"Some bits and pieces from here and there."
Strawberries are amazingly cheap at the moment - $1.00 a punnet and so I am going to make some jam. I think I will make jam just as I usually do, but I have to say that this caught my eye in the latest Coles Magazine - No cook chia jam. Which is tempting. Strawberry jam is difficult to get to set. But it looked very seedy and I have never tasted chia seeds, so am not sure. All you do is mash your strawberries (250g) with 1 tablespoon of maple syrup and mix with some chia seeds (2 tablespoons) - and you're done! So when I started to do this I checked online and it seems that chia seed jam is quite a thing. You can do the same with any fruit. Sometimes the fruit is cooked a bit. Sometimes the maple syrup is honey, but fundamentally the same process. Gimme Some Oven has a short video to show you how with raspberries. I asked my granddaughter whether she had eaten chia seeds and she said she had and that she liked them, so maybe I'll give it a try with one of the punnets. Different anyway.
Rock melon, lemon and white pepper jam
Whilst we're on jam - in on of those old delicious. magazines I found this recipe from Sylivia Colloca. Now I like rock melon and I have often wondered what to do with all of it. There are only two of us and a rock melon takes a while to eat. Which is fine. But being able to do other things with it would be good, and this sounds quite tantalising. White pepper? So I might give this a go too. I do like making jam. It's so satisfying to see all those jars lined up in the pantry and they make perfect gifts. The delicious. hook for this was a special breakfast for husband Richard Roxburgh. Now you might not have Richard Roxburgh as a husband, but father's day is coming up!
The Eltham chooks
On my walks around Eltham I have noticed these chooks popping up everywhere. There are dozens more. Where did they come from I wondered. Well - they're a COVID thing. A lady called Joan Denison who lives in Eltham, thought she would cheer us all up and painted a few chooks on old fence pailing's and put them in her garden. They attracted a lot of attention and so she left a few outside the gate for people to help themselves to. This became so popular that eventually she had to set up a stall. She has actually painted thousands - people have been sending here palings and she has made them for various community organisations. I don't know whether she is still doing it, but they still keep popping up in new places on my walks. I wish I knew where she lived. Though I guess if you have some old wood and some paint you could make one yourself! A very heart-warming - to be corny - story from COVID. It's not all bad!
Another Coles Magazine tiny thing which, when investigated, seems to be quite a big thing. You cut your citrus in half and then grill on a griddle until charred. Coles simple suggests squeezing them over chicken or fish, but it seems that you can do much more with them.
"Cut a lime or lemon in half as you heat a skillet on medium high until it's very, very hot. Brush a little cooking oil on the cut sides of the citrus and then lay the halves down on the skillet. Cook until well charred, about five minutes. Cooking citrus over high heat in this way caramelizes its flavors, tones down acidity, heightens sweetness, and rounds out bitterness. It's like you're creating a new, more complex fruit. The resulting juice can be used in sauces, vinaigrettes, or as-is on chicken and fish for amazing flavor." Amanda Freitag
I also saw it used in drinks somehow. Just google char-grilled citrus and you will find all sorts of idea.
I really don't understand why people say they can't cook. Here is a wow starter for a fancy meal that requires very little work at all. It's called Buffalo mozzarella with bay oil and it's the brainchild of Maurice Terzini. Another recipe found in that old delicious. magazine. Here the impact is all in the fact that you have classy mozzarella and classy presentation, that anyone could do. I do think rectangular plates are really good for this sort of thing. All you do is arrange your mozzarella on a platter. Blanch some kale and chives, whiz ehh bay leaves and oil, strain and pour over mozzarella. Scatter with basil leaves, Fried capers and dried, crumbled black olives. Now I have no idea where you get them, but you could just chop up some olives surely. Or dry them yourself in the oven. Easy peasy and dramatic. I once tested some buffalo mozzarella against cow's milk mozzarella with some friends - and honestly we didn't think the difference was that great - indeed some of us preferred the cow's milk version from the supermarket.
A tempting looking recipe
To finish - a Roast chicken with black olive garlic butter from The Guardian's Thomasina Miers. Yes it's just roast chicken really but the idea of a black olive and garlic butter pushed under the skin of the bird was somehow very French. I don't know - it just touched my nostalgia button. Not that I have ever had this dish, and I have pushed other stuff under the skin of a chicken, but for some reason this just hit a chord. Might have a go sometime soon. A whole chicken is too much for us, but you can do an awful lot with leftover chicken, and I have been trying to use more butter when I cook these days rather than oil.
So there you go. A quickie of odds and ends. Sometimes though I see things that don't warrant a whole post but should be noted anyway. Enjoy.