All about Show cooking

Archive for the ‘Brookfield Show’ Category

Lime Marmalade

image
Lime Marmalade is my favourite preserve to make and is always delicious with a beautiful tang and slight bitterness, which all of the best marmalades have. Limes are plentiful right now and at the peak of their season in mid Autumn. My lime tree was bursting with fruit, and the crop was the best I’ve seen. Lime marmalade is relatively uncomplicated to make with no seeds to deal with, and a good one to start with if you haven’t made marmalade before. All you need is limes, sugar and water. I started with around a dozen limes, but you can successfully make lime marmalade with half that, and this recipe is very flexible. If you are a beginner, it is best to start with smaller batches, rather than one large one.
image
Top and tail the limes, cut into half longways, and thinly slice. For Show work, you need to slice very finely. Put the lime slices in a large container, just cover with water and soak (covered) overnight or at least three to four hours.
image
Next, put the limes and soaking liquid in a large pan, bring to the boil and simmer (covered) for an hour. This is an important step to soften the peel, which will not soften any further once you add the sugar.
If you want to be sure of how much sugar to add, test for pectin (1 teaspoon mixture to three teaspoons methylated spirits), and tip the mixture onto a white saucer. If you have large clots, add the sugar cup for cup. If smaller (which is unlikely as limes are rich in pectin), you should add less sugar, closer to 3/4 cup sugar to each cup of mixture. In this case I added the same amount of sugar to the pan as the lime mixture. Note: you will be adding a lot of sugar, but this is important as it preserves the mixture, and fortunately you only eat a small amount of the marmalade at at time!
image
After adding sugar to the pan, add your candy thermometer (if you have one), and turn on the heat, ensuring that you allow the sugar to fully dissolve before it comes to the boil. At that point, boil the mixture rapidly until it comes to setting point, which is 104 degrees. The mixture at that point will come to a rolling boil, and will spit. You can also test for set using a small amount on a cold plate which will wrinkle, or use the spoon test, where the thickened mixture will “sheet” off the spoon. Watch the pan carefully at this point, as it will have a tendency to boil over. If this happens, when you are finished, add water to the spill and it is easy to clean up.
image
When the mixture reaches setting point, take it off the heat and allow to sit for 15 minutes so that the peel will distribute evenly. Don’t leave it too long, or the marmalade will jell in the pan. After letting it sit, take your heated jug and sterilised and heated jars, and carefully pour the marmalade into each jar using oven mits and protection.
image
Fill each jar to the top and seal immediately with the lid. image
Finish filling all of the bottles and don’t move them until they are cold, so that the marmalade can properly set in the jar. I made around a dozen bottles from this batch. If properly prepared and sterilised jars are used the marmalade will keep for 6-12 months. Enjoy!

Advertisements

Guava Jelly

image

It’s guava season, and making guava jelly is a perfect way to use up a huge crop if you have a tree in the back yard. Unfortunately the possums got to my tree before I did, and the ground was littered with guavas with one bite taken out, but I did manage to salvage enough for a batch of guava jelly. Guava jelly is delicious with roast pork, or eaten on its own as a preserve as you would a jam. It is also superb with cheese, particularly blue vein.

image

To make guava jelly you will need guavas (I had around 12 smallish guavas), sugar, water, and either some limes or lemons. Chop the guavas roughly, and place in a pan, just covering them with water.
image

Bring to the boil and simmer, with the lid on, for around half an hour. Strain through a cloth in a sieve for a couple of hours at least, preferably overnight. Important, do not press down or squeeze the fruit while doing this, allow the juice to slowly drip out.
image

After all of the liquid has dripped out, you need to test for the pectin content. Take one teaspoon of the liquid and mix with three teaspoons mentholated spirits in a glass, and tip onto a saucer. If there is one large clot, your mixture is strong in pectin, and you can add sugar cup for cup. If it has several clots (like I had, see below), add 3/4 cup of sugar to each cup of liquid. In the end I had three cups of liquid, and added three X 3/4 cups of sugar.

image
At this point, put the sterilised glass jars you are going to use in the oven on low heat, around 130 degrees, as well as a pouring jug (I use a glass oven-proof one). Add a candy thermometer to the pan if you have one, and slowly bring the mixture to the boil, ensuring that the sugar is fully dissolved before the mixture boils. Add the strained juice of two limes or one lemon. You will need to adjust the amount for your own quantity, but the proportion is around two tablespoons or lemon or lime juice to two cups of sugar. Lime juice is best with guava jelly if you have it.

