Jam making | Kumquat Marmalade … In Season & in plenty!

“I got the blues thinking of the future, so I left off and made some marmalade. It’s amazing how it cheers one up to shred oranges and scrub the floor.”
D.H. Lawrence

Kumquat MarmaladeIt’s a happy feeling just looking at a jar of homemade Kumquat Marmalade, characteristically bitter-sweet and delicious. Life continues to race, the days forever busy. A feeling of strange uncertainty takes over at times, like I’ve forgotten something, maybe missed a deadline.  It’s not the ‘end of the year‘ panicky feeling, or the ‘before exam restlessness‘. Then again, maybe like marmalade, life is bitter-sweet too!

Kumquat Marmalade I like to enjoy what I do, relax and vegetate sometimes, yet the modern day rat race of sorts is woven into every second that ticks by. Can’t figure out what happened to those laid back times of yesteryear.

KumquatsThen in this feeling of being on a roller coaster comes a small break … jam making. Thankfully it’s a process that you so totally get immersed in, that the unsettled feeling is forgotten. The marmalade kept me on my toes, more so because junior decided to get involved.

KumquatsRight from plucking the fruit off the tree, to shooting fruit in baskets, to grabbing some away from the dog, stirring, bottling … he was there all the way! {Little Coco had her eyes peeled through-out}CocoI have been fascinated by the fruit since I was young. No one ever ate them, too tart of course, but they were so pretty! And the colours? Inspirational! Then a few years ago, a lady in the neighbourhood let us into her guarded little secret of making bitter marmalade with these. You will not imagine how many kilos of sugar disappeared into jars of jam once we were ‘fruitily enlightened‘!Kumquat Marmalade Every one we knew and their cousins were gifted bitter marmalade with glee. The hard work of snipping peels and stirring the jam until translucent well worth the look of amazement on the happy recipients faces. For the past 3 years this is all I do come winter, and everyone in the neighbourhood knows where to send their fruit.

KumquatsCall it the strangeness of nature, but the much in demand lime tree just doesn’t seem to bear fruit like the kumquat tree. Kumquats finds little use among common growers and are not commercially sold in India. Yet, almost every household in North India proudly sports a kumquat tree, also called ornamental orange. The fruit fall and rot once ripe as even birds don’t feed on them, they are so tart!!

The round kumquat also called Marumi kumquat or Morgani kumquat, is an evergreen tree, producing edible golden-yellow fruit. Kumquat literally means ‘golden orange’. The fruit can be eaten cooked but is mainly used to make marmalades and jellies. It is grown as an ornamental plant and can be used in bonsai. The plant symbolizes good luck in China and other Asian countries.

Kumquat Marmalade “So much sugar? More? No Mama, No”! I forgot all my jam making skills, and I have made this jam umpteen times. “Is it done mama, is it done. Shall I stir? What if the bag of seeds opens? I think you haven’t tied it properly?” I could have tied up the thirteen year old, I was so nervous.

Kumquat MarmaladeThen I announced it was ‘plate test time’. “What’s that? Ooh can I do it? I think it’s setting. Ya. No. Noooooooooooo … cook some more Mama. OK, let me stir. Shall we cook more?” . I finally regained control of my bitter kumquat marmalade finally telling him I thought it was done {though I think I cooked it a little longer than I should have!}

Kumquat Marmalade It’s strange how when kids are part of a process, they love the food even more. It’s been marmalade and toast for the past few days no matter what. Double fried eggs, cereal … and then the call, “Mama, if it’s not too much trouble, can I have toast with marmalade please?” Did I tell you he was charming? Gosh, all the way!

A word of thanks –  Thank you Ziet Online for featuring me in Sunday Dinners.

