26 March 2020

Spiced Crab Apples

Spiced Crab Apples - A Versatile Condiment, Pickle or Garnish / www.delightfulrepast.com

Spiced crab apples and spiced peaches, as well as pickled eggs and pickled onions, were things I grew up with. I never really thought about their origin, but given my mother's origins, I'm wondering if these foods are British. 

I had childhood friends whose mothers were from various parts of the world, but I never encountered any of these foods on their tables. Suppose I could Google it, but maybe one of you can tell me.

Crab apples are, I'm told, called such because of their size and not their cultivar. Crab apples are 2 inches or less in diameter, and the ones I used for this recipe, an organic heirloom variety, were way less than 2 inches in diameter.

Spiced Crab Apples - A Versatile Condiment, Pickle or Garnish / www.delightfulrepast.com


If you do canning, I'm sure you could do that with spiced crab apples. But my mother was not into canning for long-term shelf storage, so she made this kind which you can store in the refrigerator for up to a month. She served them with things like pork roast and turkey. 

This seems like a lot of bother for something so small as to be more of a garnish than a side dish! But the spiced crab apples are rather adorable and quite fun to serve for a special occasion. They also work well on a cheese board or charcuterie platter.

But plan ahead. They're ready in a week, but even better at 2 or 3 weeks, and they keep for up to 4 weeks in the refrigerator. I just made 1 quart, but you can easily double or triple the recipe.

Spiced Crab Apples - A Versatile Condiment, Pickle or Garnish / www.delightfulrepast.com
If you like it, please remember to Pin it and share it!

Spiced Crab Apples


(Makes 1 quart)

1 3/4 cup (12.25 ounces/347 grams) sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1/8 teaspoon allspice
1/8 teaspoon cloves
7/8 cup (7 fluid ounces/207 ml) apple cider vinegar
7/8 cup (7 fluid ounces/207 ml) water

1 pound (16 ounces/454 grams) tiny crab apples


1 Have ready a wide mouth 1-quart canning jar. In a 3-quart stainless steel saucepan, whisk together the sugar and spices. Whisk in the vinegar and water. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer gently for 10 minutes. Take off heat for 5 minutes.

2 In the meantime, wash the apples well, leaving the stems intact but removing the fuzzy blossom ends. Pierce the blossom end twice with a skewer or very sturdy toothpick. 

3 Add the apples to the slightly cooled liquid. Bring up to a gentle simmer and simmer the apples for about 15 minutes. Don't let the mixture boil or you might end up with skins falling off the apples and the apples getting overcooked. 


4 Carefully remove the apples from the liquid and put them in a wide mouth 1-quart canning jar. Pour the pickling liquid into the jar. The apples should be completely immersed. If some are floating above the liquid, you can weight them down with something. I have a bunch of 2.6-inch porcelain ramekins and use one of those. These 2.6-inch porcelain dipping sauce dishes would probably also work well. Put on the lid.

5 Let cool for an hour, and then refrigerate for at least a week or up to 4 weeks.

Disclosure: We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon .com and affiliated sites. We are a ThermoWorks affiliate, earning a small commission at no cost to you on purchases made through our links. This helps cover some of the costs of running the blog. Thank you for your support. 

Jean

12 March 2020

Chicken and Dumplings - Instant Pot (or Not)

Chicken and Dumplings - Instant Pot (or Not) / www.delightfulrepast.com

Chicken and Dumplings is a real comfort food classic! And if you’d like to make it on the stovetop rather than in the Instant Pot, go to my original Chicken and Dumplings post. 

Also, go to that post if you’d like to read about the great dumpling controversy—you know, fluffy versus flat, dropped versus rolled. As you can see, I make fluffy dumplings. 

And fluffy they are. Never stodgy (unpleasantly solid and heavy). Sometimes I use a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar in the milk, and sometimes not. Either way, they come out light, fluffy and delicious. 

Thing is, the Instant Pot is narrower in diameter than my Dutch oven, so there’s really only room for half the dumplings. If you’re serving it all at once (dinner for at least 6), you could transfer the finished stew to a wider pan that will hold all the dumplings. 


