Sunday, August 30, 2015

3 Generations Marmalade #marmalade #oranges and #lemons

Still life of marmalade preparation by Colleen Duffy, now exhibiting at Nepenthe Wines.

Okay, I'm late to marmalade making.  Given it is a full two day commitment, I somehow never got around to it during my full-time working years.  Life is a bit slower now (I keep telling myself).

Thoroughly wash oranges and lemons.  I used a vegetable scrubber.

This week I busted mum out of the nursing home and we were joined by my sister and daughter.   I highly recommend enlisting family and/or friends for this job. As someone once said, 'many hands make light work'.   Plus, it so much more fun!  It was hard getting a word in as we sat around the table peeling, pithing and cutting.

Mum's beautifully hands.
Mum could always peel a whole orange in one piece.  It is her gift.  And she was able to pass on to my daughter Hannah the art of dropping the peel onto the table, to determine a letter.  Of course, the letter the peel makes is the first letter of the name of the love of your life.  Hannah had some horror moments and kept re-throwing the peel, hoping to get a different outcome.

G or P? Even a T with a flourish?

Peel the fruit

Remove the pith as it makes the marmalade bitter. 
The pith is a good source of pectin, used to set the marmalade.  Save some of the pith to put into a muslin bag, to cook along with the fruit and water.

Cut the fruit into small pieces.

Orange marmalade

Orange and lemon marmalade.

We made orange marmalade as well as orange and lemon marmalade.

Mum was the font of knowledge when it came to the method but for the quantities I hunted out a few recipes but eventually settled on this formula.

For every one kilogram of fruit, use one litre of water and one kilogram of sugar. 1:1:1

For the orange marmalade we used 2 kg of oranges, 2 litres of water and 2 kg of sugar

For the orange and lemon marmalade we used 2 kg of oranges, 1 kg of lemons, 3 litres of water and 3 kg of sugar.

The oranges and lemons were off 60 years old trees, from mum's family home. The oranges are the best tasting navels I've ever had.  I remember taking these navel oranges to netball as a child. The home team always had to supply the oranges at half time. The navels are so easy to peel and they have no pips. The lemons are seedless Eureka. Juicy, fat lemons with no pips. Amazing.

Thoroughly wash the jars.

If anyone has any tips on how you get particularly stubborn glue off jam jars, please let me know!  I soaked some of these jars for an hour, scrubbed them with a scourer and put them through the 3 hour saucepan setting in the dishwasher but they still had huge amounts of glue sticking to their sides. Aarrgghh

Soaking fruit with water and pith (and pips if you have them) in muslin (or chux!)

Mountains of sugar about to be warmed in the oven to help it dissolve quicker.

Pips are full of pectin, so having no pips in either the oranges or lemons, meant I needed to add pectin or Jamsetta to the marmalade to help it set.  The pith in the muslin just wasn't enough.

Sterilise the jars and lids by putting them in the oven on low (130c) for 15 minutes.  Hot marmalade must be put into hot jars, otherwise the glass could crack. As the jars and marmalade cool you will hear the lids pop as the vacuum seal is activated. This means the jam can keep in the pantry for a year or so without spoiling.  However, once you open a jar of marmalade, keep it in the fridge.

It's a messy business.  But worth it.  Our marmalade is quite dark as I boiled it for over an hour, trying to get it set before I twigged to the fact that no pips meant I didn't have enough pectin.  Once I put the jamsetta in, the marmalade set in 5 minutes!  Learn from my mistakes.  Less cooking makes lighter marmalade.  Still, the darker colour looks luxurious to me.

Yummy with an espresso coffee at breakfast.