Allow to boil until it gets to jelling point, which will be pretty fast. Mine took only 10-15 minutes. If you have a themometer, jelling point is 104 degrees, or you can use the spoon or saucer tests, which I have described in other preserves recipes. The other way in which you can tell is the smell, which changes at the end (it will smell amazingly good!), and the bubbles which get larger and start spitting – see picture.

image
Take the jelly off the heat, and prepare your jars. Pour relatively quickly into the prepared jars, or it will set in the pan, which you don’t want to happen! Pour slowly down the side of the jars, and seal immediately. My batch made one and a half jars, which was OK, considering I had shared most of the fruit with the possums in my back yard!

One more sleep until Cookery judging starts at the Brookfield Show!

image

Did you know?

We have 650 entries each year in the Cookery Section of Brookfield Show from over 200 exhibitors. Each year, almost half of the exhibitors are new to the Show.
It takes seven judges to taste, prod and admire each entry. Each and every entry is tasted except for the decorated cakes and the eggs.
25 volunteer stewards assist in the Cookery, each with specialised skills from database management, to logistics, to display and marketing. Our experienced stewards expertly swing into action each year to assist with the judging and run the Pavilion. As our volunteers retire or move away, we welcome new stewards each year to join our group.
Brookfield Show Cookery is one of the largest of the non-Royal agricultural shows in Queensland. We are also one of the longest running Cookery Sections, and can trace back our roots to the Brookfield Country Market over 100 years ago.
There have only ever been four Chief Stewards in the post-World War II history of the Cookery Section. The longest serving, Mrs Daphne Dowdle, served in the role for almost 40 years, and only retired in her 80’s. Daphne was much loved by generations of Cookery exhibitors, and only passed away at the age of 96 in October 2013, active to the end despite crippling polio as a child and its after effects. The Cookery Pavilion and Grand Champion prize are named for this inspirational community leader.
The Lyn Nayler Champion Preserves prize is named for Mrs Lyn Nayler who served alongside Daphne Dowdle as a steward for many years, and was a preserves specialist, winning the championship prize herself on many occasions. Lyn was a kind and generous friend to all, and her name and spirit lives on through the Champion Preserves prize. She was thrilled to be acknowledged in this way.
The Children’s Cookery section grows bigger each year, greatly assisted by the active involvement of the Kenmore State High School Home Economics teachers and over 70 keen students who enter each year to test their skills. The last two Children’s Cookery Chief Stewards grew up entering in the Children’s section, and were themselves Children’s Champions under the watchful eye of Daphne Dowdle.
Each year we get bigger and better as the Cookery Section slowly moves with the times, although never forgetting our roots in the Agricultural Show tradition.

Don’t forget to come and admire our beautiful exhibits this year, buy some fudge or other products, and pick up a raffle ticket to help us run the Pavilion.

See you at the Show!

Cookery Major Sponsor Queen Fine Foods

Brookfield Show Cookery is delighted to announce that Queen Fine Foods is again a major sponsor for the Cookery in 2015.  Our lucky special prize winners in the Cookery Pavilion will win a prize pack of beautiful and innovative baking products from Queen.  We will also have a display stand of the range of Queen products in the Pavilion, which will be raffled off during the Show.  Make sure that you come in and get a ticket!

image

Queen is a 100% Australian-owned family company, dating back to 1897. Known for an amazing selection of food colourings, vanilla and other traditional items, many of which are natural and organic, they now sell a wonderful range of icing and other decorative baking products.

image

Queen Fine Foods provide an ideal range of products for use in Show cooking, from flavourings to speciality cake decorating products. The wide range of products caters to both very experienced, and very new cooks, as well as fantastic decorating ideas for children who love to make their own designs on cupcakes or cakes.

