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Alison’s Peach Chutney Recipe

I met Alison McQuade 15 years ago. She wanted me to try her chutney and invited me to meet her at a local wine bar. At that time she was on the verge of quitting her day job and becoming a full time artisanal food producer. While to this day she doesn’t describe herself as a cook, she has mad skills when it comes to chutney. She is also quite a wonderful person and we quickly became friends. 

Over the years I have bought McQuade’s Celtic Chutney to give as gifts, made recipes using her various varieties of chutney and been an all around fan of her products. Faced with a box full of peaches this year supplied to me by the Washington State Stone Fruit Growers, I knew I wanted to make chutney but couldn’t imagine just turning to any old recipe. So I called on Alison for some guidance. Her recipe uses weights, so if you don’t have a digital scale, please use this as the excuse to buy one, they are not expensive and are essential for baking. The one I currently use is a SmartWeight model that cost less than $20 and displays pounds, ounces, grams and milliliters. You’ll note the chutney is in Ball jars for gifting, and the company that produces them makes a donation to Feeding America for every package purchased (up to $150k). 

Alison has a keen sense of what flavors will go together and balancing heat, acidity and sweetness. Her chutneys are always chunky, fresh tasting and highlight the fruit. They are not goopy, gloppy, too sweet or sour and always have just the right amount of zing. This peach chutney is particularly wonderful. It uses a mixture of different vinegars and classic spices, fresh ginger, cinnamon and allspice. If you’re wondering how to use chutney, it’s terrifc with cheese of course, but also on sandwiches, with stews and curries on sausages or chops, or mixed in chicken salad. Honestly I could eat it straight out of the jar with a spoon! 
Note: This recipe makes 3 pints, but you can easily use 6 half pint jars if you prefer. The recipe can easily be doubled or tripled if you want to make a bigger batch. 
Alison’s Peach Chutney 
Makes about 3 pints
2 yellow onions, peeled and diced
800 ml apple cider vinegar
200 ml malt vinegar
400 gm brown sugar
Knob ginger peeled and grated, about 2 Tablespoons
1.5 kg ripe but firm peaches, about 3 1/2 pounds
2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons allspice 
180 gm golden raisins
Fill a canner with water and bring to a boil. Add the peaches to the water and cook for about a minute then transfer the peaches using a slotted spoon to a boil with cold water. Peel and coarsely chop the peaches and set aside. Place the jars in the canner and boil for 10 minutes. 
In a large stock pot combine the onion, vinegars, sugar, ginger, salt, cinnamon and allspice. Bring to a boil then simmer, stirring occasionally until reduced by half, about 15 minutes. Add the peaches and stir occasionally, adding golden raisins after about 15 minutes, continue cooking until tender and jam-like about 30-40 minutes total. Chutney will thicken further after being processed. 
Lift the jars out of the canner, pouring the hot water back into the canner. Ladle the chutney into the jars, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. After filling the jar, release the air bubbles by inserting a narrow silicone spatula or similar tool between the chutney and the inner surface of the jar. Place the rims on top of each jar and loosely seal with the bands. Carefully place the jars back in the canner and boil for 15 minutes. Remove from the canner and let rest overnight, you may hear the lids pop. Store for up to one year. 
Disclaimer: A special thanks to Alison McQuade for helping with the recipe. Peaches were provided to me as part of the canbassador program by Washington State Stone Fruit Growers and to Ball Home Canning for the jars. This post includes one affiliate link. 

AmazonBasics 12-Piece Colored Knife Set

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Flat Brew Coffee Spread Espresso, reviewed

Anyone that is a regular reader will know that I am a coffee lover. Not only do I pair baked goods with it all the time, but I also frequently incorporate it into my dishes. More often than not, coffee comes in a liquid form, but the Flat Brew Coffee Spread is a unique spreadable way to get a little caffeine fix. This product is almost like ganache, but made out of coffee instead of cacao, and it can be a treat for a real coffee fan.

