Now, I’m the first to admit that I can become rather obsessive about hobbies – none more than food prep right now, apparently.
This was my haul from my raid on the local library the other day. Sigh. My knitting has been suffering from this latest revival of Kristina Does Food… and More Food… and Still More Food.
The obsession leads me to do very odd things – like boiling vats of stuff for four five hours in 30C weather:
This was a cauldron of beef stock I made on Sunday after our little $230.00 foray to Fiesta Farms, my new favourite supermarket too (and, I hasten to say, JJs – he was personally responsible for about $150.00 of the acquisitions). They cater to Europeans like me, which means (among other things) that at any given time there are lots of humungous and dirt cheap cuts of meat intended for soups and stews, like the Tyrannosaurus Rex beef knuckle shown above at the top centre of the pot. Two beef knuckles cost $2.25 – and now I have four litres of stock, 14 consomme ice cubes and at least three cups of shredded meat for soup.
Now, while at Fiesta Farms I promised myself I would not buy anything to preserve this week as it was too hot. And – I didn’t! However, when excavating the fridge to find room for the new purchases, I found an embarrassment of berries which were past their prime.
So, what was a frugal food obsessive to do?
Why, make jam, of course!!! I call this KBs Secret Cherberry Jam. The “secret” bit is that little white blob, which is cheesecloth containing fresh rosemary and pink peppercorns. Yes, rosemary and peppercorns.
The household jury of one (JJ, of course – because you know what? I don’t even EAT jam!!) has rendered his verdict – two thumbs up. He didnae know about the rosemary – when I told him after he tried it, he said “That’s just weirrrrrrd, lassie”. I note, however, that this did not stop him from polishing off the better part of a 250 ml jar yesterday, though).
I was actually thinking of adding some of this instead of the rosemary:
Now, that would have been really weirrrrd, I decided. Also, I’m giving some away for gifts and I’ve found that rose water is something that people either love or detest. I’m sure some of this will find its way into some jar at some point, though – stay tuned!
Anyway, the recipe (my adaptation of a blueberry jam recipe in the Bernardin Guide to Home Preserving):
Put four cups of crushed berries (I used strawberries, blueberries and cherries – and yes, I know cherries aren’t berries – I’m trying for pithiness for once, OK?!) in a saucepan. Add one 57 g packet of fruit pectin, three tablespoons of lime juice, two large sprigs fresh rosemary and 20 pink peppercorns, and one half vanilla bean. Bring to a boil over high heat. Mix in three cups of sugar and bring back to a rolling (i.e. big raging) boil and let boil one minute. Pour into sterilized and heated 250 ml (one cup) preserving jars. You can either keep this in the fridge for up to one month or process by boiling for 10 minutes. Yields six jars.
But hark! Is that something else in a jar that you spy in the back row at the left? Why, yes. Having ranted on last week about crazy hot foods, I decided to try to make my very own hot sauce.
Basically, I boiled about one litre of leftover white wine I had let go to vinegar (my frugality knows no bounds. How do you think I pay for all that yarn?!), about an inch worth of rice vinegar I’d had sitting around for some time, and a cup of white vinegar for about 5 minutes or untit it reduced back to a litre (four cups, approximately). I kept it hot and put the following things into a heated 1 litre mason jar:
- seven fresh long red hot chili peppers (I imagine you could use any type of pepper, really). The peppers that were too long to fit in the jar, I cut in half and then split both halves down the middle to release the seeds.
- four cloves of garlic, cut into slices
- four sprigs of fresh thyme
- four green onions, cut to fit into the jar (just the bulbs and some of the green part)
I’m going to let this sit for three weeks or until it all turns red, whichever comes first. We’ll see what happens. But it looks purdy, though – doesn’t it?
Any day now, I reckon I’ll get a call from the Food Network offering me my own segment on how to recycle food. I promise I won’t forget my friends, though. Really.