Coming on the back of recent growth in Great British Charcuterie, Jerky is gaining in popularity every day. But what to do when you need a fix and can't get to the market? Making Jerky at home is easier than you think, and is one of the most satisfying things in the world.
First take all your ingredients except the beef, and combine in a large bowl. Then cut your beef into long strips around a 3-4mm thick with a very sharp knife, and add to the bowl, mixing well to ensure the all the beef is fully coated in the marinade.
Then cover and refrigerate for 24 hours, stirring once or twice during this time. If you want a stronger flavour you can continue to marinade for a further 24 hours, again giving a good stir once or twice during this time..
When you are ready to cook, remove the racks from the oven and line the bottom of the oven completely with foil (or place a tray on the bottom rack to catch any juices which run off the meat while it cooks).
Then turn on the oven to pre-heat to 80°C (175°F). Pop in your oven thermometer to check when the oven reaches 80°C and stays there. It is very important that the temperature does not drop below this to ensure you are cooking safely (more info here).
Remove the meat from the marinade, draining off any excess liquid and then dab dry with some kitchen towel. Thread a cocktail stick through the top of each strip of beef, and then use the cocktail sticks to hang the beef from the top of your oven racks, ensuring your foil or tray is placed on the bottom rack to catch any liquid which runs off.
Place the racks of meat in the oven and cook until completely dry. This can take as little as 2 hours and as long as 5 hours, depending on the thickness and moistness of the meat, and how chewy you want it to be. The jerky will firm up as it cools. Check the oven temperature regularly to ensure it does not get too low and adjust as needed.
The jerky is ready when it is dry, darker in color, and breaks gently (not snap) when bent, Remove from the oven and leave to cool.
Store the jerky in an airtight container kept in a cool, dry place. Well-dried beef stored in this way will last a couple of weeks, or longer if you store in the fridge, though in our experience once a batch of jerky is ready in our house it normally disappears within 2-3 days!
Once you've tried the recipe out then why not experiment with other flavours - you could try different spices (maybe fennel or a little caraway?), garlic, sesame seeds or extra chilli. You know what you like, but don't be afraid to be bold!
Sourdough popularity is rocketing and with good reason - apart from its fuller flavour and delicious taste, its better for you as well. It can be difficult to know where to start when making your own, so here is a really simple recipe to get you started.
Its easy to look after too, just remember to take a couple of minutes to give it a feed once a week and you will have a beautiful starter all of your own which will last for years!
Day 2 – anytime in the morning
Throw away about ¾ of your initial mix, leaving the rest in the bowl. Add another 300g of organic wholewheat flour and 300ml of warm water. Leave the mixture uncovered for 1-2 hours, then cover it and leave to rest in a warm place.. By the end of day 2 you should start to see some small bubbles appear in the mix.
Day 4 – anytime in the morning
Again the mix should have grown to about twice the size it was the day before. This time you want to throw away all but 200g of your starter. To do this put your bowl on your scales and keep removing mixture until the weight reads 200g more than the weight of the empty bowl (see day 1).
Add another 300g of organic wholewheat flour and 300ml of warm water. Leave the mixture uncovered for 1-2 hours, then cover it and leave to rest in a warm place.
Day 5 - The starter should now be lively enough to use.
If you are making bread on day 5 then you will need to feed your starter following your chosen recipe. If not then you can keep it in the fridge in a kilner jar, where it will sit happily for at least a week without feeding. When you are ready to bake, just remove from the fridge and give it a fresh feed (details are in the actual bread recipe to come). Although you can keep a starter in the fridge for longer without a feed we’d recommend you feed it at least once a week to keep it lively & ready for action.
With a little bit of love you will have a beautiful & unique sourdough starter all of your own which can last for years!
This is a delicious traditional Christmas pudding with a little twist - dried cherries and preserved ginger added for a little extra punch after all that turkey!
Christmas puddings improve with age, and whilst you can bake & eat this immediately it really will taste better if you give it some time to mature. Making your pudding is a lovely job for early January when its cold outside and with a little looking after through the year you'll have a delicious pudding to serve on Christmas day.
Makes about 1kg Pudding (serves 8-10)
Preparation time 1hr
Cooking time : 4hrs + reheating time
Large mixing bowl
1L pudding basin (ceramic or pyrex)
Preheat the oven to 160C/fan 140C/gas mark3, then grease a 1L pudding basin well with butter and set aside.
