Apple Bread Loaf

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Apple Bread Loaf is so easy to make, makes 2 standard loaves (so you have one to freeze),  is nice and moist, and is great for lunch boxes, picnics, and quick snacks or morning teas.   I have included an easy way to make the apple puree required, too.

Apple Bread Loaf - 2 loaves from one recipe, fresh from the oven

Apple Bread Loaf – two loaves from one recipe, fresh from the oven.

Apple Bread Loaf - one to eat now, one to freeze, all from one recipe!

Apple Bread Loaf – one to eat now, one to freeze, all from one recipe!

Apple Bread Loaf (makes 2)
Author: 
Recipe type: baking, picnics, vegetarian, breads
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2 loaves
 
Apple Bread Loaf is so easy to make, makes 2 standard loaves (so you have one to freeze), is nice and moist, and is great for lunch boxes, picnics, and quick snacks or morning teas. A brilliantly useful recipe.
Ingredients
  • 3 cups plain flour,
  • 1¼ teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda,
  • 2 teaspoons mixed spice
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 2 cups pureed unsweetened apple (home stewed is fine)***
  • 1½ cups sugar
  • 175g (6oz) butter (VERY soft)
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla essence
  • 3 eggs (lightly beaten).
Method
  1. Sift flour, baking soda, baking powder & spices.
  2. Mix the apple, sugar, butter & vanilla essence together in a bowl.
  3. Add eggs.
  4. Add dry ingredients to apple mixture & mix well.
  5. Pour into 2 greased loaf tins.
  6. Bake at 160 degrees C (325 degrees F) for about 45 - 50 mins.
  7. Leave to cool in tins for about 10 minutes before turning out of tins....
  8. When cool, one loaf can be frozen, if desired.

*** Autumn’s Culinary Tip:  This is how I prepare the Apple Puree.   I peel, core, and roughly chop 6 large Granny Smith apples into the food processor, and wiz them quite fine.  I tip them into a large pyrex microwave jug, and rinse the processor bowl out with 1/3 cup of water, and add that to the jug.  I nuke the apple mix in 2 x 5 minutes sessions on high, stirring halfway through, then give another 2-3 minute blast.  Cool.  This produces approximately 4 cups of good unsweetened apple puree that isn’t too moist.  I put 2 cups into a ziplock freezer bag to freeze for next time, and use the remaining 2 cups for the Apple Bread this time – a little over or under isn’t going to make a major difference, and you can adjust between the 2 amounts.

While I am a HUGE believer in cutting down on work by making a double mix and freezing it (as here, with the apple pulp and even with the 2 loaves the Apple Bread recipe itself produces), I also strongly recommend LABELING what you package, in three ways:

1 – the actual contents (here – APPLE PULP, unsweetened)

2 – the amount (in this case – 2 cups)

3 – the date frozen (the actual date)

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BLACKBREAD Loaf – traditional Irish fruit loaf

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Blackbread Loaf is a traditional Irish fruit loaf, and easily prepared – you start it the night before baking, by soaking the fruit!  This Blackbread Loaf recipe has been a favorite family staple for over 40 years now – you can use any fruit, even vary it by using a cup of coffee instead of tea to soak the fruit in.  Note:  there is no butter or oil in this recipe, so best used within a few days.

It’s great for lunch boxes and for picnics.

Blackbread Loaf - a traditional Irish fruit loaf that's so easy to mix and bake.

Blackbread Loaf – a traditional Irish fruit loaf that’s so easy to mix and bake.