The spread is made with sugar, cocoa butter, cream, butter and plenty of coffee. It is nearly black in color. Ganache is made with cacao, cocoa butter (though those two ingredients are often listed simply as “chocolate”), sugar and cream/butter. Getting the coffee to come together smoothly with those other ingredients is no small feat, yet the spread is silky smooth and melts onto your tongue almost like a traditional chocolate ganache! It has a deep and intense espresso flavor that is not particularly sweet, though there is enough sugar in the mix to bring out some of the fruity and chocolaty notes in the coffee. It is rich, packs a serious coffee kick and it doesn’t quite taste like anything else I’ve had.

I think that this spread is delicious, but unlike Nutella or sweeter spreads, it may be too potent for you to want to eat more than a small spoonful straight out of the container. Instead, consider spreading it on toast, pancakes, waffles or using it to sandwich two soft cookies together. It can also be used as a dip for breadsticks, fresh fruit or crisper cookies, such as biscotti.  I picked mine up at a specialty kitchen store, but it is also available online. If you’ve tried it or have a favorite use, be sure to share in the  comments!

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Just a French Guy Cooking: Easy Recipes and Kitchen Hacks for Rookies

French Guy Cooking is a YouTube sensation. A Frenchman living in Paris, Alexis loves to demystify cooking by experimenting with food and cooking methods to take the fear factor out of cooking, make it fun and accessible, and charm everyone with his geeky approach to food.

In this, his debut cookbook, he shares 100 of his absolute favorite recipes – from amazingly tasty toast ideas all the way to some classic but super-simple French dishes. Along the way, he shares ingenious kitchen hacks – six ways with a can of sardines, a cheat’s guide to wine, three knives you need in your kitchen – so that anyone can throw together great food without any fuss.

Easy Peach Jam Recipe

I’ve made peach jam several times, thanks in part to an annual delivery of peaches courtesy of the Washington Stone Fruit Growers, but I continue to look for ways to simplify the canning process. Standard peach jam recipes call for a lot of sugar and some powder or liquid pectin. The result is good, but can be a bit on the sweet side and a little rubbery. My preference is for a softer jam with less sugar and frankly less fuss. I wondered if there might be a way to make jam without bothering with the tedious job of peeling peaches? It turns out, there is. 
The key to this recipe is the peels. Lemon peel and peach peel are high in pectin and so if you cook the peaches with them, you won’t need to add any additional pectin. I started with a recipe from A Sweet Spoonful, but the main difference was I skipped peeling the fruit and used the lemon peel as well as the juice. I added some slices of fresh ginger in my first batch but I didn’t find it added much flavor so I’m skipping it. You could certainly add some powdered ginger, candied ginger or even scraped vanilla bean if you like. 
This jam is in between jam and preserves. It has some skin in it, but it’s silky smooth and doesn’t detract from the texture or flavor of the peaches. The pureed skins add a pretty rosy tint. How much you puree is up to you, I estimate I pureed about 1/3 cup or so. Note: You could can this in half pint or pint jars. I used  a combination of both. 

Easy Peach Jam

Makes 2 1/2 pints
4 pounds washed peaches, pitted and cut into chunks, about 8 cups 
2 cups ganulated sugar
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
Lemon rind from one lemon, cut into large pieces
Fill a canner with water and bring to a boil. Place the jars in the canner and boil. Put a small plate in the freezer so you can test the jam later. 
Place the peach chunks in a large non-reactive bowl. Sprinkle with sugar and lemon juice. Don’t stir–just let the sugar sit and macerate, this helps to release the natural juices of the fruit. Allow to sit at room temperature for 1-2 hours.
Add the fruit along with the lemon peel to a large pot and bring to a boil. Using a potato masher mash the peaches. Continue stirring the peaches as they cook, using a wooden spoon. After about 10 minutes skim as much of the peels out of the pot using a slotted spoon and puree them in a blender then add them back to the pot. Remove the lemon peel and discard. Continue cooking until the mixtures thickens, about another 20 minutes. Test the thickness by placing a teaspoon full of the jam on the chilled plate and let it rest for about 30 seconds. Run your finger through the dollop and if it stays separated where your finger was, it’s thick enough. 
Lift the jars out of the canner, pouring the hot water back into the canner. Ladle the jam into the jars, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. After filling the jar, release the air bubbles by inserting a narrow silicone spatula or similar tool between the jam and the inside of the jar. Place the rims on top of each jar and loosely seal with the bands. Carefully place the jars back in the canner and process/boil for 10 minutes. Remove from the canner and let rest overnight, you may hear the lids pop. Store for up to one year. 
Disclaimer: Peaches were provided to me as part of the canbassador program by Washington State Stone Fruit Growers and to Ball Home Canning for the jars. 

