I have to admit that this is not really much of a recipe but more of a reminder about how delicious and easy fresh fruit sauces are. They take minutes to prepare and can be used in so many different ways. Why buy a sauce which is packed full of preservatives when you can make something which tastes far nicer and is better for you and it only takes minutes to prepare? It is a great way to use up less than perfect fruit and it keeps for ages in the freezer. I freeze mine in ice cube trays and then bag them so that I always have small portions for whatever I decide to make.
The strawberry sauce which I made for this post was for strawberry ripple ice cream which was polished off before I could photograph it. It is also great mixed into a milkshake, served over fresh fruit and yoghurt in the morning, swirled through a meringue mixture or as a dessert sauce. Raspberries work equally well and make a perfect sauce to go with my lemon fridge tart which by the way is such an easy dessert and freezes beautifully (ok, it’s actually my Mum’s recipe – thanks Mum).
Today’s post is going to be a quick one because I think today is the last day to get entries into Bangers and Mash’s new challenge The Spice Trail. Vanesther chose chillies for this month’s theme and so I give you a recipe with a whole 20 hot chillies in it. This is not for the faint hearted but if you are a chilli fan then you have to try this. Peri Peri sauce or (Piri Piri sauce) was brought to South Africa by the Portuguese and has since been popularised in the UK by Nando’s. It makes a great marinade for roast chicken and another very popular dish in South Africa is Peri Peri chicken livers. I have used the very hot Scotch Bonnet chillies because they are readily available here in the UK but if you can get African Bird’s Eye chillies then even better.
My son is currently showing an interest in learning about different countries around the world and so we decided to choose one country and do a project on it. His choice was Argentina and while he showed more interest in the national sport and animals, I found myself more interested in the traditional foods (surprise, surprise). What I never knew was that one of my favourite sweet sauces, Dulce de Leche originates from Latin America. I’ve also never made my own Dulce de Leche, opting rather for the easy, off the shelf version or I make caramel sauce with cream, butter and sugar. As convenient as the tinned version is I have always thought that there is a slightly unpleasant after taste so I was keen to try and make my own. I was surprised to see that the original version of Dulce de Leche uses only milk, sugar and bicarbonate of soda and so I thought I would give it a try…
… and what started out as a simple ‘I wouldn’t mind trying that out’ became a bit of an obsession. Three days later and I have 5 jars of gorgeous, creamy, sweet, finger lickin’ good Dulce de Leche to use in all sorts of goodies in the run up to Christmas.
My first attempt was to empty a tin of condensed milk into a glass dish and bake in a water bath for about 2 hours. As the sugar in the condensed milk caramelises it turns into a beautiful golden brown and thickens up beautifully. This was the most fuss free of all methods but I did find the end result was very, very sweet and I wasn’t convinced that using a tin of condensed milk was particularly authentic. It also gave a similar aftertaste to that of the ready made tinned version.
My second attempt was to try microwaving the condensed milk in a glass bowl. This was my least favourite method. It was quick and gave the best colour but I found it hard to judge when the sauce was ready and ended up with something which resembled fudge more than a sauce.
My third attempt was to try the original method which is to boil milk, sugar and bicarb until the water evaporates from the milk and the sugar caramelises. This method was a bit more labour intensive but the flavour is far superior to the condensed milk version. The sweetness is much more subtle and just gives a nicer, smoother sauce.
I did not try the method of boiling a tin of condensed milk as I thought the end result would be too similar to the baked version.
So next time you have a spare morning at home give this a try and I guarantee you will never buy the tinned version again …
A deliciously sweet and creamy dessert sauce - perfect for filling cakes and cookies, over ice cream or straight out the jar.
Finger lickin' good!
2 litres semi skimmed milk
¼ tsp bicarbonate of soda
Place all ingredients in a large, heavy pan. On a medium heat stir until the sugar has melted.
Reduce the heat to as low as possible and leave to simmer for another 2 - 2½ hours.
Note - During the first hour I did not have to do anything - no checking and no stirring. The next ½ an hour I just kept a close eye on the sauce and stirred every now and again. For the last ½ an hour I stirred almost constantly to prevent the sauce from sticking to the pan. For the consistency that you see in the photos I stopped when the sauce was still quite runny in the pan (100° C on a sugar thermometer). It firms up once it has cooled down.
Will keep in the fridge for over a month.
It may need to be warmed up slightly to soften before use.
We don’t often eat savoury relishes but if we do my favourite has to be red onion marmalade. The sticky, sweet onions are particularly good with red meat and offset any of the salty cheeses beautifully. Goats cheese and red onion marmalade – beautiful!! If you can’t find red onions then substitute with normal brown onions. The marmalade can be bottled and will keep in the refrigerator for up to two months.
My hubby is away on a business trip tonight so I decided to treat myself to a steak sandwich. I found some lovely rustic bread which I heated briefly in the oven. Whilst the bread was heating I fried my topside steak in olive oil – adding rock salt and ground pepper – 2 minutes on either side. Once cooked I let it rest for a couple of minutes, sliced it up and added it to the warm bread with the pan juices. I then added some warm red onion marmalade to the top and finished off with some chopped parsley. Ten minutes in total and I had this gorgeous sandwich. I wonder if my hubby’s slap up dinner tonight was as good as this?