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Daily Archives: April 28, 2013

Hugh Fearnley-Whitingstall’s Vanilla Fudge

A fantastic, easy and virtually full-proof recipe!

Ingredients

300 gms caster sugar

1 tbsp golden syrup

100 gms unsalted butter

100 mls double cream

1 tsp vanilla extract or paste

Method

Using a few drops of sunflower oil on a piece of kitchen paper, lightly oil a 15x22cm baking dish, or similar small dish.

Put the sugar, syrup, butter and cream in a saucepan, making sure it’s not more than a third full as the mixture will bubble when it boils. Heat gently, stirring all the time, until the sugar has completely dissolved – tip the pan to make sure there are no crystal still visible on the base.

Stop stirring. Put a sugar thermometer in the pan and turn up the heat. Let the mixture boil hard until it reaches 116 degrees C (soft ball stage). This may happen quite fast or could take up to 15 minutes or more, so keep a sharp eye on the thermometer.  I found that the fudge reached that temperature in under 10 minutes.

Take the pan off the heat and leave to stand for 10 minutes.

Add the vanilla and beat vigorously until the mixture thickens, becomes slightly grainy and starts to come away from the base of the pan. This can take up to 10 minutes. Again, I found that the mixture took only a couple of minutes to get to this stage.

Tip into the prepared dish, smooth and leave to cool.

Mark into squares with a sharp knife while it’s still slightly soft. Leave for 2 to 4 hours to firm up completely and then remove from the dish.

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Autumn Jams

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I love making jams and marmalade at any time of the year. April in Sydney is that in-between season, when you’ve made all your berry jams and before the start of marmalade making.
I found some late season, beautiful little plums at the Orange Grove markets. Also some organic pink lady apples, and some quinces, which inspired me to make some autumn jams.
So I came up with Plum and Apple Jam, Plum Raisin and Vanilla Jam and Quince Marmalade. I have adapted some recipes from the wonderful book Jams, Jellies and Marmalades by Margaret O’Sullivan, which has been my jam-making bible for many years.

Plum and Apple Jam
Ingredients
I kg plums
1kg apples
1 cup water
Pinch of salt
Juice of a lemon
2 kgs sugar (or a little less)

Method
Halve the plums and remove the stones. Peel and core the apples and chop.
Put the fruit into the preserving pan (large saucepan) with the water and salt.
Bring to the boil and simmer for 15 minutes OR until soft. (The plums will disintegrate quite quickly).
Add the lemon juice, then slowly add the sugar, stirring to dissolve.
Boil rapidly until setting point is reached, approximately 20 minutes.
Test for a set by placing a little jam on a saucer in the freezer for five minutes. The surface should be set and wrinkle when pushed with a finger. If the jam is not set, return the pan to the heat and cook for a further few minutes until setting point is reached.
When setting point is reached, skim, and pour into sterilized jars.

Plum Raisin and Vanilla Jam
Ingredients
500 gms plums
Sugar
Juice of a lemon
100 gms raisins
Vanilla bean

Method
Chop the plums and remove the stones. Measure the fruit and add sugar equal to 3/4 of the amount.
Put into a preserving pan and cook slowly for about 20-30 minutes, stirring frequently, until setting point is reached (see Method for Plum and Apple Jam).
Stir in the lemon juice and raisins. Pour into sterilized jars, and then carefully place a section of vanilla bean (opened to release the seeds) into each jar of jam.

Quince Marmalade
Ingredients
2-3 quinces (whatever you can fit in your preserving pan).
Water
Sugar

Method
Put the quinces into a preserving pan with enough boiling water to cover and parboil so that the skin will come off easily.
Peel, core and chop the quinces, then weigh them.
Return the quinces to the preserving pan with the water used to parboil. Remove any excess water (the water should just cover the quinces).
Bring to the boil and simmer for 20 minutes. Add sugar equaling 1/2 the weight of the quinces.
Simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. When the quince mixture starts to turn red, mash with a potato masher, getting rid of any big lumps.
Spoon into sterilized jars.

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