Burnt Citrus Syrup recipe …

Burnt Citrus Syrup Recipe
(this is a delayed gratification recipe!)

It’s citrus time again.  When friends and neighbours chase you down the street almost begging you to take their home grown lemons, limes, oranges, or kumquats.  The trouble is of course, that EVERYBODY has citrus at the same time!

So here’s something you can do with all that citrus …

You will need

  • a selection of sweet and sour citrus – orange, mandarin, kumquat, grapefruit, blood orange, lime etc – this is a great way to use up ugly, misshapen or blemished citrus.  The more variety the better, but not too much sweet fruit.
  • a selection of herbs and spices, for example – coriander seeds, rosemary, cinnamon sticks, black peppercorns, cloves (not too many), star anise (ditto).  Pick three or four of your favourites.
  • one or two large wide mouthed jars (eg Fowlers or Mason preserving jars)
  • optional – 1 tsp of Citric Acid for each jar – to help preserve the fruit
  • 1-2 litres of sugar syrup – see below
  • a selection of attractive glass bottles for the final product

Step 1 -Burn your Citrus 

  • wash the fruit, chop it into chunks and pile it on to some baking paper in a large roasting pan.  Sprinkle over the herbs and spices.
  • Slow roast it in the oven at 130C (260F) for four to five hours. It will look a bit like a baking disaster but never fear, it’s all good.

Step 2 – Preserve your citrus

While the citrus is in the oven get your sugar syrup ready and sterilise your jars – this can be left until the last 30 minutes of cooking time.

  • Sterilise your preserving jars with boiling water. Be scrupulous.
  • Make enough sugar syrup to fill the jars and cover the burnt citrus. There are plenty of recipes for sugar syrup on the internet. I used two parts sugar to one part water dissolved over low heat. If you use a strong sugar syrup, you can always add a little boiling water to the jar if you run a bit short of sugar syrup.  Warm the syrup when you are ready to fill the jars.

Step 3 – Bottle and wait …

  • Split the citrus pieces, spices and herbs roughly evenly into the sterilised jars.  Fill the jars to around two thirds.
  • If using, add  ½ tsp each of Citric Acid for each jar to help preserve the fruit.
  • Fill the jars with warm sugar syrup and seal.
  • Wait for at least one month. This is the hardest part.
  • Remove the citrus pieces (I throw them on my compost heap) and pour the syrup (which will have turned orange) through a strainer into a jug.  Then into sterilised glass bottles.

Note: this makes a very sweet, unctuous syrup which can be diluted. Prolong the life of the syrup by storing it in the fridge.  If you are scrupulous with sterilising, the syrup will last for several years – I am still using my 2018 vintage!

Uses: pour on ice-cream, make mocktails, or dilute with soda or tonic water.

Davidson’s Plum …

COVID-19 Update: For the past couple of months, we have all been busy Isolation Baking, trying out new recipes or re-visiting old ones.  As I was lucky enough to be offered several kilograms of Davidson’s Plums, I decided to revisit the recipe I posted in 2012, update it a bit and repost.  So here it is …

The summer after I moved to my new house I was excited to discover a mature Davidson’s Plum tree at the back of the property. I was excited for two reasons.  Firstly it seems that neither bats nor birds are attracted to the fruit, and secondly and very conveniently the fruit drops when ripe and all you have to do is pick it up. I placed some weed mat under the tree to stop the fallen fruit rolling away into the undergrowth, but I missed some and now have several small trees growing around the base.

Davidson’s Plum fruit and jam are becoming more readily available, and can be found in some gourmet and “bush tucker”stores if you don’t want to wait the 4-5 years for your tree to fruit.  I have a Davidsonia jerseyana – which is native to the sub-tropical rain forests of Northern New South Wales. The fruit of this tree is extremely tart and only the very brave would attempt to eat it raw.  If you can eat a lemon, you could probably cope with a Davidson’s Plum!  It also has 100 times the Vitamin C found in oranges.

