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

Dessert| No Bake Upside Down Mango Quark Cheese Pie … #pieformikey

Time has suddenly stood still, though, and I’m waiting to wake up and learn to live a new kind of normal.”
Jennifer Perrilo @ In Jennie’s Kitchen

Upside Down Mango Quark Cheese Pie The food blogging community is a tight knit one. Foodies enjoy ‘being’ together, offering loads of positive vibes and camaraderie everywhere they go. Twitter is one place where you can catch most of the action. On Fridays especially, the timeline practically races away! It’s infectious!Upside Down Mango Quark Cheesecake Pie Upside Down Mango Quark Cheese Pie It’s a place where we all come together, celebrate the highs wholeheartedly, and yet reach out in the face of loss! The outpouring of support, the love, the thoughts, the prayers for Jennifer Perrilo & her girls has been overwhelming. This Friday foodies across the globe are tweeting their love & support for Jennifer with #pieformikey – an outstanding community!Upside Down Mango Quark Cheese Pie The time-line shocked a lot of us a couple of days ago with a tweet saying that Jennifer had lost her husband.  She is one brave lady. Her post after she lost Mikey was heart breaking. Despite the terrible tragedy, she shared her strength with one and all inviting her readers to bake a peanut butter cream pie to support her.  Upside Down Mango Quark Cheese PieJenifer’s Mikey loved Peanut Butter Cream Pie and she kept postponing making it for him. Then suddenly one day it was too late.

I kept telling myself I would make it for him tomorrow. Time has suddenly stood still, though, and I’m waiting to wake up and learn to live a new kind of normal. For those asking what they can do to help my healing process, make a peanut butter pie this Friday and share it with someone you love. Then hug them like there’s no tomorrow because today is the only guarantee we can count on.

Upside Down Mango Quark Cheese Pie Words cannot express the heartbreak we felt on twitter that day. The poignancy of the moment hung heavy. Then there was a call for International Pie Day in honour of Jennifer Perillo. I couldn’t make peanut butter cream pie as I had no peanut butter or cream cheese at home, but I made a no-bake Upside Down Mango Quark Cheesecake Pie  …  #pieformikey.Upside Down Mango Quark Cheese PieI had quark and mangoes in the fridge and the BBC Good Food newsletter that had just dropped into my mailbox. It featured Healthy Summer Recipes, and the main picture was an Upside Down Lemon Cheesecake at 185 calories a slice! Healthy? Yes indeed! I adapted the recipe to make my own quark cheese pie for Jennifer! It was delicious!!Coco Take time to enjoy the small things in life… {above photograph taken by my teen}CocoTragedies like these shake you up. We forget to cherish the special moments, take out time, enjoy the small joys … often so caught up in the race of time. Upside Down Mango Quark Cheese PieDon’t wait for tomorrow to come. Whether its food, family, friends, pups, photography, nature … whatever you like most, breathe it now. Most of us bake or cook for the family, and that feeds our blogs. Let’s get that wish list going, share the love … like this #pieformikey!

 

Dessert| Bittersweet Chocolate Marquise with Crème Chantilly & Balsamic Cherry Sauce … when God created mothers!

“When your mother asks, “Do you want a piece of advice?” it is a mere formality. It doesn’t matter if you answer yes or no. You’re going to get it anyway.”
Erma Bombeck

Bittersweet Chocolate Marquise with Crème Chantilly & Balsamic Cherry SauceHAPPY MOTHERS DAY! Finally the day to celebrate the toughest job in the world, one that makes you wonder ‘Why?‘ over and over again. As always there are no right answers, but this wonderful piece by Erma Brombeck written way back in May 12, 1974 for her Mother’s Day column tries to explain!

Dear Mother,

When the Good Lord was creating mothers, He was into his sixth day of “overtime” when an angel appeared and said, “You’re doing a lot of fiddling around on this one.
And the Lord said, “Have you read the specs on this order?

She has to be completely washable, but not plastic;
Have 180 movable parts… all replaceable;
Run on black coffee and leftovers;
Have a lap that disappears when she stands up;
A kiss that can cure anything from a broken leg to a disappointed love affair;
And six pairs of hands.”

