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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Carrot-Cranberry Snacking Cake

I know the words Healthy and Cake are often mutually exclusive. But in this case, I’m going out on a limb and stating, for the record, that I think this Carrot-Cranberry snacking cake is a wonderfully healthy cake. We’re not vegan or vegetarian (although this cake falls into both categories), and we don’t completely shun the sweet treats (although we’re pretty good at limiting those to the weekends). However, every now and then, it’s nice to bake something that we can nibble on during the week that is healthy yet feels like a treat.

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This cake has no refined sugar and relies mainly on the natural sweetness of the fruits and vegetables you put into it. I made this a few weeks ago, sliced it up, and tucked it away in the freezer to nibble on when cravings strike. It’s lasted beautifully and, dare I say, the flavour even improved as it sat!

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With every bite, I’m sure I sound like a broken record, repeatedly telling Jonty that I still can’t believe there is nothing “unhealthy” in this cake! I first saw this in the My New Roots cookbook. If you don’t have it, I would urge you to give it a browse. There are so many great recipes in there, all plant-based, but easy to modify if you want to include other meat additions.

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In the cookbook, this was intended as a loaf. Aside from turning it into a snacking-cake recipe, I also decreased the amount of maple syrup and added toasted coconut. Both were well-received 🙂

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We love a nice tart treat, thus this snacking cake was an instant hit: the balance of the sweet and tart being just right, when you think the fresh cranberries are going to be too sour, you get a hit of sweetness from the roasted carrot and maple syrup. Being chock-full of vitamins A and C and numerous health-promoting antioxidants, doesn’t hurt, either!

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I tell you, this is most definitely something you can eat for breakfast and not feel guilty about! Let us know how it turns out for you 🙂

Carrot-Cranberry Snacking Cake
 
Author: 
Recipe type: Snacks, Breakfast
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Based on the Carrot-Cranberry Loaf from My New Roots
Ingredients
  • 14 g (1 tbsp) chia seeds
  • 80 g (1/2 cup + 2 tbsp) milk (dairy or non-dairy)
  • 55 g (1/4 cup) melted coconut oil
  • 120 g (1/4 cup + 2 tbsp) pure maple syrup
  • 2 tsp grated orange zest
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 180 g (1½ cups) sprouted spelt flour
  • 50 g (1/2 cups) large-flake oats
  • 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground, dried ginger
  • ½ tsp ground cloves
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp sea salt
  • 140 g (1½ cups, or 2 medium) grated carrots
  • 80 g (3/4 cup) fresh or frozen cranberries (not dried)
  • 15 g (1/4 cup) large flake coconut, toasted
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 360 F and grease an 8 x 8 inch pan, or line with parchment paper.
  2. In a small bowl, stir together the chia seeds and milk and leave to sit for 15 minutes or so, until the mixtures starts to gel.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients (flour, oats, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, baking powder and sea salt). Add in the grated carrot and stir to combine.
  4. In a medium bowl, whisk together the melted coconut oil, maple syrup, orange zest and vanilla. Pour in the chia seed and milk mixture and whisk to combine.
  5. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until just combined. Add in the fresh cranberries and toasted coconut flakes and mix.
  6. Spoon the batter into the prepared 8 x 8 inch pan.
  7. Bake at 360 F for 35 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle, comes out clean.
  8. Let the cake cool in the par 10 minutes, then remove and cool completely on a wire rack.
Notes
I baked this cake at 360 F, because our oven runs cool. If you bake at 350 F, you might have to increase the bake time slightly.

This cake freezes extremely well. Allow to cool completely, then cut into slices, wrap well and store in the freezer in a sealed ziplock bag.

Enjoy!

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Hot-Cross Cinnamon Buns

First, I can’t believe we’re entering the third week of March already. Second, I can’t believe Easter is this week. I know Easter is early this year, but holy moly, it has come around quickly!

Every year I make a batch of hot-cross buns, but I figured it’s time to shake things up a bit. I’m still on a “small-batch cinnamon bun” run, so I’ve merged my classic hot-cross bun recipe with my small-batch cinnamon buns, and voila – Hot-Cross Cinnamon Buns for Easter!

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I’ve never been a big fan of store-bought mixed peel. You know, those containers of crystalized fruit chunks, sitting in some weird, super-sweet syrup, that never seem to have a best-before date attached to them… But I do like orange zest and fresh-squeezed orange juice! Adding this to the goo-mixtures really gives these cinnamon buns a good spring-time flavour.

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I used my simple small-batch cinnamon bun dough recipe, adding nutmeg, cloves, ground ginger and cinnamon. Already, this smells like Easter to me 🙂

There are a few changes I made for these hot-cross cinnamon buns:

  • I tried raisins in my first batch, then dried cranberries in my second batch. It may not be a classic ingredient, but Jonty and I both loved the sweet-tart flavour of the cranberries!
  • While the dough was rising, I squeezed the juice from one orange and the zest from half the orange into a small bowl. I let the cranberries soak in this mixture, to soften the fruit.