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Also find me on The Rabid Baker, The Times of India


Baking| Sweet Orange, Roasted Strawberry & Chocolate Buttermilk Rolls … the best of The Pioneer Woman

“I wanted to make a cookbook full of food that you’d absolutely love, because I love all of you.”
Ree Drummond

Sweet Orange, Roasted Strawberry & Chocolate Buttermilk RollsOf course I got tempted again! What’s not to love about Sweet Orange Rolls? The day I saw these delicious rolls from Rees new cookbook, I was in a trance. 24 hours later, my kitchen was enticingly orangey, deeply strawberryish … and like the best bakery in town. These Sweet Orange, Roasted Strawberry and Chocolate Buttermilk Rolls were winners.Sweet Orange, Roasted Strawberry & Chocolate Buttermilk Rolls I knew they would be! I am a huge fan of The Pioneer Womans cinnamon roll dough, a dough I have endlessly experimented with outstanding results each time. If the Apple Cranberry Almond Olive Oil Pull-Apart Loaf & Popovers weren’t a screaming success enough, these Savoury Chili Cheese & Garlic Olive Oil Pull-Apart Bread reconfirmed it!Sweet Orange, Roasted Strawberry & Chocolate Buttermilk Rolls So when I saw the dashing and talented {in Rees words of course, but seriously, it’s true} Brians post on  A Thought For Food, I knew my homemade bitter tangerine marmalade had found a new destination. This has turned out to be the yummiest one yet. It was a bread dessert waiting to be baked, and while I worked on the dough I made changes, just a few changes.Sweet Orange, Roasted Strawberry & Chocolate Buttermilk RollsNothing radical as the basic recipe is a winner. I had some buttermilk on hand, so in it went instead of milk. Then, when I opened the fridge to take out the jar of marmalade, I couldn’t resist thinking the oranges might enjoy some colourful company …Roasted Balsamic StrawberriesSo the marmalade got slathered over with some roasted balsamic strawberries I had made the day before. These are delightful to have in the fridge. For times when you buy too many strawberries in temptation and then panic that they will spoil, this is a good recipe. It keeps them safe for at least a few days longer.Roasted Balsamic Strawberries I make small portions at a time and put them into fruit bakes, sandwich and top a cake with cream, or drizzle a few spoonfuls over a parfait or ice cream. You can see them in these – Quark Mousse Cake, Quarkauflauf, Eggless Caramel Cream Cakes. Just yesterday I topped a cheesecake with the left overs. So many ways and so much fun; taste, colour and variety all packed into one jar! Sweet Orange, Roasted Strawberry & Chocolate Buttermilk RollsBecause they are oven roasted, they are nice and thick, they don’t ‘leak‘ extra liquid into the dough to make it soggy. To keep the ‘not so terrible any more’ teen happy I threw in some dark chocolate too. Orange, strawberry and chocolate together worked some magic in there to serve up some darned delicious dessert rolls! We loved them … LOTS! {I made 2 individual pop over rolls too with left over dough}.Sweet Orange, Roasted Strawberry & Chocolate Buttermilk RollsHow do I describe something bursting with the freshness of orange, seduced by the heady combination of deep roasted strawberries and dark chocolate … ooeeey, gooeey, wonderful. They were fabulous warm, and very very good at room temperature. And with obligatory lashings of unsweetened low fat cream, even more DELICIOUS!Sweet Orange, Roasted Strawberry & Chocolate Buttermilk RollsThis is my new favourite dessert – light, eggless, fruity, chocolaty. I love it! Dark chocolate only makes good things even gooder better. It’s adapted minimally from the Rees new cookbook, The Pioneer Woman Cooks – Food From My Frontier. If the recipe is anything to go by, the book has to be a winner.Sweet Orange, Roasted Strawberry & Chocolate Buttermilk Rolls Sweet Orange, Roasted Strawberry & Chocolate Buttermilk Rolls I made a half quantity and am glad I did. Half was hard to keep away from, how could we have  justified digging into 48 rolls? Next 24 to be made soon, and more bitter marmalade making coming up just for these! Yes, they were that good! Thank you Brian for the inspiration to bake this ‘miracle‘! Loved your ‘thought for food!

