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I get to do a lot of travelling in my life, so one of the first things I do as soon as I get home – to make me feel like I am home – is bake or preserve. Just getting into the kitchen and filling up jars or tins gives me a feeling of being anchored.
I have always been big on creating a sense of home no matter where I live, and it’s been great to see my kids, both at university now, bringing little rituals into their own living spaces and lives to create a sense of home and place. Whether it’s with candles, home baking, comfy rugs and cushions, a stack of books or some home preserving, it’s all about creating spaces and smells and an ambience that makes you want to nestle in and just be.
With my citrus in full swing, I always like to make Golden Marmalade at this time of year. It’s an easy preserve to make, but the addition of whiskey transforms it into something special. As well as being great on breakfast toast, marmalade is a useful FridgeFixing you can use in an Asian-style dressing for Duck Salad or as a glaze for the most scrumptious Glazed Pork Chops. For all my marmalade tips watch the video of me making Golden Marmalade on my YouTube channel.
Citrus is the one ingredient I rely on more than any other to bring a bright freshness to my cooking. I don’t know if I could cook without lemons, limes and oranges. In this episode I use them in just about every dish – lime juice in the Thai Carrot Salad starter, lemon juice in the Caramelised Asian Pork Belly, and orange juice and peels in the Chocolate Orange Creams and Chocolate-Dipped Orange Peel I make for dessert after my visit to an artisan chocolate maker.
In Wanaka it’s too cold to grow citrus trees outdoors, but they do well in pots. In the depths of winter an exotic fragrance of citrus blossom wafts through the conservatory, and in summer I pop the pots back outside. Be sure to feed your pots with a slow-release fertiliser twice a year to encourage blossoms and an annual supply of large, juicy fruit.
Increasingly more and more of my friends and family are finding they are gluten intolerant, or just feel better when they limit the refined flour in their diet. Maybe it’s because today’s flours are so processed, but whatever the cause, there’s a huge demand for gluten-free recipes. When our kids were young their Scandavian nanny introduced me to the pleasures of Danish Almond Cookies. Made with just ground almonds, icing sugar and egg whites, they are the most moreish, chewy cookies I have ever come across, and of course they’re gluten-free. In Denmark it’s a custom to prepare large stacked rings for a pyramid wedding cake. Though we filmed this wonderful recipe for the series it just wouldn’t fit in so I have put the video up on my YouTube channel.
Happy baking and home making!
find out more
- Want to find out more about this episode? Check out the TV pages of my website for videos, bonus recipes and behind-the-scenes photos.
- Want to meet me in person? I'll be taking my trusty yellow truck and hitting the road between now and the end of December, demonstrating Tui Garden Projects from the show, signing books and cooking up a storm throughout New Zealand and also in Tasmania, Sydney and Melbourne – see my full schedule
- Find out more about Season One of The Free Range Cook
- Find out more about Season Two of The Free Range Cook: Simple Pleasures
special thanks to
- Alison from White Rabbit Cacao