Guava Jelly

jelly

Somebody I know from work brought in a bag of freshly picked guava, a fruit which I had never seen, tasted or even heard of up until a month ago. Stupid me, I tasted them, but was too polite to say that I thought they were horrible, and the next thing I knew I was the proud owner of a HUGE bag of guava.

I went straight to Google to find out what to do with them and found a recipe for Guava Jelly.

Mum came to the rescue with jars. I bought an enormous bag of sugar and Mum came to the rescue again with lemons, which are an essential for guava jelly making.

First of all, did you know there is a difference between ‘jam’ and ‘jelly’? I didn’t. All this time, I’ve been assuming jam is Australian and jelly is American, but this is not so. Jam uses the whole fruit, while jelly uses fruit juice only, resulting in a clear end product.

The quantities of ingredients you will need to make Guava Jelly vary according to how many guavas used, but I used three kilograms of sugar, and 12 tablespoons of lemon juice.

Guavas

water

sugar

lemon

Peel and dice the guavas, (Mum helped again, thank goodness), and place them in a pot. Cover with water and bring to the boil, then simmer for about half an hour. The house will smell delicious but take it from me, they still taste horrible.

jelly 4

Cool the cooked guava, then strain through muslin into a large bowl overnight. I used an old pillowcase.

At this point, Mum and Dad chipped in again, telling me how their mothers used to strain fruit for jelly. According to Mum, Nana C used to hang the fruit over the back of a chair dripping into a bowl on the floor, while Dad told me that Nana J used a broom handle to hang the fruit from. At this stage, Dad told me that Nana J had always said making jelly was a lot of effort for not much result, making me wish I hadn’t started… but despite this, I tied the pillowcase to the laundry tap overnight to let the guava juice drip into a bowl. In the morning, I had to squeeze the fruit in the bag to release the remainder of the juice. I hadn’t quite finished when I remembered that I have a juicer in a box in the pantry which I could have plugged in, dumped the cooked guava into and got the same result with the push of a button. Stupid me.

Discard the pulp. Mum and Dad looked at the juice I had slaved over and said I would be lucky to get two jars of jam out of it. I threw the pillowcase away with the pulp, because cleaning it out seemed like too much hard work. Honestly, the only reason I continued was because I like to finish things.

Measure the guava juice and pour into a large pot. For every cup of juice, add four cups of sugar and four tablespoons of lemon juice to the pot. As I said earlier, I used nearly three kilograms of sugar and 12 tablespoons of lemon juice.

Stir the mixture over a low heat to dissolve the sugar, then bring to the boil. Bring the mixture back to a simmer and stir constantly. This mixture boils over really quickly, so don’t leave it for even a few seconds.

jelly 3

Once the mixture thickens, (I tested it on a saucer, under Mum’s expert eye), remove it from the heat and leave to cool for about half an hour. Skim the froth from the top, (I ate all of the froth and had a terrible sugar headache all day), then use a funnel to pour the jelly into sterilised jars.

jelly 2

I ended up with 11 jars of Guava Jelly, which turned out to be absolutely delicious. Who would have thought? I have visions now of growing a guava tree and a lemon tree of my own and going into the Guava Jelly making business. I’ll keep a jar for myself and will be giving a jar of Guava Jelly to the kind fellow from work who gave me the guavas, Mum and Dad have taken a jar or two and I’ll be giving the rest away.

My only other advice is, store the jelly in the pantry, as it goes too hard to spread when stored in the fridge.

 

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Caramel Sauce

caramel

He Who Eats All of Our Leftovers loooooooves Caramel. So I thought he would love this Caramel Sauce, which I served on top of ice cream which was sitting on top of a waffle.

Unfortunately I forgot to toast the waffles, and the ice cream had gone icy.

Oh well. The Caramel Sauce was delicious eaten off a spoon.

1 Cup caster sugar
1/4 Cup cold water
1/2 Cup hot water
400gm can sweetened condensed milk
1 Tblspn golden syrup
1 tspn vanilla extract

Stir the caster sugar and cold water together in a heavy saucepan over a low heat without boiling until the sugar has dissolved. Brush down the sides with a wet pastry brush to get rid of the sugar crystals.

Boil for ten minutes without stirring until the mixture turns a caramel colour. Remove from the heat and CAREFULLY pour in the hot water. (The mixture splatters and it would be easy to burn yourself at this bit).

Return to the heat and stir until the mixture is smooth again.

Remove from the heat again and sir in the sweetened condensed milk, the golden syrup and the vanilla extract.

Serve over ice cream, or puddings or cakes. The sauce will keep in the fridge for a couple of weeks (or a day or so if you’re like us and eat it off the spoon).

Pancakes 2

pancakes

The lemon in this picture was decorated by someone I work with. Anybody who cooks would probably not draw on a lemon, because then the zest is unusable. This particular lemon artist here has all of his meals cooked for him by his Mum.

The beautiful plate is from Honey-Bunny, who bought it at a garage sale.

I Cup plain flour
sprinkle of salt
1 egg
1 and a quarter Cups of milk

Sift the flour and salt, mix in the egg and milk.

Let the mixture stand for half an hour before cooling in butter.

Serve with lemon and sugar (or butter and honey, or butter and jam or whatever you like. Nutella and bananas might be nice).

Limoncello recipe

Limoncello

I needed Limoncello for a couple of recipes I was busting to try, but as a non drinker, the price blew me away. How can people afford to drink?
Anyway, I came across this recipe which works out to be a fraction of the cost of a bottle from my local liquor store, so thought I’d give it a try. It tastes just like the bought stuff and you can adjust the sweetness to your own taste by adding more sugar.

350 ml vodka (use a cheap brand)
4 lemon rinds
1/2 C white sugar
3/4 C water

Peel the lemons (try not to get any of the pith) and place the rinds in a metal or glass bowl. Pour the vodka over the top and cover with plastic cling wrap. Set aside for one week.

One week later:
Boil the water and add the sugar, stirring until the sugar has dissolved.

Once the sugar syrup has cooled, strain the vodka mix into a jug and stir in the sugar syrup. Mix well and pour into a bottle with a screw cap lid.

Pancakes

The most important thing to know about making pancakes is that if you don’t wipe the bench of any spills and wash out the bowl, beaters, spatula and any other utensils you have used to make the batter immediately after use, the left-over batter will harden and stick to everything like concrete, and you will be chipping away at it for ages in an attempt to clean up.

2 eggs

1/4 C brown sugar

2/3 C milk

1 C self raising flour

Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl. Pour about half a cup of mixture at a time into a buttered frypan, turning with a spatula when bubbles come through the pancakes.