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Posts tagged ‘#Brookfield Cookery’

Guava Jelly

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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.

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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.
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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.
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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.

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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.

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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!

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Show cooking hints and tips

fruit cakes
Here are some tips and tricks for preparing show entries in the cookery sections of a Show. Disclaimer: always read your individual Show schedule, as requirements vary from Show to Show. These tips apply for the Brookfield Show and will generally apply to others, but that may not necessarily be the case.

1. The most important tip is to read your Show schedule carefully and double-check before preparing your entry, particularly if you are a first-timer. Every year, we have to turn away entries where someone has misread dates and come the day after judging, or misread the entries and brought in something which can’t be entered. As this leads to heartbreak, particularly where there are children involved, check and double-check. If in doubt, ask the Chief Steward who will be able to give you guidance.

2. Read carefully the size of the plates allowed, and don’t exceed the size under any circumstances. Each Show has limited space available for display, and large entries can’t be accommodated. To avoid disappointment, adhere to size requirements.

3. If the Show Schedule says bring your entry on a disposable plate, please don’t bring it on your best China! Unfortunately this happens multiple times each year, and we have to either transfer the entry with possible damage, or the China plate slips through and then often can’t be reunited with its owner.

4. Judging is always anonymous at every Show. Don’t write your name on the plate.

5. Ice cakes the day before judging so that icing sets. This is important, particularly with childrens entries, as otherwise the result can be very messy!

6. Turn off your oven fan if possible when baking, to avoid dome tops on cakes and muffins. This is a common problem. If your oven fan can’t be turned off, experiment with a lower heat, but it is going to be more difficult to get a good result.

7. For general cake classes, normally ice cakes on top only (check your Show schedule for anything different, but this is a general rule), and keep decorations to a minimum. Decorations must always be appropriate to the cake. If in doubt, leave it out.

8. Don’t test with a skewer in the middle of the cake, as it will be cut there for judging, and your skewer mark will mar the appearance of the cake when cut.

9. For Show work don’t use any cream, mock cream, custard or similar icings or fillings. There is no refrigeration, and your entry will normally be unable to be accepted.

10. Slices or brownies are best cut into even sized pieces (eg, 5 cm square), with a hot knife if necessary. Check your Show schedule for any differences to this.

11. Scones should be light in texture; and shouldn’t touch each other when cooking.

12. The more traditional recipes are best for Show cooking, eg WW/ CWA cookbooks.

13. Make sure the cake tin you use is the right size for the type of cake entered. Cakes are sometimes brought in too small, and are either disqualified or ruled not competitive, as can be seen with the cake in the photo at the top of this post. This is particularly important for fruit cakes.