Ginger-Citrus Marmalade

I used to be a picky eater as a child (and probably into my early 20’s, if I’m honest). Some of my food dislikes were due to strong tastes that I wasn’t used to (like blue cheese or olives). Other dislikes were due to a fear of the unknown (enter fish, of all types), and some might have been due to a texture dislike (mashed potatoes and cooked peas). Now that I’m all grown up, I can safely say that I’m over most of my picky tendencies – I will try anything at least once – and even though I still don’t love mashed potatoes, Grandma no longer needs to leave me one plain boiled potato to eat 🙂

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One of those foods I remember not being keen on was marmalade. As a child, I think I found the jam too bitter with the pith and peel. Jonty attests to being in the same boat.

We were at the supermarket a few months ago, looking for another jar of honey, when we started perusing all the different jams. When we saw the marmalade, we bought a jar, wondering if our palates had changed over the years. I think we were both convinced that our adult taste buds would over-rule our childhood dislike.

And guess what? We were totally wrong! Our first spoonful had us each thinking, “Yup, this is what it tasted like as a child.” But because we’re loath to waste food, we finished the jar over the next few weeks.

The funny thing was, though, that by the time we finished the jar our taste buds had adapted and we didn’t mind the taste of the marmalade! While still a bit bitter for both of us, it was definitely elevated from our childhood memories.

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Through the process of finishing this jar, I was convinced that I could make a better marmalade – one with the bitter edge taken off. I scoured the internet and found that marmalade is one of the easier jams to make, because citrus peel is naturally abundant in pectin, so you don’t need to add additional pectin to get the jam to gel. Most of the recipes, however, call to do crazy things with the pith + peel + muslin cloths + straining.

I couldn’t be bothered for that.

Then, the March issue of Bon Appetit came to my rescue – a recipe for grapefruit marmalade, and it looked really easy.

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I tweaked the recipe and turned it into a ginger-citrus marmalade, the major difference being the amount of sugar I added. The original recipe called for 2 grapefruits + 2 full cups of sugar.

I couldn’t bring myself to add that much sugar!

Fruit is naturally sweet – there’s absolutely no need to add so much sugar, especially when you’re making a small batch and you don’t need to preserve it.

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For my first marmalade attempt, I cut the sugar down by half, to 1 cup. It tasted fantastic! Jonty deemed it to be “what marmalade is supposed to taste like”! I told him about my sugar reduction and we both wondered if I could reduce it more, and so I did.

My second batch took the sugar amount down to a 1/2 cup (and from the original recipe, requiring 2 cups, this is pretty significant). We had a bit of the first batch left, so we did a blind-taste-test! Both looked similar, so there were no give-aways there.

Jonty ended up preferring the second batch with less sugar – he actually thought it was the first batch because he thought it tasted brighter. So there you go! Marmalade has officially entered our small rotation of Pearson-approved jams (raspberry being our first true love).

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You start by adding the oranges, ginger, a small amount of orange peel, vanilla and water to a pot and reduce this down. This will take about 1 to 1.5 hours. Then add the sugar. I recommend tasting the orange mixture before you add the sugar. If you think it tastes pretty good as it is, add in 1/2 cup of sugar. If you would like your marmalade to be slightly sweeter, add a little bit more, up to 1 cup. Continue to simmer to reduce the mixture again, another hour or so. You know the jam is finished when it sticks to the back of a spoon without sliding off. At this point, stir in a bit of lemon juice and transfer it to a container with a tight-fitting lid.

That’s all it takes to make the best marmalade of your life! 😉

Ginger-Citrus Marmalade
 
Author: 
Recipe type: Condiments
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
This version of marmalade uses only a small amount of orange peel, and none of the bitter white pith. With no pectin required, you can have homemade jam in only a few hours.
Ingredients
  • 350 - 375 g (2 medium) oranges, diced (peel and white pith removed)
  • Peel from of ⅓ orange, julienned (no white pith attached)
  • 2.5 cm piece of ginger, peeled and diced
  • 2½ cups water
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • ½ cup sugar (I used ¼ cup brown sugar + ¼ cup white sugar)
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice (about ½ lemon)
Instructions
  1. In a medium saucepan, combine the diced oranges, orange peel, diced ginger, vanilla extract and water. Bring to a boil then reduce to medium-low heat and allow to simmer until the mixture has reduced by ¾. This will take about 1 to 1.5 hours.
  2. Taste the reduced orange mixture to decide on the amount of sugar needed. If you prefer a very sweet marmalade, stir in up to 1 cup of sugar. Otherwise, ½ cup is enough.
  3. Continue to simmer until the jam starts to bubble and the mixture sticks to the back of a spoon, about 1 hour.
  4. Remove from the heat and stir in the lemon juice.
  5. Transfer to a glass container with a tight-fitting lid and allow to cool, uncovered, before eating.
Notes
This jam will keep in the fridge, in a well-sealed glass container, for at least few weeks, up to one month.

