Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Chutney-Pickles’ Category

I once bought a jar of caramelised onion chutney at a fayre and promised myself that one day I would hunt out a recipe and make some myself.   It is a really useful addition to the store cupboard: delicious with cheese or cold meat, so especially good around Christmas when there are plenty of cold cuts, but also good stirred into gravy to add extra flavour.  If you like hot dogs then you could substitute this chutney for the fried onions and if you like sausage rolls then why not try the recipe on this site for Sausagemeat Plait substituting Caramelised Red (or White if you prefer) Onion Chutney for the Fennel & Apple Chutney.

Finding nothing particularly useable in my recipe books, I turned to the web and discovered several helpful recipes, in particular one from Tesco called Caramelised Onion Chutney, but I consulted other recipes as well.  One of these Red Onion & Balsamic Chutney, a Lesley Waters recipe on the Good Food Channel site, added orange which I wanted to include in my recipe, having made some onion marmalade (a mixture of seville orange and onions) some years ago. The Tesco recipe used a pinch of chill, but I used Piment d’Espelette as an alternative.  The recipe did not specify the type of onion, so I assume that it should be white ones, however as I had plenty I used red onions instead.  The only comment I would make is that I would have preferred the chutney to be pinkish rather than brown, reflecting the rosy colour of the onions.  The darkening came both from the brown sugar, even though I used light brown, the dark balsamic vinegar and the red wine vinegar.  If I did this again I woudl certainly use white wine vinegar and white balsamic vinegar and possibly white granulated sugar as well.   Ideally this recipe should be kept to mature for 6 – 12 months, according to the Tesco recipe.  I made mine at the start of November so by Christmas it will have matured for almost 2 months: not quite long enough I know but I plan to keep one jar by for next Christmas to see if it really does improve with age.

'Meanderings through my Cookbook' http://www.hopeeternalcookbook.wordpress.com

Caramelised Red Onion Chutney
(3 x 500g/1lb jars)

3tbsp olive oil
1·5kg/3lb onions – I used red onions
zest & juice of 1 orange
300g/10oz light muscovado sugar (or white granulated to help preserve colour)
200ml/7fl oz red wine vinegar (or white wine vinegar to help preserve colour)
3tbsp balsamic vinegar (or white to help preserve colour)
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1tbsp wholegrain mustard
½tsp salt
large pinch paprika
large pinch crushed chillies or Piment d’Espelette (Espelette pepper)

1.  Peel and thinly slice the onions.  Heat the oil in a large saucepan and using a low heat gently fry them for 10 minutes until they have softened.  They must not brown.

2.  Stir in 3 tbsp sugar.  Turn up the heat and cook the chutney for 3-4 minutes and allow the onions to brown, although if you want to preserve the pink colour of the chutney try not to let them brown very much.  Stir in the rest of the sugar and then add the remaining ingredients.

3.  Simmer the mixture gently for 10-15 minutes.  The liquid should reduce, the mixture thicken and turn a dark caramel colour.  (This instruction comes from the original: using white vinegars and sugar should hopefully preserve the colour a little better although adding the sugar will make it darken a little.)

4.  Wash the jars well and sterilise them.  I usually do this by filling the jars with boiling water and putting the lids in a bowl of boiling water.  I pour away the water just before filling each jar and immediately take the lid from the bowl and screw it on.

5.  Pot while still hot into the pre-prepared sterilised jars. Screw on the lids well and then turn upside down until cool, which helps with the seal, after which they can be labelled.  This can be eaten immediately but also keeps well.

7.  If you can wait that long it is recommended that this chutney is stored for 6 – 12 months before use.

Read Full Post »

Some time ago I added a recipe to this site for Cucumber Bread and Butter Pickle.  Put simply, this is a pickle to eat with bread and butter, perhaps alongside some cold meat or cheese.  (I actually enjoy it on its own in a sandwich.)  The original recipe was a fairly traditional one and shortly afterwards I added a second version with coriander seeds which gave a citrus flavour to the pickle. (Well at least I think coriander seed tastes a bit lemony!)  Here is a third version: different again, this time with a spicy bite from the chilli and mustard seeds and called American style, though I am not quite sure why.  I love this one, but next time will make sure I have washed off the salt a little more thoroughly.  The first batch was fine but the second needed either an extra wash or perhaps I should have used a little less salt – it was rather too salty for my taste. The salting is essential as without this step, which draws out the excess water in the cucumber, the pickle would go mouldy.  All of the cucumber based bread and butter pickles are worth making in the summer months when cucumbers are plentiful, but a smaller quantity can be made at any time of the year, especially if you can find a good offer on the market.  Adjust the chilli according to taste: I added a very small one the first time but find I am increasing the quantity with each batch I make.  Just a word about the vinegar: this version uses cider vinegar but another type such as wine or malt can be substituted, however it should be at least 5% proof in order for the recipe to be successful.  If you substitute malt vinegar the distilled clear type will better preserve the bright colours of the ingredients.

