Sunday, 26 February 2017

a lemon cordial recipe - strewth!

After a not so *enjoyable (*read crappy) day at work last week I came home feeling overwhelmed and done. I didn't want to cook, I didn't care what was for dinner, I didn't know what I wanted. I considered a glass of wine but the previous weekend I decided to drink myself under the table (literally) which meant wine was definitely off the cards. Instead I frumped on the couch and picked up a book I was recently sent; The Little Book of Slow by Sally Wise and Paul McIntyre - Live mindfully and enjoy the simple things.

Sounds good to me, right?!


The book is split into two parts, the first which is Sally's contribution it all about the food, getting back to basics in the kitchen and enjoying slower more simple tasks rather than the quick 15 minute dinner you throw together midweek. There is bottling fruit, baking bread and making jam and chutneys. To be fair, it wouldn't be a book by Sally if it didn't include some sort of preserving. It also has tips and recipes for making your own cheese, baking a pie or a simple butter cake. All of which sounds delicious and simple in their own way.

The second part by Paul is all about Slow Pastimes like the perfect pot of tea, hosting a dinner party, keeping a diary or my favourite chapter - using Australian lingo, mate! To describe the week I've just had I should have started the post with I've been flat out like a lizard drinking / been busy. Maybe it's true that we've lost some of our Aussie Slang, I never hear anyone yell 'strewth!' and can count on one hand how many times I've been called a 'shelia'. That being said I never knew good old cordial was an Aussie thing either until I did a bit of googling.



So instead of baking a butter cake and enjoying it with a pot of hot tea I went with making homemade lemon cordial as it fits with both slow food and slow pastimes. It's refreshing, tart but still sweet and also simple to make. I do prefer my cordial on the bitter and weak side so I added a little extra citric acid and a little less sugar as there seemed to be an extraordinary amount in the recipe. The hardest thing about the recipe was juicing and zesting the lemons, after that everything is added to a pot and all you need to do is make sure the sugar (over 1kg ahhh!) is properly dissolved. I let it sit in the fridge for a night, strained it and put it in sterilised bottles/jars. I now have a good 1.5 litres of refreshing lemon cordial on hand that needs only a handful of ice and water for a quick taste of summer. Delish!

I think it's sometimes hard to remember the simple things when you get stuck in the 9-5 grind of Monday to Friday with busy weekends that disappear and suddenly its Monday again before you know it. So now with every glass I have a small reminder of the simple things and to make a little time for them and crikey its a cracker of a drop!


Homemade Lemon Cordial

recipe adapted from The Little Book of Slow by Sally Wise and Paul McIntyre

6 large lemons, washed (or 9 smaller lemons)
1.2kg white sugar *
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon citric acid
1 litre boiling water

- Finely zest and juice the lemons into a large pot.

-  Add remaining ingredient to pot stirring well.

- Keep stirring until the sugar is completely dissolved - you may need to stir it over low heat to help it along but do not bring it to a boil.

- Allow to cool to room temp, cover and store in the fridge overnight.

- Strain using a fine seive and store in steriliser bottles/jars.

To Serve: Mix 1 part cordial and 5 parts water (or soda water), stir, add ice and enjoy!

*The original amount of sugar in this recipe is 1.5kg. By reducing the sugar like I did will reduce the shelf life of the coridal. I am storing my (reduced sugar version) cordial in the fridge but if you use the original amount of sugar (1.5kg) you can store it in a cool dark place.

Find original recipe here.

Thursday, 9 February 2017

Homemade Chocolate Paddle Pops

Chocolate Paddle Pop Recipe | salt sugar and i

So I'm thinking I should re-name the blog 'the weather and i' as I seem so damn obsessed with it lately. With two fans and a small portable air con working their little butts off, it's still too hot to even think about turning the oven, my motivation to cook is crashing and I think I'm loosing my marbles.

In this mad heat wave, the only things I want to eat are ice based - ice coffees, lemon cordial full of clanking ice cubes, freezer cold watermelon, frozen fruit sticks and paddle pops. So on Sunday, when it was stinker of a day my options were: one, leave the somewhat cooler than outside apartment and drive in my steamy car to the servo or two, spend 15 minutes in the kitchen, watch Netflix for 4 hours with icepacks and eat homemade chocolate paddle pops. I chose option two, just like any sane person would... right?

Chocolate Paddle Pop Recipe | salt sugar and i

Ok I'll admit it, my first thought while stirring the mixture over the stovetop for three minutes while feeling beads of sweat were - you are a mad women! I could've been on my way back from the servo, paddle pop in hand by now but noooooo here I was using heat for goodness sakes! But then the yoga-ess of making food to eat kicked in and maybe some of you will still think I'm mad to make my own paddle pops but it was kind of fun making my favourite childhood icey pole from scratch.

Chocolate Paddle Pop Recipe | salt sugar and i

They were easy to make and well worth the freezer wait. Just whisk everything together, cook it until it starts to thicken, then pour it into your moulds and freeze. I used moulds that I bought years ago that were still in the box and original packaging until last weekend but if you don't have ice block moulds in the back of your cupboard gathering dust, tip the bearded hipster at your local coffee shop and ask for some extra takeaway cups and stirring sticks (or buy paper cups from the supermarket) and use them instead. Different shape but still just as tasty!

So next time its bearable enough to stand by the stove for a few minutes whisking and you're patient enough to wait for them to freeze, give these a go! Seriously, I think you'll impress the fanciest of foodies with these, they'll bring back memories of Aussie Summers - saggy rashies, sticky fingers, chocolate drips and salty skin. Take me back!

Chocolate Paddle Pop Recipe | salt sugar and i


Chocolate Paddle Pops

makes about 10

3 cups milk
3 tablespoons dutch cocoa, sifted
6 tablespoons white sugar
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon cornflour
pinch salt
1 teaspoon vanilla essence

- In a medium sauce pan, combine your sifted cocoa, sugar, cornflour and salt. Whisk just enough milk into the the dry ingredients to form a smooth paste, then whisk in the remaining milk.  It should look like a chocolate milkshake with everything blended evenly.

- Place the pan on medium heat, stir gently with a whisk - constantly scraping the sides and bottom of the pan. Once small bubbles start to appear around the edges of the pan, continue whisking for 2 minutes. The mixture should thicken up at this stage to a light custard.

- Pour the mixture into a bowl and whisk in vanilla essence off the heat.

- Fill your moulds (or cups) making sure you leave a little space for expansion and place into the freezer. These will take about 4-6 hours to set.

- To de-mould pops, let them sit at room temperature for a few minutes and use the heat of your hand* to release each one. Wrap them individually in baking paper and storing in a zip-lock bag back in the freezer.

*I found when de-moulding the pops and sitting them in warm water bath, they melted too quickly and lost their shape, although in say that I did make these on a 40C day.