Enjoy this Ginger-Citrus Marmalade!

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Easy Chicken Satay with Spicy Peanut Sauce

If you’re living on the West Coast, you’re probably in for another soggy weekend and are looking for something to warm you up. If you’re living in Eastern Canada, you’re probably in for another hot weekend and are looking for something that doesn’t require you to turn on the oven. My food solution for both? This easy chicken satay!

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One of the first cookbooks Jonty and I bought together (along with a Toast-R-Oven that we still have today, over 15 years later!) was this Thai cookbook. The recipes were easy to make, with relatively few ingredients, and the food always tasted good. For two young students on a very tight budget, this was a good thing, as it meant we didn’t have to go out to our local Thai restaurant for our spicy-food kick – we could just make it at home!

Fast-forward 15 years later, and we’re still looking for ways to incorporate the spicy, flavourful Thai-inspired foods. Chicken satay is one of those dishes that people love to eat. Maybe it’s the food-on-a-stick thing, or maybe it’s the spicy peanut flavour. Whatever the reason, this recipe is a keeper and with BBQ season in full swing, it makes a great addition to any summer grilling plans.

As with most marinaded foods, the longer you leave the chicken hanging out in the marinade, the more flavourful the satay will be. I mixed this up in the morning and grilled the chicken in the afternoon, a few hours later. If you can leave it for at least 30 minutes, however, I suspect your taste buds will be more than happy!

If you have a handful of skewers, feel free to use them. If you’re a skewer-free house, don’t rush out to buy any, just grill the chicken pieces as is. In one way, it’s almost easier if you don’t use skewers!

The only accompaniment you need for the chicken satay is a simple peanut sauce, and we’re pretty firm that you cannot omit this, because peanut sauce is one of the greatest sauces known to humankind 🙂 We shared a recipe for our easy peanut sauce a few weeks ago, and now’s the time to bring it out! If you want to make an even easier peanut sauce, just blend up some peanut butter, lime juice and soy sauce and thin with water.

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We mixed up a simple salad to serve the chicken satay with, and it was a perfect bowl-food dinner!

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So get your summer grill on and make this easy chicken satay!

Easy Chicken Satay
 
Recipe type: Dinner
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Adapted from the book Simply Thai Cooking
Ingredients
  • 750 - 800 g boneless, skinless chicken breast, sliced into 5-mm thick slices
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • ½ tsp ground turmeric
  • 2 - 3 red Thai chilis, finely chopped (or omit, if you don't like spicy food)
  • 2 cloves fresh garlic, finely chopped
  • ½ tsp fresh ground pepper
  • 1 tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp low-sodium soy sauce or tamari
  • 1 lime, juice and zest
  • 1 tsp fish sauce
Instructions
  1. Slice the chicken into 5-mm thick strips, that run the length of the chicken breast. To make this easier, place the chicken in the freezer for 10 minutes to firm it up.
  2. Mix up marinade and pour over the strips of chicken. Marinade the chicken for at least 30 minutes, up to 24 hours.
  3. Grill the chicken under broiler or on the BBQ.
  4. Serve the chicken satay with a simple salad and peanut sauce.

Enjoy!

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Easy, Everyday Peanut Sauce

I think everyone should have an easy, go-to peanut sauce recipe somewhere in their stack of cookbooks and recipe cut-outs. It really is such a versatile condiment: keep it quite thick, and you’ve got a great paste to add to curries and sauces, loosen it up (adding a bit of water or coconut milk) and you’ve got a tasty dipping sauce, go even further and you’ve made the world’s tastiest salad dressing!

This peanut sauce recipe has a handful of ingredients only and can be adapted to fit your tastes. We like ours with a hefty spice-kick to it, so we are extra generous with the red chilies. If you’re not that fond of really spicy foods, you can leave the chilies out, or just add a pinch of dried red chili flakes, and still have a great-tasting peanut sauce!

