Monthly Archives: December 2012

Homemade: Best Strawberry Jam Ever

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I’ve tried making strawberry jam in the thermomix a few times now using the EDC recipe, but despite all my efforts and even adding extra cooking time, I don’t seem to be able to get a nice thick jam. I make a delicious strawberry sauce, but a very runny jam. Just recently my friend A mentioned she tried Tenina’s recipe for Strawberry and Vanilla Jam, and that it worked out perfectly. I tried it myself on the weekend and oh my goodness it was amazing. Thick, jammy jam, but not sickly sweet and very quick and easy to make. I made 3 batches and the recipe worked every time. I also did one batch and increased the ingredients and cooking time as below, plus a few tweaks to the method, and it still worked out beautifully. The original recipe makes about 600g of jam, and the revision below makes about 900g.

Ingredients

  • 600g strawberries (fresh or frozen)
  • 300g sugar
  • 1 and 1/2 green apples, pips removed and sliced with skin on
  • Vanilla seeds scraped from 1 vanilla bean

Method

  1. Place all ingredients in TMX and cook on Varoma, 55 min, Sp 1 with simmering basket on top of lid instead of MC
  2. Check the consistency of the jam by placing a spoonful of jam on a cold plate; if it wrinkles when pushed the jam is ready
  3. If not cooked, cook on Varoma for a further 10 min, Sp 1 and check again. Repeat until desired consistency is reached
  4. Place MC in lid and blitz 10 sec, Sp 9
  5. Spoon into sterilised jars and seal while hot

Sterilising Jars

Recycle used jars or buy new glass jars for your preserve. Wash the jars and lids thoroughly in hot soapy water, rinse well and air dry. Alternately wash them in the dishwasher. Then place clean jars on a clean tray in the oven at 100C and allow to dry out for 15 min. Pour hot jam into hot, sterilised jars and seal with lids immediately. As the jam and jar cools the lid will be pulled in to form a seal. The lid of the jar will ‘pop’ when opened. You can also purchase plastic film seals for your jars that go over the jar before the lid is put on. I’m sure you can buy them elsewhere but I get these ones from Coles ($1.83 for a 24 pack). They are handy if your jars have been reused numerous times and the lids are getting worn.

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Christmas Craft Activities: Hanging ‘Stained Glass’ Decorations

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Christmas Craft Activities are always a big hit in my house. From around mid-November I generally start putting old christmas wrap, last years christmas cards, bits of ribbon, christmas stickers from the $2 shop and christmas cookie cutters (for tracing around) in the ‘Useful Box’ on our craft table. I generally try to do a few structured craft activities with the kids as well.

My girls and I made these hanging ‘stained glass’ decorations last year and I just pulled them out of the box and hung them up again. They are really lovely and we had so much fun making them and hanging them in the window.

Hanging 'Stained Glass' Decorations

 

What you’ll need:

  • Coloured paper – we used paintings the girls had done already that they were happy to cut up
  • Christmas cookie cutters to trace around
  • Coloured cellophane
  • Ribbon or string
  • Christmas stickers (optional)
  • Scissors
  • Hole punch

How to make it:

  1. Trace around a christmas cookie cutter then cut out the shape
  2. Repeat step 1 so you have 2 matching shapes
  3. Cut out a hole in the middle of each shape – you can make it the same as your traced shape or let the kids cut out a randomly shaped hole.
  4. Glue a piece of cellophane (that is just big enough to cover the cut-out hole) between the two shapes
  5. You can also make a few solid shapes with drawings or stickers on them to intersperse with the ‘stained glass’ ones
  6. Punch a single hole in the top and bottom of each shape and use pieces of ribbon or string to tie together
  7. Hang in the sunlight and enjoy your handiwork 🙂

Feeding the Funky Bunch: Little Christmas Fruit Cakes

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I’ve been making these little fruit cakes for years. They always remind me of a boiled fruit cake my Mum used to make when I was a little girl. Deliciously moist and tasty, they always get made around Christmas time in our house … and quite a few more times throughout the year! The original recipe is from a great cookbook called Simple Food by Jill Dupleix which is now out of print unfortunately.

I’ve included thermomix instructions below for part of the method. I’ve tried mixing in the eggs and flour with the thermomix but the resulting texture of the cakes just isn’t as nice as if you mix them in by hand. If you do want to try mixing it in the thermomix use Reverse Sp 3 for 20 seconds after adding the eggs and 40 seconds after adding the flours.