Weigh & prepare all of your dry ingredients, place them into a very large mixing bowl & mix together. Then add all of your wet ingredients to the bowl and mix very well - don't forget to give everyone a stir and make a wish!
Fill your pudding basin with the mixture and cover the top with a round of baking paper. If you have any mixture left over you can make a mini-pud! Cover that with a piece of tin foil and then tie around the top to secure the foil with a piece of string. Place the pudding in a deep roasting tray, then carefully fill the tray with 3-4cm boiling water - up to around half the depth of the tray. Then cover the whole thing with more foil - you may need 2 sheets, and then carefully place in the oven and bake for 4 hours.
After the 4 hours, remove the tray from the oven, remove the pudding from the tray and leave to cool thoroughly. Then take off the paper and use a skewer to make a few holes in the top of the pudding, before giving it its first feed (around a tablespoon of brandy will do). Wrap the whole basin in cling film and if its Christmas already, store in a cool dry place until ready to eat.
Feeding the Pudding
If you are ageing pudding (highly recommended) then you will need to feed it regularly - every other day for the first week, then once a week for the first month, and once a month until Christmas. Each feed should be between 1/2 and 1 tablespoon of brandy, depending on taste. Re-wrap the basin in cling film between each feed.
Heating the Pudding
On Christmas Day, take off the cling film and then rewrap with baking paper and foil (as step above). Place a steamer with plenty of boiling water in the base and simmer for 2 hours.
Serving the Pudding
Remove the pudding from the bowl and place on a plate. Decorate with a sprig of holly on top and then pour over a good glug of brandy (2-3 tablespoons). Dim the lights, and then light your pudding with a match. Serve with a jug of cold cream or brandy butter. Enjoy!
As soon as Christmas is over the first Seville oranges normally arrive in the shops and this is a great seasonal recipe to kick off the year.
Preserving sugar is a type of sugar used for making marmalades and jams from fruits naturally high in pectin (such as plums, redcurrants, blackcurrants, gooseberries and Seville oranges). It has large sugar crystals dissolve more slowly than regular granulated sugar. These do not rise up as froth on the surface or settle at the bottom of the pan which reduces the risk of burning and consequent need for stirring. It also helps impurities to rise for easier skimming, helping to make jams and jellies clearer and more attractive.
Another great tip is to get a Digital Thermometer – these can be bought cheaply online and are a foolproof way of ensuring you reach the setting point and don’t go beyond, which means your jam will have a perfect jelly-like consistency when cooled. They are also really useful tools for plenty of other things including breadmaking & roasting meat so are well worth the investment.
Makes about 3kg or 8 x 400g jars
Preparation time 1hr
Cooking time : about 2.5 hrs
Pour the water into a large heavy bottomed pan. Wash, then halve the fruit and squeeze the juice out, pouring the juice into the pan. Then take your fruit halves and either use a dessert spoon to scoop out all the pips, pith & pulp, or use a sharp knife to cut it out – much in the same way that you fillet a fish (see pictures).
Place all the pips, pith & pulp into the middle of your muslin and then tie the top together ensuring none of the contents can escape! Cut the juiced and scraped out orange and lemon skins into strips around 2-3mm wide & 3 cm long – you don’t need to worry about being too precise. Add your muslin bag & strips of peel into your pan and bring to the boil. Then reduce the heat & simmer for 1.5 hours, or until the peel is tender.
1 hour after your jam starts to simmer switch on your oven and preheat to 180C. Once your oven is hot put your jars and lids onto baking tray and pop in the oven for 15 minutes to sterilise. If using Kilner jars then make sure you remove the rubber seal before putting in the oven and boil this for 10 minutes instead, as they will be damaged by dry heat.
Turn off the oven, but leave your jars inside. Now add all the sugar to the pan, stirring until it has dissolved.
Turn the heat up and boil rapidly until the setting point is reached.
Setting point: to test for the setting point just take a teaspoon of jam and place it on a cold plate, then pop in the fridge. When it has cooled (approx. 5 mins) run your finger through it, and if it does not run back on itself the setting point has been reached.
Alternatively, once the jam is boiling use a digital thermometer to measure the temperature until it reaches 104C, when the setting point has been reached.
Remove your pan from the heat and take the jars out of the oven. Carefully pour the marmalade into the warm sterilised jars (tip - a ladle is a great help here).
Tighten the lid and leave to cool. Enjoy!
Our Recipe Year
We love seasonal food and artisan food so every week we will post a new recipe to give you inspiration & help you learn new skills.