The angel shook her head slowly and said, “Six pairs of hands… no way.” … you must read the rest here When God Created Mothers

Mothers Day PABWoke up this morning to find a beautiful new ipod nano that the kids bought for me as a Mothers Day gift. The teen paid for it, and on last count she was still trying to wrangle the half the lad owed her! The way he’s trying to wriggle out of it is hysterical, both equally persistent! I am so touched with the gift … they downloaded all my favourite songs onto it {Tracy Chapman, Dire Straits, Enya, Scorpions, Eric Clapton, Gordon Lightfoot, Eagles … 1000s more, all there!}, my fave FM music channels, pictures etc, wrapped in pretty hot pink paper!Bittersweet Chocolate Marquise with Crème Chantilly & Balsamic Cherry SauceI made these delicious little desserts for today. One the the high points of summer in North India is the advent of stone fruit, especially cherries and peaches. The first sight of luscious deep red cherries takes my breath away. Always priced high, the way to announce the seasons first, yet temptation wins over resolve and the heart sings a song again! This year the crops better, sweeter and even more tempting!Bittersweet Chocolate Marquise with Crème Chantilly & Balsamic Cherry SauceCame home 2 days ago with a box that weighed just under 800gms and had many happy thoughts, the first being a lattice cherry pie, or maybe a cherry clafoutis. The teen had other ideas however, being a cherry lover, and soon most of the box was history. Yet it was my bake a dessert day as it had been a while since I made an indulgent dessert.Bittersweet Chocolate Marquise with Crème Chantilly & Balsamic Cherry Sauce The Internet has magical powers and drags you into its web, pulling you deeper and deeper. I was quite happily lost in Canelle et Vanilles beautiful pictures, when I googled for a cherry gelee to replace a strawberry gelee. Of course I got distracted, landed up at Epicurious and got searching for cherries. Cherry Syrup? Mmmmm, yes please. That sounded good, but underneath was something that sounded even better, something that I had never heard of – chocolate marquise!Bittersweet Chocolate Marquise with Crème Chantilly & Balsamic Cherry Sauce

Chocolate marquise is a delicate chocolate dessert made of dark chocolate, heavy cream, egg yolks, butter and sugar. Though chocolate marquise is fairly simple in its ingredients, it makes for an elegant dessert as it can be molded in various shapes and served with fresh or chocolate dipped fruit and shaved chocolate pieces. Chocolate marquise requires no baking, but you will need at least three hours to allow it to chill in the refrigerator before serving.

Bittersweet Chocolate Marquise with Crème Chantilly & Balsamic Cherry Sauce Bittersweet Chocolate Marquise with Crème Chantilly & Balsamic Cherry SauceIt’s tough to leave a tempting title like a Bittersweet Chocolate Marquise without an in depth read. Expectedly, pretty soon I was lining molds and humming a sweet song! Yum Yum Yum is all I thought! One thing was definite, that my marquise would be individually plated, a form of serving dessert which I enjoy most. Bittersweet Chocolate Marquise with Crème Chantilly & Balsamic Cherry SauceBittersweet Chocolate Marquise with Crème Chantilly & Balsamic Cherry SauceOf course you can line a loaf pan, or rectangular mold and set the marquise. Chill and slice prior to serving. Else do what I did with some leftover – set in individual goblets. Outstanding and fun! I think if you are short on time, the goblets work best and offer visual delight. I layered in a big hurry as I wasn’t too sure of what to expect. From experience I can now say – expect the best!Bittersweet Chocolate Marquise with Crème Chantilly & Balsamic Cherry SauceBittersweet Chocolate Marquise with Crème Chantilly & Balsamic Cherry SauceIf you like bitter chocolate, then use a nice dark couverture like a 65-70% one, else you can even go with a medium. In that case, maybe reduce the sugar a bit if you like. For an adult variation, maybe spike it with a liqueur and top it with a complimentary fruit pairing. Chocolate holds endless appeal and pairs well with a variety of fruit – cherries, strawberries, oranges, mangoes etc. If cherry season isn’t there yet, try a pairing with strawberries in balsamic syrup.

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