The recipe comes from Pam Corbin and the spin off series from River Cottage, River Cottage bites.  I scribbled down the ingredients from the television and am pretty sure they are right.  I expect the full recipe is in one of the two River Cottage volumes that Pam has written but I am not sure.  Now I just have to decide which recipe to make each time!

A note on how to dry the salted cucumber and onion: Tip rinsed items into the centre of a clean tea towel, gather the corners together and making sure there are no gaps for the cucumber and onion to fly out, take outdoors and shake by flicking your arm downwards, towards the ground.  This is Pam’s method demonstrated in the series but has been our family trick for drying lettuce years before the invention of salad spinners.  (Be sure to keep away from anything you could hit and try to avoid spraying the windows or the cat!)

'Meanderings through my Cookbook' http://www.hopeeternalcookbook.wordpress.com

American Style ‘Bread & Butter’ Pickle
(Makes 2-3 x 1lb jars)

1kg cucumber
1 medium sized onion
3-4tbsp salt (sea salt recommended if available)
300ml cider vinegar (must be 5%proof – see note above)
200g granulated sugar
1tsp ground turmeric
1tsp celery seeds
2tbsp white mustard seeds
1 chopped red chilli (size to taste – removing the seeds & membranes will make it milder)

1.  Peel the cucumbers, cut off the ends, quarter lengthways and slice into 3-4mm thick slices.  Peel and chop the onion fairly small pieces (no larger than the pieces of cucumber).  Mix the cucumber and onion pieces together in a non metallic bowl.

2.  Sprinkle over the salt, gently toss through the cucumber and onion and leave for 2 hours.

3.  Rinse the cucumber and onion well in icy water. Taste check the cucumber and rinse again if it is too salty.  To dry see note above.

4.  Wash the jars well and sterilise them.  I usually do this by filling the jars with boiling water and putting the lids in a bowl of boiling water.  I pour away the water just before filling each jar and immediately take the lid from the bowl and screw it on.

5.  Place the vinegar into a saucepan that will be large enough to eventually take all the ingredients. Add the sugar, turmeric, celery seeds, white mustard seeds and chopped chilli.

6.   Heat gently so that the sugar has dissolved, stir to combine and bring to the boil.

7.   Add the cucumber and onion, stir and bring back to the boil.  Cook for 3-4 minutes.  It needs this long to destroy any bacteria which could cause the pickle to deteriorate. Any longer and the pickle will be less crisp.

8.  Pot while still hot into the pre-prepared sterilised jars. Screw on the lids well and then turn upside down until cool, which helps with the seal, after which they can be labelled.  This can be eaten immediately but also keeps well.

Read Full Post »

Regular readers of this site will know by now that we love a good chutney!  My previous posts for Beetroot Chutney and Tomato Relish are two of the most visited and commented on recipes that I have posted – Spiced Damson Chutney has also proved popular (see comment below – thanks Sharon!).  Here, I suspect is another favourite.  Certainly, the half quantity I made  was eagerly received and left me wondering why I had not risked making the full amount.  However, I still have lots of apples to use up – what a bumper harvest (and generous friends) – we have had this year.

I was first alerted to the recipe for Spiced Apple Chutney by Shaheen at Allotment 2 Kitchen.  That was way back last year at the end of November when I did not have enough time (and had also just made a shipping order of different chutneys).  I made a note to have a go at making the original recipe for Spiced Apple Chutney which came from BBC Food  as it looked so good.  The amounts spice used looked rather a lot, especially the paprika, so I used scant quantities, but I think I need not have bothered.  Shaheen used Allspice rather than Mixed Spice but I am not sure why as they are not the same: it may of course be a personal tweak adding a flavour she really liked – not uncommon!  Allspice are berries from the Pimiento.  Mixed Spice is a blend of ground spices especially used in the UK which usually includes Cinnamon (or Cassia), Nutmeg, Cloves and Ginger (occasionally Allspice, Cayenne and/or Coriander as well).  It is similar to the French Quatre épices (literally four spices): pepper, cloves, nutmeg and ginger (sometimes substituting allspice for pepper and cinnamon for ginger), commonly used in meat dishes such as paté and terrines.   Additionally in the Netherlands (Belgium and Germany too) the Speculaas/Speculoos biscuits contain a spice mixture called (in the Netherlands) Speculaaskruiden, which is a mixture of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger, cardamon and white pepper.  (I keep promising myself I will make some of these biscuits…)  Although this is rather going off on a tangent, there is an interesting post listing Spice mixtures worldwide on Wikipedia.  However, back to the chutney…  I’m thinking of putting in ginger another time in addition to what is already in the mixed spice to enhance that flavour.  The original recipe gave a choice between adding sultanas or raisins (which are similar) and as an alternative, dates.  There was never any contest for me as I would find dates just too much in what is already rather a sweet (though delicious) chutney: sultanas it was!  The only other tweak I made was to use my usual method of adding the sugar later once the other ingredients have reduced a little.  The sugar can be inclined to make the mixture burn before it has fully reduced and I find this helps to prevent this.  Overall I would recomment Spiced Apple Chutney as having a lovely mixture of sweet and spicy.  It is delicious eaten with pungent cheese, ham or pork (but I am sure it would be a good accompaniment for all meats.