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Like my previous cinnamon bun recipes, I opt for the overnight method. Once the buns are rolled and placed into the tray, I cover them tightly with plastic and place them into the fridge overnight for a slow rise. You can definitely bake them the same day you make them – I’ve done both, and both are wonderful – it’s just a matter of how much time you have spare.

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The goo in the bottom of the pan is a mixture of brown sugar, orange juice and orange zest. It infuses into the dough just enough to make your cinnamon buns taste like Easter buns 🙂

ClimbEatCycleRepeat.com | Hot-cross cinnamon buns

With a bit of cream cheese icing piped into a cross shape on the top, I think these Hot-Cross Cinnamon Buns will be a welcome addition to your Easter breakfast menu!

Hot-Cross Cinnamon Buns
 
Recipe type: Breakfast
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Ingredients
For the cinnamon bun dough
  • 200 g (~1½ cups) all-purpose flour
  • 20 g (1½ tbsp) granulated sugar
  • 5 g (1¼ tsp) instant yeast
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp ground ginger
  • ¼ tsp ground all-spice
  • ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
  • ⅛ tsp ground cloves
  • 150 mL warm milk
  • 30 g (2 tbsp) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
For the filling
  • 50 g (4 tbsp) brown sugar
  • 12 g (1 tbsp) white sugar
  • 7 g (1 tbsp) ground cinnamon
  • 40 g (1/3 cup) dried unsweetened cranberries
  • 15 g (1 tbsp) unsalted butter, melted
For the goo
  • 40 g (2½ tbsp) melted butter
  • 50 g (4 tbsp) brown sugar
  • Juice from 1 orange
  • Zest from ½ orange
  • 1 - 2 tbsp water
For the icing, if using
  • 40 g cream cheese, softened
  • 1 tbsp icing sugar
  • 2 - 4 tbsp milk
Instructions
  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, sift together the flour, sugar, dried yeast and all of the spices. Add the warm milk and melted butter. Knead with the dough hook attachment for 5 to 8 minutes, until you have a soft, slightly tacky ball. If the dough is too sticky, add more flour, one tablespoon at at time, kneading thoroughly in between.
  2. Remove the dough from the bowl and knead on a lightly-floured surface briefly, then return the dough to a clean, lightly oiled bowl. Cover and leave rise in a warm, draft-free place until the dough has doubled in size, about 30 minutes.
  3. While the dough is rising, place the orange juice and orange zest into a small bowl and add the dried cranberries. This will infuse some of the orange into the cranberries and help to soften them. Mix together the sugars and cinnamon, and set aside.
  4. When you're ready to assemble the cinnamon buns, sprinkle the counter-top with a bit of flour and roll the dough into a long, narrow rectangle. Pour the melted butter over the dough and sprinkle on the cinnamon-sugar mixture, right to the edge of the dough. Remove the cranberries from the orange juice, squeezing out any excess juice, and spread them over the cinnamon-sugar mixture.
  5. Starting at the narrow end, roll the dough into a log shape, as tight as you can make it. Cut the log into 4 equal pieces.
  6. Make the goo for the bottom of the cinnamon buns by melting together the butter, brown sugar, orange juice and orange zest. Add water to reach a pourable consistency. Pour this into the bottom of a 8x8-inch pan. Arrange the four cinnamon buns on top of the goo mixture.
  7. Cover tightly with plastic and either refrigerate overnight, or leave in a warm place to rise (about 1 hour).
  8. When ready to bake, pre-heat the oven to 375F. For the overnight method, leave the buns on the counter for least 30 minutes before baking.
  9. Bake for 22 to 25 minutes, until the tops are golden brown and the goo mixture is bubbling.
  10. Allow to cool for 5 minutes before inverting onto a plate.
  11. If icing the cinnamon buns, beat together the softened cream cheese and icing sugar. Add in the milk, 1 tbsp at a time, until a smooth, pourable icing is achieved.

Enjoy!

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Sunday Smoothie: Week 5

Well, we’re officially at the end of January and, holy moly, the month seems to have gone by in a blink of the eye.

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I’ve loved doing the Green Smoothie Challenge for January but, if I’m honest, it really wasn’t much of a challenge! Once I got into the hang of preparing everything the night before (or freezing multiple days worth of fruit at the beginning of the week), I found it wasn’t time consuming or difficult. Also, all the smoothies tasted good and kept me full until lunch-time, so a win all around 🙂

These last two smoothies I’m going to share with you, hit the taste-bud mark for me.

The Green Nutter Smoothie

You can’t go a full month of smoothie drinking without adding a nut-butter to at least one smoothie! I added peanut butter to this one, because that’s what we had in the house, but almond butter would be great, too. There’s something very satisfying (and somehow decadent) about tasting the peanut butter. When Jonty was mixing one of them up for me in the morning, he said “Ohhhh, peanut butter!”, and I’m pretty sure he was slightly jealous he wasn’t drinking one, too 🙂

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The Crazy Carrot Smoothie

This was the only smoothie I made during the entire month that added veggies (other than the greens) to the mix.

