Entries in ginger (5)



i’ve read about parkin over recent years and have always been intrigued, but only just got round to making it.

parkin is a cake from the north of england (yorkshire is most often referred to but some in lancashire also seem to claim it as their own) and while it has local/familial variations, the heart of most recipes seem to be black treacle and oatmeal. ginger and other warming spices also seem to be common as does the advice to make it a few days (or even a week) in advance, so the flavour has time to mature and the texture to becomes moister and more sticky!

autumn, and more specifically bonfire night are often the prompt for this to be cooked, so i’m a bit late, but nevertheless, here it is! it is the only parkin i’ve ever tried, so i’ve been dependent on friends for feedback, one of whom talked about the partkins of her childhood varying enormously from a much more crumbly and dry to something more akin to a gingerbread or cake.

i think this is quite a good starting point for someone new to parkin. the flavours are very reminiscent of treacle toffee and gingerbread; i really liked the little nuggets of crystallised ginger; and the texture, which is like a heavy cake, shows off the difference that using oatmeal makes. and the advice about making it advance is worth taking – i’ve just had a piece one week after baking and it was definitely my favourite.

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coconut cavolo dal with lime

i bought my first cavolo nero of the season last week and was keen to try something new with it. old favourites include ribollita, various pasta dishes, pesto plus a lovely barley and pumpkin dish, all of which i am sure will be cooked in the coming weeks, as i tend to get obsessed with this leafy delight.

instead, i took inspiration from a red lentil, kale and coconut dish and cooked a pan of gently spiced coconut and cavolo nero dal. the quantities below are all approximate – you can increase any component if you want to emphasise particular flavours.

having said that, i don’t think the dish needs much, if any, tweaking - i had thought about adding spices at an early stage or finishing it with some fresh coriander leaves but don’t think either are needed. the final touch of lime zest and juice is well worth it though, as this gives a fresh zingy flavour which contrasts nicely with both the creamy coconut and lentil flavours as well as the green grassiness of the kale.

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orange, lemon and ginger marmalade

sorry the blog has been so quiet – work has been bonkers since the start of the year and everything is suffering as a result, not least creative time in the kitchen and  quiet time to write about it.

thankfully i have been able to find some time to take advantage of january’s seasonal fruit. much of the delights are focussed around citrus fruits and as well as forced rhubarb, which was combined with grapefruit to make one of my favourite “jams”, i have been using blood and seville oranges. the bitter seville oranges are generally used for marmalade and this was the slightly predictable choice i made.

however i did manage to use a less than predictable ingredient combination – nigel slater’s seville orange, lemon and ginger was my recipe of choice.

while i followed the recipe to the letter, i had a moment of confusion about whether or not i should be using or discarding the pith. advice online was mixed and so i used a combination of both. the result is tart enough and the ginger adds a subtle exotic hint of flavour.

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pear and ginger jam


last year a friend gave me a jar of pear and ginger jam from ottelenghi – it was her new obsession and really delicious. since then i’ve occasionally looked online for a recipe that i could use to replicate it but there doesn’t seem to be many pear jam recipes out there. this is probably due to the fact that pears are low in pectin so getting pear jams to set can be tricky.

last weekend i decided to try and make a batch, having seen this recipe on dollop of cream. the recipe is in cups which is easy enough when you’re dealing with certain ingredients but “10 cups of peeled, cored and sliced pears”  is less easy to translate so i also looked at this recipe from cottage smallholder for pear and lemon jam.

there was debate about whether or not to add water to the fruit and sugar mix. i didn’t bother and was glad i hadn’t as the pears released a lot of their own liquid.

i used a mix of lemon juice and zest and jam sugar to address the pectin issue. i’ve not used jam sugar before and was unsure if it would have a negative effect on the flavour but i didn’t notice any impact so would happily use it again. the lemon flavour was very pronounced as the jam was cooking but it mellowed by the time the jam was ready.

the ginger was very subtle when the mix was cooking but it does come through in the finished jam. the shape of the pear pieces is worth thinking about if you make this jam – i used conference pears and was expecting the pear pieces to disintegrate. instead, as you can see in the picture above, the pears stayed largely intact. as a result, slices might be a nice alternative.

for me this was a pretty good effort at replicating the ottolenghi jam but i need to find out what my friend thinks…

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ginger and orange clusters


sugar high friday is a food blogging event that i often read about but never quite manage to find the time to get involved with. sweets and puddings aren’t that high on my list of things to cook and, perhaps more to the point, people are usually intimidatingly inspired to create the most elaborate concoctions.

however, when i saw that david lebovitz was this month’s host and that the theme was chocolate, or more specifically what brand of chocolate you choose to cook with, i knew i needed to make the effort to get involved.

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