Sweet pickles - the whey to go

11.16.2014

 
Jannei Goat Dairy is a ten minute drive from my parents’ place near Lithgow. Here, Neil and Janet Watson keep a herd of goats and with their milk, make a range of beautiful cheeses. I’ve written about them before here (they also pop up in my book), and whenever possible, drop in to say hello and buy a tub of their incredible goat’s curd and my favourite of their cheese range; the creamy, tangy Bent Back Chevre.



Last week, while cooking at Rydal for Mum’s art classes, I made an early visit to keep the cheese stocks on track. Of course, this being a working dairy; Neil and his small team were already up and milking when I got there just before seven. It was a lovely scene to watch; Neil singing out to his goats who then calmly trotted in to be milked while in a yard next door, tiny kids climbed all over their mums and older kids climbed over each other.



As well as their hard and soft-rind cheeses, Jannei's fresh Curd is one of my absolute favourite things. I have it spread on toasted sourdough (topped with some avocado or sliced tomatoes), dollop it on pizzas, toss it through hot pasta and serve it with fresh fruit.

Last week, in preparation for a little demo I'll be giving on quick pickles this Thursday as part of our food photography and styling workshop, I was playing around with a few sweet and savory pickle recipes. And it turns out, of course, that goat's curd is a perfect match for any kind of pickle, but particularly sweet ones. particularly when served with a bunch of crunchy, not-to-sweet crackers to bring the whole thing together.


So here's my absolute new favourite flavour and texture combination; creamy, fresh goat's curd with tangy pickled fruit and a thin, crunchy biscuit. I think this might be our go-to pud this summer.


Orange and quinoa biscuits

These are my new favourite biscuit. Dead easy to make, they taste beautiful and pack loads of crunch. Plus, they last for ages in the biscuit tin and are perfect ‘carriers’ for my curd and pickle concoction (they'd also be great as a base for ice cream sandwiches). Adapted from a recipe given by Trine Hahnemann in her incredible book Scandinavian Baking. Makes about 20.

50g butter, melted
125g quinoa flakes
2 eggs, lightly beaten
250g caster sugar
2 tbsp plain flour,
2 tsp baking powder
Zest of one orange
Pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 180C and line two baking trays with paper. Mix the melted butter with the quinoa flakes, sugar and eggs. Sift in the flour, baking powder, orange zest and salt and gently mix together.

Drop small amounts of the mixture (about a teaspoon full) on the baking trays, leaving plenty of space for the mixture to spread and bake for 10 minutes (or until golden). Let cool on the tray for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.




Sweet pickles are a new thing for me but I’m totally smitten. They are beautiful with goat’s curd and these not-to-sweet biscuits, but also fantastic served with harder, stronger cheeses or even over ice cream or spooned over a simple almond cake. Fiddle around with the ingredients at will, you could use stone fruit too and swap the bay and peppercorns with other aromatics (a cinnamon stick wouldn’t go astray, nor would some freshly grated nutmeg or lemon zest). Maybe just don’t go overboard with the aromatics though, one or two per fruit is a good ratio! Verjus is the perfect ingredient to use here I think, the acid is softer than any vinegar or lemon juice yet still enough to cut through the fruit’s sweetness. The two recipes below are a 'fresh pickle', meaning that they aren't made to last for months, a week or so is enough, and need to be kept in the fridge.


Sweet verjus-pickled strawberries

500g strawberries, hulled and quartered
3/4 cup verjus

1/2 cup caster sugar

1/2 cup water
1 vanilla bean, split
Rind of one orange
1 tsp pink peppercorns

Pack the strawberries into a large jar.  Combine the verjus, sugar, water, vanilla, orange rind and pink peppercorns in a small saucepan. Bring to the boil, stirring occasionally then set mixture aside to cool for 10 minutes. Pour over the strawberries, seal and keep in the fridge for up to one week.

Sweet verjus-pickled rhubarb with bay

500g rhubarb, cut into 2cm pieces
3/4 cup verjus

1/2 cup caster sugar

1/2 cup water
1 vanilla bean, split

Rind of one lemon

3 bay leaves

Pack the rhubarb into a large jar.  Combine the verjus, sugar, water, vanilla, lemon rind and bay in a small saucepan. Bring to the boil, stirring occasionally then set mixture aside to cool for 10 minutes. Pour over the rhubarb, seal and keep in the fridge for up to one week.


6 comments:

  1. Sophie, those biscuits look delicious. just one question and forgive my ignorance. Are spelt flakes and quinoa flakes the same thing. You list one in the ingredients and the other in the method so I was confused. I'd really like to give these a try. Thanks for the blog - it's always enjoyable.

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    Replies
    1. Dear Judy - I'm so sorry about that, was rushing a bit this morning! I meant to write quinoa flakes throughout. You can also use oats if you prefer, just blitz them up a bit first. Thanks so much, Sophiex

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  2. Lovely post Sophie. Im definitely trying those biscuits! Delicious as usual x

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  3. Everything about this post is gorgeous and delicious Sophie...seriously x

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  4. I was wondering what to do with the quinoa flakes in my store cupboard! These biscuits were delicious Sophie when you served them the other day at Annie's art class.

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