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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Book Review| The Tulleeho! Book of Cocktails … & an Orange Zinger

“Orange is the happiest color.”
Frank Sinatra

Orange Zinger A name like Orange Zinger seems so right for this time of the year, warm, spicy and zippy! It’s a cocktail from a newly released ‘cookbook’ {Food, Wines & Beverages category} in India, The Tulleho! Book of Cocktails. An almost unassuming book, yet one overflowing with mouthwatering mixes like Anarkali, Instant Karma … and of course this Orange Zinger! The book is a must have for cocktail lovers.When Blogadda, the largest community of bloggers in India, {who recently interviewed me too}, asked if I’d like to review a new cookbook, it was an instant YES, even though a book on cocktails was slightly out of my comfort zone. The name intrigued me, and the reins were promptly handed over to Mr PAB. An occasional cocktail is wonderful, but for someone who has NO CLUE about how to get one going, this book is the answer.Orange Zinger Turn the pages and feel a happy high … for beginners in the world of cocktails, the pages hold your hand and guide you through gently, telling you that ‘making a cocktail is no rocket science‘!  Bar ware, stocking up, mixology … a book that helps you get the mixes right, helps you talk liquor with the ‘best of them’, and helps you pretend to know all about stuff even if you’ve never touched it.Orange Zinger … and in case you are in the ‘ultra confident, been there, done that‘ category, know it all in the world of tippling, then head straight for either the Tullee Tipple which offers in-house special and contributions from the tullee community, or then to Classics – tipples that have been around for quite a while.Orange Zinger The book offers an eclectic and stylish mix  of cocktails – Desi Dhamaka which uses local Indian ingredients, Market Fresh using at least one fresh ingredient, Old Boys’ Club which is obviously the male bastion, Dessert cocktails, Ladies Specials {hmmm???}, and quite fascinatingly, Herbs and Spices!Orange ZingerMr PAB quite predictably reached for the Old Boys’ Club and spent quite an hour pouring over the pages, recipe by recipe. The foodie in me helped pick out a warming, fall sounding recipe which was spicy and had orange in the listed ingredients {more specifically, bitter orange marmalade}. That made me take notice and painted my thoughts orange! NICE!!Also a good choice because I still have a jar of homemade bitter orange marmalade which I made earlier this year! This is possibly the quickest edible thing Mr PAB has ever made and served…LOL! He enjoyed it, the flavours pairing beautifully … can’t go wrong with orange and ginger.Orange Zinger Warm and spicy undertones of bitter orange marmalade and the slight edge of ginger paired well with the whiskey. Mr PAB gave it high fives, and immediate set off turning pages of the book. If you like cocktails, try this. I like it because it has standard everyday ingredients and is a great fit for the holiday season. The passion of the authors shines through! Tulleeho!!

Tulleeho is also available as a Kindle e-book.

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This review is a part of the Book Reviews Program at BlogAdda.com. Participate now to get free books!


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Baking| Strawberry-Tangerine Quark Panna Cotta with Oatmeal Florentines … Daring Bakers

‘The most indispensable ingredient of all good home cooking: love, for those you are cooking for.”
Sophia Loren

Strawberry & Tangerine Quark Panna Cotta with Oatmeal FlorentinesIt’s the 27th, the Daring Bakers time of the month. Really geared up from last months Entermet and imprime experience, the first look at February’s challenge posted had me a little disheartened even though the panna cotta is on top of my list of favourite desserts. After a rejuvenating and very challenging beginning to the year, I warmed up to the idea of a creamy panna cotta pretty soon.

The February 2011 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Mallory from A Sofa in the Kitchen. She chose to challenge everyone to make Panna Cotta from a Giada De Laurentiis recipe and Nestle Florentine Cookies.
Strawberry & Tangerine Quark Panna Cotta with Oatmeal Florentines

Like every challenge, this one was soon beginning to tempt me into the kitchen. I have to declare my love for panna cotta. I think it’s the most luxuriant and indulgent dessert ever, yet one that comes laden with guilty calories. The calories are the only thing that keep me from making this often, so in many ways I was secretly happy to see the challenge. Dark chocolate espresso panna cottaFate had me make a Dark Chocolate Espresso Panna Cotta last week too…LOL!! As Mallory promised, this was certainly turning out to be a Creamy Dreamy Crunchy Sweet February, the month of love!