Chicken and Dumplings - Instant Pot (or Not) / www.delightfulrepast.com


I’ve often used bone-in chicken breasts and thighs rather than cutting up a whole chicken, but for this Instant Pot version I went with a whole chicken and did not cut it up. 

You see, I’m still on my Streamlined Cooking kick and not cutting up the chicken and not browning the pieces was a huge timesaver. The chicken comes out fall-apart tender and easy to remove from the bones. 

I was prepared to have to remove a lot of fat from the broth, but there didn’t seem to be a lot of fat, so I just went with it. That was another timesaver.

I hope you’ll try it soon and let me know how you like it. And, tell me, which dumpling team are you on, fluffy or flat?


Chicken and Dumplings - Instant Pot (or Not) / www.delightfulrepast.com


Chicken and Dumplings - Instant Pot


(Serves 6 to 8)

The Chicken Stew

1 whole organic free-range chicken (3.5 to 5 pounds/1.6 to 2.25 kg), giblets removed
1 teaspoon salt, divided
1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper, divided
1/2 teaspoon marjoram
1/2 teaspoon poultry seasoning
1 medium (about 12 ounces/340 grams) yellow onion, quartered and sliced (1 1/2 cups)
1 1/2 cups thinly diagonally sliced carrots (about 12 ounces/340 grams)
3 stalks (about 4 ounces/113 grams) celery, thinly diagonally sliced (1/2 cup)

2 cups (16 fluid ounces/473 ml) water
1/4 cup flour shaken with 1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley


The Dumplings


(Makes 18)

2 dip-and-sweep cups (10 ounces/283 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon non-GMO baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons (2 ounces/57 grams) unsalted butter, melted
1 cup (8 fluid ounces/237 ml) milk (1 tablespoon of which can be apple cider vinegar)

1 In 6-quart Instant Pot inner cooking pot, place the chicken (mine was an even 4 pounds); sprinkle with 3/4 teaspoon salt, 3/4 teaspoon pepper, marjoram and poultry seasoning. Top with onions, carrots and celery; pour in the water.

2 Put the lid in place and turn the steam valve to Sealing. Plug in the Instant Pot. Press the Pressure Cook key. Leave the indicator lights on High Pressure and Normal temperature, and change the cooking time to 25 minutes.

Note: It took about 25 minutes to come up to pressure and begin the cooking time.

3 When the "It's done" beep sounds and the indicator says "Off," set a kitchen timer for 25 minutes and allow the pressure to release naturally, then do a quick release by turning the steam valve to Venting. 

4 When the float valve drops down, carefully remove the lid. Transfer the chicken to a large plate or bowl and let cool for about 20 minutes. When it's cool enough to handle, use 2 forks to remove the skin and take the meat off the bones. Cut it into bite-size (about 1-inch) pieces.

5 Shake together flour and water until mixture is as smooth as possible; then pour it through a strainer into the stew. Taste and adjust seasoning, adding the additional 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper, if needed; press Saute and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes to thicken. Stir in the chicken.

Note: You can stop right here if you want to and finish the dish tomorrow or the next day. See the Note at the end before proceeding.

6 While stew returns to a simmer, make dumplings. In medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt. Drizzle melted butter over flour mixture, stirring with large fork. Stir in milk. Let stand for 5 minutes before scooping onto stew.

7 Stir in the parsley (and a cup of frozen peas, if you like). Spray a #40 scoop (about 1.5 tablespoons) or round measuring tablespoon with cooking spray. Drop level scoops or rounded tablespoons of dough onto simmering stew. Cover and simmer dumplings for 20 minutes, then test one to see if toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. If not, cover and simmer an additional 5 minutes.

Note:  Only half the dumplings will fit in the Instant Pot. If you want to cook all the dumplings, you will need to transfer the stew to a wider pot, such as a 5.5-quart Dutch oven. And, if you are not an experienced dumpling maker, you will likely find it easier to do that anyway because cooking the dumplings is a bit tricky in the Instant Pot. You have to go back and forth between Saute and Slow Cook to keep the stew at a simmer. I did it one time, just to see if and how it could be done, and it worked. But I'll do the dumplings on the stovetop next time.

