“Vegetables are a must on a diet. I suggest carrot cake, zucchini bread, and pumpkin pie.”
Jim Davis

Saw something stunning the other day – Zucchini & Orange Marmalade Tea Cake. The minute I saw it at Manggy’s No Special Effects, I could hear Ten in 10 yelling at the back of my head. Having made a Chocolate Zucchini Cake in the past, and the children not figuring that out was a gleeful experience. But I hardly ever make that one because of all the butter it takes to make the cake luscious and delectable.
So when I read that Manggy had made this cake probably 4 times in nearly two months, it was bookmarked in my head. They say that the brain can remeber just about 140  friends on social networking sites, and more than that is forgotten. I’m not really sure about that, because I remember more frineds than those on Twitter, and have even more recipes stashed away in my mind. I’m quite past filing them away on the PC because I just can’t ever seem to find them.
My new mental filing system is good so far. I had this Zucchini Tea Bread  in my Ten in 10 folder. What added to the joy was that I had a couple of jars of fab homemade bitter orange marmalade, some waiting to jump right into this tea bread. The daughter loves orange/marmalade anything, so I thought I could pull this off. Veggies in there and no butter. This is as healthy as cake can get this end with veggies within!
Scared of the kids detecting zucchini and running  a few miles had me hypnotically adding some dark chocolate chips. I like walnuts in tea breads, even thought the daughter doesn’t seem to care for them. Crossroads as always with nutty decisions… Truth be told, I just thought if she gets the chocolate chips in there that she so loves, then she shall need to learn to live with walnuts too. Oh the lessons in life I dream of teaching them through food…he he! Might I add, a lot of them backfire!! 
The response was very good. Mr PAB loved the cake. The daughter asked for a second slice, and then a third, and she liked it enough to ask for 2 more the next day. That was be a good enough verdict! The son was a bit iffy about it, but ate it happily just the same. He thought it was a fruit cake!

Zucchini and Orange Marmalade Tea Cake
Recipe adapted minimally from Manggy @ No Special Effects
Adapted from Tartine
1 & 3/4 cup s + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups grated zucchini (about 2 small ones)
1/2 cup orange marmalade
3/4 cup vanilla sugar
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 large eggs
1/2 cup walnuts, lightly toasted and coarsely chopped
1/2 cup chocolate chips
2 tablespoons vanilla sugar


Spray, line, and spray again a 23cm x 12.5cm (9×5 inch) loaf pan and set aside (you can also just spray if you’re confident about your pan’s non-stickiness).
Preheat the oven to 175°C.

Mix the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt in a small bowl and set aside.

Mix all the remaining ingredients (except the walnuts, if using) in a large bowl until combined (no giant lumps of marmalade at least).
Sift the dry ingredients into it and stir until just combined (don’t worry about it being smooth, just be gentle). Stir in the walnuts if using. Pour into the prepared loaf pan.

Sprinkle the top with the about 2 tablespoons vanilla sugar.
Bake for 60-70 minutes or until a toothpick in the center comes out clean.

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“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
Marmalade : (n.) A preserve or confection made of the pulp of fruit, as the quince, pear, apple, orange, etc., boiled with sugar, and brought to a jamlike consistence.

Another beautiful and wonderful tradition I follow is bitter marmalade making. A tradition which is about giving and not so much about getting. This is the time of the year that the tangerine tree is laden with fruit and calling my name. I have a tradition of making bitter orange marmalade at this time of the year, packaging it in reusable jars that I collect through the year, and gifting them. I have a long list of bitter marmalade lovers who await their annual ‘share’!

Most people here gow tangerine shrubs purely for it’s ornamental beauty as the fruit is sour beyond belief.  I love putting the pretty fruit to better use, which is both eye candy & tantalizing to the taste buds. This is traditional British-style marmalade made with a recipe handed down from my mothers’ friend. British marmalade is a sweet preserve with a bitter tang made from fruit, sugar, water and, in some commercial brands, a gelling agent. American-style marmalade is sweet, not bitter.

Some believe that the British passion for the fruit – or rather, the fruit transformed to marmalade – began with a happy accident in 1700, after a young Dundee grocer named James Keiller took a risk on a large consignment of oranges that were en route from Seville, on a ship sheltering against a storm in Dundee harbour. The oranges were cheap, but Keiller couldn’t sell them: the flesh was far too sour. His shrewd wife, however, used the oranges to make a spreadable preserve. The jars went on sale in Keiller’s shop and soon demand became so high, the family had to order a regular shipment of oranges from Seville. By 1797 they had opened Britain’s first marmalade factory.