Warning: Do not try to make a double batch in one pan.  Reducing the extra liquid will be difficult and leaving it to cook down for a long time could lead to the sugars burning.  I speak from experience!  I apply this rule to all home made jams and chutneys: nothing worse than a bitter burnt flavour lurking in the background.  I find using the widest saucepan I have gives the biggest surface area for the quick evaporation of liquid.

'Meanderings through my Cookbook' http://www.hopeeternalcookbook.wordpress.com

Spiced Apple Chutney
(Makes 4-6 jars)

225g/8oz onions, chopped
900g/2lb apples, cored & chopped
110g/4oz sultanas, raisins or stoned chopped dates
15g/½oz ground coriander
15g/½oz paprika
15g/½oz mixed spice
15g/½oz salt
340g/12oz granulated sugar
425ml/15fl ozs/¾ pint malt vinegar

1.  Put all the ingredients apart from the sugar into a saucepan. Slowly bring to the boil and simmer for 1 -1½ hours, stirring from time to time to stop the chutney sticking to the pan.

2.  Reduce the mixture until it has thickened.  You should be able to draw a channel across the bottom of the pan through the mixture that doesn’t close over too quickly.

3.  Add the sugar and stir until dissolved. Continue to cook on a medium/high heat, stirring regularly to avoid burning.

4.  Continue to cook until the chutney is very thick and you can once more draw a channel across the base of the pan that does not immediately fill with liquid.

5.  Meanwhile wash the jars well and sterilise them.  I usually do this by filling the jars with boiling water and putting the lids in a bowl of boiling water.  I pour away the water just before filling each jar and immediately take the lid from the bowl and screw it on.

6.  Pot while still hot into the pre-prepared sterilised jars. Screw on the lids well and then turn upside down until cool, which helps with the seal, after which they can be labelled.  This can be eaten immediately but also keeps well.

7.  Store in a cool, dark cupboard for two to three months before eating.  (Actually I opened one jar immediately to test it and it was fine: it will be interesting to try a more mature version around Christmas.)

8.  This is particularly good eaten with cheese, ham or pork.

Read Full Post »

I am the person who avoids the sausage rolls at parties, at least the cold mass produced variety.  I have never been able to work up much enthusiasm for them.  However, a freshly home baked sausage roll – or plait, which is just a larger version of the same item – can be delicious.  There are some rules which I feel must be obeyed for the best results.  First, buy good quality sausagemeat.  If your butcher or supermarket sells the type that they put in their best quality sausages, all the better.   I never buy the value brand and skimp on meat products.  They usually contain a lesser quality product.  I would rather have a small amount of good quality meat than lots of a lesser grade.  Around Christmas, at least one supermarket makes a type which is a combination of pork sausagement with chestnut, which would be delicious, although I would be careful not to mask the flavour of the nuts with a strong flavoured chutney, in fact would probably leave it out altogether.  My second rule is simpler:  unless you really must make it yourself, please go ahead and cheat by buying a pack of ready made puff pastry from the supermarket.  It’s one little thing that makes life so much easier, especially if you are mass catering for an occasion.  Part packs of pastry can easily be frozen, but need to be fully defrosted before use.

Some time ago I was watching chef Peter Sidwell in a cooking programe based in the English Lake District: Lakes on a Plate.  One particular recipe, for Sausage Rolls, used home made Fennel & Apple Chutney which I made some time ago.  I opted for a sausage plait, as a quickly made weekday meal, but I like the idea of making larger individual portion rolls or even bite sized ones for a buffet, as in the original instructions.  Simply roll the pastry into long thin rectangles before filling and cutting into the size required.  I am sure that this plait – or the rolls – would be equally good made with other chutneys.  Try Tomato Relish, Beetroot Chutney or, for a spicy version, Indian Lime Pickle or around Christmas try spicy Christmas Chutney.  Leftover plait is delicious eaten cold the next day and ideal in a packed lunch, in place of the usual boring sandwich.  On New Year’s Day I am feeding the extended family (there will be ten of us) and I am planning to serve slices of Sausagemeat & Fennel Chutney Plait as an ‘extra’ alongside the Roast Pork we will be eating.  Any leftovers can be eaten at tea time on the cold buffet.

Readers might also be interested in the sausage roll ideas at The Evening Hérault. Fennel seeds are suggested there too as a flavouring plus using marmalade in place of chutney.  Another good use for that home made chunky Seville Marmalade: I expect Ginger Marmalade would be good too!