Day 1

Wash and scrub fruit
Peel fruit and cut peel finely
Remove white pith and any pips and keep separate
Cut fruit into small pieces
Put pith and pips in muslin bag
Put fruit, peel, water and muslin bag in large pot and soak overnight (helps with pectin extraction)
Wash jars and lids

Day 2

Cook fruit in water until soft (about 1.5 hours)
Warm sugar on low oven (130c) for about 15 minutes (dissolves quicker)
Add sugar to fruit mixture on low heat and stir until dissolved (add jamsetta at this stage if you didn't use pips.  25 gm jamsetta per kg of fruit)
Bring to boil
Hopefully it will set after about 15 minutes.  This will mean you have a light coloured marmalade.
To test it is set, put a teaspoon of marmalade on a cold plate (put plate in freezer to cool).  After about 40 seconds, marmalade should crinkle when touched.
Warm jars and lids in low oven to sterilise and to ensure you are adding hot marmalade into hot jars to avoid explosions.  Have oven mitts on hand! Or even on your hands.


Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Out Now! Paperback and kindle ebook available on #ThePopeyeMurder #MurderMystery #books

The Popeye Murder is now published and available through as a paperback 
and as a kindle ebook.

Click here to purchase the book as a paperback and have it mailed to you or to purchase the kindle ebook and have it sent electronically to your kindle or kindle app on any device. For those of you who live in Adelaide, the paperback edition is available at Dymocks bookstore in the Burnside Village or at Booked at North Adelaide Village.

Please share this post with your friends!

And, after you've read the book, please review it on - as every review will help the book rank higher and make it easier for others to find. 

The Popeye Murder

Rebecca Keith is the editor of “Taste”, the food and wine supplement in Adelaide’s daily newspaper.

Joining a throng of reporters and chefs aboard a local ferryboat called The Popeye to mark the launch of the Australian Food Festival, the gathered crowd is shocked when one of the city’s top chefs is found murdered in a macabre way. Rebecca and the other guests are immediately tagged as suspects to the crime, but in a strange twist of fate, Rebecca is also assigned by her newspaper to cover the murder. Faced with this strange ethical dilemma, she soon finds herself wrapped up in interviews and investigations that put her face-to-face with a host of suspects—and grave mortal danger.

For fans of Kerry Greenwood’s Phyrne Fisher Murder Series and Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple and Poirot, The Popeye Murder: A Rebecca Keith Mystery is a lighthearted tale set against the backdrop of the quirky, yet rich culture of one of Australia’s most beloved coastal cities.

Nepenthe Wines Adelaide Hills #Nepenthe #wine #AdelaideHills

We took a run up into the Adelaide Hills on the weekend and stopped at Nepenthe Wines just outside Balhannah.

Nepenthe is the name of an Egyptian herbal drink in Homer's Odyssey.  The drink is allegedly able to ease grief and banish sorrow.

The Tweddell family started planting wine grapes at Lenswood in 1994, specialising in cool climate vines of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Zinfandel and Pinot Gris.  In 1996 the family built only the second winery in the Adelaide hills (the first was Petaluma in 1976).  There are now more than 80 wineries in the Adelaide Hills.

The Tweddell's gradually bought more land in the Adelaide Hills, planting the properties to vine. In 2002 they bought 25 hectares at Balhannah, the site of the current cellar door.

On our visit we were guided through the many Nepenthe wines by Gabriel, who really knew his stuff.

We came away with a small selection, including: 2012 Pinnacle Ithaca Chardonnay.  (Ithaca is another Odyssey reference with Ithaca being King Odysseus' homeland).  2010 Winemakers Selection Cabernet Sauvignon. 2010 Late Harvest Riesling. 2013 Late Harvest Gewurztramier and our favourite, 2014 Winemakers Selection Arneis.

I've never tried Arneis before but it was delicious. The label describes the wine as having "pear and almonds on the nose" and a "supple mid palate with spiced pear and apple, dry finish."  It is fermented in older French oak barrels.

