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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 is one of the recipes you will learn, cook and take home in my Winter preserving cooking class.

Beetroot Dip

Each year I grow a garden bed of just beetroot – they are so versatile you can use it in everything. Chocolate cake, ice cream, roasted whole with dinner or as part of a fresh salad.

I make mine into beetroot relish, which we eat with everything savory – meats, on canapes, in sandwiches. I regularly combine the beetroot relish with cream cheese to make a beetroot dip.

Ingredients

  • 1 kg Beetroot

  • 500 grams onion - finely chopped (can be finely chopped in the food processor)

  • 625 ml white vinegar

  • 10 grams salt

  • 450 grams Sugar

  • 5 grams Allspice

  • 2 grams Peppercorns

  • 5 grams ground ginger

  • 100 grams arrowroot

  • 100 ml vinegar, extra

beetroot relish 2

Method

Cook Beetroot in salted water until cooked

Mince beetroot (can be done in the food processor).  Cook beetroot with onion in 625ml of white vinegar until onion is tender

Grind allspice (if using whole), peppercorn with ground ginger.  Be careful with the amount of spice, sometimes less is enough.

Add salt, sugar and ground spices and cook for 25 minutes

Mix Arrowroot with extra vinegar to form a paste, stir into beetroot and cook for 5 minutes

Bottle and seal in sterilized jars.

Enjoy!

Jaci

 

Sausage Rolls

No one ever told me, that when you become a chef you have to be able to make the best sausage roll and that you will be making a lot of them!

At Jacican I serve them as part of the High tea canapes, on the lunch menu on the tasting plate or as a giant with a side of salad. I even teach your kids how to make them at home for everyone's lunch.

For this recipe, I use Sweet Black Tomato Chutney as the flavoring, but you could use any flavor you like, along with any type of mincemeat you like. Another combination I have made includes chicken with Green Tomato Kasoundi and pork with plum sauce.

Ingredients

1 pack of puff pastry

1 carrot, peeled and grated

1 zucchini, grated

500 grams mincemeat – Beef, pork, or lamb

1 jar of Sweet Black Tomato Chutney (or tomato sauce or chutney of your choice to taste)

1 cup breadcrumbs

1 egg

 

Method

Preheat the oven to 180oc.

Lay out puff pastry on the bench top. Cut each sheet in half so you have 12 rectangles of pastry.

Mix remaining ingredients together in a bowl.

Place the mince mixture along with the middle of a piece of pastry. Rolls the sides over to seal the mince in the pastry. Repeat for the remaining mix/pastry.

Cut to size.

Place the rolls on baking trays and cook for 20 minutes until crispy.

Serve alongside your favorite sauce or chutney.

 

Jaci

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.

Valentine’s Day is coming up and why not spend it with your loved one at Jacican. Sample my degustation dessert dinner (perhaps you could leave the kids home with Dad and bring a girlfriend). You will come across my sheep’s milk cheesecake early in the evening as course two.

covershot

 

This is my take on a cheesecake using fresh sheep’s milk curd made by the wonderful Burke and Bronwyn of Prom Country Cheese in Moyarra, South Gippsland. You can use goat’s curd for this recipe as well.

While developing a degustation dessert dinner I thought about adding a goat’s milk cheese soufflé to the menu so I tested some recipes. I found that a traditional goat’s milk soufflé – twice baked, was not light enough for dessert. The dish has evolved into a lighter sheep’s milk curd cheesecake. Extra egg whites made the dessert lighter, considering it is part of a long meal – at this point somewhere around 8 or 9 courses.

Sheep’s milk cheesecake.

Ingredients

260 grams sheep’s milk curd

70 grams castor sugar

2 eggs, separated

10 grams plain flour

10 grams castor sugar, extra

2 egg whites

Zest of 1 lemon (save your lemon to use in the citrus jelly that sits under the cheesecake)

Method

  • Pre-heat oven to 120°C
  • Grease a stainless steel cake tin with butter and coat the inside with sugar.

Shake to remove the excess.

I recommend a 20cm cake tin (I use 2 x 5cm by 18cm rectangle tins). This cheesecake is very thin, about 2 cm high at most so don’t expect much volume.

  • In a bowl, combine sheep’s milk curd with 70 grams of castor sugar and mix until you have a smooth cheese mixture with no lumps. Add egg yolks, flour, and lemon zest. Mix until combined.
  • Whip 4 egg whites with 10 grams of castor sugar to stiff peaks in the mix master. Once you have stiff peaks, gently fold into sheep’s milk cheese mixture.

To make the cheesecake light and fluffy, you need to do this gently and softly.

  • Pour batter into prepared tin. Place tin in roasting pan, fill a pan with hot water to 2cm of the height of the prepared tin.

This is where things can get tricky and may go wrong. My tins have tiny little holes in the corners where the tins have been folded. The water is able to seep into the cheesecake batter. Place the filled cake tins on the rack above the water and allow the cheesecake to cook with the extra steam to avoid a mess and a cheesecake disaster!

  • Bake in preheated oven for 45 minutes or until set. Cool to room temperature and then chill.

I serve my cheesecake atop citrus jelly and finished off with whipped sheep’s milk curd.

Citrus jelly

I use gold-strength gelatine in the kitchen as it is the most common strength asked for in recipes. If you don’t have access to commercial gelatine sheets, it is more than likely that the gelatine sheets you buy in the local supermarket are only half the size, so you will need twice as many.

Ingredients

10 gelatine sheets - gold strength

1 orange

1 lemon – use the lemon left over from the zest in the cheesecake if you want

1 grapefruit

100 grams orange liqueur - this is an approximate measure

Method

  • Soak the gelatine in water to soften.
  • Spray a tin with kitchen spray and line with glad wrap, making sure the plastic is hanging well over the sides of the tin. (I use the same 5cm * 18cm rectangle cake tins as the sheep’s milk cheesecake)
  • Peel and segment the citrus fruit into a bowl, squeezing the juice out of the membrane over the segments. You will need to have 300 grams of segments and juice when you finish.
  • Top up the segments with the orange liqueur of your choice until you have the weight of 400 grams. Alternatives to orange liqueur are orange juice, white wine or water.
  • Place citrus mixture in a small saucepan, add re-hydrated gelatine and heat until the gelatine has dissolved.

This should be done slowly on low heat as gelatine dissolves at about 40°C. If you overheat, you will kill the active gelatine and it will not set.

  • Pour into pre-prepared cake tins and place in the fridge to set overnight.
  • Once set, un-mould and place the sheep’s milk cheesecake on top. Finish with some whipped sheep’s milk curd.

 Enjoy!

Jaci

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