A braised version of Charsiu (the one I make for the kids most often right now)

I think almost every child likes charsiu (also spelled “char siew”), aka Chinese barbecued pork. There’s something wonderfully delicious about the combination of juicy, tender pork and the salty-sweet and very umami charsiu sauce. It’s something that my own kids, especially my son, absolutely loves. It’s highly addictive when done right. And I add that caveat because there are just as many horrendous, dry versions of charsiu sold in hawker centres all over the island as there are wonderfully plump, tasty and moist versions. The absolutely worst ones feel like cardboard, have artificially colored pink exteriors and unappetising grey flesh. I feel sorry for any person whose first taste of charsiu was one of these substandard and frankly embarrassing versions.

A well-made piece of charsiu is a thing of beauty. The pork should have flavour. It should be moist and have a little bite (meaning, it shouldn’t be too tender). I’ve played with a wide variety of charsiu preparation and cooking methods over the years. For a significant period, my preference was to use sous-vide techniques in the process. But more recently, and mostly because I was never 100% satisfied with the texture of the sous-vide charsiu, I’ve gone back to more basic styles of cooking.

Several foodies (online) have advocated a braising method in which you cook your pork in a wok, allowing the liquid it is cooking in to reduce until it finally becomes a sticky caramelised coating for the meat. I tried out a few online recipes but didn’t like the results. Not only did the meat come out overly sticky (which made it a mess to handle) but cleaning pots and woks in which you’ve reduced caramelised sauces is a real bitch.

But I liked the idea of braising the meat. Especially when you can add aromatics to make the liquid and the meat that much yummier. So, I tried braising the pork, letting it cool in the braising liquid, and then basting it in charsiu sauce, followed by a short but super hot turn in the oven. After a few iterations, I think I’ve come up with something that works well. Based on the family’s reactions, it appears to be a winner with kids and grandparents alike. I’ve found that the braising time greatly effects the texture of the meat. The best charsiu should have some bite. So if you braise the meat too long, while the pork can come out nice and tender, it will also fall apart… which isn’t particularly what you want. An hour seems to be sufficient to cook the pork nicely and still provide some nice resistence when you cut it as well as when you bite into it.

I’ve also taken to making my own charsiu sauce. I tend to avoid both commercial charsiu and Hoisin sauces these days and instead prefer to whip up my own concoction (which is admittedly very adjusted to my specific palate). Of course, it helps that I have a very well stocked pantry, courtesy of the superwife. That means if I want to use fermented soy beans I have multiple options to choose from. I make my sauce and use it as marinade and in the cooking process, and then use it again, with honey added, for the final roast.

The recipe is below. While this takes considerably less time than other charsiu recipes I’ve posted previously, it is by no means a quick dish to make. You’ll want to block off a few hours for this the first time you make it. And, since we all have different tastes, as always you should adjust the seasoning and ratio of the various ingredients for your own tastes.


The post A braised version of Charsiu (the one I make for the kids most often right now) appeared first on Chubby Hubby.

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Secura 1500 Watt Large Capacity 3.2-Liter, 3.4 QT, Electric Hot Air Fryer and additional accessories; Recipes,BBQ rack and Skewers

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True or False Cooking Quiz: Answers and Winners! by PW Fun & Learning

Good job, everyone—most of you scored 80% or higher! That quiz made us hungry for a patty melt topped with a poached egg. With a macaron or two for dessert. (Clearly, we’re easily tempted when it comes to food.)

Here are the stats, answers, and winners.