Disclosure: We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon .com and affiliated sites. We are a ThermoWorks affiliate, earning a small commission at no cost to you on purchases made through our links. This helps cover some of the costs of running the blog. Thank you for your support. 

Jean

27 February 2020

Cornish Splits - Devonshire Splits

Cornish Splits - Devonshire Splits - A British West Country Classic / www.delightfulrepast.com

A Cornish Split - or Devonshire Split - was the original star of the famous "cream teas": of Cornwall and Devon. Though you'll more often find a cream tea with scones, the split is a classic as well.


Cornish or Devonshire Splits - A British West Country "Cream Tea" Classic / www.delightfulrepast.com


No one appreciates a good scone more than I, but this week I was in the mood for a lovely yeast bun for my cream tea, so here they are! Not a crusty bun, it is neither egg-washed nor well-browned. In fact, a tea towel is spread over them as they cool so as to keep them soft.


Cornish Splits - Devonshire Splits - A British West Country Classic / www.delightfulrepast.com
Of course, I had to make a batch of Strawberry Jam and a batch of Clotted Cream 
to fill the splits. But I could spare two berries to "model" for me for this little
watercolor sketch. 


Unlike scones, which are served alongside the accompanying clotted cream and jam (or lemon curd), Splits are served, well, split, and filled with the cream and jam and given a dusting of icing sugar (powdered sugar).

These were so delicious with a pot of Rishi Tea organic loose leaf Earl Grey. Have you ever had Cornish or Devonshire Splits?

Cornish Splits - Devonshire Splits - A British West Country Classic / www.delightfulrepast.com

Cornish Splits - Devonshire Splits


(Makes 18 buns)

The Buns

3 3/4 dip-and-sweep cups (18.75 ounces/532 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 cup (1.75 ounces/50 grams) sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons (1 package/0.25 ounce/7 grams) instant yeast
1 1/4 teaspoons (0.25 ounce/7 grams) salt
6 tablespoons (3 ounces/85 grams) unsalted butter
3/4 cup (6 fluid ounces/177 ml) milk
3/4 cup (6 fluid ounces/177 ml) water

1 large egg (medium in UK), lightly beaten

The Filling

Strawberry Jam 
Clotted Cream

1 In large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, yeast and salt. In small saucepan, heat together butter, milk and water until butter is melted and mixture is very warm, but not more than 130F/54C (a great little thermometer). Line two baking sheets with parchment. I use one half sheet pan and one quarter sheet pan for this recipe. Lightly oil a 2-quart bowl for proofing the dough. I use a 2-quart glass measure, which makes it very easy to tell when the dough has doubled. 

2 With dough whisk or large wooden spoon, stir warm liquid and beaten egg into flour mixture until blended. The dough will be very sticky.

3 Measure out 1/2 dip-and-sweep cup (2.5 ounces/71 grams) of unbleached all-purpose flour to work from while kneading the dough. This will keep you from the common problem of adding too much flour and ruining your dough. Lightly flour the countertop and scrape the dough onto it. Lightly flour the top of the dough and knead for 10 minutes, adding just a bit of flour as needed. You will likely need anywhere from 1/4 cup to slightly less than 1/2 cup.

4 Shape the dough into a smooth ball and place it in a lightly oiled bowl (I use a 2-quart glass measure), cover with lid or plastic wrap, and let rise until doubled, about an hour or so.

5 Deflate the risen dough by pressing your fist into the middle of it. Turn the dough out onto the counter, no need for flour. Divide the dough into 18 equal pieces. I'm pretty particular about my buns and rolls being identical, so I weigh the dough (in this case, my dough was 2 pounds 7 ounces/1106 grams) on my food scale, divide the grams by 18 (in this case, coming out to be about 61 grams per bun), then I weigh each little hunk of dough as I go. Roll the piece of dough between your palms until smooth, then do this to shape it into a nice round bun. Cup your hand over it like a "cage" and move your hand rapidly in an outward motion.