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I wasn’t sure how it would taste but, as I’m learning, when you have sweet fruit in a smoothie (like pineapple and oranges), you can add almost any type of veggie you like and you will most-likely just taste the sweetness from the fruit. In the future, I would definitely be inclined to add more veggies to my daily smoothie!

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Hopefully you’ve enjoyed my Sunday Smoothie session in January, and perhaps been inspired to try incorporating some into your weekly routine!

Some of the benefits:

  • It’s an easy way to increase the amount of fruits and veggies in your diet.
  • One smoothie can keep you remarkably full for a few hours (I drink half a smoothie around 7:30 am, and finish the other half around 10:00 am). It’s always something I look forward to having.
  • Adding a spoonful of chia seeds or flax seeds can give your diet a boost of protein, fibre and good omega-3’s without much effort.
  • They just taste good 🙂

The Green Nutter Smoothie
 
Nutrition Information
  • Serves: 1 smoothie
  • Serving size: 1 smoothie
  • Calories: 260
  • Fat: 11.4 g
  • Saturated fat: 2.0 g
  • Carbohydrates: 36.9 g
  • Sugar: 16.4 g
  • Sodium: 70 mg
  • Fiber: 8.5 g
  • Protein: 8.3 g
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg
Recipe type: Breakfast
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Ingredients
  • 70 g spinach
  • 1 medium banana, frozen
  • 1 tbsp nut butter (I used peanut butter here)
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 cup water
Instructions
  1. Blend together the spinach, chia seeds and coconut water, until smooth.
  2. Add the frozen pineapple and the nut butter, and blend until completely smooth.
Notes
For a cold smoothie, ensure at least one fruit added is frozen.

Crazy Carrot Green Smoothie
 
Nutrition Information
  • Serves: 1 smoothie
  • Serving size: 1 smoothie
  • Calories: 198
  • Fat: 3.8 g
  • Saturated fat: 0.4 g
  • Carbohydrates: 41.5 g
  • Sugar: 27.1 g
  • Sodium: 112.1 mg
  • Fiber: 8.8 g
  • Protein: 5.3 g
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg
Recipe type: Breakfast
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Ingredients
  • 70 g spinach
  • 160 g pineapple, frozen
  • 1 small mandarin orange
  • 1 tbsp flax seeds
  • 1 medium carrot
  • 1 cup water
Instructions
  1. Blend together the spinach, flax seeds and water until smooth.
  2. Add in the orange, carrot and pineapple, and blend until smooth.
Notes
For a cold smoothie, ensure at least one piece of fruit is frozen.

Enjoy!

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ClimbEatCycleRepeat.com | Chocolate Orange Smoothie

Sunday Smoothie: Week 4

Goodness! How can we be entering the final week of January already? I only have one smoothie recipe for you today, but if you like those Terry’s Chocolate Oranges, this Chocolate Orange Green Smoothie will probably be right up your alley! 🙂

ClimbEatCycleRepeat.com | Chocolate-orange smoothie

Now, since starting the January Smoothie Challenge, I have learned a few things.

First – You can pretty much use ANY type of fruit, and your smoothie will taste just fine!

Second – You can pretty much use ANY type of green, and your smoothie will taste just fine!

Case in point – Rainbow chard was on sale last week, so I picked up two big bundles of it, and have been using this as my green for all Week 4 smoothies. And (spoiler alert!) all the smoothies have tasted great 🙂

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I suppose Swiss chard is a fairly neutral green anyway, but still – don’t be afraid to use any green you’d like, spinach and kale are not the only two options! Also, I always add the stems to my smoothies (if you have a high-speed blender like a Blendtec, getting the smoothie smooth should not be a problem). This adds a good amount of fibre to the drink and once the fruit has been added to the mix, you won’t taste any bitterness at all.

ClimbEatCycleRepeat.com | Chocolate-orange smoothie

One more note – I usually add chia or flax seeds to all the smoothies. It’s a great and simple way to add additional fibre, protein, omega-3 fatty acids and other nutrients to your diet, just a tablespoon or so does the trick!

Chocolate Orange Smoothie
 
Nutrition Information
  • Serves: 1 smoothie
  • Serving size: 1 smoothie
  • Calories: 218 cal
  • Fat: 4 g
  • Saturated fat: 0.5 g
  • Carbohydrates: 47.4 g
  • Sugar: 24.8 g
  • Sodium: 205.7 g
  • Fiber: 10.2 g
  • Protein: 5.6 g
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg
Recipe type: Drinks, Breakfast
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Ingredients
  • 90 g (1 cup packed) rainbow swiss chard (or any other green)
  • 1 cup water (or coconut water)
  • 1 banana, chopped into pieces and frozen
  • 1 small mandarine orange
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • ½ tbsp dark cocoa powder
Instructions
  1. Blend together the swiss chard, flax seed, cocoa powder and water until smooth.
  2. Add the orange and banana and blend again, until smooth.
Notes
Try strawberries, instead of oranges, for another flavour option.
Make sure at least one piece of fruit is frozen, if you want a cold, thick smoothie.

Enjoy!