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 🙂 | Ginger-citrus | Ginger-citrus marmalade

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. | Ginger-citrus marmalade

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. | Ginger-citrus marmalade

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. | Ginger-citrus marmalade

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). | Ginger-citrus marmalade

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
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.
  • 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)
  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.
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! | Ginger-citrus marmalade

Clumpy Gingerbread Granola

One of the gifts we received for Christmas was a 6 month subscription to the Raw Spice Bar company. We get 3 spice mixes sent to us every month, with recipe ideas for each. It’s been a fantastic gift! One of the packets that came in the post last month was a German Gingerbread spice mix (a mixture of ginger, coriander, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, black peppercorns, cloves, mace and star anise). There were a few different recipes that were suggested, but the one that really caught my eye was for a Gingerbread Granola. | Clumpy Gingerbread Granola

Jonty is taking a 5-week welding course, which has him tied up on Saturdays. So I’ve been spending that time keeping the apartment warm by making sure the oven in constant use, trying out new recipes. Some recipes have been pretty great, others have been meh. This was a really good one.

I tweaked the Raw Spice Bar’s version slightly, by adding more variety of nuts and seeds, and decreasing the amount of sugar originally called for. I don’t like granola super-sweet, and I think this ended up being the perfect balance between salty-and-sweet and slightly-spicy (I think due to the freshly ground dried ginger). | Clumpy Gingerbread Granola

Do you like your granola super chunky and crunchy and clumpy? I’m definitely in that camp. There’s something extremely satisfying about munching on a big nugget of granola. And when you get one of those pieces that is flecked with sea salt and gingerbread spices? Gah, so darned good! | Clumpy Gingerbread Granola

The key to making super clumpy granola is simply to resist the urge to stir it. That’s it, just leave it be, especially once it comes out of the oven. When the granola has cooled completely, you can gently break it up into large pieces. | Clumpy Gingerbread Granola

I tell you, this stuff is addictively good. When I was taking pictures, I couldn’t stop sneaking little edge pieces – you know, the ones that weren’t photo-worthy 😉

Jonty told me mid-week that we needed to get rid of the granola ASAP because he couldn’t stop eating it! Seriously good. | Clumpy Gingerbread Granola

This gingerbread granola kept my breakfast routine interesting for the week. My favourite was with a dollop of Greek yogurt and some fruit (the oranges are fantastic at this time of year!).

So if you like gingerbread spices and clumpy granola and food that will keep your body fueled, give this recipe a try. It should keep in an airtight container for a few weeks, if you can make it last that long. 😉

Easy Gingerbread Granola
Recipe type: Breakfast
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
This easy clumpy Gingerbread Granola is a healthy way to start your day, or munch on as a quick snack.
  • 315 g (3 cups) large flake oats
  • 100 g (1 cup) walnut pieces
  • 60 g (1/2 cup) cashew pieces
  • 75 g (1/2 cup) raw pumpkin seeds
  • 2 tbsp flax seeds
  • 1 pkg German Gingerbread Spice (see notes)
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • 55 g (1/4 cup) coconut oil
  • 100 g (1/3 cup) maple syrup
  • 40 g (2 tbsp) molasses
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 325 F and line a large baking tray with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the dry ingredients (oats, nuts, seeds, Gingerbread spices and sea salt).
  3. In a small saucepan or microwave-safe bowl, heat together the coconut oil, maple syrup, molasses and vanilla extract.
  4. Pour the coconut oil mixture over the oat mixture and stir to thoroughly combine.
  5. Spread the granola mixture on the parchment-lined tray and bake in the oven for 30 minutes, rotating the pan every 10 minutes.
  6. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely on the pan before breaking up into large pieces.
If you don't want to use the German Gingerbread Spice mix, make your own by combining the following dried spices: 1 tbsp ground ginger, 2 tsp cinnamon, 1 tsp ground coriander, ¼ tsp allspice, ¼ tsp ground nutmeg and ¼ tsp ground cloves.