Strawberry & Tangerine Quark Panna Cotta The luxury of a creamy panna cotta, a challenge that wasn’t breathing fire down your throat, made  me want to try something new at  my own pace, which is what I did. Even though I bought cream {read lots of it } I thought quark panna cotta, made with quark, a soft curd cheese I have come to love.Strawberry & Tangerine Quark Panna Cotta with Oatmeal FlorentinesGoogling for recipe proportions led me to one that my lovely friend Meeta had done ages ago. My recipe is based roughly on hers. Mine was definitely going to have a fruit pairing because I find that the slight tanginess of quark is complimented beautifully by seasonal fruit.  Planned a strawberry quark panna cotta with a chocolate gelee, but once the pots and pans were out, other thoughts came to my mind. I saw tangerines on my little shrub, and decided to go with a 2 toned panna cotta. Bye bye chocolate, hello tangerine. Orange you glad I chose you?Strawberry & Tangerine Quark Panna Cotta Home made quark is the best thing that happened to me a couple of years ago while doing a featured post for Foodbuzz. I whizzed the quark, strawberries and sugar to a smooth puree; yummy enough to eat at this stage itself. Using 2 flavours meant an overnight wait for one later to set first. For the second layer, I went the citrus way using some  bitter tangerine marmalade I had recently made. Fingers crossed, into the fridge it went. Quark and fruit are a rocking good combination.Strawberry & Tangerine Quark Panna Cotta with Oatmeal FlorentinesThe Oatmeal Florentines should have been  a cakewalk, but I missed reading the flour in there. I made half  the recipe. The minute the first tray was into the oven and bubbling like lava, I knew something was wrong. No time to recheck, so I just stirred in some more oats and made the second tray. My cookies were by default gluten free! {A check later revealed I had forgotten to add the plain flour}. These are some delicious cookies, and oh-so-addictive. No time for melted chocolate, meant good old Nutella.

Thank you Mallory for the very Creamy Dreamy Crunchy Sweet February, and thank you as always Lisa of La Mia Cucina and Ivonne of Cream Puffs in Venice for hosting this fab kitchen!! Do stop by HERE and check the dreams’ that our other daring folk have stirred up around the globe.

Strawberry & Tangerine Quark Panna CottaStrawberry Vanilla Quark Panna Cotta
200 ml low fat cream
150g quark
90sugar
200gms strawberries
3 sheets gelatin
1 vanilla bean, scraped and pod reserved
Method:
Soak the gelatin sheets in cold water for 5 minutes.
Blend the quark with strawberries and sugar until smooth. Reserve.
Simmer cream and vanilla bean for 5 minutes. Squeeze out the water from  the gelatin sheets and stir into the simmering cream until mixed  through {do not allow to boil}. Remove from heat.
Fold in 2tbsps  of quark mixture into cream, and then mix the entire cream into the  quark until uniform. Divide into 6 serving glasses. Allow to set for 4-6 hours {more if the weather is hot .I tend to use more gelatin in warmer weather.}
Quark Tangerine Vanilla Panna Cotta
200ml low fat cream
1 vanilla bean scraped
zest of 1 orange
2 sheets of gelatin
75gms quark
1/2 cup bitter orange marmalade
Method:
Soak the gelatin sheets in cold water for 5 minutes while you simmer the cream.
Simmer cream, orange zest and vanilla bean for 5 minutes. Squeeze out  the water from the gelatin sheets and stir into the simmering cream  until mixed through. Remove from heat.
Blend the quark with tangerine marmalade until smooth. {Adjust sugar if  required. It will get less sweet once you add the cream to this}
Fold in 2tbsps of quark mixture into cream, and then mix the entire  cream into the quark until uniform. Stir constantly to cool as it will  melt the previously set panna cotta if it is too hot.
Ladle/pour gently into the serving glasses on top of the already set  quark strawberry panna cotta. Leave to set for another 4-6 hours,  preferably overnight.
Strawberry & Tangerine Quark Panna CottaStrawberry/ Tangerine Gelee
100gms strawberries
1 tbsp vanilla sugar
2 tbsp bitter orange marmalade
Method:
Simmer the ingredients until soft and gelly like. Pass  through a sieve, pushing the fruit through to get a clear puree. Cool and ladle on top of the panna cotta.
Candied Tangerines
2-3 tangerines, sliced fine
1/4 cup sugar
2 tbsp water
Method:
Place all ingredients in a pan and bring to a boil. then gently simmer  till the slices become translucent. Remove gently to a parchment paper {reserve the syrup for a lemonade etc}, and bake in low {100C} over for about an hour or two, turning once or twice, until they appear translucent.

Oatmeal FlorentinesNestle Florentine Cookies
Adapted from recipe from the cookbookNestle Classic Recipes
2/3 cup  unsalted butter
2 3/4 cups quick oats
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup corn syrup
1/4 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
pinch of salt
½ cups Nutella
Method:
Preheat oven to 190°C. Prepare your baking sheet with parchment paper.
Melt butter in a medium saucepan, then remove from the heat.
To the melted butter add oats, sugar, flour, corn syrup, milk,  vanilla, and salt. Mix well. Drop a tablespoon full, three inches onto your prepared baking sheet. Flatten slightly with the  back of your tablespoon, or use a spatula.
Bake in preheated oven for 6-8 minutes, until cookies are golden brown. Cool completely on the baking sheets.
Peel the cookies from the parchment and place face down on  a wire rack set.
Spread a tablespoon of Nutella on the bottom/flat side of your  cookie, sandwiching another cookie atop the chocolate.
This recipe will make about 2 1/2 – 3 dozen sandwiched Florentine  cookies.{I made half recipe}

Strawberry & Tangerine Quark Panna Cotta with Oatmeal Florentines

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