 

BLACKBREAD Loaf - traditional Irish fruit loaf
Author: 
Recipe type: baking, picnic, vegetarian, breads
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: varies
 
Blackbread Loaf is a traditional Irish fruit loaf that is easy to mix, cuts well, and is ideal for lunch boxes. Prepare the fruit overnight, and it's a quick mix the next day.
Ingredients
  • 500 gms (14 oz – although I just use 2 cups!) mixed "sticky" raisins, sultanas, and currants - whatever you have
  • 1 cup cold strained tea
  • 1 cup brown sugar – pressed into cup
  • 2 cups self raising flour
  • 1 egg (beaten)
Method
  1. Make and cool one cup of tea.
  2. Combine with fruit and brown sugar in bowl, leave to soak overnight.
  3. Next day, pre-heat oven to 180 C (350 F).
  4. Add beaten egg and flour to fruit mixture, mix lightly.
  5. Pour into well greased or non-stick 20cm x 10cm x 8cm loaf tin.
  6. Bake for 50 minutes -1 hour at 180 C (350 F) or less - depends on your oven..
  7. Leave in tin 10 minutes, then turn out onto rack and cover with cloth to cool.
  8. Serve sliced and buttered.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Persimmon Marmalade

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Not sweet, not sour, this Persimmon Marmalade is not a traditional marmalade, but does have a most wonderful citrus marmalade flavour. Delicious with a hot crusty croissant – or on toast, muffin, pancake or scone.  I mean, why stint yourself?

Persimmon"Marmalade" - not a traditional recipe, but a wonderful citrusy flavour!

Persimmon Marmalade – not a traditional recipe, but a wonderful citrusy flavour!

Modern seedless Persimmon fruit

Modern seedless Persimmon fruit

persimmon marmalade - the citrus mix all cut and ready for the pot

persimmon marmalade – the citrus mix all cut and ready for the pot

persimmon marmalade - persimmon and citrus about to simmer

persimmon marmalade – persimmon and citrus about to simmer

 

Persimmon Marmalade
Author: 
Recipe type: Preserves, jam
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: varies
 
Not sweet, not sour, this Persimmon Marmalade is not a traditional marmalade, but does have a most wonderful citrus marmalade flavour. Delicious with a hot crusty croissant – or on toast, muffin, pancake or scone. I mean, why stint yourself?
Ingredients
  • 700 g (approx 1 lb 7½ oz) thin -skinned oranges
  • 300 g (approx 10 oz) limes (or lemons)
  • 1 kg (2.2 lb) ripe but firm persimmons
  • 6 cups water (1 ½ litres)
  • 4 cups sugar
Method
  1. Wash all the fruit but don’t peel.
  2. Slice the oranges and limes or lemons thinly then into small (4mm) pieces. It’s important only that the skins of the citrus are not too chunky. I used a pair of scissors I keep for kitchen use to cut up the fine slices into little chnks.
  3. Chop the persimmons roughly then pulse in a processor until chopped but not pureed – it should look coarsely grated.
  4. Place all ingredients in a large heavy bottomed pot and bring to simmer point over a medium-high heat.
  5. Simmer for 1 ½ - 2 hours or until the mixture is reduced by about half and has thickened to a jam-like consistency.
  6. Remove from heat, bottle and seal.

As an aside, with a giggle, from Autumn:

The kitchen smelled divine throughout the entire process!  Wonderful citrus-y odours from the start of slicing and zesting, through to the bottling.

The really funny thing is – I tried this recipe as I was going to re-try an old recipe for Marmalade Cake, and found I was out of marmalade…….

Well, guess what!  I nearly am again!  Friends have tasted it, and each has taken off with a bottle or so, from the two batches I made……   And breakfast toast just isn’t going to be the same, once this batch runs out!

What a pity the persimmon season is so short!

Bookmark this recipe for next season, for sure!

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PERSIMMON JAM

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This PERSIMMON JAM recipe makes great use of a small amount of this luscious fruit that has a relatively short season.  It is a lovely exotic flavour, with a great texture, and a real change from the usual fruit and berry jams.

The new types of persimmons are mostly seedless, and beautifully fleshy fruits, but you can still make this delightful jam with the old- fashioned type, too – I’ve tested it on both.  The yield is small (3-6 jars, depending on the size of yours!), but is well worth the effort!

