a sieve lined with muslin or a piece of clean j cloth and bottle up into clean sterilised bottles and you’ll have a supply of bottled sunshine for your winter salads.