'Meanderings through my Cookbook' http://www.hopeeternalcookbook.wordpress.com

Sausagemeat Plait
(Serves 4)

250g packet puff pastry
a little flour (plain or self-raising) for rolling out – just a few tbsp
500g good quality sausagemeat, Cumberland if possible (original recipe)
1 egg, cracked & lightly whisked
or
1tbsp milk
1 tbsp fennel seeds (choose another topping for a different chutney if you wish)
2tbsp Fennel & Apple Chutney (or another chutney/relish of your choice)

1.  Preheat oven to 190oC/370oF/Gas 5.

2.  Roll the puff pastry into a long rectangle on a floured surface.  Spoon the chutney evenly in a line lengthways along the centre third of the pastry, but do not take right to each end.

3.  The sausagement should be almost the same length as the pastry – about 2cm/1inch shorter lengthwise to allow for tucking in.  It will help to roll the sausagement into a sausage shape, if it has not been bought like this.  If it needs to be shaped or made longer use a little flour on the surface and on your hands to stop it from sticking, though try to keep this extra flour to a minimum.  Place on top of the chutney, lengthways along the central third of the pastry.

4. For a plait, score 2cm/1inch lines from the centre to the outside edges of the pastry at right angles to the sausagement, giving an equal number of strips on each side.

5.  Start the plait by folding one end of the pastry over the sausagemeat.  Lift the first pastry strip on the left side.  Gently place it slightly diagonally across the filling making sure it also overlaps the end fold.  Take a strip from the right side and cross the meat from the other direction, overlapping slightly the previous strip from the left.  Continue like this, alternating sides and making sure each strip slightly overlaps the one that has gone before, until all but the final two strips are folded over.  Either tuck up the end pastry before overlapping the final two strips or, if you prefer, when all the strips are folded tuck the end of the pastry neatly underneath.  There should be as few gaps in the pastry as possible but there will be some which will act as vents for the steam.   (If this all seems too complicated then fold up both ends of the pastry as a seal.  Then draw up the sides of the pastry and fold over, or pinch together to make a decorative finish along the length of the sausage.  Add few diagonal slits as vents if using this second method.)

6.  Flour a sufficiently long tin for the plait or roll and gently lift it on.  Carefully paint the entire roll with either beaten egg or milk.  Sprinkle generously with fennel seeds.  If fennel seeds are not available, or an alternative chutney is used then another seed could be substituted: for example sesame, linseed, black or white poppy.   The flavour of kalonji seed (nigella), available from ethnic grocery stores, whilst not spicy in itself, would complement a spicy or Indian style chutney.

7.  Bake in the preheated oven for 35-40 minutes, or until golden brown.  A thicker shorter sausage plait will take longer to cook than a longer thinner one, and it is very important that pork sausagement is thoroughly cooked before eating.

Read Full Post »

Prunes: love them or hate them?  Perhaps it is the humourous asides that accompany their mention – perhaps it’s memories of school dinners – I don’t know, after all, they are simply dried plums and if you like plums I cannot understand why you would not like prunes as well.  So, let’s hear it for the much maligned but versatile prune!  How do I eat them?  Well stewed, of course, hot or cold, which is the simplest way but I also put them in fruit cakes and even, in spite of my dislike of meat and fruit together, in a Moroccan style dish we love of chicken.  Now I have a new way…

I came across this recipe recently whilst leafing through one of my favourite chutney and pickle books The Penguin Book of Jams, Pickles & Chutneys by David & Rose Mabey and is extremely simple.  The instructions say it goes well with ham and I plan to make sure it goes on the table at Christmas & New Year.  I tried a quarter quantity using inexpensive supermarket Value brand prunes and was able to almost fill two attractive tall jam jars, just having to add a few extra prunes (say 50g) for good measure to top up the jars.

'Meanderings through my Cookbook' http://www.hopeeternalcookbook.wordpress.com

Pickled Prunes
(Makes around 1½lb)

8-10ozs/250-300g no soak pitted (stoneless) prunes
2ozs/125g sugar (I used white)
1 small blade of mace – original used a pinch each of ground nutmeg & mace
12 black peppercorns
½pint/10fl ozs/300ml white malt vinegar
½tbsp brandy (optional)

(As I was using no soak prunes I omitted the step soaking them in water overnight until plump and juicy, before draining.)  However … 

1.  … if the prunes seem a little dry cover with boiling water.  Leave for 5-10 minutes to plump up before draining well. 

2.  Wash the jars well and sterilise.  I usually do this by filling the jars with boiling water and putting the lids in a bowl of boiling water.  I pour away the water just before filling each jar and immediately take the lid from the bowl and screw it on.  Shake as much water from them as possible before filling.
Alternatively put the jars in an oven set to 180oC/350oF/Gas 4 for 10 minutes.  Be careful to put them on a dry surface when removing or they could crack.  Lids can be placed in a small pan of boiling water.  Shake as much water  from the lids as possible before filling.