Little Fruit Cakes

Ingredients

  • 150g butter
  • 150g sultanas
  • 150g currants
  • 200g glace cherries
  • 180g soft brown sugar
  • 1tsp ground mixed spice
  • 1tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1tsp ground ginger
  • 1tsp bicarb soda
  • 250ml water
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 150g plain flour
  • 150g self-raising flour

Method

  1. Pre heat oven to 180C
  2. Place butter, sultanas, currants, cherries, sugar, mixed spice, cinnamon, ginger, bicarb and water in TMX or a saucepan
  3. Mix 6min, 90C, Speed Soft in TMX or bring to the boil in saucepan while stirring then remove from heat
  4. Allow mixture to cool (if you transfer to a large mixing bowl to cool, this will usually take about 30 min)
  5. Add eggs and mix in well with a spatula
  6. Add flours and mix in well with a spatula (I place the bowl on top of the TMX and weigh flours straight in)
  7. Spoon mixture into muffin trays lined with paper cases (makes 18 cakes)
  8. Bake 20-25min

Feeding the Funky Bunch: Pizza Scrolls

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To say these pizza scrolls are popular in my house (and other people’s houses, and playgroup, and at parties …) is an understatement. They are really yummy and this version is nice and healthy. Obviously you can choose any fillings you like, the one’s pictured here are a classic hawiaan with some extra veg thrown in. The dough for these is a breeze too. It comes together really well, doesn’t need to be rested and is easy to roll out.

Ingredients:  Dough

  • 150g self-raising flour
  • 150g wholemeal self-raising flour
  • 1tbs raw sugar
  • 50g cold butter, cubed
  • 180g (3/4 cup) milk

Thermomix Method: Dough

  1. Weigh flours, sugar and butter into TMX
  2. Mix 20 sec, Sp 4
  3. Pour in milk
  4. Set TMX to closed-lid position and Knead for 45sec
  5. Turn out dough onto floured bench
  6. Knead by hand for a few seconds, just enough to bring it together
  7. Divide dough in half
  8. Working with one half at a time, roughly shape into a rectangle and roll out to approx 50cm x 20cm, approx 3mm thick

You end up with two 50cm x 20cm rectangles which you will top, roll and slice.

This makes approximately 40 pizza scrolls in total.

Non-Thermomix Method: Dough

  • Using a food processor:
  1. Place flours, sugar and butter in food prcoessor and mix to a breadcrumb consistency
  2. Slowly pour in the milk while processor is mixing until a dough forms
  3. Follow from step 5 of the Thermomix Method above
  • By hand:
  1. Place flours, sugar and butter in a bowl
  2. Rub together to a breadcrumb consistency
  3. Add milk
  4. Mix and knead until a dough forms
  5. Follow from step 5 of the Thermomix Method above

Ingredients & Method: Topping

1. Spread your rolled out rectangles of dough with your base mix

  • You can use whatever base is appropriate for your fillings – tomato, pesto, flavoured oil
  • Here I’ve used a tomato base which is organic tomato paste with dried italian herbs, black pepper, pink salt and finely grated carrot mixed through. I use about 100g tomato paste with a whole carrot grated in and divide it between the two rolled out rectangles of dough. Of course, this comes down to personal taste and does not need to be particularly precise

2. Sprinkle on pizza toppings and cheeses

  • You can use whatever combinations of toppings you like
  • I usually try to add a couple of finely chopped or grated fresh veg like capsicum, mushroom and zucchini
  • Using a mix of cheeses like cheddar and mozzarella or feta is delicious
  • A couple of our favourite combinations are:
  • sun-dried tomato, olive, mushroom, capsicum, cheddar and feta
  • pineapple, fresh tomato, zucchini, bacon, cheddar and mozarella

How to make Pizza Scrolls

  1. Pre-heat oven to 180C
  2. Take one half of dough and roll out to form a rectangle approx 50cm x 20cm, approx 3mm thick
  3. Spread with base mix, then sprinkle evenly with toppings leaving a 2cm border along the long sides of the rectangle free of toppings
  4. Rolling from the long edge at the top, fold the dough over itself and roll tightly into a log
  5. Using a sharp knife, slice into approx 2cm thick slices
  6. Place cut-side up on a lined tray
  7. Bake 18-20 minutes, 180C

Pizza Scrolls

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