Persimmon Jam - a delicious, exotic, easy-to-make treat.

Persimmon Jam – a delicious, exotic, easy-to-make treat.

Modern seedless Persimmon fruit

Modern seedless Persimmon fruit

PERSIMMON JAM
Author: 
Recipe type: Preserves, jams
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: varies
 
This PERSIMMON JAM recipe uses a small amount of fruit, has a lovely exotic flavour, with a great texture, and a real change from the usual fruit and berry jams. The yield is small (3-6 jars, depending on the size of yours!), but is well worth the effort!
Ingredients
  • 5 largish persimmons – peeled and chopped into dice
  • 1 ½ cups sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 Tablespoon grated lemon zest
  • 1 ½ Tablespoon lemon juice
Method
  1. Add the peeled and chopped fruit to a very heavy-based pot and add the sugar and vanilla.
  2. Leave to stand for about 5 minutes, to allow juices to run a little.
  3. Put the pot onto a high heat and stir constantly until thickened and jam-like – about 25 to 30 minutes.
  4. Add the lemon zest, cook about 3 minutes longer (still stirring constantly) to allow the zest to turn clear.
  5. Now add the lemon juice, stir thoroughly, then remove from heat and pour into pre-sterilised jars and seal.

I have an equally delicious PERSIMMON MARMALADE, which also uses a small amount of fruit, that is worth a try, too

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Grenada Nutmeg Cake

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The Grenada Nutmeg Cake is an unusual cake prepared in 2 stages – the base, and then the batter poured over.  The magic of amalgamation of crust and sponge happens during cooking!  It’s nice to have a cake that doesn’t require icing, too!  It’s not too fragile to take on a picnic, either.  It also makes a great dessert with cream, custard or ice cream.

I prefer to use a 25 cm cake pan for this recipe, to make a cake about 5 cm (2″) tall – the more traditional, flatter, teacake shape. It usually takes just 25 minutes at the most to bake, this size.

Grenada Nutmeg Cake - a wonderful teacake that needs no icing

Grenada Nutmeg Cake – a wonderful teacake that needs no icing

Grenada Nutmeg Cake
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert, cakes, baking, picnic
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12-16
 
The Grenada Nutmeg Cake is an unusual cake prepared in 2 stages – the base, and then the batter poured over. The magic of amalgamation of crust and sponge happens during cooking! It’s nice to have a cake that doesn’t require icing, too!
Ingredients
  • 2 whole nutmegs, grated
  • 1 ½ cups wholemeal flour
  • 1 ½ cups brown sugar
  • 150g butter
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon mixed spice
  • ½ cup walnuts, chopped
  • Optional: 25-50 gms dark chocolate, grated
Method
  1. Preheat oven to 170C (333 Degrees F).
  2. Grease and line a 20-25cm spring cake tin.
  3. Grate 2 whole nutmegs.
  4. In a bowl mix the flour and sugar together, and rub in the butter to resemble bread crumbs.
  5. Divide mixture into two.
  6. Put half the flour, sugar, and butter mixture into the cake tin.
  7. Mix the egg, baking powder, mixed spice and nutmeg into the other half of the mixture.
  8. Pour over the bottom layer.
  9. Sprinkle with walnuts. (I sometimes add some grated 70% dark chocolate under the walnuts, too – shhhh!)
  10. Bake for 25-30 minutes (depends on size of tin and depth of batter).
  11. Serve warm with whipped cream as a dessert, or cold for a teacake.

 

 

 

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Aubergine and Leek Turkish-Style

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If you are seeking “something different” for a vegetarian dish, or as a side for a main, I recommend giving this dish of Aubergine and Leek Turkish-Style a try!  The aroma is divine, it’s rich and deliciously exotic.  A wonderful mix of savoury with a touch of sweetness (from the currants) that goes beautifully with grilled chicken or fish.  I prefer it served hot, but it’s also nice as a salad (in which case, add an extra drizzle of olive oil and balsamic vinegar to your taste).