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This sauce has it all – slightly sweet, slightly salty and full of yummy peanut goodness! And if you want to eat it by the spoonful, I won’t judge 🙂

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Stay tuned for the best food to pair this peanut sauce with!

Easy, Everyday Peanut Sauce
 
Nutrition Information
  • Serves: 2 cups
  • Serving size: 1 tbsp
  • Calories: 45
  • Fat: 3.4 g
  • Saturated fat: 0.7 g
  • Carbohydrates: 2.8 g
  • Sugar: 1.5 g
  • Sodium: 37.5 mg
  • Fiber: 0.4 g
  • Protein: 1.5 g
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg
Recipe type: Condiments
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Ingredients
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 3-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled
  • 1 lime, juice + zest
  • 2 to 4 Thai red chilies, or 2 tsp red chili flakes (optional)
  • 2 tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp low-sodium soy sauce (or tamari)
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 2 tsp toasted sesame oil
  • ¾ cup natural peanut butter, crunchy or smooth
  • Handful of fresh cilantro
  • Water, to thin
Instructions
  1. Whiz everything in the food processor.
  2. Add water to thin to your desired consistency, keeping in mind that the peanut sauce will thicken in the fridge.
  3. Store in the fridge.
Notes
This sauce will last in the fridge for a few weeks.

Enjoy!

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ClimbEatCycleRepeat.com | Peanut-Coconut Red Thai Chicken with Grilled Pineapple

Peanut-Coconut Red Thai Chicken with Grilled Pineapple

It’s Monday, it’s Family Day (in BC, at least), the sun is shining, and we have a week of vacation to look forward to!

Our plans for the week include climbing, cooking, cycling (Jonty is finally able to do this after his knee injury!), and generally relaxing – really, all the attributes of a good stay-cation 🙂

ClimbEatCycleRepeat.com | Peanut-coconut red Thai chicken with grilled pineapple

Flying home this past weekend, I had a 2-hour layover in LAX, in which I spent a good chunk of that time people-watching. The waiting area was filled with a plethora of highly-tanned / sun-burnt people, wearing shorts, flip-flops and sun hats. Looking at the t-shirts many of them were wearing, I suspect most were coming back from a vacation in Mexico.

I’m convinced that a week, or even a couple of days, of sunshine can do good things for a person’s general well-being, especially if you live on the West Coast, where it’s generally a given that the first few months of the year will be spent in grey, rainy weather.

So if you can’t get away for a few warm days somewhere, this meal might be your next best bet! It’s very colourful, and the taste of grilled pineapple will whisk your taste-buds away to a brighter, more tropical place. At least, that’s what we’re telling ourselves 🙂

There’s something very satisfying in the pairing of sweet and spicy; in this case, the grilled pineapple mixed in with the spicy red curry hit the spot.

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This meal is easy to make and can be a clean-out-the-fridge kind of dinner, using whatever protein and vegetables suit your mood. We used coconut milk and our homemade Thai red curry paste as the base for this curry, and added in chicken and an assortment of veggies. While the curry is simmering away, the farro can be cooked and, just before you’re ready to eat, the pineapple can be grilled.

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In about 30 minutes, you’ve got a dinner ready that will hopefully whisk you away to a warmer, brighter place (at least, in taste 🙂 ).

