The Birth of Ollie's Yummy in Your Tummy

 Ollie's Yummy in Your Tummy came to be out of two separate events in my life. My youngest son loved to cook with me. At an early age he declared he wanted to open a restaurant when he was older, called "Tyler's Yummy in Your Tummy" He never did open that restaurant but I loved the name and decided to use it for my Blog on Cooking and Recipes.

 "Ollie" replaced the name "Tyler" in the title simply because that same son suggested the nickname Ollie when my first grandchild was born. My middle name is Olive after my Grandmother, and I became Grandma Ollie to my grandchildren. And thus Ollie's Yummy in Your Tummy was born!

 This blog will be a collection of recipes - family, my own, and any others I can find in my collection. I've been cooking for almost 50 years - having started as a pre-teen. In Ollie's Yummy in Your Tummy I'll share my favourite recipes, tips and techniques with you.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Preserves: WIld Grape Jelly

Preserves: WIld Grape Jelly
We have a lot of wild grapes growing on our property. But every year we miss our chance to harvest them! So this year I made sure we gathered one bucket full so I could try making Wild Grape Jelly. I have to say it was easy (but messy!) and it tastes amazing.

But please be sure you are picking wild grapes! There is a similar poisonous plant . If you are not sure of the difference see this website for an image of the edible grape. One thing to check is the seed - edible wild grapes have a round seed but the poisonous look-a-like has a crescent shaped seed. The leaves are quite different too, with the poisonous plant having smooth edged leaves while the edible grape vine has more jagged edges.

Poisonous Plant Leaf
Edible Wild Grape Plant
The time-consuming part of our jelly making was hubby's obsessive washing of those grapes. He flushed out tiny spiders and a couple of snails, then washed the grapes thoroughly. We didn't bother removing the stems, but hubby picked through carefully and removed any green grapes or ones he didn't like the look of.

We ended up with about 17 lbs of washed grapes. Tben it was my turn. 

I looked up several online recipes and it seemed that you need 3 cups of water for every 3 lb. of grapes. So after I put the grapes in my big stock pot, I added 15 cups of cold water. I didn't crush the grapes at all, even though the recipes I looked at said to crush them before starting to boil them. But heck, those same recipes said to remove the stems! Which I didn't do either. 

After bringing the grapes and water to a boil, I let the pot simmer for about 10 to 15 minutes. Then hubby took our potato masher and mashed them up a bit. 

The recipes I looked at said to let the mashed grapes drip through cheesecloth or a jelly strainer overnight. I didn't want to wait so I took my huge fine-mesh colander, put it over a clean bowl in the sink and dumped the grape mash in, a bit at a time. Word of warning - this is messy and grape juice stains. We covered the taps and counter tops with paper towels and hubby started dumping and crushing. We used my heavy grill press that I use when I make my special grilled sandwiches to push the mash down into the colander and get the juices running free.

Washing the grapes
This method worked really well and we soon had 17 cups of beautiful purple grape juice to make jelly, and a huge pile of grape seeds, stems and skins for our pot-belly pigs to enjoy.

I poured 15 cups of the grape juice back into my stock pot, and added 23 cups of white sugar. Every recipe I saw said the ration was 3 cups of grape juice + 4 1/2 cups of sugar. But I threw in a little extra because our grapes this year were very tart. After adding the sugar, I brought the mixture to a rapid boil and let it boil for one minute. 

Then I added 5 boxes of pectin. I only had 3 boxes of powdered pectin and two containers of liquid pectin so I used them all. I had no clue if it mattered that I mixed powder and liquid but it worked. Afer adding the pectin and stirring it very well, I brought the mixture to  a rapid boil again and boiled it for 2 minutes. I kept stirring the whole time. Then with a metal spoon I scraped off as much of the froth as i could. 

Boiling the grapes and stems with water
Then it was time to pour the grape juice into sterilized mason jars. To sterilize your jars just pop them in a 275' oven for 10 minutes. Put them on a baking tray, open mouth up. 

Leave about 1/8" air space at the top of every jar when you fill them. Then wipe the rims of each jar down with a damp cloth and seal with lids that you have boiled in water for 10 minutes. 

Put the jars in a hot water bath in your canning kettle and leave them to boil for 10 minutes. Take them out and let them cool. You should hear a loud pop as each lid seals properly. Before labelling and storing them make sure each jar is sealed by pushing down on the lids. If the lid moves, the jar is not sealed and must be used immediately or discarded.