Aubergine and Leeks Turkish-style - cut and ready to cook

Aubergine and Leeks Turkish-style – cut and ready to cook

Aubergine and Leeks Turkish-style - ready to cook in heavy pot

Aubergine and Leeks Turkish-style – ready to cook in heavy pot

Aubergine and Leeks Turkish-style - the perfect side dish for chicken or fish

Aubergine and Leeks Turkish-style – the perfect side dish for chicken or fish

Aubergine and Leek Turkish-Style
Author: 
Recipe type: vegetarian, salad, main
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4-6
 
“something different” for a vegetarian dish, or as a side for a main, I recommend giving this dish of Aubergine and Leek Turkish-Style a try! The aroma is divine, it’s rich and deliciously exotic. A divine mix of savoury with a touch of sweetness (from the currants) that goes beautifully with grilled chicken or fish.
Ingredients
  • 125 ml good quality extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large leek (or 2 small) thickly sliced, green parts as well as white
  • 1 large eggplant in 2 - 3 cm chunks, skin on
  • ½ cup currants
  • ½ cup black olives
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 tablespoon fresh finely chopped mint (or a teaspoon of dried mint).
  • A few tablespoons of water, if and as needed.
  • To serve:
  • 1 tablespoon fresh finely chopped mint
  • 1 tablespoon fresh finely chopped parsley
  • A little extra top quality olive oil
Method
  1. Heat oil in a large wide heavy pan (or casserole) with a lid.
  2. Combine all ingredients except serving herbs, and add to pan, combine.
  3. Cover and cook over a low heat for about an hour or until vegetables are very tender.
  4. Check liquid occasionally and add a little water if necessary.
  5. The mixture when cooked should be luscious but not too wet.
  6. Add chopped parsley and mint, and a drizzle of finest olive oil, just before serving.
  7. Serve Aubergine and Leek Turkish-Style with grilled chicken or fish (if non-vegetarian) and a Greek Salad and mint/yoghurt Tzatziki) dressing, or other salad.
  8. Aubergine and Leek Turkish-Style is also nice reheated next day, or served cold, as a salad, with a drizzle of olive oil and balsamic vinegar to your taste

 

 

 

 

 

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SMOKED SALMON CHICKPEA PATTIES

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Smoked Salmon Chickpea Patties

These very simple-to-make and very tasty Smoked Salmon Chickpea Patties are gluten-free, healthy, and delicious!  Mash any leftovers onto a good sourdough or ciabatta bread and add some chopped tomato, shredded lettuce and aioli for a superb sandwich!

If you’d like to be economical with your smoked salmon, try doing it yourself – use the method I gave for Tea Smoking food in your kitchen !  It’s real easy!

Smoked salmon chickpea patties with Turkish leek and aubergine side

Smoked salmon chickpea patties with Turkish leek and aubergine side

 

SMOKED SALMON CHICKPEA PATTIES
Author: 
Recipe type: Lunches, main, picnic, vegetarian, gluten-free, snacks,
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 3-4
 