Peanut-Coconut Red Thai Chicken with Grilled Pineapple
 
Nutrition Information
  • Serves: 4 servings
  • Serving size: 1 bowl
  • Calories: 560
  • Fat: 32.3 g
  • Saturated fat: 22.7 g
  • Carbohydrates: 38.6 g
  • Sugar: 14.6 g
  • Sodium: 217.7 mg
  • Fiber: 6.9 g
  • Protein: 36.8 g
  • Cholesterol: 91.3 mg
Recipe type: Dinner
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Ingredients
  • 500 g boneless, skinless chicken breast, cubed
  • 1 can (495mL) full-fat coconut milk
  • 2 tbsp red curry paste (we used our homemade version)
  • 2 tbsp natural peanut butter
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 2 carrots, julienned
  • 1 tsp fish sauce
  • ¼ cup cilantro, chopped
  • ½ lime, juiced
  • ¼ whole pineapple, sliced into wedges
  • ½ cup farro
Instructions
For the farro:
  1. Rinse the farro under running water until the water runs clear. Place into a small sauce pan and add enough water to cover the farro by a few inches.
  2. Bring the water to a boil, then reduce to low, partially cover and let simmer for ~25 minutes, or until the grain is tender but still has a bite. Drain any water remaining in the pan, and set aside until ready to eat.
For the curry:
  1. Add the coconut milk, red curry paste, peanut butter and fish sauce to a large sauce pan over medium heat. Let simmer for about 5 minutes, until the coconut milk starts to thicken slightly.
  2. Add the chopped chicken, stir and let simmer for 10 minutes.
  3. Add the pepper and carrot, and let simmer for another 5 minutes.
  4. Just before serving, add the chopped cilantro and a squeeze of lime juice.
  5. While the curry is simmering, grill the pineapple pieces. Place the pineapple on a grill pan over medium-high heat for 2 - 4 minutes, until the pineapple starts to caramelize and get the nice sear marks on it. Flip the pieces over and grill for the same amount of time.
To serve:
  1. Spoon some farro into a bowl and laddle the curry over top.
  2. Sprinkle with any remaining cilantro and serve with the grilled pineapple.

Enjoy!

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ClimbEatCycleRepeat.com | Homemade Thai Red Curry Paste

Homemade Red Curry Paste

Starting most Monday mornings, Jonty and I usually start to talk about what we want to make / eat on the coming weekend (five whole days early!!) – probably because we’re so excited to have the weekend roll around again, but also because we tend to have more time to cook, and we enjoy the process 🙂

During the past week, Jonty came across a recipe for a Caribbean-style chicken, and I found a recipe that called for chicken with grilled pineapple. We imagined the flavours would go together well, and  figured it could be good “bowl food” (because we’re all about our nibbly / tapas / small eats on the weekend!).

This recipe is a bit of a mix, partly from a few different recipes online, and partly from the Green Curry Paste I made in the summer. If you want the paste super smooth, a food processor or high-speed blender will be needed, but it’s just a matter of throwing everything into the mix and pureeing until smooth. Super easy!

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As you would expect, the main ingredient of a Red Curry Paste is … wait for it… Red Chili Peppers! We used the thin red Thai chilies – if you can handle the heat, use a lot of them; if you have a more delicate palate, just remove all (or most) of the seeds.

I know lots of people say to wear gloves or something if you’re chopping a lot of chilis or jalapenos, to reduce the burning. I never do, but I usually pay the price (my climber-fingers were burning for most of the evening… and I may have rubbed my eye at some point during the process… ouch!)

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We made a peanut-coconut Thai chicken curry with grilled pineapple, and used about 2 or 3 tbsp of the curry paste for the meal, it was very tasty!

Even on its own, this paste tastes really good, so if you’re looking for a great spicy dip, try mixing 1 tbsp of the curry paste into 1 cup of non-fat Greek yogurt. We nibbled this with fresh veggies and homemade potato chips – add in a good UKIPA, and your Saturday night is set! 🙂

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Homemade Red Curry Paste
 
Nutrition Information
  • Serves: 1.5 cups
  • Serving size: 1 tbsp
  • Calories: 13
  • Fat: 0.9 g
  • Saturated fat: 0.1 g
  • Carbohydrates: 1.5 g
  • Sugar: 0.3 g
  • Sodium: 56.1 mg
  • Fiber: 0.3 g
  • Protein: 0.2 g
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg
Recipe type: Condiments
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Ingredients
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 45 g / 1.5 oz / ~20 red Thai chilis, chopped (seeds in or out, depending on your heat preference)
  • ½ medium red onion
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 5 cm piece of fresh ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 tbsp fresh turmeric root, peeled (~2 little pieces)
  • 1 stalk fresh lemongrass (bottom ⅔rd of the stalk)
  • 1 lime, zest + juice
  • 1 tsp toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • ⅓ cup chopped cilantro
Instructions
  1. Place everything in a food processor (fitted with the S-blade) or a high-speed blender (like a Blendtec) and puree until smooth. This may take at least 5 minutes.
  2. Taste and adjust add more salt or lime juice, if necessary.
  3. Transfer into a jar with a tight-fitting lid.
Notes
The paste should last in the refrigerator, in a tightly-sealed container, for at least one month.
For use in curries, I usually add 2 to 3 heaping tablespoons.

Enjoy!

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