Thursday, August 9, 2007

Fishy Fish

City Cook web site has a very informative piece today on fish and seafood safety. A must read.
Sorry I haven't been posting. It was my birthday and I wasn't feeling well. Will return to action shortly.
Recently I was making Sirop de Cassis (black currant sirop) and decided to google it to see what others had done as I had had the odd--not unwelcome-- expreince of having my kettle full gel. Usually, i worry whether my jellies will set. Here the experience was the opposite. I didn't use any of the recipes I found, but my search led me to a good French language site done by chefs and, in English, to english site. I suggest broadening your base of exploration by trying to search in any languages that you may know. When I get a chance, i will post the sites that I have found.

The results for cassis syrup that worked were based on a proportion of one part by weight of black currants, an equal weight of sugar and a fourth as much in volume of water. For example: 1 pound black currants, 1 pound sugar and 1 cup water. Bring to a boil, stirring, and allow to cook for about 15 minutes--no longer or it will set. Pour through a fairly fine seive pressing on the fruit with the back of a ladle. Put up as preserves.

Enjoy in the Burgundian style created by a mayor of Lyons as a part of a summer aperitif with cold white Burgundy or Champagne in which case it becomes royale. Don't use too much syrup as it is strong. Try the syrup on ice cream or on pancakes. it is so good that other uses will pop into your head.

As I hate waste, I froze the smashed, sweetened berries (they could be preserved) and used them as a filling in a New-York-style short cake made with sponge layers sealed with a brushing of the syrup. A layer of whipped cream when on top of the currants. The layers were iced with more whipped cream and a dab of syrup went on top. It was a great pleasure. I have more cooked currants in the freezer for winter delight.


CurrantCrazed said...

Hi Barbara. I always enjoy your blog.
As you know, Currants were outlawed by an act of Congress in 1911 and I'm the guy that got the law overturned 4 years ago in New York. Having cooked with them in my restaurant in Germany, I fell in love with the tart, complex flavor for sauces, syrups and deserts and had to find a way to grow them on my farm in NY. I now grow and sell, through the mail, black and red farm fresh frozen currants and fresh white and pink in season. Also, the first nationally available black currant nectar in the U.S. called CurrantC. It's a great base for some sauces and syrups if you don't have currants. For information on the ban,why those rasiny things called currants... arn't, and more, go to
Greg Quinn

Barbara said...

congratulations and what a pleasure to know that there is a source. when we bought our property in Vermont lo those many moons ago there was a long line of red currant bushes down one of the stone walls around the old cow barn. Although they were supposed to be illegal at the time as it was thought that they carried the white pine blister rust, in my usual passive civils disobedience, I left them where they had clearly been for better than a hundred years. there were numerous healthy white pines and the whole thing seemed illogical. As so many other supposed scientific facts, it turned out to be untrue and could kee on eating my red currants with pleasure...Then evidently thanks to you, it became possible to buy black--cassis--currants and even the pale, so-called white currants that are used in France to make the obscenely expensive bar-le-duc.

Some people, will wait until next year when currants are in season again to make their preserves and syrups; the rest of them can enjoy yours.

Thank you.