Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Bread and Butter Pickles

I took a preserves class at Loyalist College in Belleville last year. It was a very informative and fun class and that made me even more excited to preserve all things!

This recipe for bread and butter pickles was a huge hit at home last year so this year I planted my own pickling cucumbers with the intent of making pickles.

I was out in our veggie garden last night and picked the four cucumbers that were ready and rushed into the house to make pickles.

We begin.

If you are new to canning do not fret, it's easier then it looks and hopefully I can get your started here.

You're going to need a big pot. You can buy a canning kit at Walmart or Canadian Tire if you like.  I just use a big pot with  a small cooling rack at the bottom this is so your jars don't jump around too much while they boil, they may break.  A pair of tongs will also come in handy.

Get your big pot of water to a boil and while you're waiting grab another pot and start making the pickling liquid. This is an easy 1 to 1 to 1 ratio, which makes it easy to adjust depending on how many cucumbers you have.

With my four cucumbers I started here, with the pickling liquid

Pickling Liquid
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
1 cup vinegar

You can double, triple and quadruple this if you need to. If you make too much you can store it in the fridge for up to 6 months.

Pickling Cucumbers
Pickling spice  (1 tsp per 500ml jar 1 tbsp per 1L jar)
Fresh dill
2 cloves of garlic per jar

Stir and heat the pickling liquid in a saucepan until the sugar has dissolved.  You want the liquid to hot when you pour it over the pickles.

Now your big pot O water is boiling. Gently place your jars, lids and screw tops in the pot. Don't over crowd the jars, if you have a lot do them in stages. Boil the jars for about 10 minutes making sure the tops are covered with water. This will sterilize your jars.

While you wait for the jars to sterilize you can cut the cucumbers.  Cut them to the thickness you prefer. I made mine a little thick last night, mostly because I had a little helper and I was more concerned about not having bread and butter fingers.

Using a pair of tongs, take your jars, lids and screw tops out of the boiling water and set them on a dish towel.

Keep your water boiling for later.

In the bottom of the jars place in your fresh dill (as much or as little as your like), pickling spice and garlic. Then pack in those cucumbers. Once the cucumbers are in pour the hot pickling liquid into your jars,  leave about an inch to half and inch of room at the top of the jar.

Wipe the rim of the jar with a dish towel or paper towel that has been dipped into boiling water. We want to keep things as clean as possible. Put on your lids and gently screw on the rings.

Now we're going to place the filled jars back into the pot of boiling water and process them for about 10 minutes. If you have to do this in stages don't worry, the jars can wait, you don't have to put them all in at once.

After you've processed your jars take them out of the water, place them on the kitchen counter and let them sit for at least 12 hours. You may hear the joyful 'pop' we canners love! That means your jars have sealed. Your jars won't all pop at once, it may take several hours for certain jars to seal. If you're worried you can put sealed jars back into boiling water and process them again, if they still don't seal just eat your pickles right away. They should be good in the fridge for at least 2 weeks.

I hope this recipe is helpful to those of you who are new to canning and tasty for those of you that LOVE pickles!

Good luck and enjoy!

Sunday, 2 August 2015

A Tisket a Tasket a Biscuit in a Basket

Tea Biscuits.

I have an affinity for a certain kind of tea biscuit. One that I always post pictures of on my Instagram account that either has friends jumping into the kitchen to make their own, or people asking me for the recipe that I use.

So for those of you who have asked for the recipe today, I am making good on my promise to get off my butt and post this much loved recipe.

This is a variation of the Canadian Living Cheese Tea Biscuit recipe and I've just thrown some add ins to it.

2 1/4 cup of flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp of salt (I usually skip this because I buy salted butter, up to you)
1/2 cup cold butter
1 cup old cheddar (or whatever cheese your prefer)
1 cup of milk

Add ins of your choice 
whatever floats your boat

Combine flour baking powder and salt (if using) into a large mixing bowl. Cut in butter until crumbly.

There are a few ways to make this 'crumbly' that the recipe is talking about. One was is with a pastry cutter and some elbow grease and mash away. Another is to use your kitchen aid mixed with the paddle attachment and just stir in the butter until you're crumbly or there is a kind of time consuming way that I prefer which is to just rub the butter and flour mixture between your fingers until the aforementioned crumbly has happened. 

Moving on.

Stir in cheese

Pour milk over top of flour mixture and stir with a fork until sticky and ragged.

On a lightly floured surface kneed the dough about 8 to 10 times. (not too much because we want to keep the butter cold so the biscuits can be nice and flaky)

This is when I usually add the bacon or chives. I gently kneed the bacon in until it's incorporated through.

Pat or roll the dough until it's about an 1" to an 1" 1/4 thickness depending on how thick you want the biscuits to be. Cut your biscuits out with a circle cutter or a soup can, whatever you have on hand.

Arrange on a parchment lined baking pan. I like to group mine together, you can also cook them an inch or so apart if you like.

Bake at 425 degrees F  for 15 minutes

I usually make a double batch and depending on who is asking for biscuits I may make a few variations so everyone is happy. Or I will freeze the extras.

If you are going to make extra and freeze them, which I highly recommend you can just toss the baked biscuits in a freezer bag and freeze them for up to 3 months. When you're hankering for a treat take them out of the freezer, let them thaw and toss them in the oven at 350 degrees F for about 10 minutes. A good friend of mine told me to put a dab of butter on the top of each biscuit before putting them back in the oven (Thanks Kristina). You should do it too!

Okay now your turn! I want to see your biscuits! (hee hee)

I'll show you mine 

If you show me yours!