It’s very low in pectin so if you want to make a nice thick jam you’ll need to add some.  Rather than add the commercial stuff, I experimented with green apples.  My recipe Davidson’s Plum Jam works quite well and the resulting jam has a tangy/sweet taste which goes particularly well with toasted macadamia and fruit bread from Bellingen’s Hearthfire Bakery 

Davidson’s Plum Jam Recipe …

Davidson’s Plum Jam Recipe

See my post on Davidson’s Plums

500 gm Davidson’s Plums
500 gm sugar
One large green apple
juice of half a lemon
½ a vanilla pod – split open
Packet of pectin on standby (eg: Jamsetta)

  • Wash the plums in a sieve to remove any dust or dirt.  Cut the plums in half and remove the two small seeds.  Then chop the plums into quarters. Wear gloves if you don’t want to end up with nasty purple fingernails.
  • Peel and core the apple and chop it finely, or grate it.
  • Put the plums, apple, lemon juice and sugar into a saucepan and add just enough water to stop the bottom layer from burning (approximately 50mls) – no more or it will take too long to reduce.
  • Bring the water to a simmer slowly, stirring all the time to ensure that the sugar is dissolved before the liquid starts boiling.
  • Add the vanilla pod.
  • Put a small saucer in the freezer to chill
  • Leave on a gentle simmer for 1-2 hours until the mixture has thickened and reduced.  Test the jam by dropping a teaspoonful on the frozen saucer – it should almost immediately thicken.
  • Sometimes, if the plums are not very ripe or particularly watery, the jam will not set, rather than use more sugar I will add some pectin.  Follow the instructions on the packet.
  • Allow to cool slightly and then spoon into sterilized jars.

Purple Cabbage, an eco-print recipe

 

I am in no way an expert on the eco-print process, but over the last few weeks I have worked out a relatively fail-safe method of printing plant images on to paper using purple (red) cabbage. Keep in mind that you will never get the same result twice – it’s just the way with nature – so expect the unexpected …

If you’d like to see some of the results I’ve achieved using this method, Hopelessly addicted to cabbage.

Preparation …

Gather up a bucket of foliage, leaves and flowers of different textures, shapes and colours.  Avoid large soft leaves as they can turn to mush when they are simmered – geranium leaves are an exception.  Gather more than you think you need.

Some of the leaves and flowers that I used were – lilly pilly, geranium, tree fern fronds, red camellia, tulipwood, lemon myrtle, salvia, grevillea, bamboo and eucalyptus.

Make up a spray bottle of vinegar spritz – I used approximately 70% water/30% cheap white vinegar.

Gather up your paper – try 80/110/180 gsm paper or swing tags or whatever.

The Process …

Start layering your paper and plant matter.  Spritz the paper, then lay down the plant matter and spritz again.  Use plenty of plant matter because some will leave colour, some will interact with each other, some will just leave an outline and others will do absolutely nothing.  Keep layering until you have a thick but manageable bundle.

I use a piece of ordinary 80gsm computer paper for the first and last layers of the bundle – this protects the paper from excess colour.

Use bulldog clips or string to secure your bundle so that the paper and plant layers are pressed firmly together.

Put the bundle in your container of water and bring slowly to a simmer – NOT a boil.  Then simmer for 20 minutes.

Then for a small container, add approximately half a small purple cabbage, chopped into smallish chunks, and ½ a tsp of either alum or copper.

Simmer DO NOT BOIL for 20 minutes and then TURN OFF THE HEAT.  This is really important because if you continue to simmer the cabbage it can “de-nature” which will turn the dye brown and give your paper a muddy look.

Now the Hard Bit …

Step away from the pot and don’t open the bundles until the following day.

The Next Day … (or longer)

Remove your bundles from the pot and stand them in the sink for about half an hour to drain.  Then untie your bundle and carefully peel away the layers, watching out for plants that give a particularly nice outline or colour.  Then leave them to dry on a towel – I don’t wash my papers.

The Day After that …

Do it all again😊