3.  Place the sugar,vinegar and spices in a small pan.  Boil for about 10 minutes to allow the sugar to dissolve and the flavours to permeate the vinegar.

4.  Pack the prunes into prepared jars, using extra prunes if necessary.

5.  Adding brandy is optional and if using it should be divided equally between the jars before adding the vinegar mixture.

6.  Place the peppercorns and mace blade in the jar (cut the blade into pieces if you have more than one jar) and finally pour the vinegar over the prunes.

7.  Put the lids on the jars and invert until cool, which helps with the seal.

8.  These prunes can be eaten immediately but are better kept a few weeks or even months.  They have a spicy slightly sharp flavour and are good eaten with cold ham.

Read Full Post »

I have been thinking ahead to Christmas cooking as some of the recipes need to be made in advance to allow the flavours to mature. I will make our Christmas cake, Christmas Pudding, Christmas Chutney and Mincemeat very soon but first here is the recipe for some delicious spiced pears.  These are good served with cold meats or cheese at a festive seasonal buffet.

The recipe comes from the Hairy Bikers BBC Christmas television series The Hairy Bikers Twelve Days of Christmas.  They credit Italian chef Antonio Carluccio as their inspiration.  I followed the original recipe for Pickled Pears almost exactly using 2lb jars (which had originally been full of Mincemeat).  Kilner type preserving jars would be ideal if available.  These pears should be eaten within two months and stored in the fridge once the jar is opened, so if you are unlikely to eat a large quantity in one go it could be a good idea to make smaller jars containing just one or two pears.  Juniper Berries are becoming easier to find, though still not widely available in the UK.  I have a small jar, bought from the herb and spice section of a French supermarket which is labelled Baies de Genièvre.  The original recipe did not specify the size of pear, but I chose small evenly sized ones, digging into the bottom and removing the end opposite to the stalk.  These are designed to be served whole on a buffet with slices cut from them by diners, but I wonder if  pear quarters might be a good alternative to whole pears.  I think too that peach or plum halves would be delicious prepared to the same recipe and even perhaps mixed in the same jar – something to try another year! 

'Meanderings through my Cookbook' http://www.hopeeternalcookbook.wordpress.com

Pickled Pears
(Makes 2 or 3 large jars)

1 litre/1¾ pints white wine vinegar
0.5 litres/17½fl oz water
500g/1lb 2oz caster sugar
3 small star anise
1 large cinnamon stick, broken into pieces (one for each jar)
1 tbsp allspice berries
1 lemon, zest peeled off in a large strip with a potato peeler
½ tsp cloves
2 tsp juniper berries
20 evenly sized small Conference pears, peeled with stalks intact
Small sprigs fresh rosemary (one for each jar)

1.  Place the water, vinegar, sugar, star anise, cinnamon stick, allspice berries, lemon zest, cloves and juniper berries in a large, lidded, non-reactive pan and bring to the boil.

2.  Peel the pears carefully leaving the stalks intact.  I like to gently dig out the end opposite the stalk.  Add the pears to the saucepan and cover the pan with a lid.  Reduce the heat and let the pears simmer gently for 10-15 minutes, or until they are tender.

3.  Carefully remove the pears from the pan with a slotted spoon and set aside.

4.  Bring the liquid back to the boil for 4-5 minutes so it is slightly reduced and thickened.  (In practice I found it best not to overdo this step as it is important to have enough liquid to top up the jars after they have been filled with pears.)

5.  Wash the jars well and sterilise.  I usually do this by filling the jars with boiling water and putting the lids in a bowl of boiling water.  I pour away the water just before filling each jar and immediately take the lid from the bowl and screw it on.  Shake as much water from them as possible before filling.
Alternatively put the jars in an oven set to 180oC/350oF/Gas 4 for 10 minutes.  Be careful to put them on a dry surface when removing or they could crack.  Lids can be placed in a small pan of boiling water.  Shake as much water from the lids as possible before filling.

6.  Remove the spices from the liquid and return it to the pan on a low simmer to keep it hot.  Divide the pears between the sterilised jars, handling them gently as they will be soft but packing them in as tightly as possible. As you fill the jars equally distribute the spices and lemon rind between them, at the same time adding one small sprig of rosemary to each jar.  Finally divide the reduced cooking liquid equally between the jars.   (I found that the jars were not filled right to the top so I topped them up with some freshly boiled water from the kettle, hence my comment above about not boiling the mixture away too much.) 

7.  Seal the jars tightly.  I find that inverting the hot jars, until they are cool, helps with the seal.

8.  These pickled pears can be stored for up two months.  They can be eaten after one week but once the jar is opened it should be stored in the fridge and eaten within two weeks.