These very simple-to-make and very tasty Smoked Salmon Chickpea Patties are gluten-free, healthy, and delicious! Mash any leftovers onto a good sourdough or ciabatta bread and add some chopped tomato, shredded lettuce and aioli for a superb sandwich!
Ingredients
  • 200g cooked smoked salmon (divide into 2, chop ½ into dice and reserve)
  • 400 g can plain chickpeas, drained (see note on liquid AF below)
  • 2 spring onions, roughly chopped
  • 2 teaspoons minced ginger (fresh, or prepared paste)
  • 2 teaspoons chopped coriander (fresh, or prepared paste)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley (fresh, or prepared paste)
  • ½ -1 teaspoon garlic (fresh, or prepared paste)
  • Zest and juice of 1 lime
  • 1 egg (or use 2 tablespoons AF – Aqua Faba – from chickpea can)
  • ½ teaspoon each salt and pepper (or to taste)
  • Breadcrumbs for crumbing
  • Small amount of oil for cooking
Method
  1. Into a food processor bowl, put everything but the salmon, crumbs, and the oil.
  2. Wizz until well mixed
  3. Add half the salmon (reserve the diced half) and wizz a little, but do not break up too much.
  4. Remove from the machine, remove blade, add the diced salmon and mix through with a knife.
  5. Divide the mixture into 6-8 balls, press into breadcrumbs. Refrigerate until needed.
  6. Heat a little oil in a frying pan. Gently fry in oil, about 4 minutes each side, until brown. Serve with side dish or salad, and your favourite sauce or aoili

The exotic side dish shown on the plate with this recipe is Aubergine and Leek Turkish-Style  – a great complementary dish.

Autumn’s culinary note:

AQUA FABA or AF is the viscous liquid you drain from a can of chickpeas.  I used to throw this away….. until I discovered the joys of AF or Aqua Faba  – literally “Bean Water”, but many translate it as “fabulous water”!  Now, vegans can have meringues and pavlovas (Yes! Truly!), and use the water from cans as an egg substitute in many dishes.

I’m too much of a novice at this, so I’m pointing you in the direction of a wonderful Facebook page –  “Vegan Meringues – Hits and Misses” –  where you can join (but read their minimal rules!), and access excellent recipes on files, and learn many tricks.  They also have vegan and non-vegan groups (perhaps that saves arguments?), and seem very helpful.

I’m experimenting for friends with diet issues and disabilities, and will share some in the future.  I certainly value the amazing recipe in the alphabetical files from Bryanna Clark Grogan on how to make homemade AQUAFABA in the slow cookerThis allows me to turn 4 cups of raw chickpeas (I paid approximately $NZ 6.35 for that) into about 10 of cooked, plus the wonderful 3 cups of Aqua Faba that produced as well, so I have plenty to experiment with!

Just as well I LOVE chickpeas in soups and casseroles at this time of the year (a reminder it’s June, the beginning of Winter down here in New Zealand), and have heaps of recipes old and new to cook up!  But I have frozen some of the crockpot largesse, according to the recipe from the link in the resource above.  I thoroughly recommend joining the FB group, if just for that!  But there is soooo much more to explore…… !

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Tea Smoking food in your kitchen

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Tea smoking small amounts of food in a Cast Iron Casserole, right in your own kitchen!

Ever fancied some smoked chicken or smoked salmon, but been put off by the price, or you don’t like the idea of all the pumped-in additives listed on the packaging?  Here’s a quick way to smoke small amounts at home, and it’s surprisingly easy to do, in your own kitchen, with nothing more fancy than 3 basic pieces of equipment.  All you need is a heavy cast iron casserole that has a well fitting lid, a small cake rack or trivet that will fit easily inside, and a roll of aluminium foil!

You have all the ingredients needed to smoke food, right in your pantry, too – though there are exotic ones you can add, should you fancy.

It’s a wonderful way to infuse food with flavour quickly.  You can marinade your chicken or salmon beforehand if wished, steam it slowly to cook (or grill, for extra browning),  then follow the smoking method.  For larger amounts you can use the same method (with double the ingredients) in a wok, but this simple technique is accessible to the average cook, in the average kitchen, and is fun to try for a food adventure.  Go on, take the plunge and experiment!

tea smoking - the mix on foil

tea smoking – the mix on foil

tea smoking - the lightly cooked food on trivet.

tea smoking – the lightly cooked food on trivet.

tea smoking - the trivet and salmon during smoking process

tea smoking – the trivet and salmon during smoking process

tea smoking - salmon cooling after smoking process

tea smoking – salmon cooling after smoking process

 