The Queen website also is an excellent source of inspirational recipes: http://www.queen.com.au.

A great Australian company providing a fantastic range of products. Please support our wonderful sponsors!

Brookfield Show 2014

The 2014 Brookfield Show is just around the corner, with entries for the Cookery closing this Sunday 11 May, and entries due at the Showground by Thursday 15 May 9.30 am at the latest.

We are expecting a large number of entries this year, after substantial early interest. Last year we had a record 650 entries, and this year could see even more!

Go to http://www.brookfieldshowground.com.au/show-competitions/cookery/ for more information, and for the link to enter the Cookery online.

Even if you can’t enter this year, please drop up and say hello at the Show, and of course we always welcome new volunteer Stewards to help out.

Don’t forget to check out the Show Cooking Tips on this blog (click on the heading to the right of the page), and there are also a lot of great recipes here for entering the Show.

Keep up to date with the latest information by subscribing to the blog, and the twitter feed, and keep checking back here for new posts closer to the Show.

See you at the Brookfield Show!

Vale Daphne Dowdle

Daphne 96th Birthday 2013

Daphne 96th Birthday 2013

It is with great sadness that we advise friends of the Brookfield Show Cookery Section that Daphne Dowdle passed away peacefully on 20 October 2013, after a brief illness, at the age of 96.

Daphne was the long serving Chief Steward of the Cookery Pavilion at the Brookfield Show, and served in that capacity for 40 years. Her last year was 1998, and after that she continued as a Steward until two years ago, when her advancing years made it difficult to participate. Even so, she listened keenly to tales of the Show, and wanted full details of what had happened, and who had asked after her. A natural leader, she capably ran a large Show section with everything written by hand, and kept careful records and formidable standards. Despite this, she had a heart of gold, and loved seeing a lot of entries, and every year in recent times her first question about the Show to me was “but were the shelves in the Pavilion filled with exhibits?”

She was very ably succeeded in the role by Yanina Hughes, who had also worked closely with Daphne in the last few years of her role as Chief Steward. Daphne loved working with her large group of faithful Stewards, including old friends and what she called the “young ones”, who have now taken over running the Cookery Section. Under Daphne’s watchful eye, we dared not change much, as we knew that Daphne would sniff it out, and when change did come it was gradual, but her firm standards have been maintained and always will be.

Daphne’s particular love was the children who entered year after year, and she was so thrilled when they grew up, and their own children entered. Not having children of her own, she worked tirelessly for the community, through the Show Society, the Brookfield CWA and the Kenmore Uniting Church, ensuring that it was a better place for every one else’s children, and has left an enduring legacy which will never be surpassed.

On a personal note, Daphne was a much loved friend to us all, and we will all miss her very much. Daphne taught me everything I know about Show cooking, and like countless others, I was blessed to have her in my life, and that of my family. At 96, she bridged with ease the post-war era of austerity through to the present time, and never tired of passing on her many years of accumulated wisdom to anyone who asked. We are much the poorer for her passing.

Vale Daphne.

Geraldine Mackenzie
Chief Steward

Sandy’s Famous Fudge!

image

One of the best parts of the Brookfield Show is Sandy’s Fudge, which she has sold at the Show for the past 12 years, and which supports the Cookery Pavilion. It’s a Brookfield Show tradition, and always sells out. Sandy is also a volunteer steward in the Cookery Section, where she has supported us for at least the past 15 years. It is wonderful that local volunteers like Sandy do so much for the Show, and are instrument in its success. Thanks Sandy, and to everyone else, come and buy some fudge!

image