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Welcome to Jacican

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I love to cook, I've always loved to cook.

As a young girl, my time was spent reading the cookbooks that mum kept in the bottom kitchen drawer. Always looking for a new recipe to try, a new food idea. Many weekends were spent making rainbow cakes with as many colours as possible – have you seen my Instagram, not much has changed, and looking for recipes that I could cook using what was available in the cupboard or from the vegetable garden.

At the aged of about 16, I remember stating that I wanted to leave the farm and travel the world. This would be followed by retiring by about 30 and moving back to South Gippsland to grow vegetables and cook. From 16 fast forward 20 years and I returned, starting Jacican Food Studio in Mirboo North, Gippsland where I grow vegetables and cook. This blog is where I share my food adventure.

Jaci

This week I have started working on the August seasonal dinner - Curry in a un-Hurry. I'm always one for using the local product first, so just my luck that Phyll from Saffron Wills produces wonderful Saffron, just what a curry night needs to delight everyone's taste buds. I met her at the last Warragul Farmers Market, collecting a card for later use. 

Original from Greece, saffron is a spice derived from the flower of the Crocus sativus. Each flower contains three crimson stigmas, which we call the threads. Saffron is the most costly spice by weight as up to 170,000 flowers are needed to produce 1 kilogram of threads. The spice retails for about $5000.00 per kilogram.

Tiny jars of saffron

These two little vials of 100 threads each arrived. Now what should I make - saffron rice, saffron ice cream, saffron dumplings or saffron in a curry—any ideas?

soruce: Wikipedia - Saffron: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saffron

Three Colour Zucchini Relish recipe from Jacican

Each year I grow more zucchinis than we could ever reasonably use at Jacican. With the number of courgettes that come out of my garden, I'm confident that I could feed the good people of Mirboo North for at least a week! And the variety of colors, flavors and shapes our zucchinis take is just as impressive as the yield with black, green, light green and yellow specimens all coming from the same garden bed.

In order to make the most of our bumper crops I have worked on a recipe to turn our delightful zucchinis into a three-color relish with black, green and yellow highlights. This recipe has become incredibly popular, especially with the taste testing crew at Jacican who crawl out of the woodwork whenever I turn the stove on. I like to serve it on top of Cucumber & Cream Cheese Canapés or eat it alongside a frittata, but in terms of serving options, it's just as flexible as your imagination.  

If you would like a hand to learn to make your own relish, come along to a Summer preserving - relish cooking class at Jacican.

 

ingredient 3 colour zucchini relish

Ingredients

  • 2 kgs zucchini - a mix of black, green and yellow
  • ¼ cup salt
  • 1 red capsicum
  • 1 green capsicum
  • 2 sticks celery
  • 20 grams yellow mustard seeds
  • 750 grams sugar
  • 350 ml vinegar

A recipe for Green Tomato Relish from Jacican

If you would like to learn how to make this recipe yourself, you can book into one of my Summer Preserves Cooking Classes.

What to do with the small green, un-ripe (or under-ripe) tomatoes that you have formed the end of the tomato growing season? You can turn them into Green Tomato Relish. This relish seems to be popular amongst older gentleman when I sell at markets. It seems to remind them of something their mother once made.

I use green tomatoes for this recipe as I grow my own, and I have a supply at the end of the tomato season to use up. You will need to grow green tomatoes yourself or if you know a commercial tomato grower (one who sells from the farm gate) you can buy some green tomatoes to use in this recipe. If you're local to Gippsland, you can sometimes get green tomatoes from Flavorite Tomatoes in Warragul. If not, you can always come to a summer preserving class and use mine from the kitchen garden.

Ingredients

  • 500 grams green tomatoes
  • 500 grams brown onions, peeled and finely sliced (you can use the slicer attachment on the food processor if you want)
  • 5 grams salt
  • pinch of allspice
  • 15 grams mustard seeds
  • 250 grams sugar
  • 55 grams arrowroot
  • 5 grams turmeric
  • 360 ml vinegar

At the end of the tomato growing season, you may have different size green tomatoes, from large tomatoes and small cherry tomato sized fruit. I treat each size differently, so I end up with bite-sized pieces of fruit in the relish.

Method

Separate the large green tomatoes from the cherry size. Wash and slice the large tomatoes, and combine with the sliced onions in a noncorrosive mixing bowl. I use a large plastic bucket that fits in the fridge. Mix with the salt and stand in the fridge overnight.

Sliced green tomatoes

If you're using any cherry-sized tomatoes, you will need to soak them in an extra 5 grams of salt overnight, in a separate bowl.

 Jacican Curried Zucchini Relish

Each year, I end up with more zucchini than I know what to do with - yellow ones, black ones, round ones and two shades of green.

A couple of years ago, the next door neighbor's mother (yes, everyone in Mirboo North makes a contribution to what I'm doing) suggested that I make a Curried Zucchini Relish. This recipe made six-and-a-half 250-gram jars. If you would like to make your own, come along to a summer preserving class and go home with your own jars.

Ingredients

  • 1 kg zucchini
  • 500 grams onion, peeled
  • 70 grams salt
  • 570 ml vinegar
  • 320 grams brown sugar
  • 70 grams arrowroot
  • 10 grams turmeric
  • 10 grams mustard powder
  • 10 grams curry powder
  • 5 grams ground ginger
  • 5 grams paprika, mild
  • 150 ml vinegar, extra

Method

Dice zucchini and chop the onion. Combine in a non-corrosive container. I use a large plastic bucket that fits in the fridge.

Sprinkle with salt and cover with tap water. Leave overnight in the fridge.    

add onion to diced zucchini  add salt and mix well

Drain the mixture well the next day.

drain zucchini and onion

Place vinegar in a large pan with sugar. Heat, stirring, until the sugar has dissolved. Bring to the boil.

Add the zucchini and onion to the pan.

vingar and brown sugar in pot  add zucchini and onion to vingar and brown sugar

In a separate bowl, mix arrowroot with spices and extra vinegar to form a paste. Add the paste to the pan.

Return to the boil for 10 minutes.

spices and arrowroot for curried zucchini relish  add extra vingar to spices  spice, arrowroot and vingar paste  add spice paste to zucchinis in pot

Bottle and seal in hot sterilized jars.

finished Curried Zucchini Relish

Makes 6 x 250ml jars.

If you would like to sample, you can find curried zucchini relish on the shelves at Jacican, or pop along to a summer preserving class and feel free to make a batch of your own. 

Jaci

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