A beautiful selection of wines.  Check out their website here

Monday, August 24, 2015

New spa on Hutt Street #spa #massage #SoSpaBoutique #HuttStreet

There's a new spa on Hutt Street - So Spa Boutique.  Actually it is owned and managed by Vanessa Newman, who owned the Pear Day Spa just up the road.  However, this location is much better.  It is in the middle of all the action, next to Coffylosophy.  The spa is located in the former Lala's Florist shop, that has been vacant for so many years.

I love a good massage, and there are a few massage options along Hutt Street.  There are two chinese massage shops who offer the quick neck and upper back massage through to the full on pounding through clothing. No need to take any clothes off with a Chinese massage.

Personally I prefer the Balinese style of gentle massage, sans clothes, using scented oils offered at So Spa.  This type of massage is aimed at relaxing and calming the mind and body.

Massage has been around for over 5,000 years. It started in China and moved onto most of Asia, including India.  It has also been around from about 1500 BCE in Eygpt, with paintings of Egyptians performing massage.

Even today in China, massage is seen as a vital part of traditional Chinese medicine, and is taught in modern medical schools in China.  Practitioners of massage claim it can improve oxygen flow in the blood, help the lymphatic system drain away toxins and loosen tight muscles.

There are dozens of different types of massage, ranging from acupressure, ashiatsu (using the feet to massage), Thai, Swedish etc.

So Boutique offers relaxing or Balinese massage, lymphatic massage, deep tissue massage, creamy coconut massage, hot stone massage and a special pregnancy massage.

It also offers a range of other treatments - from facials, to manicures and pedicures, to skin peels and microdermabrasion.

Now and then it is just wonderful to have warm, fragrant oils poured onto your skin and to have tension in muscles massaged away.  You can feel it doing you good.  I think the Chinese are onto something.  We in the west are only just realising the benefits.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Black Point Shack #Shack #BlackPoint #YorkePenisula #holidays

With winter coming to a close in the southern hemisphere, thoughts of planning the summer beach holiday with the kids start to take shape.

South Australia is blessed with tens of thousands of shacks that sit either right on the beach or within the sand dunes.

You can literally step off the verandah of this shack at Black Point on the Yorke Peninsula into the water. Or better still, throw a fishing line out while ensconced in a comfy chair on the verandah.   The shacks along the peninsulas or indeed, along the Murray River are perched on very still, calm waters, ideal for fishing and crabbing and for little ones to paddle. One of the popular activities along the Murray River is water skiing, the waters are so flat.

The shacks are normally basic, especially from the outside.  Although this shack has been renovated inside and has more modern conveniences than most.  A shack holiday in South Australia is an affordable way to spend a week or two at the beach with the family.  It is a time when you dress exclusively in shorts, t-shirts and thongs (for the feet!), cook virtually every meal on the BBQ and try to do as little as possible.  Hopefully some-one has caught some fish or crabs to cook up.

The only family holidays we had when I was growing up in the 60s was when we rented a shack (a lot more basic than this one). There were no overseas holidays when I was a kid!  And indeed even as a adult with a family, my favourite memories are still the beach holidays in S.A.

And while the shacks on the York and Eyre Peninsulas front onto still waters, there are plenty of shacks on the west and south coasts or around the coast of Kangaroo Island that front onto thundering surf beaches.  It just depends on what you like to do.

If you want to rent this shack, click on here to find out more.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Tony and Marks #TonyandMarks #FruitandVeg #food

In addition to the amazing  Central Market with over 80 stalls, Adelaide is fortunate to have a number of top quality food outlets in the suburbs. Tony and Mark's is one of those outlets. 

Operating since 1978, Tony and Mark's have retail outlets at Newton, Glenunga and now the Brickwork Markets.  They also operate a wholesale business, supplying restaurants, delis and cafes with top quality fruit and veg.

They supply often hard to find ingredients such as fresh horse-radish, galangal and turmeric roots.

A wide selection of gourmet condiments

And what would fruit and veg shopping be without picking up some beautiful flowers?

Or some artisan breads?

More evidence of Adelaide being the food and wine capital of Australia.