Straining the grape mash
Hubby is pushing the grape mash to get the juices out
Lots of seeds and stems for our pigs!
Measure out the juice in 3 cup lots. You add 1 package of Pectin and 4 1/2 cups of sugar for every 3 cups of juice
Pectin and sugar
Jelly has boiled and it's time to scrape the froth off the top
This is the froth you don't want in your jelly
 Filling the sterilized jars

Hot water bath

Jars are cooling

Enjoy your beautiful purple jelly on a crumpet or piece of toast or even on vanilla ice cream as a special treat.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Homemade Preserves: Dark Beer Mustard

Homemade Preserves: Dark Beer Mustard
I got the urge to make mustard (something I've never done before) after a Facebook friend, Heather Wilkinson Rojo, mentioned that she had made some.  A few days ago I found a similar recipe online. It sounded good (and easy!) so I tackled it.

It's just putting together a few items and letting them sit in the fridge for two days. Then you blend it until it's thick and creamy, put it in jars and you're done! I did change the recipe very slightly. 

These smaller jars are going to make great Christmas gifts! 

Here's what you need:

12 oz of beer. I used a Rickard's Dark beer. (Rickard's Dark is creamy, and has just a hint of pure Quebec maple syrup)

1 1/2 cups of brown mustard seeds
1 cup red wine vinegar
1 tbsp kosher  salt
1 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground allspice 
1 tsp. horseradish (optional)


Combine all ingredients except horseradish in a nonreactive mixing bowl. Cover and let sit at room temperature or in the refrigerator for 1–2 days so that the mustard seeds soften and the flavors meld. I used a plastic bowl with a lid 

Mixture ready to go in fridge for 2 days
 After 2 days, put the mixture in your blender and blend at high speed until it turns thick and creamy. I added a teaspoon of horseradish at this point, but that is optional. 

Mixture + Horseradish blended
 Spoon the mustard into sterilized jars, seal and refrigerate for up to 6 months. 
Mustard in sterilized jars
Small jars make great Christmas gifts!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Perfect Peach Preserves

Perfect Peach PreservesPerfect Peach PreservesI don't care if you call this Peach Jam, Peach Jelly or Peach Preserves. It's just out and out delicious! My first venture into preserving jams and jellies happened only a few months ago.

I had some cherries that I knew would end up going bad and being fed to our pot-belly pigs. So I decided to make Cherry Jelly. It was so easy and so good (I promise I'll post the recipe as soon as possbile).

Then I made Grape Jelly and it was also pretty easy and very tasty! Now I'm hooked. So when hubs brought home a basket of peaches I decided to make peach jam.  Hubs wasn't pleased that his anticpated treat of a fresh peach was ruined but he did like the jam.

So this weekend I sent him to the store to buy more. And I took pictures to share with you because this recipe is the easiest I've ever made. And I am so hooked on fresh peach jam on a crumpet.

Here's all you need:

12 peaches. Pit them, but leave the skins on. Chunk them up and toss in a big stock pot on the stove. Turn it to boil then boil on medium for about 20 minutes until the peaches are soft and mostly liquid. You can use an immersion blender to make the jam smoother or leave it chunky, it's your choice.

Pour the peach syrup into measuring cups because you need exactly 6 cups of syrup. If you haven't got 6 cups, add some water to make up the difference. You could probably add brandy and oh my think of the delicious brandy peach jam you'd have at the end!

4 1/2 cups of white sugar. After you pour back 6 cups of peach syrup into the pot, bring it back to a boil and add the sugar. Boil hard for one minute. Stir now and again.

1 package of powdered pectin. After the sugar-syrup mixture boils hard for one minute, add the pectin and stir. Bring it all back to a boil and boil hard for another minute. You can test the jam for thickness if you want. I don't bother as I don't mind if it's a bit runny. That lovely peach jam just soaks into the crumpet's little holes even better!

How to test your jam: put a small plate and spoon in the freezer when you start the jam. After the pectin mixture has boiled for one minute, put a bit on the cold spoon, pour it out on the cold plate and pop it back in the freezer for a few seconds. Then check it's consistency.

Now you pour your peach preserves into sterlized mason jars and give them a hot water bath for 10 minutes. Label with name and date and get ready to enjoy the taste of fresh peaches all winter long.

12 peaches yields about 8 2-cup mason jars of preservers.  Today I doubled the recipe. 24 peaches gave me 17 2-cup Mason Jars of Peach Preserves.

Here's a picture tutorial of my method:

After washing the peaches I score them with 4 vertical cuts (giving 8 sections). If they are still on the pit I start cutting horizontally. The pieces tend to fall off the pit quite nicely. I can chop any that are too big. Some fall off after the horizontal cuts (see photo below) but they are easily chunked up into small pieces.



Peaches in the pot ready to start boiling
Using the immersion blender
Blended, ready to add sugar and pectin
 Sterilized jars filled and ready for lids
 Lids on and ready for hot water bath
 The double batch of Peach Preserves I made today
I had to try some didn't I?

Credit: Original recipe on