Read Full Post »

The English Lake District holds many happy childhood memories for me.  Each summer we visited my grandparents who lived at Arnside on Morecambe Bay, in what was then called Westmorland (a county name that is sadly no longer used, being part of Cumbria since 1974).  We had many day trips to the lakes and fells for picnics and walking.  A few weeks ago I happened upon a daytime programme on Channel 4 called Lakes on a Plate, which promised good scenery with food and recipes.  I am currently working my way through what turned out to be a series of about 20 half hour programmes. 

One early Lakes on a Plate programme included a sausage roll recipe, but with a twist: Peter Sidwell, a chef who is also the presenter, added home made Fennel & Apple Chutney.  I was intrigued as this was a chutney I had not heard of before.  Fennel has, of course, a mild aniseed flavour.  The flavour can be found in flavoured alcoholic drinks such as the French Pastis, Greek Ouzo and other similar drinks, although these are usually made from distilled Star Anise, which is an asian spice unrelated to fennel.  In the UK you can buy boiled hard sweets such as aniseed balls and aniseed cough candy or twist where the flavouring comes from oil of Aniseed, a border herb with an umbrella shaped flowerhead but also sometimes from Fennel seeds.  Both seeds can also be used as part of a spice mixture or in cooked dishes and breads.   This recipe uses Fennel, sometimes called Florence Fennel, a white bulb often topped with green feathery fronds, which can be sliced or finely chopped into savoury dishes, or baked and is often used in fish dishes, although not exclusively.  (Find more recipes and mentions of Fennel  on this site.)  As I have mixed feelings about aniseed flavour (disliking the drink, but loving aniseed sweets and fennel in food) I decided to make just a half quantity of the recipe, but I wish now I had made more!  The flavour is delicate and sweet rather than overpowering and it is delicious and unusual spread on toast: a sort of Fennel & Apple Marmalade.  I am still deciding how I might incorporate this chutney in recipes and other than the sausage rolls of the original recipe, what else it could be used in.  I am not a great sausage roll fan, probably because when they appear on buffets they tend to be greasy apologies with fatty pastry and poor quality sausage.  I think, however, that these sausage rolls containing fennel and apple chutney would be in a different league altogether.  I fully intend to use this to make a Sausagemeat Plait in the very near future, just as soon as I have found and bought the good quality sausagement it deserves.  The quantities of apple and onion are a little unclear in the original recipe: I used aproximately the same weight of each as the fennel bulb and I chose to finely chop rather than follow the original instruction to roughly chop them.  I also used my usual method of adding the sugar later, once the vinegar has mostly gone, to lessen the risk of burning the chutney.  This recipe does not make a large quantity, so watch out for when fennel is being sold off on your market at the end of the summer or early autumn and stock up.  I find uncooked fennel bulbs, quartered, freeze reasonably well.

Warning: Do not try to make a double batch in one pan.  Reducing the extra liquid will be difficult and leaving it to cook down for a long time could lead to the sugars burning.  I speak from experience!  I apply this rule to all home made jams and chutneys: nothing worse than a bitter burnt flavour lurking in the background.  I find using the widest saucepan I have gives the biggest surface area for the quick evaporation of liquid.

'Meanderings through my Cookbook' http://www.hopeeternalcookbook.wordpress.com

Fennel & Apple Chutney
(Makes aprox 2 x 1lb jars)

2 fennel bulbs
1 onion (weighing the same as the fennel)
1 apple (weighing the same as the fennel)
100ml white wine vinegar
350g white sugar
1tsp fennel seeds
Salt & pepper

1. Finely chop the fennel and onion.  Place in a medium sized heavy pan with a drizzle of olive oil.  Cook on a medium heat until soft, making sure they do not start to brown. 

2.  Meanwhile peel, core and finely chop the apple.  Add to the pan and continue to cook the mixture for a few more minutes. 

3.  Add the white wine vinegarand fennel seeds. Continue to cook for a further 20 minutes until the liquid has reduced by half and is thick. 

4.  Add the sugar and reduce until thick once more. Season with salt and pepper and leave to cool.

5.  Wash the jars well and sterilise.  I usually do this by filling the jars with boiling water and putting the lids in a bowl of boiling water.  I pour away the water just before filling each jar and immediately take the lid from the bowl and screw it on.  Shake as much water from them as possible before filling.
Alternatively put the jars in an oven set to 180oC/350oF/Gas 4 for 10minutes.  Be careful to put them on a dry surface when removing or they could crack.  Lids can be placed in a small pan of boiling water.  Shake as much water from the lids as possible before filling.

6.  Pot into the prepared jars.  Cool and label.  I find that chutneys are best stored for about four weeks to mature before eating.

Read Full Post »

I recently bought some late rhubarb on our market, put it in the fridge and promptly forgot about it!  A week or so later I discovered it in a rather floppy state and not really fit for stewing and eating in the usual way.  In ancient times food that was past its best was disguised with spices so I turned to my recipe books and eventually found this chutney recipe.  The acidity of the rhubarb along with the citrus sourness of the orange means that, in spite of the sugar, this is still rather a tart flavoured chutney and would go well with a rich or oily meat such as duck or pork, or possibly even with an oily fish such as mackerel (I once saw a recipe for mackerel with a rhubarb sauce).   My only comment – one which I actually made out loud as I spooned this chutney into jars – is that this is yet another muddy coloured chutney.  A commercially produced version would have some added food colouring to make it a pretty pinky-peach, I would imagine.  Colour aside, though, this is definitely worth making.

