Thursday, June 10, 2010

Nectarine-Coffee Jam

Nectarine-Coffee Jam
© All rights reserved, Thorsten Kraska, 2010

The combination in this jam is really addictive. The fruity sweetness of teh nectarines is completed by the delicate touch of coffee beans. As I don't like my jams overly sweet I use for most of my jams a commercial gelling sugar. For the Nectarine-Coffee Jam I have used "Dr. Oetker's Super Gelling Sugar 3:1" (German Brand). It already contains pectin and you can reduce sugar to 1/3 of fruit weight.

Nectarine-Coffee Jam
(3 to 4 jars à 400ml )

900g nectarines (weighted after pitting)
300g super gelling sugar (Dr. Oetker's, read note)
7 tablespoons lime juice
5 tablespoons coffee beans (use your favorite coffee blend)
1 vanilla pod

After pitting the nectarines weight them to make 900g fruit. Puree half of the nectarines (I use the food processor). Cut the other half into small pieces. Put fruit into suited pot. Add 6 tablespoons of lime juice and the super gelling sugar and mix.
In a mortar pound the coffee beans and put into a suited cooking bag (I used tea bags). Close bag and put into fruit mixture. Cut the vanilla pod in half lengthwise and scrap out the vanilla seeds. Put seeds aside and add the vanilla pod halves to the fruit mixture. Let stand the fruit mixture for 2 hours.
After two hours bring mixture to a boil over high heat stirring all the time. Let cook for 4 minutes, stirring constantly. Then remove from heat and remove the vanilla pods and the coffee bag. Add the last 1 tablespoon lime juice, vanilla seeds and mix.
Fill into prepared twist off preserving jars and close jars. Let stand for 1 minute and then turn up side down. Let stand for 10 minutes and turn over again. Let cool completely.

"Dr. Oetker's Super Gelling Sugar 3:1". Dr. Oetker is a well known brand in Germany. There are several gelling sugars available. The "3:1" super gelling sugar already contains pectin and you only need 1/3 of sugar. If you can't get it, make the jam as you know it or find in cook books.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Apfelschmalz - a typical German bread spread

Typical German Bread Spread: Apfelschmalz
© All rights reserved, Thorsten Kraska, 2010

Apfelschmalz (if you like to translate it: apple lard) is one of those typical and rustic bread spreads you will have for what is called 'Brotzeit', which is a snack with a rustic bread and often beer. Apfleschmalz is fruity and the sweet notes of the apples are great with the salty lard and the onions. Good things ofetn come the easy way.

(serve with rustic bread)
1 apple (a more sour variety)
2 onions
150g lard
4 sprigs thyme
5 sage leaves
1 bay leaf
salt and pepper to taste
lemon juice

Cut the onions in not too small pieces. Heat lard on medium high heat and add the onions. Lett cook on medium high heat until the onions get a light golden brown. While cooking stir ferquently.

Meanwhile peel the apple and cut into small pieces. Drizzle lemon juice over the apple pieces to avoid browing. Bind the herbs together. When onions have a nice golden color, drain the apples. Add the herbs and apple pieces to the lard and let cook on low heat for 5 minutes. Then remove the herbs and add some salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat and fill into jar. Keep it in the fridge.

Serve it with some rustic bread, salt and pepper. I suggest a glass of beer.

On the photo
A composition based on the two diagonal lines. The ascending diagonal line (from lower left to upper right) is made by the slice of bread, the jar, and the bread in the back. The opposite diagonal line (descending line from upper left to lower line) is made by the orientation of the little board, the knife, and the top slice of bread with the spread on it. Almost every element in th ephoto has the orientation in one or the other diagonal line, except for the bread crumbs on right side. I kept the photo in a more monochromatic color setting. The lighting: main light source is coming from right side (a near window). I use a white bounce on lower left side to reflect some light back on the spread to get it brighter. Another bounce at the distance in upper left to brighten the shaded area a bit. Postprocessing: just some color adjustments and highpass filter.