Tea Smoking food in your kitchen
Author: 
Recipe type: Paleo, snack, trick
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: varies
 
Here’s a quick way to smoke small amounts at home, and it’s surprisingly easy to do, in your own kitchen, with nothing more fancy than 3 basic pieces of equipment. All you need is a heavy cast iron casserole that has a well fitting lid, a small cake rack or trivet that will fit easily inside, and a roll of aluminium foil! You have all the ingredients needed to smoke food, right in your pantry, too – though there are exotic ones you can add, should you fancy.
Ingredients
  • 2 tea bags ( I used one ordinary one, and one Lapsang Souchong – already a smokey flavour)
  • ⅓ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup uncooked rice (it stops the other ingredients burning too quickly)
  • Extras: you can add all sorts of other flavours, but I suggest you master the smoking process first! Some good additions – not all at once! – are: a piece of cinnamon quill, half a star anise, broken up, some wood shavings, some slices of ginger root, dried citrus peel (lemon, lime, or orange produce different flavours), sprigs of woody herbs such as thyme or rosemary (use sparingly...). Again, experiment!
Method
  1. Line casserole (a heavy cast iron dutch oven type, with good heavy, well fitting lid) with aluminium kitchen foil. Cut a piece for the lid, too. The purpose of this is to stop the smoke smell infusing your casserole, although my pics show just a small liner, for clarity.
  2. You cook (I recommend steaming) your chicken or fish, then place it either directly on the trivet, or on a tiny piece of foil on the rivet.
  3. Place pre-cooked food either on trivet directly (if firm, like chicken), or on a small piece of foil that is not much larger than the food, so smoke can get to it all, and place onto trivet.
  4. Empty tea from teabags, brown sugar, and rice onto foil in base of casserole, mix lightly, taking care not to rip foil.
  5. Heat element until hot. Turn on kitchen extractor fan, if possible, or open windows – it may get smokey!
  6. Place casserole onto element, watch carefully until sugar starts to bubble and smoke, and place food on trivet into base. then turn element down by half, put foil across top, and place lid on top.
  7. Leave for several minutes, checking every 2 minutes or so.
  8. When all the “fuel” is used, or food is smoked to the colour you wish (it will darken a little on cooling), turn off the element, shift casserole off the element, and leave to cool, with the lid on.
  9. Smoked food can be used hot or cold, but should be treated as “hot smoked” food, and eaten within a couple of days or so.
  10. Tou can tea smoke many other foods: Mussels, scallops, tomatoes, capsicums.... you name it! If it’s edible, and you want it smokey-flavoured, then experiment!

Autumn’s Culinary Notes:

I recently used this method for cooking a piece of sea salmon for my Smoked Salmon Chickpea Patties (recipe to come).  The nearly 400 gm piece of fresh salmon was on special, and cost me under $NZ 5.00.  The amount I needed for my recipe, 200 gms of pre-prepared smoked salmon, was over $NZ 10.00.

So you can see that, for a little bit of grilling (the method I used to precook the salmon, in a mini bench griller, before smoking it), and then the fun of doing the smoking so some friends could see the method, and you could all see too, through the pictures….. well…. the economics are obvious…… well, so long as you’re not “time” poor, and have an adventurous streak!

But it’s the TASTE, too – there’s a definite advantage there, plus the advantage of knowing exactly what ingredients have gone into the process!  No painted-on colouring (with the “nasties” in those), and no “pumped-in” flavouring, either.

Everything that’s there is there because YOU did it!  And there’s an enormous satisfaction in that!

You often hear of smoking food in a wok – well, you can double the above ingredients, and do that, too – same ingredients, basically, and same method.  I’ve just made this accessible to anyone, as not everyone has a wok, or is cooking for a lot of people!  In a casserole, I guess the most you could smoke for would be 3 or 4.

But why not!  Spoil yourself! Tea smoking food is fun! Have an adventure!   Experiment!

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