Spiced Pear and Ginger Infused Vodka

After the successful making of Sloe Gin for the last few years, I wanted to try more. Here is the recent concoction, which also seems to be a success. We gave it to friend of ours as a present, she liked it and requested the recipe. So, Dina, here¬†is the improved recipe for you ūüôā

This is one of those recipes that requires a little time and a lot of patience, rather than skill, and the results are well worth it.

We opened my infusion at around 10 days and liked the flavour. However, the flavour will vary and will deepen with time. I suggest tasting it periodically until the depth of flavour is to your liking.

Spiced Pear infused Vodka

SPICED PEAR AND GINGER INFUSED VODKA

Ingredients:

2 pears, ripe, firm, cored and sliced

1 cinnamon stick

2-3 cm sliced ginger

7 whole cloves

4 cups vodka

1/3 cup sugar

glass jar with lid

Method:

Add all ingredients to the jar, seal, store in a dark, cool location. Taste at 5-7 days. If flavour is desireable, strain vodka into a clean jar and seal until using.

If deeper flavour is desired, continue to infuse until flavour is prefered then strain and seal in a clean jar.

No-knead Honey Seed Bread

This is my kind of bread! Although it is a yeast dough, as the title says, it doesn’t require kneading and it’s full of texture due to the amount of seeds in it. Good with soups and on it’s own, but even better with the daubing of soft goats cheese.

No-knead seeds and honey bread

NO_KNEAD HONEY SEED BREAD

(Recipe taken from the book ‘Entertaining Vegetarians’
by Celia Brook)

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons honey

1 tablespoon active dry yeast

2 cups whole-wheat flour

1 1/2 cups of all purpose flour

2 tsp salt

2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds

2 tablespoons sunflower seeds

2 tablespoons leenseeds

butter for greasing

milk, for brushing (optional)

1 tablespoon poppy seeds (for sprinkling)

Method:

  1. Dissolve the honey in 1-1/4 cups hot (but not boiling) water in a small bowl or pitcher. Whisk in the yeast and let stand in a warm place for about 15 minutes until frothy.
  2. Combine the two flours in a mixing bowl. Using a wooden spoon, stir in the salt and the pumpkin, sunflower and leenseed. Gradually add the yeasty water and mix to a dough. As the dough draws together, put the spoon aside and start using the one hand to press the dough into a ball and the other hand to turn the bowl, incorporating everything into a soft, pliable mixture that leaves the sides of the bowl fairly clean. If the mixture is very sticky, sprinkle in a bit of flour to form a soft dough.
  3. Grease a cookie sheet. Please the dough on it and form into a tapered ‚Äúeye‚ÄĚ shape — or whatever shape you fancy. Dust with flour and over with a damp dish towel. Let rise in a warm place for about 1 hour, until doubled in size. Preheat the over to 200C. Use kitchen scissors to make a decorative snips down the middle of the read. Brush all over with milk and sprinkle with poppy seeds, if desired. Bake the loaf in the preheated oven for 30 – 40 minutes, until golden, firm and hollow-sounding when tapped. Let cool on a wire rack.

No-knead seeds and honey bread

Homemade Paneer

All you need to make your own paneer is¬†milk, a¬†lemon¬†and a¬†clean muslin. It’s so easy. See for yourself.
 HOMEMADE PANEER
Ingredients:
1 litre milk (I used full-fat one)
2 teaspoons lemon juice
Extras: (optional)
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 coriander seeds
Equipment:
piece of cheese cloth or muslin
some bowls and a heavy weight
Method:
  1. Boil milk.
  2. When the milk starts boiling, add the lemon juice and extras (if you chose to use it).
  3. As soon the milk completely curdles, remove from heat.
  4. Strain the milk in the cheesecloth and drain the whey.
  5. Collect the cheesecloth tightly together with the lumps of milk shreds, place it on a plate and keep a heavy weight on top of the cheesecloth (as a weight, I used a big jar filled with water).
  6. Check after 30-40 minutes, the paneer should be set. If not, leave a bit longer. Once set and cooled, cut paneer into cubes or any shape.
  7. You can also refrigerate the paneer, keeping it in an air tight container or immerse the paneer block in a bowl of water and keep in the fridge. Paneer stays fresh for 3-4 days.

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Table Apple Jam

I call it ‘table jam’ because of the little amount of sugar it has in it. The downside is that it won’t last too long, but you can feel less guilty consuming this on top of your granola, yogurt, toast, etc.

This chunky apple jam recipe has a hint of spice that reminds me of festive season. Leave the spices out if you prefer a pure apple jam! Depending on the sweetness of the apples used, the amount of sugar may be adjusted to taste. Also, orange peel and juice are optional, but I love this citrus addition.

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TABLE APPLE JAM

Ingredients:

1kg peeled, cored, and chopped apples

juice and peel of 1 orange (alternatively use juice of 1/2 lemon)

100 ml water

250 g caster sugar

1 cinnamon stick

1 clove

Method:

In a large pan over a medium heat, combine the apples, water, orange juice, peel and zest and spice. Cook and stir for 40-50 minutes until the apples have reduced and became partly mushy, but still with some chunks. Add more water if during cooking apple mixture start to dry out to avoid burning.

When you reach the desired consistency, take the jam off the heat, let it cool and pour into the jam jars. Keep it refrigerated.

Easy Homemade Tahini

Homemade easy TahiniI know it’s easier to buy but it is more satisfying to make your own.

Tahini is a paste made from sesame seeds and is a staple in many cuisines, especially in the Mediterranean and Middle East. It plays an essential part in making hummus, although its uses go far beyond that iconic dip.

EASY HOMEMADE TAHINI

(Adapted from The Kitchn)

Ingredients:

1 cup sesame seeds
2 tablespoons, neutral flavoured oil such as mild olive oil, grape seed or canola oil
Salt (optional)

Method:

  1. OPTIONAL РFor more nuttier flavour you can roast sesame seeds first. Add sesame seeds to a wide, dry saucepan over medium-low heat and toast, stirring constantly until the seeds become fragrant and very lightly colored (not brown), 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer toasted seeds to a baking sheet or large plate and cool completely. (Careful, sesame seeds can burn quickly).
  2.  Place the sesame seeds in a food processor and pulse until it resembles a crumbly paste.
  3. Add 2 tablespoons of oil to the food processor. Process for 1 to 2 minutes, scraping down the sides as necessary, until the mixture forms a thick and fairly smooth paste.
  4. For thinner tahini, add more oil, 1 to 2 tablespoons at a time, and process until the desired consistency is reached. It should be pourable.
  5.  Add salt to taste and process until combined.
  6. Transfer the tahini to a jar or other airtight container. Store it in the refrigerator for a month or longer. If the mixture separates, give the tahini a good stir before using.