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Chef Bruce - Nettles & Marmalade

Chef Bruce Wood, of Bruce's Kitchen on Saltspring Island brings us recipes and suggestions for nettles and marmalade!  (not together)
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Nettle and Swiss chard gratin
Be very careful when picking nettles there is a very valid reason they are called stinging. Wear a pair of heavy rubber dishwashing gloves and just pick the upper 6 inches of the plant. The gratin is excellent served at brunch with poached eggs and smoked salmon. It reheats well and can be made a day ahead of time.

2 tbsp. unsalted butter
1 shallot, peeled and finely minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups nettles, blanched in boiling water & cooled
1 bunch Swiss chard, cleaned, finely shred the thicker stalks
1 cup whipping cream
6 eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 cup fresh bread crumbs
sea salt and freshly milled black pepper to taste
pinch nutmeg
4 ounces soft goat cheese

Pre heat the oven to 400 degrees. Lightly butter a 9 x 9 inch glass baking dish. In a heavy bottomed saute pan, melt the butter and add the shallot and garlic, cook for one minute and add the nettles and chard. Cook for 5 minutes or until well wilted and add the cream, cook until the creme is almost completely reduced and add the breadcrumbs and eggs stir well. Season to taste and pour the spinach mixture into the greased balking dish. Dot the top with the soft goat cheese. Place the baking dish in the oven and cook until brown and bubbling approximately 15 minutes remove from the oven and serve hot.


Bruce Wood's Seville Orange Marmalade

This recipe doesn't use specific measurements, but 1 kilo of fruit will yield about nine 175-gram jars.

Fruit, sugar and water are all that is needed. We use organic cane sugar.
Wash the oranges well and remove those pesky stickers.

You will need two large pots, one for the juice and shredded peel, and the other for the pith and seeds, which will be soaked overnight to extract the pectin.

Slice a ¼ inch thick piece from the top and bottom of each orange. Put the slices into the pectin pot. Cut the oranges in half, squeeze and strain the juice into the marmalade pot. Save the pips and add them to the pectin pot.
Cut the remaining orange in half again, and use your knife to remove as much of the pith as you can in a horizontal slice. (Don't fuss too much if it's not perfect, a bit of unevenness is just fine in a hand cut marmalade.)
Add the pith to the pectin pot. Take the remaining rectangular strips of peel, and chop them finely as possible. Add to the juice.
Measure the peel and juice, and for each cup add one cup of water.
Let soak overnight, at least 12 hours.
Cover the pith and seeds with water and let sit overnight.
In the morning, you may find that the water has been absorbed - just add more water. Bring to a boil and simmer for about 15 minutes.
Strain the liquid into the pot with the juice and peel and simmer gently for at least 1 ½ hours until the peel is tender.
Measure the mixture again. For each cup, add 1 cup sugar. Heat and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Then stir and boil until the marmalade reaches the gel point, about 30 minutes.
Test by putting a few drops on a cold plate and checking the consistency. Pour into hot sterilized jars, seal with sterilized lids and rings, and process in a hot water bath for 15 minutes.

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