Enjoy this Clumpy Gingerbread Granola! | Clumpy Gingerbread Granola

Great Northern Parkin Under Wensleydale

Classic British food is probably not on the forefront of people’s minds when they think of really great food. Perhaps it’s because I’m married to a Brit, but I’ve always had a soft spot for it; granted, I did marry into a family of food-lovers, but I dare you to argue with me after eating Sticky Toffee Pudding, or Treacle Sponge, or good-quality classic Fish and Chips, or Yorkshire puddings with roast beef! | Parkin and Wensleydale with a cup of tea

I think the Brits tend to do simple food very well. Actually, looking at my love list above, perhaps they do comfort food very well 🙂

One of these easy recipes is Parkin. It’s a gingerbread cake that originates from Yorkshire in the north of England. There’s nothing terribly special about the ingredient list (oats, flour, eggs, butter, sugar, molasses and ginger), but the unusual thing about this cake is that you leave it to age for a few weeks after it bakes. | Great northern parkin under | Great northern parkin under Wensleydale

Waiting for this cake is a test of your willpower. Just out of the oven, the smell of the gingerbread is mouth-watering, so you get excited about trying a little piece but, no, you have to wait. And not just until the cake cools. Nope, you have to wait weeks, two or three, to be precise! | Great northern parkin under Wensleydale

It sounds strange, I know. You leave a cake to sit (in a tightly sealed container, granted) for a few weeks, and it doesn’t go bad or stale?


It’s completely counter-intuitive. The cake becomes crumbly the longer it sits, but at the same time it is also slightly dense (in a good way). And as it ages, the sweet molasses and ginger flavours mingle and become more pronounced, to give you a wonderfully rich-tasting cake. | Parkin and Wensleydale with a cup of tea

Last but not least, you cannot eat this cake on its own. No, it must be eaten with cheese, and not just any cheese – it must be eaten with plain Wensleydale (not that weird fruit-laden Wensleydale)… and a cup of tea… preferably on Guy Fawkes Night (but I’m Canadian, so I feel justified in ignoring that last part). | Parkin and Wensleydale with a cup of tea

On a rainy Vancouver day, after three weeks of waiting, there is almost nothing more satisfying than a cup of tea and a slice (or two… or three…) of ginger Parkin under a great wedge of Wensleydale. | Parkin and Wensleydale with a cup of tea

If you’ve never tried it, hopefully I’ve convinced you to give it a whirl. I’m certain you won’t be disappointed 🙂

Classic Parkin Cake
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Modified slightly from a Gary Rhodes recipe in New British Classics
Dry stuff:
  • 200 g (~1.5 cups) all-purpose flour
  • 10 g (~2 tsp) baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg
  • ½ tsp ground allspice
  • 150 g (~1 cup) large-flake oats, processed into a coarse flour (or use oat flour)
Wet stuff:
  • 200 g (150 mL) golden syrup
  • 100 g (70 mL) molasses
  • 200 g (3/4 cup + 2 tbsp) unsalted butter
  • 200 g (1 cup) dark brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 3 tbsp skim milk
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 275F and well-grease a 9x13-inch pan.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, salt, ginger, nutmeg and allspice. Add in the coarsely-ground oats and mix.
  3. In a medium-sized saucepan over medium-low heat, melt together the golden syrup, molasses, butter and brown sugar. Do not let the mixture simmer or boil, you only want this to melt.
  4. Add the wet mixture to the dry mixture and blend.
  5. Add in the beaten eggs and milk, mix to combine.
  6. Pour the batter into the well-greased 9x13-inch pan and bake for 75 minutes, or until the centre of the cake is firm to the touch.
  7. Leave the cake cool in the pan for 30 minutes, before turning it out to finish cooling.
  8. Place the cake in an air-tight container and leave at room temperature for 2 to 3 weeks. The closer you leave the cake to 3 weeks, the better the flavour will be.
We have made this cake in a 9x13x2-inch pan as well as a 5x11x3-inch loaf pan, and both have turned out great.
If you bake it in the deeper loaf pan, be prepared to increase the baking time by 15 minutes or so.