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Also find me on The Rabid Baker, The Times of India

Baking| Blood Orange Macarons with Maple Orange Chocolate Pastry Creme … World Macaron Day

“Macarons should be eaten slowly with each mouthful savoured. They should be eaten somewhere pretty and refined.”
Yellow Magpie

Blood Orange Macarons with Maple Orange Chocolate Pastry Creme Nothing in the cookie world seems to have evoked as much interest and admiration as macarons! Sweet and pretty bites, inspirational to make, absolutely charming, yet intimidating for bakers like me. At MacTweets, our mac-obsessed kitchen, Jamie and I called to mark World Macaron Day on March 20th. These Blood Orange Macarons with Maple Orange Chocolate Pastry Creme are my tribute to this delightful invention!Blood Orange Macarons with Maple Orange Chocolate Pastry Creme I’ve missed making macarons for a while now and was happy to be faced with a MacTweets challenge for World Macaron Day. Been thinking long on what to make and what not to, and then thanks to sweet blogger friends like the lovely and talented Shayma, I made these addictive bites. They might not look perfect, but they tasted fabulous!Blood Orange Macarons with Maple Orange Chocolate Pastry Creme Life is busy and we have had family and friends from overseas visiting us over the past few months. They all know I food blog, so with them come delicious ingredients and kitchen stuff I might not ever dream of. I feel special … very special!Blood Orange Macarons with Maple Orange Chocolate Pastry Creme …and felt even more so when a few days ago the Spice Spoon girl tweeted to ask when my folk were visiting as she had something to send for me. My cousin from Pittsburgh flew in a few days later. With him came these beautiful spice boxes from William Sonoma – Dried Blood Orange Peel and Pure Maple Flakes.Blood Orange Macarons with Maple Orange Chocolate Pastry Creme The minute I saw the pretty little jars I knew what my macs were going to be – Blood Orange with Maple filling. I had already a thread of orange in my mind as my life is overflowing with tangerines. All the little shrubs have branches hanging heavy with this beautiful fruit … the little pooch seems to take a keen interest in the fruit too; little Coco who is ALL EYES!!Tangerines & CocoPretty orange life and there is only so much bitter marmalade I can make. I thought I would sweeten the filling mildly with maple flakes and add a dash of orange from the little bitter tangerines. The shells baked fine, the little feet appearing in a few minutes of baking, blushing a pastel orange. Blood Orange Macarons with Maple Orange Pastry CremeOf course we had a power cut again, but thankfully the frills had formed so no harm done! I was quite happy. What I wasn’t happy with was my choice of filling. A pastry creme obviously isn’t firm enough for these fiddly creatures. They got soft overnight and I had some fixing to do!Blood Orange Macarons with Maple Orange Pastry Creme I had a fix in mind … chocolate can fix anything, even a broken heart, and then I came across Mardi’s macaron post asking ‘Why do my macarons have hollow shells. That set me thinking! It was time to read up again. My macarons are also hollow at times and OK at other times even though my recipe is the same. So mac-obsessed me set off to try Mardis recipe.Blood Orange Macarons with Maple Orange Chocolate Pastry Creme I have to say they are the best tasting macarons I have ever made even though the shells weren’t anywhere near smooth. They looked so good 6 minutes into baking, just the perfect macs, but soon after threatened to crack up, but then shriveled slightly. Maybe it was because of undermixing, but the flavours were da bomb! You can find her recipe, perfect macarons and beautiful post here Blood Orange Macarons with Maple Orange Chocolate Pastry Creme To remedy the filling, I melted dark couverture chocolate and stirred it through the maple orange pastry creme, then chilled it. Delicieux!! There was a slight hint of bitterness from the tangerine peel and the balance of flavours was perfect! Thank you my sweet friend ShaymaThe Spice Spoon for adding wonderful spice to my life; inspiration too! I am sure you’ve been to her beautiful blog; it’s a treat in every sense!Blood Orange Macarons with Maple Orange Chocolate Pastry Creme

Do you want to join us making MACARONS?

If you do, you are most welcome to join us  for this challenge, or the next. You can find all the information at our dedicated macaron blog MacTweets. We generally post the round-up by the end of every month, following which a new challenge is posted!

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Also find me on The Rabid Baker, The Times of India


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