tagged ‘lemon’

Apple, blackberry & cinnamon jam

in Breakfast, Desserts, Taste -

This apple, blackberry & cinnamon jam is thick, as sweet as it should and has made me fall in love with apples all over again! 

Apple, blackberry & cinnamon jam

Ever since I moved to London, every autumn, without fail, I find my self in awe of all the apple varieties available: there’s small, sour ones, with light pink and green flesh; and bigger ones, very sweet and very pink; shinny green apples, crunchy and juicy, perfectly sour and refreshing; and then others, large and brownish, with a subtle sweetness which reminds me of pears. One is truly spoilt for choice and one is hopelessly enamoured every year, all over again.

I buy large quantities and I slice and sometimes peel and eat at least one a day; I freeze for smoothies and grate for spicy oatmeal; they’re added in cakes and pies, often alongside juicy, blushing pears, or eaten hungrily, on the spot, with just a drizzle of tahini and another of honey. They’re set aside to be used in warming stews, with sprigs of rosemary or tarragon and sweet potatoes, or even added to buttery mash for a touch of sweetness. Autumn is for apples, every year, and every year I am without fail hell-bent on celebrating apples as I should: often, repeatedly, enthusiastically, hungrily.

Apple, blackberry & cinnamon jam

This year’s festivities begin differently: there is no cake, nor crêpes with caramelised apples and toasted almonds. No, there is only one of my favourite things to make, one that I consider one of the purest forms of comfort cooking- and eating: jam. I usually only make jam in the summer; it’s one of the family’s favourite activities, as it usually involves everyone and everyone’s favourite fruits: figs and plums from our trees, usually cooked with lots of lemon juice and herbs from our garden. There’s picking and gathering, slicing, tossing with sugar and aromatics and then bowling in large pans, the whole house filled with the thick, lingering smell of fruity boiled sugar. And then there’s my favourite part, pouring the luscious, lustrous, precious pulp into shinny clean jars, labelling and storing them for the coming months.

Apple, blackberry & cinnamon jam

Writing this, I realise I may love the process and the memories that come with it even more than jams themselves; even so, testing this apple, blackberry & cinnamon jam these last few days, filled the house with all too familiar scents and images- and me with a warming all too strong certainty that after all, it’s all about gatherings- small and big ones, new and familiar, quiet or exuberant. And all about apples of course.

Apple, blackberry & cinnamon jam

WHAT

250 gr apples, peeled, cored and cubed

250 blackberries, washed

500 gr caster sugar

juice from 2 small lemons (and the rind of one)

1 small cinnamon stick

HOW

  1. Place the apples, blackberries and 1/2 cup water in a large pan and simmer in medium-low heat for about 15′, until the apples are tender and most of the liquid is reduced.
  2. Add the sugar, lemon juice, rind and cinnamon, turn up the heat and bring to a boil. Boil for about 10′ and then remove from the heat.
  3. To test is the jam is ready, place a small plate in the freezer; once the jam is ready, remove from the freezer and spoon a small amount onto the plate. Freeze again for a couple minutes and then touch it gently with your fingers. If it wrinkles, you’re good to go. If not, your jam is not yet set. Return to the heat for another 5′ or so and test again.

 

Blueberry, lemon & pine nut cake

in Desserts, Taste -

This blueberry, lemon & pine nut cake is exactly how I love a cake to be: simple, sweet, delicious, maybe a little messy and oh so satisfying. 

Blueberry, lemon & pine nut cake

I don’t remember when exactly, but somewhere along this weekend, it dawned on me how long it’s been since I last made a cake. I’ve spent the better part of the weeks leading up to Easter trying to make tsoureki and failing spectacularly, time after time. I was left with more flat, dense, delicious yet overall miserable looking sweet breads I knew what to do with. I was also left with an overwhelming desire not to make a dessert for quite some time- enough for my bruised pride to heal and all of me to stay away from sugar and butter and all them beautiful things I had been struggling with. [READ MORE]

Salmon & cream cheese crêpes

in Savoury, Taste -

Light and delicate, these salmon & cream cheese crêpes are perfect for any time of the day, as well as a great savoury addition to Pancake Day.  

Salmon & cream cheese crêpes

As a child and teenager, I seldom spent much time thinking about Easter and the traditions before and around it. See, I was fascinated by and forever enamoured with the sparkle of Christmas. I still love the winter holiday very much, but the older I get, the more I find myself drawn to Easter. The reasons behind it are not religious, but rather related to my fascination with the significance of traditions and their different expressions. [READ MORE]

Spinach, dill & lemon basmati rice (spanakorizo)

in Savoury, Taste -

Spinach, dill & lemon basmati rice (spanakorizo)

This spinach, dill & lemon basmati rice is my friend Zoe’s version of spanakorizo (spinach rice) a Greek dish which is both widely loved and loathed. I used to belong to the latter category; I passionately despised spanakorizo, even when it was prepared by my mom, a truly exceptional cook. I expressed and emphasized my dislike at any given opportunity, but that never phased her (she’s had years of intense practice not paying much attention to most dramatic declarations occuring at home): instead, it was the dish she’d prepare for my sister and me every time we’d return home from London. I mean, every.damn.time. And every damn time, I’d give it a try and every damn time, I’d dislike it even more. [READ MORE]

Lemony & spicy eggs en cocotte

in Small bites, Taste -

Lemony & spicy eggs en cocotte

The last week or so has been kinda different; Mike’s in LA on business (and by business I mean the freakin’ OSCARS, for which Stutterer, the little gem he did the cinematography for, has been nominated WON AN ACADEMY AWARD! Wait, what?!?) and I’m in London, up to my eyeballs in work . Since he left, things have been infinitely more quiet, the house impressively decluttered and my days significantly less fun. [READ MORE]

My grandma’s almost ravani

in Desserts, Taste -

AlmostRavani-620-3

As I’ve mentioned on yesterday’s post, my grandma was a mess in the kitchen. Yet, she had a recipe book (mostly because she had to, I think) which has now been passed on to me. About a third of it is blank, and although all the recipes are written in her beautiful calligraphic handwriting, quite a few are incomplete, lacking ingredients or directions. Really, I would expect nothing different from her. [READ MORE]