Enjoy! | Great northern parkin under Wensleydale | 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! | Thai red curry paste

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!) | Thai red curry paste

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! 🙂 | Thai red curry paste

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: 
  • 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
  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.
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! | Thai red curry paste
Climb Eat Cycle Repeat | Apple Ginger Smoothie with Lime and Chia Seeds

Sunday Smoothie: Week 3

Well, I’ve just finished Week 3, and it’s been Smoothie Sailing! 🙂 But seriously, it’s been a pretty tasty challenge I’ve taken on! I may not be following the daily recipes religiously, as I’ve tried to use them more for inspiration and as a guide in order to expand my fruits and greens combinations.

The winners this week were the Apple-Ginger Smoothie (with ginger, lime, apples and chia seeds)… | Apple-ginger smoothie

… and one I’m calling the Tropical Fiesta Smoothie, with kiwi, oranges and pineapple. | Tropical-fiesta smoothie

Mornings can be a bit of a rush, so I always make sure to prep my smoothie ingredients the night before. Once you get into the habit, it’s pretty easy. I weigh out the greens and liquids into the BlendTec jar, along with extras like chia seeds, flax seeds and ginger. The fruit gets chopped up and put into the freezer, so it’s always nice and cold.

In the morning, Jonty blends up my smoothie for me (because it takes me longer to get ready!!), all he has to do is put the frozen fruit in the blender jar and he’s good to go! Making them takes a minute or two and just requires tweaking the liquid to get the perfect consistency as the ingredients are blending!

Preparation is the key for success 🙂 | Apple-ginger smoothie

As always, these smoothies make one big glass, so if you have a few people in your house who want to partake, feel free to double the ingredient list.

Also, I can’t stop seeing a face in the Tropical Fiesta Smoothie picture above, do you see it too?! Those big green eyes and kiwi nose staring at me! 🙂

Have a great Sunday, and Happy Smoothing!

Apple-Ginger Green Smoothie
Nutrition Information
  • Serves: 1 large glass
  • Serving size: 1 smoothie
  • Calories: 245
  • Fat: 4.4 g
  • Saturated fat: 0.4 g
  • Carbohydrates: 51.1 g
  • Sugar: 25.3 g
  • Sodium: 284.2 mg
  • Fiber: 13.2 g
  • Protein: 7.6 g
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg
Recipe type: Drinks
Prep time: 
Total time: 
  • 70 g (1 packed cup) kale
  • 1 cup coconut water (we use the King Island Pure Coconut Water)
  • 1" piece fresh ginger, peeled and chopped (or ½ tsp ground ginger)
  • ½ banana, chopped
  • ½ medium apple, cored and diced
  • ½ lime, juice
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  1. Place the kale, lime juice, ginger, chia seeds and coconut water in a high-speed blender and puree until smooth.
  2. Add the banana and apple and blend again until smooth.
For a cold smoothie, make sure at least one of the fruit is frozen.

Tropical Fiesta Smoothie
Nutrition Information
  • Serves: 1 large glass
  • Serving size: 1 glass
  • Calories: 270
  • Fat: 1.4 g
  • Saturated fat: 0.4 g
  • Carbohydrates: 58.9 g
  • Sugar: 41 g
  • Sodium: 39.8 mg
  • Fiber: 11.2 g
  • Protein: 6.4 g
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg
Recipe type: Drinks
Prep time: 
Total time: 
  • 70 g (1 cup, packed) kale
  • 1 cup coconut water (we use King Island Pure Coconut Water)
  • 1 kiwi, peeled and chopped
  • 1 mandarine orange, peeled
  • 160 g (1 cup) diced pineapple
  1. Blend together the kale and coconut water until smooth.
  2. Add the kiwi, orange and pineapple and blend again, until smooth.
For a cold smoothie, ensure at least one of your fruit ingredients is frozen.