Edible gifts, Preserves, Something fruity, Something sweet

Strawberry passion conserve

It’s almost the end of the strawberry season here so it’s time to make the most of them and extend the pleasure a little by making jam. I don’t like overly sweet sugary set jams so I make fruit conserve which is more runny and fruity.

For this batch I used about 2kg of ripe strawberries (hulled and cut in half), the pulp and jive from 1kg of passion fruit and about 800g of sugar. I put everything in a large saucepan and heated up. Bring the fruit mix to the boil cook at a low boil for about an hour, stirring occasionally,  until it about a third of the liquid has evaporated then bring the fruit to a fast boil for 5-10 minutes stirring it to stop it sticking.

While it’s cooking sterilize some jars in boiling water (about 4 or 5 jam jars should be enough). I then put them in a warm oven to dry out. Once the conserve is done allow to cool for about 10 mins in the pan (this helps the fruit distribute itself evenly) and then ladle it into the jars and seal them. If you plan to keep it for a long time it’s a good idea to put a disk of baking parchment on top of the conserve before putting the lid on the jar as this will stop any air getting to the conserve and it will keep longer. Homemade conserve makes a great gift.

Edible gifts, Preserves



This is pretty easy and great to make when Cauliflower is in season. I’ve adapted this recipe from a great friend who contributed it to a memorial book made for a relative who had died. What a great idea I would love a book of recipes from family and friends to be my memorial.

So what do you need?

  • 2 large cauliflowers (about 1.5 kg of florets)
  • 6 large onions
  • 400g green beans
  • 2 tbsp. crushed sea salt
  • 10 large red chillis (or 2 red peppers)
  • 1.2 litres vinegar about 6 cups (I use a jasmine rice one as it’s easily available here)
  • 3 cups sugar (550-600g)
  • 1 cup (about 120g) plain (all purpose) flour
  • 4-6 tbsp. mustard powder (depending on it’s strength)
  • 2 tbsp. mustard seeds
  • 1 tbsp. turmeric

So what do you do?

Start the night before by rinsing the cauliflowers and then chopping the florets into bite-sized (or smaller) chunks, put these in a large bowl and add the onions and beans also chopped into small pieces. Sprinkle with the sea salt and mix together and leave overnight. The salt will draw out excess water from the vegetables.

The next day drain off any liquid and put the vegetables in a large thick bottomed saucepan and add 1 litre of vinegar. Bring to the boil and simmer for about 20 mins until the cauliflower starts to soften a little, you want it to remain some crunch. Meanwhile chop the chillis or peppers into small pieces and add them to the pan. Then mix all the other (dry) ingredients together in a bowl and add the remaining vinegar (about a cup) and mix into a paste. The mustard I get in Thailand doesn’t seem that hot so I use 6 table spoons I’m sure Colman’s mustard is a lot hotter. Add this to the cauliflower mixture and bring back to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes stirring occasionally. Allow to cool for a while in the pan. Then spoon into sterilized jars. This will make 6 – 8 largish jars of pickle. Like other pickles and chutneys it’s best if you leave it for a couple of weeks for the flavours to mature before eating piccalilli. It keeps well and makes a great gift.



Edible gifts, Preserves, Something fruity, Something sweet

Roselle & apple conserve

This is a great jam for the holiday season with it’s bright colour and festive spices it can be used instead of cranberry sauce with your Christmas meal or served with cheese as well as eaten on toast etc. It also makes a nice gift.
I picked a bucketful of roselles and separated the seed pods from the red calyx (which look like petals). I boiled a couple of bowlfuls of the seedpods in about 1.5 litres of water for 10 minutes. These contain pectin and the water will thicken a little. Then I strained the water into a large pan and added the calyx (about 1.5 kgs) and 5 granny smith apples which I peeled, cored and cut into chunks. I also added 2 sticks of cinnamon 4 or 5 star anise and a tsp of cloves. I brought this to the boil and simmered for about 15 minutes until the fruit softened then I added 1 kg of sugar and continued to boil for another 15 mins until the mixture began to thicken. Then I ladled the conserve into 10 sterilized jam jars which I sealed and labeled.

Edible gifts, Preserves, Something fruity

Festive pineapple chutney


I make his chutney every year it’s great at Christmas with it’s lovely festive flavours. It makes a perfect gift too! This will make about 8 -10 standard jam jars, depending on their size.

So what do you need?

  • 2kgs of pineapple flesh (from about 4 kgs of pineapple)
  • 4 onions
  • 8 cloves of garlic
  • 2 tsp. sea salt
  • 500 g brown sugar
  • 500 ml vinegar (I used pineapple vinegar)
  • 400g sultanas / raisins
  • 2 tsp. pepper corns
  • 1 tbsp. coriander seeds
  • 1 tbsp. cloves
  • 1 tbsp. ground turmeric
  • 2 sticks cinnamon (broken into 2-3cm pieces)
  • 4 start anise
  • 10 cardamom pods
  • 6 dried chillies (or 2 tsp. of chilli powder)

So what do you so?

Start by peeling the pineapples and cutting the flesh into small chunks I also add the core cut very finely. Then cop the onions and gently fry them in some oil. While they are frying in a mortar put the salt, pepper corns, garlic, coriander seeds, cardamom pods and cloves. Crush these then add to the onions. then add the turmeric, cinnamon, star anise, chillies and sugar and give everything a stir. When the sugar starts to dissolve add the pineapple, sultanas and vinegar and bring to a boil. Boil for about 15 mins then simmer for a further hour stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid has evaporated and the mixture has become darker. Allow to cool for a few minutes and then bottle in warm sterilized jars. You can put a disk of baking parchment on top of the chutney before you seal them with the lids if you want to keep it longer. Leave for 3 -4 weeks for the flavours to develop.

