Kumquat Jam

KumquatsWe’ve had a kumquat tree in our yard for the past 15 years. I think I tasted one the day we moved in, thought they were so super sour that I never went near that tree again. But I came home this year determined to take advantage of fresh food and make something out of it. So, I went out there and picked a million of them and got to slicing. (Look how pretty they are!)


Did you know that those tiny little buggers have a million seeds?

kumquat seedsIt’s a pain, but once you get the hang of it, it’s not so bad. As I sliced, I just poked them out with the tip of the knife. So, I think I used about two pounds of kumquats and by the time I finished slicing them all, the citrus smell was already overtaking the kitchen.

kumquat jam

To that, I added three cups of water and brought it up to a simmer. Once it was simmering, I added two cups of sugar and let it simmer for about an hour an a half, giving it a stir every 10-15 minutes. If you want it to be sweeter, you could add more sugar, because the final product is quite tangy. I like that, but if you don’t, add more and keep tasting it until you do!

After about half an hour, it looked like this:

kumquat jamAnd after about an hour, it looked like this:

kumquat jamAt this point the whole house smells like kumquats! So, when the texture becomes syrup-like, it’s ready. I checked it periodically by cooling a bit on a spoon to see how thick it was. You can choose it make it more or less dense depending on your preference. The final product:

kumquat jamLook how yummy that looks! It’s really tangy and the peels are super soft. So this morning, I spread some of it on a piece of sourdough toast…and breakfast!

kumquat jam

I got quite a bit of jam out of those two pounds of kumquats, so I’ll be gifting them along my trip up north today. 
kumquat jam

Whole Wheat Cinnamon Sugar Swirl Bread

Now that warm weather is finally on the horizon (It has rained here the whole month of April, and I am not exaggerating. Also, I’m fairly certain that every person I have contact with regularly is aware of how much I hate rain), it’s time to think about Operation Bikini, as it’s not so fondly referred to as here. I’m trying to do more exercise, eat more fruits, veggies and trying to incorporate whole grains where I can. Sadly, my morning oatmeal with chopped up fruit doesn’t really make for good blogging material… However, I came across a recipe for cinnamon swirl bread on a blog and that made me remember how much I’ve always loved that cinnamon raisin bread toasted with a little butter. So, to The Pioneer Woman, I give credit where credit is due.

Though I have never made bread, I can’t leave any recipe alone and I made some changes to it so that it fits in with my attempts to be healthy. First, I started by using whole wheat flour instead of all-purpose. Also, I reduced the amount of sugar and butter. Oh, and I used brown sugar in the swirl. Anyway, it turned out so well I did a little happy dance. Bread conquered!! Now my mind is already wandering to savory combinations I can make next time.

Start by warming one cup of low-fat milk with 4 tablespoons of butter in a bowl in the microwave. You want the butter to melt and mix in with the milk, but not get too hot. You shouldn’t get burned if you stick your finger in it. Add 2 1/2 teaspoons of active dry yeast. Stir to combine and let it sit for about 10 minutes while you take care of the next steps.

In a large mixing bowl add 1/3 cup of sugar and 2 eggs and beat well. Then add the yeast mixture to it.

Then mix in 1/2 of the flour (total 3 1/2 cups) and 1 teaspoon of salt.

Then add the remaining half of the flour and mix. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface. It will be sticky, so you will have to keep adding flour to the work surface until it’s not sticky anymore (about a 1/4 cup more).

Knead this by pushing into it and forward with the palm of your hand and continuously folding it over itself until you start to feel it get really elastic. It takes about 10 minutes.

See the difference?

Now this goes into a lightly oiled bowl. Flip it over a couple times so that the dough is coated with the oil. Cover it with plastic wrap and leave it to rise in a warm place in the kitchen.

Then I went out for a run and an hour and a half later, this is what I found…

Yeah, I’d say that’s the “doubling” we are looking for.

This gets flopped out onto a lightly floured work surface and stretched out into a long rectangle about 1/2 inch (1 cm) thick. I got to use my new rolling pin finally!! I got this rolling pin as a Christmas gift from my boyfriend’s sister after I invited her to Thanksgiving and she saw that I was rolling out my pie crusts with and empty wine bottle…

Use your bread mold as a guide for how wide the rectangle should be so that it fits when you roll it up.

Mix together 1/4 cup brown sugar and 1 teaspoon of cinnamon and sprinkle it evenly over the whole rectangle. (Here I omitted additional butter and reduced the amount of sugar from 1/3 cup to 1/4 cup. Not huge changes, but everything counts!)

Now, roll it up.

And place it into the bread mold.

I don’t know if these silicone molds are popular in the rest of the world, but a lot of cooking stores here in Spain are selling them. I mentioned them in my last post about Banana Bread Cupcakes, and now I have a brand new silicone bread mold. They are pretty cool because they don’t stick, so you don’t have to grease/butter them and they are super easy to clean afterward.

Anyway, let that rise for another 1-2 hours.

I think my bread mold is a tad small…

This goes into the oven at 350 degrees F (175 C) for 40 minutes on a lower rack. Once it’s done, let it cool for an hour or two (if you can!) before slicing into it. You’ll see a pretty little swirl.

Serving suggestion: toast and spread a little butter.

Now, I won’t lie to you. This doesn’t taste like that sweet cinnamon roll bread that I remember. It’s still whole wheat bread, which means it’s a bit denser. But this turned out beautifully. It’s light with this yummy brown sugar cinnamon sweetness. Perfect breakfast!

Ingredient list:

  • 1 cup low-fat milk
  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons dry active yeast
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

*The original recipe (link)