Tangerines are easy fruit to preserve as jam, as the seeds are high in pectin content. This particular recipe has the seeds tied together in a tiny piece of cheesecloth  and immersed in the ingredients during the process. I think it adds to the conventional bitter edge to the marmalade.

Marmalade requires just 3 basic ingredients – tangerines/oranges, water and sugar!  Do stop over at the Daily Tiffin where I have recently posted the recipe for

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“I loved ginger; I’ve always recognized its tremendous healing power,”
Chris Reed

I thought I would never let me heart win over my head again. Have made the same mistake a 1000 times over, but ooops, I did it again! A month ago, while talking to my friend in Kiev, she mentioned that she couldn’t find any crystallised ginger in Kiev at all, & was in a fix as she really wanted it in her Christmas cake. She excitedly called back a few days later to say her friend who was visiting Istanbul found some & picked it up for her. End of story, blah, blah, blah. Hmmmmmmor so I thought! Then comes along a David Levobitz post. What else, but crystallised ginger (or candied ginger).

Of course I read it with new found interest, & decided it was a great opportunity to inaugurate my candy thermometer. Bought a nice load of ginger the next day…sadly never had time to crystallise it, & it met its eventual fate in curries & kebabs! A few days ago, got drawn to it again. My trusted vendor at the vegetable bazaar had brought a load of fresh ‘spring ginger’, which, as David writes, is the best for the recipe. It’s strange but we get the best ginger, young & less fibrous, in winter around here. It might sound even stranger, but the first strawberries of the season are beginning to show up now!!!

OK…back to the ginger. I sliced it up fine, etc & etc , bunged it in. Then some fresh tangerines beckoned to me. My mother sent me a bagful that morning as she had got loads from a kind old lady’s daughter. (The old lady used to send us some every single year till she sadly passed away a few months ago). Her daughter brought us the first fruit off the tree as she said that’s what her Mom would have done! How touched we were! In December or January for the past few years, a couple of days are always reserved to make some absolutely delicious bitter orange/tangerine marmalade. I made some just after crystallising the ginger. You can find the recipe HERE … it is finger-licking good, & just the best thing to happen to a hot buttered toast! The kids are thrilled to have a spoonful once in a while…So I quartered some tangerines, deseeded them, & put them into the same ‘cauldron‘. Gleefully waited for the thermometer to rise … candy being first for me; all I’ve ever seen is the kids fever rising in the past…LOL!! 100 degrees came pretty quick; 220 took like forever. I think I should have stirred the bottom a bit, because the sugar got somewhat caramelised, so I shut off the heat at 210. The end resultreally nice & addictive crystallised ginger & tangerines!!

as adapted from David Levobitz’s Candied Ginger
Adapted by him from Room For Dessert

To quote David…”You don’t need a candy thermometer to make this. Simply keep an eye on the pot and when the liquid is the consistency of thin honey, it’s done and ready to go. “

1 pound (500g) fresh ginger, peeled
4 cups (800g) sugar, plus additional sugar for coating the ginger slices, if desired
4 cups (1l) water
pinch of salt

  • Slice the ginger as thinly as possible with a sharp knife.
  • Put the ginger slices in a non-reactive pot, cover with water, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and let ginger simmer for ten minutes. Drain, and repeat one more time.
  • Mix the sugar and water in the pot, along with a pinch of salt and the ginger slices, and cook until the temperature reaches 225F (106C.)
  • Remove from heat and let stand for at least an hour, although I often let it sit overnight. Or if you want to coat the slices with sugar, drain very well while the ginger is hot, so the syrup will drain away better.
  • Store ginger slices in its syrup, or toss the drained slices in granulated sugar. Shake off excess sugar, and spread the ginger slices on a cooling rack overnight, until they’re somewhat dry. The sugar can be reused in a batter or ice cream base, or for another purpose.

Storage: The ginger, packed in its syrup, can be stored in the refrigerator for up to one year. If you’re concerned with it crystallizing, add a tablespoon or two of corn syrup or glucose to the sugar syrup at the beginning of step #3. If tossed in sugar, the pieces can be stored at room temperature for a few months.
I made orange shortbread cookies using the crystallised ginger & tangerines. They were delicious. Also, used some of my precious crystallised beauties in the topping & the creme brulee bit of the Daring Bakers French Yule Log, posted HERE. The post with the shortbread cookies will be here soon. The candied/crystallised ginger makes a yummy mouthful on it’s own as well. If you have the patience to try making it, do do so! It’s very addictive & well worth the effort!

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