Category Archives: Preserves & Jams

Chicken Stir Fry with a quick Sweet & Sour Sauce

I have a confession…I am a preserve addict.  When I walk into any shop that sells a “homemade” preserve, I have to purchase it.  I have things like Cherry & Guava Jelly, Pickled Habaneros, Pineapple Marmalade and something that is the star of this post…Pineapple & Gooseberry Jam.

So what do we do with jam…put it on toast?  I am a little bored with that idea…I use jams to make sauces.  One of these sauces is a quick sweet & sour sauce for my chicken stir fry.  It goes a little something like this…

Pineapple & Gooseberry Sweet & Sour Sauce
makes 4 portions

2 tbsp Pineapple & Gooseberry jam (you can substitute  this with Apricot jam)
½ cup spirit vinegar
1 tsp fresh ginger grated
¼ cup boiling water

Place all ingredients into a pot over medium heat.  Let cook out and the ginger will infuse beautifully.

With a stick blender, blitz up to a pourable consistency.  This can stay in the fridge, so  make a whole batch for later use.

With my sweet & sour sauce, I made a quick Stir Fry.

2 chicken Breasts (optional or substitute with Tofu)
400g stir fry of choice
2 pks Two minute noodles (toss out the spice that comes with it!) – cooked according to packet
2 tbsp fresh thyme, chopped
olive oil
3 tbsp sweet & sour sauce from above
fresh chilies, chopped (optional)

Heat a wok until scorching hot.  Fry off the chicken in a little olive oil, add vegetables, thyme and seasoning. Fry off for about 5 minutes, you want your vegetables to still be crunchy.  Add the sweet & sour sauce, ensure the chicken and vegetables are coated in sauce.  Add cooked noodles, toss and serve.

This dish can be served hot, or as a summery salad.



Lavender Infused Honey and wonderful friends

I am very blessed to have some wonderful friends, people who have been a part of my life, whether for a short period of time or for lengthy periods, some I speak to daily, others I speak to once a week, some, only once every month or two, but the best part about these people are the fact that even though we are so far apart, when we do communicate, it is as if there was never a gab in time.

Four of these people played a large part in the wedding, and both myself and Justin are so grateful to have such wonderful people in our lives. Our bridesmaids and groomsman. Justin had met my bridesmaids before, but it was a first time I met him groomsman, and most of his friends from Pietermaritzburg. But immediately they felt like family, like people I know will be a part of our lives forever.

For the wedding, as gift favours, I did lavender infused honey, and let me tell you, what a mission. Firstly, to obtain 8kgs of honey is a rather pricy affair, as well as logistically a mission. There is a local place here in SFB which sells honey, however, often they do not have stock, or only a certain amount, finally we got out 8kgs, of honey, a citrus flavoured honey which was delicious on its own. I however wanted to infused the lavender with it, to tie up the theme of the wedding.

I took about 2 handfuls of lavender, which I got from my lovely friend Shelley’s garden, and dried it out a little in the oven, I then let it cool and just gently crushed it between my fingers, just to release some of the oils.

I took my 8kgs of honey, and brought it up to a simmer (at this point I was on the phone with my mom and didn’t control the heat properly so I have a good lot of honey all over my kitchen floor and all over my kitchen counters) make sure you control your heat properly.

Added my dried lavender to the honey, and let it simmer for about 30 minutes, turned off the heat and left it over night to cool completely. Then proceeded to put the honey through a sieve to strain out all the lavender, and pour into the bottles. My wonderful MIL did this for me as I was running out of time!

I still have some left, and use it over my muesli in the morning, or in my rooibos tea, I love it. The beautiful scent of lavender flows through your sense every time you open the little jar, it is just absolutely wonderful!

Secret Santa Visit

I love how my beautiful and inspiring friend, Tandy over at Lavender & Lime always gets us bloggers involved in fun activities and great challenges, her latest one being Ready Steady Cook, which I encourage all you foodie bloggers to get involved in, and even you non foodies, it will be great fun!

Last year, Tandy got a few bloggers together for Secret Santa, I was a late comer due to the fact that I hardly ever get around to blogging anymore, which I am going to change this year (Thank you New Years Resolutions).

My Secret Santa gave me this beautiful gift!

I love it. The magnetic measuring spoons are going to come in so handy! I can just clip it against my knife magnet at work, and never have to worry about never having measuring spoons again, because all the other chefs know not to touch my knife magnet. Along with the measuring spoon, I got a little packet of basil paste from Robertsons, which I am going to make my favourite quick lunch – some fresh pasta with basil pesto and grated grana padana. Yum!!!! I also got a lovely apricot preserve.

So with this, I want to thank my Secret Santa, you know who you are!!

Have a beautiful Sunday blogland

Apple Marmalade with Rosemary & Vanilla Infused Vodka

I got a couple of packets of apples from one friend, and a bag of oranges from another…I thought well, how could I combine these two…my mind went straight to marmalade…but I wanted something different…so I thought about the vodka flavours I have been infusing, trying to come up with the perfect welcome cocktail for the wedding in January…all these thoughts brought on this…

Apple Marmalade, with Rosemary & Vanilla Infused Vodka

Firstly, you have to infuse the vodka, and let it stand for at least 3 days.

½ cup Vodka
2 Rosemary Sprigs
Place vodka and rosemary together in a glass bottle, and keep in a cool dark area

½ cup Vodka
1 Vanilla Pod, split
In a separate jar, place vodka and vanilla together, and keep in a cool dark area

Let infuse for 3 days, remove the rosemary and vanilla and pour the two flavours together. I let the combination infuse for another day.

If you not going to cook with it, add a can of Sprite and you have a beautiful refreshing drink.

Apple Marmalade

1kg Apples (mixed) – Peeled, cored & sliced
1 large Orange, sliced, seeds removed
1 Large Lemon, sliced, seeds removed
2 cups white sugar
1 cup Rosemary & Vanilla Infused Vodka
2 Sterilize Jars (Read Tandy’s Post on how to quickly sterilize glass jars)

Place the citrus slices in a pot and pour 1 – 2 cups of cold water over, just until covered. Bring to a boil, add apples to pot, add more water, just to make sure apples are covered so they do not discolour.

Bring back to a boil and reduce head, let simmer until reduced by ¼, add the sugar stir until dissolved and let reduce until at least half, and your citrus slices are soft and sticky, stir gently occasionally.

Remove from heat, pour in vodka and leave to cool.

For the scones, follow this link to my Easy Peasy Scones

And while I am about it….Lavender & Lime has a regional & seasonal challenge for the month of September…this will be my entry…oranges being my season ingredient!