6 Place the buns on the parchment-lined baking sheets and cover with lids or plastic wrap. I don't like using plastic wrap, so I have rimmed baking sheets that come with lids! Let rise until doubled, about 45 minutes or so. During the last 15 minutes, preheat oven to 375F/190C/Gas5.

Cornish Splits - Devonshire Splits - A British West Country Classic (this photo, buns rising on lidded baking sheet) / www.delightfulrepast.com


7 I bake one sheet at a time. Bake for about 15 minutes (you know your oven), until buns are just golden brown and sound hollow when tapped. Transfer to wire cooling rack and cover with a tea towel. Cool completely.


8 When ready to serve, slice the buns diagonally from about a third of the way down in the front to about two-thirds of the way down in the back, but do not slice all the way through. Put in a spoonful of strawberry jam (about 2 level teaspoons works for me) and spread it over both the top and bottom. Then put in a spoonful of clotted cream (about the same amount). Arrange the filled splits on a serving platter or tray, and dust with a little icing sugar.

Disclosure: We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon .com and affiliated sites. We are a ThermoWorks affiliate, earning a small commission at no cost to you on purchases made through our links. This helps cover some of the costs of running the blog. Thank you for your support. 

Jean

13 February 2020

French Almond-Rum Cake - Gateau Nantais

French Almond-Rum Cake - Gateau Nantais / www.delightfulrepast.com

Gateau Nantais (pronounced GAT-toe nahn-tay, sort of) is a traditional cake of Nantes, a city on the delta of the Loire in western France. The city is famous for its fleur de sel and its salted butter, so its inhabitants might be outraged that I have made the famous cake with unsalted butter, but organic unsalted butter is the only kind of butter I ever use.

If you make this recipe with salted butter, reduce the salt from 1/2 teaspoon to 1/4 teaspoon. Most versions of the recipe call for a good deal more rum than I've used, though I think I've used a drop more of it than did Phil, from whose blog, As Strong As Soup, I first heard of the cake some years ago. So I'll leave the amount of rum up to you.


French Almond-Rum Cake - Gateau Nantais / www.delightfulrepast.com


With mostly almond flour and just a tiny amount of wheat flour, the cake is so close to gluten-free I thought I'd just use a gluten-free flour blend and make it a cake I can serve to my GF friends. But you can just use regular all-purpose flour as well. It's lovely and delicious with toasted sliced almonds on top, but I went traditional with this one.

Of course, you can eat it right away, but this cake is even better the next day. So do make it the day before you plan to serve it. And, if you like, please Pin it and share it. This was a lovely cake to celebrate my 10th blogiversary!



French Almond-Rum Cake - Gateau Nantais / www.delightfulrepast.com
  

French Almond-Rum Cake - Gateau Nantais


(Makes one 7-inch round cake)

The Cake

1/3 dip-and-sweep cup (1.67 ounces/47 grams) gluten-free 1 to 1 Baking Flour or unbleached all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon non-GMO baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs (medium in UK)
1 stick (4 ounces/113 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup (5.25 ounces/149 grams) sugar (I use 1/2 cup)
1 1/4 cups (4.5 ounces/128 grams) almond flour*
1 to 2 tablespoons (0.5 to 1 fluid ounce/15 to 30 ml) dark rum

1/8 teaspoon almond extract

* I use Bob's Red Mill Super-Fine Almond Flour From Blanched Whole Almonds

The Syrup

1 1/2 tablespoons (0.64 ounce/18 grams) sugar
3 tablespoons (1.5 fluid ounces/ml) water
1 tablespoon dark rum

The Glaze

3/4 packed cup (3 ounces/85 grams) powdered sugar
1/16 teaspoon (a pinch) salt
2 teaspoons dark rum

2 teaspoons water, a bit more if needed

The Optional Garnish

1/4 cup (1.125 ounces/32 grams) sliced almonds, toasted



1 Preheat oven to 350F/180C/Gas4. Generously butter a 7-inch/18 cm round cake tin or removable-bottom pan. Put a round of baking parchment paper in the bottom and butter it as well. 