1,915 people took the quiz.
204 people scored 100%!
The question most people (about 98%) got right was…#5!
The question most people missed (only 51% got it right) was…#9.


Adding salt to water makes the water boil quicker and at a lower temperature.
• True
Marzipan is typically made with almonds.
• False
To poach something means to cook it over dry heat.
• True
The main ingredient in polenta is corn.
• False
Kombucha, kefir and sauerkraut are all fermented.
• False
Branzini is a type of pasta.
• True
“Kitchen Bouquet” refers to a bundle of herbs tied together used to season soups and stocks.
• True
Bright yellow turmeric powder comes from the root of a plant.
• False
To sauté means to cook something quickly in a large amount of fat.
• True
Croque Monsieur is a type of sandwich.
• False
The three main components of Caprese salad are tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, and parsley.
• True
To “segment” an orange means to slice it into quarters.
• True
French macarons are NOT made with wheat flour.
• False
A chinois is a type of strainer.
• False
Examples of leavening or rising agents include yeast, baking powder, and salt.
• True
There are 8 tablespoons in 1/2 cup.
• False
Traditional Greek Feta cheese is made with cow’s milk.
• True
Hush puppies are typically made with potatoes.
• True
Canola oil typically has a higher smoke point than extra virgin olive oil.
• False
A classic patty melt sandwich is made with pastrami.
• True


The first place winner is…Dee Hul…!
The second place winner is…Melissa Les…!
The third place winner is…Jean Fis…!

Congratulations, winners! Contact to claim your prizes!


Cinnamon Sugar-Topped Banana Snack Cake

There are all kinds of cakes out there, from single-serving cupcakes to towering layer cakes. One of my favorite types of cake is a snack cake, an admittedly less official category than some of the others. Snack cakes should be easy to make and are usually single-layer affairs, with straightforward ingredients that you can throw together on short notice. They’re not the showstoppers you might bring out for an event, but they’re delicious and satisfying any day of the week. This Cinnamon Sugar-Topped Banana Snack Cake is the perfect everyday cake, loaded with banana flavor and topped with a crisp sugary topping.

The best thing about this recipe is that it is very easy to make and requires only a few ingredients. You only need a single banana, making this a good choice for days when you want a banana dessert but don’t have enough ripe bananas for a full sized banana bread loaf. I added a handful of chocolate chips simply because I was in the mood, and chopped nuts could be used just as easily. The batter bakes into a light, tender cake with a good banana flavor. It has just the right amount of sweetness to highlight the banana without being overly sweet.

It’s just as well that the cake itself isn’t overly sweet, since the sugary topping is what sets this apart from other cakes by creating a crisp and sweet crust that contrasts well with the tender cake underneath. I used a mixture of cinnamon and sugar for most of the topping, but added an additional sprinkling of coarse sugar to add even more texture. The coarse sugar I used is called Swedish pearl sugar and you can find it online or at specialty baking stores, though turbinado sugar is a great alternative if you already have that on hand.

The cake is at its best when it is freshly baked and has just cooled, since that is when you get the best contrast between the sugar topping and the fluffy cake. The smaller sugar crystals will soften when the cake is stored, but the larger crystals will retain their texture, so even leftover slices of cake will have a bit of crunch on top.

Cinnamon Sugar-Topped Banana Snack Cake
1 cup all purpose flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup butter, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 large banana, mashed (approx 1/3-cup)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup milk
1/3 cup chocolate chips

1 1/2 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tbsp coarse sugar

Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease a 9-inch square baking pan.
In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
In a medium bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Bear in egg, mashed banana and vanilla extract. Stir in half of the flour mixture, followed by the milk. Stir in the remaining flour mixture until no streaks of dry ingredients remain. Fold in chocolate chips. Pour batter into prepared pan.
In a small bowl, make the topping. Whisk together all topping ingredients and sprinkle evenly over the top of the cake.
Bake for 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clear or with only a few moist crumbs attached.
Allow cake to cool completely before slicing.

Serves 9.

The post Cinnamon Sugar-Topped Banana Snack Cake appeared first on Baking Bites.