Monday, May 18, 2009

The Art of being a Slop Jockey!

OK, OK! I'll tell you about compost heap marmalade. First of all, the recipe for the proper stuff is in this book, which is a lovely little cook book, first brought to my attention by Moogsmum.

My dear Mr Stressy once described me as a 'Slop Jockey' when it comes to cooking. I rarely follow a recipe and prefer to just bung things together to see what happens! Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't!

This is my version of Compost heap Marmalade. Simply, when you squeeze juice out of a lemon/orange/lime, the part of the fruit that's left normally goes into the compost bin yes? Well, just keep a bag in the freezer and instead of chucking the left over citrus fruit in the compost, put it in the bag. Lemon or lime in a gin and tonic? Drink the liquid, bung slice of lemon in the bag. Tangerines going dried out in the bottom of the fruit bowl? Cut into quarters and bung in the bag. Use any citrus fruit skins you have. I discovered 6 strawberries past their best and threw them in as well. You can also use cooking apples - in fact you are encouraged to do so, but I don't always use them. The peelings and cores that normally go in the compost, bung them in the bag.

When you have about 1 kilo (more is fine, less is not) of fruit in the bag you are ready to become a Slop Jockey Cook. Put fruit in a really big pan, cover with water and simmer for a couple of hours, with the lid on. Strain out all the fruit by tipping it into a colander and squeeze out the juice. Now the fruit can go in the compost bin. Rapidly boil the liquid until you have about 1 pint, bung in a pound of sugar (I always use the stuff with added pectin for jam and marmalade) and boil until setting point is reached.

Setting point is when you put a spoonful onto a cold plate, leave for a minute, draw your finger across the surface - if it wrinkles it will set, if it doesn't boil for a bit longer.

Pour the marmalade into jars. The best thing about this is that there are no 'bits' in it (Mr Stressy picks out all of the peel from marmalade) (and it drives me NUTS) and it is different every time you make it, depending on what goes in. The strawberries this time made it go a very lovely colour.

I really don't think I've broken any copy right laws here as the one in the book is FAR superior to mine - the author is obviously a proper cook and not a slop jockey!

As to Rhubarb Relish, I'm not sharing that with you for 4 reasons.
1. I didn't like it
2. It's a horrid colour
3. Not sure I did it right
4. I really would be breaking copy right there.

But there are loads of recipes involving rhubarb in the book, along with many others that are screaming to be tried out. The chilli pepper jelly in the book is delicious. I spoon it straight from the jar.

This is a practical cookery book - unlike my New Favourite Cook Book - and I would recommend anyone with an interest in growing their own fruit and veg to buy a copy.

Tomorrow I'll be updating the Mystery Blanket. Believe me, it will be worth coming back for!


Anonymous said...

Thats another book on the list! Thank you.

Gina said...

Sounds like my sort of cooking... and I've just ordered the River Cottage book and have only you to blame! One click ordering makes it too easy.

Rhiannon said...

oooh looks like its going to be yummy - bookmarking it as something to do for christmas (big grand plans of hampers, probably going to fall flat on its face...)

In a way I'm glad the rhubarb relish was rubbish [whoop! alliteration], as I don't think I could bear to not just eat the rhubarb stewed with cream!

Sarah Knits said...

I have borrowed that book from the library - will buy it eventually as I really like it. I also made the rhubarb relish, what is it you don't like about it? I wondered if it was the cloves in mine but wasn't sure - it does go nicely with ham though. Will have to give the compost stuff a go now.

trashalou said...

Huh! Mr. Stressy driving NUTS!!! Who would have thought it ;-)

wonderwoman said...

i think it should be called creative cooking - not sloppy!!! its my kind of cooking anyway!!

Lucy Locket-Pocket said...

Oh No! Not ANOTHER book I need to buy! Mr Locket will NOT be pleased! (until I make him something yummy to eat from it of course!)

Lucy x

Hat said...

I've always saved citrus shells to make candied peel but your recipe sounds much more appealing.