The recipe comes from Home Preserves by Jackie Burrow which has been on my shelf for some years and contains a wealth of good recipes.  I have slightly adapted the original recipe for Spiced Rhubarb & Orange Chutney: I was a little short of rhubarb to make a half quantity so I added some chopped apple and I used grated fresh (but frozen) ginger in place of ginger powder.  I also zested the orange rather than peeling the zest off in larger chunks with a potato peeler (just the zest, but no pith).  I have added these alternatives to the recipe below.  My only other comment would be that the ginger could be slightly increased (although we do like a strong ginger flavour, so be careful).

Warning: Do not try to make a double batch in one pan.  Reducing the extra liquid will be difficult and leaving it to cook down for a long time could lead to the sugars burning.  I speak from experience!  I apply this rule to all home made jams and chutneys: nothing worse than a bitter burnt flavour lurking in the background.  I find using the widest saucepan I have gives the biggest surface area for the quick evaporation of liquid.

'Meanderings through my Cookbook' http://www.hopeeternalcookbook.wordpress.com

Spiced Rhubarb & Orange Chutney
(Makes about 5 x 1lb)

1½kg/3lb rhubarb, chopped
   (replace up to 375g/12ozs rhubarb with peeled & finely chopped apple)
500g/1lb onion, peeled & finely chopped
4 large oranges, zested & squeezed
1tbsp mixed spice
2tbsp finely grated fresh root ginger (slightly defrosted grates easier)
   or
1tbsp ground ginger
1tsp salt
600ml/1pint white wine vinegar
500g/1lb white sugar (or brown)

1.  Place the rhubarb and onion in a large saucepan, plus apple if using, along with the zest and juice, mixed spice, ginger, salt and vinegar.

2.  Bring to the boil on a medium heat, then reduce the heat.  Allow the mixture to slowly reduce, stirring regularly, until it is thick enough to leave a channel (that gradually disappears again) in the bottom of the pan when a spoon is drawn across.

3.  Add the sugar and stir well.  Cook on a medium heat to allow the chutney to reduce as quickly as possible without burning, stirring regularly to stop it from sticking to the bottom of the pan.  When the channel can be drawn on the bottom of the pan once more it is ready to pot.

4.  Wash the jars well and sterilise.  I usually do this by filling the jars with boiling water and putting the lids in a bowl of boiling water.  I pour away the water just before filling each jar and immediately take the lid from the bowl and screw it on.

5.  Pot into the prepared jars.  Cool and label.  Ideally, store for about four weeks to mature before eating.

Read Full Post »

The original title of this recipe was ‘Bea Turner’s Tomato Relish’.  I never knew Bea Turner, a long gone member of one of our churches, or where she got the original recipe.  However she passed on her recipe to a friend who regularly makes jams and chutneys, who passed it to another friend when she moved away, when it was passed to me.  (Some of the best recipes come like this, I think, as hand-me-downs!)  There are a couple of occasions recently when I have promised this recipe to readers who have left comments: here it is … enjoy!

I have made tomato chutney recipes in the past (I know this is called relish, but what’s the difference – very little actually) however this is by far the best I have come across.  I think it is the addition of the tomato purée which adds a sweet richness to the mix. Rather conveniently, it does not use a large quantity of tomatoes so, though it is worth making several batches when tomatoes are cheap, is also handy for the winter months when tomatoes are more expensive.  The pepper, onion and apples should be chopped according to the size that they will be in the finished relish.  I find it better to chop them finely, so small pieces are visible but do not be tempted to use a food processor unless you want a uniform coloured relish.  You must use clear vinegar though using a brown one would mean dulling down the lovely rich red colouring.  The spices below are as the original recipe, which is a little on the hot side for some (but not all) members of our family.  The second time I made it I halved the chilli, cayenne and mustard, but then it was not spicy enough for some (but not all).  You can’t please everyone …   I now usually make it half way in between.   I have put both these adaptations in brackets after the recipe.  There are so many uses for this wonderful chutney, apart from simply serving it on the side with meats or cheeses: a mildly spiced topping for Welsh RarebitPizza or Pitta Pizzas, as an ingredient in Mexican Style Chicken & Pepper Salad or Cheese & Tomato Tortilla Bake and many more …

Warning: Do not try to make a double batch in one pan.  Reducing the extra liquid will be difficult and leaving it to cook down for a long time could lead to the sugars burning.  I speak from experience!  I apply this rule to all home made jams and chutneys: nothing worse than a bitter burnt flavour lurking in the background.  I find using the widest saucepan I have gives the biggest surface area for the quick evaporation of liquid.