2 In a small bowl, vigorously whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. In a 2-cup glass measure or small bowl, lightly beat the eggs.

3 In a stand mixer, or using an electric hand mixer and large bowl, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, about 3 to 5 minutes. Scrape the bowl, then add the almond flour, beating on medium speed just until incorporated, about 1 minute.

4 Add the eggs, about a third at a time, beating for about 20 seconds after each addition. On medium-high speed, beat until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. On low speed, gradually mix in the flour just until incorporated. With silicone spatula, stir in the rum and almond extract and scrape the bowl. 

5 Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the surface. Bake for 50 to 55 minutes, until golden brown. 

6 During the last 20 minutes of baking, make the syrup. In 1-quart saucepan, combine the sugar and water. Bring to a boil, stirring until the sugar is dissolved, then boil for 3 minutes. Off heat, stir in the rum. Then simmer for 2 minutes.

7 When the cake is done, cool in pan on a wire rack for 5 minutes then turn it out onto a wire rack, bottom side up. Immediately peel away the baking parchment paper and brush the top and sides of the cake with the rum syrup. Cool completely, about 1 hour. Transfer to serving platter.


8 Make the glaze in a 1.5-quart mixing bowl. Vigorously whisk the powdered sugar and salt and smoosh out the big lumps, then whisk in the dark rum. Gradually whisk in enough water to make a rather thick (not too runny), smooth glaze. Pour the glaze onto the center of the cake, then spread it out toward the edges, letting a bit drip down the sides. An offset spatula (OXO Good Grips calls theirs a bent icing knife) is handy for the task. 

9 Optional: Sprinkle top with toasted sliced almonds. Let stand at room temperature for at least an hour. Cover with a cake dome and store at room temperature. Will keep for a few days, I suppose; but I don't know because I put half the cake in the freezer.

Disclosure: We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon .com and affiliated sites. We are a ThermoWorks affiliate, earning a small commission at no cost to you on purchases made through our links. This helps cover some of the costs of running the blog. Thank you for your support. 

Jean

30 January 2020

An Announcement

An Announcement - Nothing to Do with Pears / www.delightfulrepast.com
This post has absolutely nothing to do with pears, but I had to put up a picture of something. And pears made more sense than some of the stuff I paint, like autumn leaves, pine trees, trees in general, cats, birds and elephants! 

Each year as February 15 approaches, I consider the future of my blog. And never more so than this year when February 15 will mark the Tenth Blogiversary of Delightful Repast.

When I started blogging, I never dreamed I would be posting every week for 10 years. I know lots of bloggers post multiple times a week, but once a week was a real stretch for me.

I love developing recipes and writing them out in great detail so that my readers at every skill level can have success with them. I enjoy sharing my love of tea (the beverage and the ritual) and wine. And I slip in the occasional travel post.

One of my favorite types of posts is when I do a giveaway of a product or book or piece of kitchen equipment I use and love. 

The best part of blogging for me is something that many bloggers miss out on--engagement with my readers. I read and respond to every comment and, if the commenter has a blog, I visit the blog and leave a comment there. 

I really don't want to give all that up. So I've decided to post less frequently rather than stop posting altogether. I hope that will suit my readers as well as give me a bit more time for all the other aspects of my life.

Don't ask me how long it takes to produce one of my posts and do all the other things associated with blogging. I've never actually done the math on that because I didn't want to know!

Rather than posting every Thursday as I have all these years without a break, I am going to post every other Thursday. So don't look for a new post next week, but come by anyway and read an old post--there are more than 500 of them!

I'll be back on February 13 (10th blogiversary week), and I hope you'll join me! If you haven't subscribed, please do so and you'll automatically get an email notice when a new post is published. 

And just to get some food into this food blog post for you, here is what I'm making for dinner today: Slow Cooker Pork Loin Roast with Gravy.

Jean 
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