Laurie King I love your Sherlock!

I think Laurie King has done an excellent job of  recreating Sherlock Holmes in her Mary Russell series. I just finished the Beekeeper’s Apprentice and I loved it. The young and modern Mary Russell becomes friends with Sherlock despite their age and gender differences. Russell, as Sherlock calls her, brings out a much more humorous and caring side of Holmes. Russell becomes a student of the ways of Sherlock Holmes and eventually a match for his detecting skills. There are many adventures packed into the first book in the Mary Russell series, The Beekeepers Apprentice.

Strawberry Jelly

I have been wanting to try canning for many years. I recently found a great book about canning called, The Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving. There are so many things you can preserve from fruit to vegetables to salsa. I decided to try strawberry jelly since it is my favorite.

I used the recipe in the chapter called, Fruit Jellies with Liquid Pectin.

Strawberry Jelly

Makes about seven 8 oz. jars. ( I got 8 jars and probably could have gotten 9 if I would have had the jar prepared.)

3 3/4 C Strawberry juice for jelly
4T lemon juice
7 1/2 C sugar
2 pouches (each 3 oz.) liquid pectin

To make the  3 3/4 C strawberry juice you will need about 11 C of fresh strawberries, carefully cleaned, hulled, and sliced.  Add about 2 C water to the strawberries and bring to a boil in a stainless saucepan. Before the berries begin to boil I used a pastry cutter and a large spoon to smash the berries. Reduce heat, cover lightly, and boil gently stirring constantly until berries are softened, about 5-10 minutes. Transfer strawberries to a strainer with very small holes or use cheesecloth and allow to drip for 2 hours.

When the juice is ready I start to heat the lids and the jars.  They both must be heated to be sanatized. (you don’t need to heat the rings) I heated the lids in a small saucepan and used a magnetic lid lifter to get the hot lids out of the water. It is a very handy tool to have.

Combine strawberries, lemon juice and sugar. Over high heat bring to a full boil, stirring constantly. The boling should not stop when stirring. Add the liquid pectin and stir, while still boiling for 1 minute. Remove from heat and skim foam from top.

Pour liquid into hot jars, wipe rim, center lid, and add ring.

Place jars in canner. Make sure they are all covered with water. Bring to a boil and process for 10 minutes. Remove canner lid. Wait 5 minutes, remove jars, cool and store.

Check the lids after 24 hours to make sure they have been properly sealed. The lid should be concave and you should be able to take off the ring, hold the jar by the lid and the lid should not come off. If  the jar is not sealed properly you can reporcess or put in the refrigerator and use right away.

My First Curry

I am a lover of Indian food but I have never attempted to make anything at home…. until now. I was reading one of Jamie Oliver’s recent cookbooks and he had an entire chapter on easy curries. I thought I would give Chicken Korma a try. To my delight it turned out great. To the dismay of my husband and our dog Maggie (apparently both non-lovers of Indian food and Indian food smell) the smell of my delicious cooking chased them both from the house. Jason went down the street for Italian take out and Maggie stayed in the backyard eating grass (not a good sign). Hours later the smells of the spices are still wafting through the house, Jason just sprayed lysol and opened more windows but I am enjoying a fully tummy and the smells of my first curry success.

Chicken Korma

2# chicken breast
1 medium onion
1 fresh green chile
a thumb size piece of ginger root
15 oz can garbanzo beans
vegetetable oil
a pat of butter
1/2 C mild curry paste (Patak’s)
14 oz can of coconut milk
a small handful of sliced almonds
2 heaping T unsweetened shredded coconut
salt and pepper

opitonal toppings
natural yogurt

Cut chicken into small pieces. Finely chop onion. Half, seed, and finely slice chile, Peel and finely chop ginger. Chop cilantro. Drain garbanzo beans.

Make Curry:
Saute oil, butter, onion, chile, ginger and cilantro for about 10 minutes until golden. Keep stirring to aviod burning.

Add curry paste, coconut milk, half of your slices almonds, drained garbanzo beans, coconut, and chicken. Also add 1/2 can water. Stir everything, bring to a boil and lower heat to simmer covered for 30 minutes. Check regularly to make sure it’s not drying out. (My curry was rather liquid so I added a bit of flour to thicken the sauce.)

When chicken is tender and cooked season with salt and pepper.

Serve with rice. Sprinkle with a few almonds and cilantro.
You may also add a few spoonfuls of yogurt to the top and juice of a lemon wedge. (I left these out)

Enjoy 🙂

Strawberry Ice Cream Cake

2 loaves of pound cake ( I used Entemann’s Butter Cake)
1 small container of strawberry sorbet or sherbet
Vanilla ice cream
Fresh strawberries
Whipped Cream

All you have to do is layer the ingredients.
Pound cake
Vanilla ice cream
Strawberry sorbet
Pound Cake
Vanilla Ice Cream

Freeze for a minimum of 4 hours.

In a bowl mix the sliced strawberries with a little sugar and refrigerate.
When ready to serve top with whipped cream and fresh strawberries. We did this by the slice because we did not eat the whole cake and did not want to freeze the fresh strawberries when we put it back in the freezer, they are too hard to eat frozen.