Edible gifts, Preserves, Something fruity

Spicy lime pickle

IMG_5500-0This is the first time I have tried making this, we’ve got so many limes this year I thought I’d give it a go. It’s a favourite of my dad’s but I’m not sure if it’ll last till I next see him! I more or less copied a recipe from Monsoon Spice (check out this blog for more beautiful photos of the process) but I increased the quantity as I had so many limes and also added some sugar at the end as it tasted so sour.

I chopped about 30 smallish thin-skinned Thai limes into eighths, taking out most of the pips, and layered them in a large class jar sprinkling a spoonful of crushed sea salt about 4 times as I filled up the jar.

IMG_5281I put this in the sun each day, shaking the jar once a day to coat the limes in the salty liquid, for a week until the limes changed to a golden colour and softened, it’s hot here in Chiang Mai, you might need to leave it in the sun longer in other places.

When the limes were ready I dry roasted about 3 tsp of fenugreek seeds and then ground them. In a saucepan large enough to hold all the limes I heated up 2 tbsp of sesame oil and added 3tsp of mustard seeds, and 2 tsp of cumin seeds and heated them until the mustard seeds began to pop. The  I added 6 large cloves of crushed garlic and fried for a minute or so before adding 6 large sliced green chillies and a couple of handfuls of torn curry leaves and I fried these together for another minute. Then I added the limes and the liquid that they were in and heated them up. Next I added 3 tsp of turmeric powder and about 5 tsp of chilli powder (mine is very spicy so you may need a bit more) I brought this to the boil and then added about 6 tbsp. of sugar (optional) and then put the pickle into 4 sterilized jars. I allowed it to cool then sealed and labeled the jars. I’ll leave it for a couple of weeks before eating it to let the flavours develop.

Edible gifts, Preserves, Something sweet

Homomade lemon curd

lemon curdLemon curd is much easier and quicker than you might think to make and makes a great change from jam on your toast and can be used as a filling for cakes too. I can remember making it at school so that proves how simple it is. This recipe will make 2 small jars double the quantities to make more, it makes a great gift. You can substitute the lemons for limes if they are easier to come by, you’ll probably need 3 or 4 limes, depending on their size.

So what do you need?

  • 2 lemons
  • 2 large free-range eggs
  • 80 g sugar
  • 60g unsalted butter
  • 2 tsp corn flour

So what do you do?

In a thick bottomed saucepan beat the eggs with a balloon whisk. Then add the sugar, butter and corn flour. Grate the zest of the lemons into the pan and then squeeze the lemons and add the juice to the pan to. Then on medium heat bring the mixture to a boil whisking all the time to stop it catching. Then reduce the heat and simmer for a minute, continuing whisking. Turn off the heat and immediately pout into two warm sterilized jam jars. Put a disc of baking parchment on top of the curd to seal it and then put the lids on. Label and keep in the fridge It’s probably best to eat it within a month, which shouldn’t be a problem.

Edible gifts, Preserves

Homomade lime marmalade

marmalade 1

This is the first time I’ve made lime marmalade, it’s the first year that we’ve had so many limes! As a child I helped my dad make marmalade and I can remember once when using a pressure cooker we took the valve off the top and boiling molten marmalade shot out like a geyser all over the kitchen ceiling, as you can imagine my mum wasn’t impressed. My dad still makes very dark thick cut marmalade each year.


I used 1kg of limes, 1kg of sugar, 2 liters of water and 1 tsp of bicarbonate of soda (which I read helps balance the acidity which helps ensure that the marmalade sets). I started by halving the limes and squeezing out the juice, in a normal lemon juicer. The juice can be poured into a large stainless steel pan with the water which you can begin to heat. The pips and pith should be kept, once you have juiced all the limes take a piece of muslin and use it to line a bowl, double thickness, and then put all the pips and pith in the middle and then draw up the sides of the muslin to form a ball with and tie it so that the pips and pips can’t escape and then put this ball in the pan, you can tie it to one of the handles. Next cut the lime rinds into quarters and the slice the rind thinly and the add it to the saucepan.

marmalade 2Bring to the boil and then simmer for about 90mins until the strips of rind are soft and break in half easily. Meanwhile was 8-10 jam jars in hot soapy water then rinse and dry them. About 30 mins after you begin simmering the marmalade mixture turn your oven on to 175 degrees C / 350 F and heat the sugar up in a baking tin. Heating the sugar speeds up the cooking process. Take the muslin bag out of the saucepan, with a slotted spoon squeeze as much of the liquid out of it as you can as this contains the pectin that will make the marmalade set, put it aside to cool. Then poor the hot sugar into the saucepan and bring up to a fast boil, stirring occasionally. While you are doing this put your jam jars in the oven and turn off the heat. Put a couple of saucers into the fridge. Boil the marmalade for about 30 mins the marmalade will have reduced down a bit then turn down the heat and take a teaspoon of the marmalade liquid from the pan and put it on a cool saucer and put it back in the fridge for a couple of minutes. Then check to see if it has set, it should have thickened and become sticky and wrinkle if youtry and move it with a finger. If it sets then turn off the heat, if not bring the marmalade back to a fast boil for 10 minutes and test it gain, continue until the marmalade sets. The boiling marmalade will also appear thicker and more glossy when it’s ready. Once it is ready turn off the heat, remove any sum from the surface and leave for 15 mins before ladling into the warm jars. If you want to ensure it lasts a long time cut a circle of parchment paper and put it on the top of the marmalade. Seal the jars once it’s cooled a bit and then wipe the jars to remove any marmalade from the outside and label. Preserves make great gifts.