Saturday, 20 February 2016

Tritordeum Flour Biscuits with Lemon Curd

Well it's not a very sexy title is it?  Be that as it may, the Tritordeum flour is a bit of a Spanish success story, it is made from a  wheat which has been crossed (naturally bred not GM and took thirty years to develop) between a durum wheat and a wild barley species native to Chile.  It has great nutritive values and is drought resistant and highly tolerant to stress.  Qualities that will become increasingly important as our planet's climate and weather changes.

But is it tasty?  Well I think so.  And where can you buy it?  As far as I can see ... not in Britain or the USA... it is available online though and many of the suppliers will post worldwide.  Even though it is grown here in Spain I bought it online since there are no specialist bakeries or 'flour shops' near my home.  It was a fairly painless operation and took only two days to arrive.  If you are interested I would recommend the site is also available in English.

Now to the recipe:

175g Tritordeum flour; 75g oatflakes whizzed briefly with a spoonful of sugar in the food processor and then toasted on the stovetop until they only just lose their pale colour; 125g softened butter; 60g sugar; 1 tblsp lemon curd; pinch of salt; zest of half a lemon and sugar for dusting.

Toasting the oatflakes - you have to keep them moving constantly and watch they don't burn
Beat the butter and sugar together until smooth and pale in colour.  Add the lemon curd and stir until combined.

Add the other ingredients and knead the dough lightly until it comes together.

Roll to 1/2 cm thick and then cut into rounds.

Put on parchment paper in the fridge for 15 minutes or until just chilled.  I actually chilled my dough before rolling it out because the kitchen was a little warm and the dough felt a bit soft.  Use your discretion.

Dust with sugar and bake at 160C for 15 to 20 minutes depending upon how dark you want them to be.

They turn out sort of a cross between a digestive and a shortbread... if such a thing is possible.  I might make them larger next time.  And you can taste the lemon curd in them too.

Saturday, 6 February 2016

Lemon Marmalade!

Having been given a big bag of HUGE lemons by a friend with a lemon tree (wish mine would start producing) I thought I had better make good use of them.  Two lemons weighed 900 grams!!

So, lemon marmalade it is... the theory is as follows:

1.  Lemons (look at the difference in size from the ones I was given and the one I already had from the supermarket).

2.  Cut them and juice them and then remove some of the pith (but keep it along with the pips).

3.  Shred the rind finely or thickly to taste but keep the pieces even sized (if you are not sure if the lemons are organic then you need to clean them thoroughly first to remove any wax coating or pesticides).

4.  Put the pith and pips into a muslin bag - or use the gadget thingy you got from Lakeland years ago and have never used before.

5.  Boil the shredded lemon rind and bag of pith and pips along with the juice until the rind is soft.  This may take some time.  Test the rind to make sure that it is soft before proceeding.

6.  Add the sugar and bring up to jam setting point and then boil until the marmalade is set.

Test for this by putting a plate in the freezer and every so often put a teaspoonful of hot marmalade onto the cold plate and wait for it to go cold... you should be able to see the tell tale wrinkles as you push the marmalade, this is the sign that it is ready to be jarred up.  Let the marmalade cool a little.

7.  Marmalade loves alcohol.  Not too much but just a little brings out the flavour of the fruit.  I couldn't get the lid off the Disaronno bottle so I added a tablespoon of port.  Port and lemon goes doesn't it?

8.  Sterilise the jars with boiling water and then fill the jars with the marmalade while they are still hot.

9.  Do not disturb for 24 hours.

Now the reality.  After 24 hours the marmalade had not set.  Even though it wrinkled perfectly when put on the cold plate.  Ho hum, its not the end of the world with marmalade or jam because you just re boil it until it does set.

That didn't exactly work either.  It turned very dark, very quickly and I had to take it off the heat.  It is thicker but its still more syrup than set marmalade and then when I put it on toast, not all of the rind is soft!!!!!  So.  Important things I have learned from this exercise.  Always shred the rind evenly.  Test for pectin before adding the sugar.  You do this by taking a little of the solution out and adding a drop or two of methylated spirits or denatured alcohol... this should cause the pectin to ball up... and the consistency of the ball (really thick or not) should indicate whether you need to add pectin or not.


The pith and pips is where the pectin resides which is why I added them back into the mixture but obviously these lemons are not high in pectin - which is quite unusual.

So.... have I wasted my time?  Nope.  It's still edible apart from the odd bit of thick peel which can be removed as you come across them.  And I have learned loads.  Don't be put off by difficult stuff... give it a go.  There is no such thing as failure!  (Well almost no such thing).