Tomato Relish
(Makes about 5 x 1lb jars)

1lb/500g tomatoes
1 green pepper (I like to use a large one)
1lb/500g onions
1lb/500g apples (cooking or eating)
3 cloves garlic
½pint/10 fl ozs/300ml white malt vinegar
¾lb/375g white sugar
6ozs/170g tomato purée
1 level tbsp salt
1 level tbsp paprika
1 tsp cayenne pepper (medium=¾tsp – mild=½tsp)
½tsp mixed spice
½tbsp mustard powder (medium=scant 1tsp – mild=¼tbsp)
   or
1tbsp mixed English mustard (reduce for medium or mild strength)

1.  Skin the tomatoes by making cross cuts in the skins, pouring over boiling water and after 30 seconds plunging them into cold water.  This helps the skin to come off easier.  Prepare frozen tomatoes in the same way.  (If using very small tomatoes then add an extra one or two depending on size to compensate for the extra skins that are removed.) .

2.  Chop the tomatoes, pepper, onions,  apples and garlic.

3.  Put them all in a large pan with the vinegar and simmer until tender and thick, stirring regularly to check it does not stick and burn. 

4.  When a spoon run across the mixture leaves a channel that does not fill up with liquid. 

5.  Add the sugar and spices and stir well.

6.  Boil for 3 minutes.

7.  Wash the jars well and sterilise.  I usually do this by filling the jars with boiling water and putting the lids in a bowl of boiling water.  I pour away the water just before filling each jar and immediately take the lid from the bowl and screw it on.

8.  Pot while still hot into pre-prepared sterilised jars.  Cool and label.  This can be eaten immediately but also keeps well.

Read Full Post »

Pickled lemons are traditionally used in North African dishes.  The sourness of lemon or lime and the saltiness of olives can be cooked together with meat or fish, often in a traditional Tagine, or served as an accompaniment at the meal.  (I will be posting a delicious recipe for North African Spiced Baked Chicken with Pickled Lemon in the next week or so.)  The pickle is delicious finely chopped and stirred into Couscous.  The original recipe also suggests placing pieces on fish fillets before baking or using the lemon oil/vinegar as in dressings or on fish and chips for a spicy lemon flavour.  I tried, unsuccessfully, to make pickled lemons some years ago and was loth to try it again, but I experimented with a very small quantity with a different recipe and this time found it to be extremely successful.  The lemon and/or lime pickle is very quick and simple to make and can be used after three or four days, although three weeks is recommended to allow the fruit to start to soften.

This recipe was taken Crosse & Blackwell/Sarsons Vinegar Perfect Pickles by Suzanne Janusz.  (The recipe for Lime Pickle, a spicy accompaniment for Indian Food with a very different taste, was taken from the same booklet.)  This recipe is for finely sliced lemons and limes but it can be made with lemons or limes alone and I have seen whole and halved lemons prepared in a similar way, although I have not tried this.  I see no reason why larger pieces of fruit could not be used although they would probably need longer to absorb the pickling mixture.  It is better to make several small sized pots as the lemons start to deteriorate, becoming over soft, once the pot has been opened.  For this reason too it would be wise to reduce the ingredients, making a smaller amount, where the pickle is just for occasional use. 

'Meanderings through my Cookbook' http://www.hopeeternalcookbook.wordpress.com

North African Style Pickled Lemon & Lime
(Makes aprox 1ltr/1½pints)

6 lemons or limes (I used a mixture – 3 of each)
25g/1oz salt
15ml/1tbsp paprika
30ml/2tbsp caster sugar
75ml/5tbsp sunflower oil
300ml/½pint white distilled pickling malt vinegar

This recipe needs to be started the day before.

1.   Scrub and finely slice the lemons and/or limes.

2.  Layer the fruits and salt in a non-metallic colander or sieve.  Cover with a non-metallic cover (not touching the fruits) and leave in a cool place for 24hrs.

3.  Before preparing the pickle wash and sterilise the jars.  I usually do this by filling them with boiling water and putting the lids in a separate small bowl of boiling water.  Pour away the water just before filling each jar and once the jar is full immediately take the lid from the bowl and without touching the inside screw it onto the jar.  Although the contents for the jars in this recipe are not heated the hot lid should contract and form a seal: if re-using a jam jar with a ‘pop in/out indicator’ on top this may well contract.  However, the seal cannot be guaranteed so it is best to make occasional small quantities rather than one large batch.

4.  Do not rinse the fruit.  Layer in sterilised jars sprinkling paprika between the layers.

5.  Mix together the sugar, oil and vinegar. Pour this mixture (unheated) over the fruit.  Seal the jars. (See note above at 3.) 

6.  The jar should regularly be gently shaken to mix together the oil and vinegar.  Allow to mature for a few days and ideally up to three weeks before using.  Store in a refrigerator once open.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: