Posts Tagged With: tips

Festive Pear & Cranberry Chutney

Pear & Cranberry Chutney

Pear & Cranberry Chutney

Making your own chutneys at Christmas is a joy! A jar of homemade chutney is such a lovely gift and is so special to crack open at this time of year.  The gift of chutney!

This is a traditional-ish recipe with less sugar and a very decent kick of spices.  I have made chutneys and jams with chia seeds and no sugar etc, but my Auntie Betty would approve of this one and at Christmas, Auntie Betty know best!

This festive time is a wonderful opportunity to enjoy the bounty of the year, all those tantalising tubs of things we’ve been keeping in cupboards, tucked away for a special occasion, finally get dusted off and shared with loved ones.  We have loads of interesting little foodie bits that have been amassed from food fayres and markets this year and have no idea how we can form a cohesive, tasty meal out of them?  I’m sure we’ll figure something out!  Theses pots and parcels have many positive memories attached to them.

We’ve been getting some wonderfully sweet pears at the minute and really relishing them.  This is the ideal time to think chutney and preserving, when there is a glut, the jars come out!  When made in bulk, things like chutney are easy and cost effective.  I know we are all a little busy at this time of year, but this is something I think you’ll squeeze in.  The flavour is worth it!

This chutney could hardly be easier, pop in a pan and simmer.  The results are suitably chutney, like a tangy taste explosion!  I’ve reduced the amount of sugar in here, as I find most chutneys way too sweet.  I like mine with plenty of spice and twang.

CHUTNEY TIPS:

If you’re planning on keeping a chutney for a while, check what your lids are made of.  Most jar lids are metal and you’ll need to place a disk of greaseproof paper between the lid and the chutney to stop it reacting.

Chutney can be kept, in a dark place for years, if jarred properly.  This means that the jars must be well sterilised in an oven, which is the easiest way to sterilise a large number of jars.

Shaking bicarb and water in jar can get rid of unwanted, lingering smells that may taint your precious chutney.

Chutneys are like fine wines, they get better with age.  Some people keep chutneys for years!  Vintage chutney.  The flavours definitely mellow and deepen after around a month but this chutney is good to go straight away.

Recipe Notes

If you are short of fennel, use something like celery or even carrots.

Pears, glorious pears......

Pears, glorious pears……

The Bits – For two regular sized jars (280g-ish) 

475g firm pear – cored and peeled (cut into 1cm small cubes)

130g fennel – ½ medium sized bulb (finely diced)

140g unrefined brown sugar

50g onion – 1 small

175ml apple cider vinegar

2 inch cinnamon stick

1 teas ground ginger

50g dried cranberries

Large pinch chilli flakes

1 small clove garlic (crushed)

Large pinch sea salt

3 cloves

1 teas mustard seeds

 

Do It

Put all ingredients into a saucepan and bring slowly to a boil.

Stir regularly and simmer with a loosely fitted lid for 1 1/2 hours, until the chutney is a nice dark brown colour and has thickened.  We don’t want it to be like a jam, the pears and fennel will still have a little texture and the chutney will be thick but runny.

Spoon into clean jars straightaway and screw lids on firmly.  This should mean that the jars are well sealed (i.e. the lids are sucked in and pop when opened)

Decorate with amazing labels and enjoy!

Pear and Cranberry Chutney - on the hob

Pear and Cranberry Chutney – on the hob

Foodie Fact

Pears are a member of the rose family and are a great source of fibre and vitamin C.

Categories: Chutney, Recipes, Vegan | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Waste Not, Want Not – Our Top Larder Tips

Beach House Maramalade (made en Espana)

Beach House Maramalade (made en Espana)

Maintaining a decent larder/ store cupboard can be tough. The larder is really the backbone of any passionate cooks foodie arsenal.  We need our dried goods, spices, grains, magic potions etc to be in special, pristine condition to produce wonderful food.  It takes time and some amounts of dedication to get it right.  It’s certainly not the most spontaneous, vibrant aspect of the joys of cooking, but its highly worthwhile, pretty much essential.  We have just cleared ours out after returning from India and a few top tips came to mind:

It’s all about rotation – keeping new things at the back and ‘to use’ things near the front helps loads. Its a visual thing, you can’t remember everything that is lurking in the larder shadows. Spend a few minutes, regularly, opening jars and inspecting the contents. Sniff and occasional taste tests may be required. Ditch what looks like its past its best and if there is a whiff of mustiness, definitely escort it to the bin. Nuts especially should be cared for and used quickly. If they are in their shells, they keep for a long time. Otherwise, keep an eye on them. A rancid nut is no fun and can be quite bad for you.

Have a good stash jars handy – keep loads of empty, clean jars or plastic containers (ex-yoghurt pots etc) to decant spices, grains, sugar etc into. They keep better, we try not to leave anything in packets once opened. Unless they are those clever re-sealable ones. But…….

Keep some pegs handy – Pegs are great. They come in really handy sealing things when you inevitably run out of jars and platic pots.

Tea bags keep powders dry – If you pop a tea bag in with salt and sugar, this will help to keep them dry.

Buy spices as seeds or whole – and then grind them yourself using a pestle and mortar or coffee grinder. You can even make your own spice mixes. Buying whole spices seriously lengthens their longevity. Ground spices should really be used quickly, within weeks, even when stored in a air tight container.

Bardsey Island Apple and Plum Chutney

Bardsey Island Apple and Plum Chutney

Buy local and in bulk – we buy most locally if we can, generally this means the produce is always in good condition and hasn’t been messed with on long journeys and in storage. We are lucky to be surrounded by some wonderful producers and suppliers, as I’m sure you are also. They are everywhere!

We also like to use the co-operative Suma for all larder items. They will deliver, but it needs to be over a certain amount. Get a load of friends together is our advice. A sack load of chickpeas keeps well and will make you feel wealthy beyond your wildest dreams.

Label Things – This may sound like a step towards librarian-hood, but having a few blank stickers handy means knowing you’re cumin from your coriander and importantly, your chilli from your paprika at a glance. It also means that you can be creative and decorate your jars and pots with imaginative doddles that make people smile. Labelling also means that you don’t double up on buying things.

Dry/pickle your own – This can be lots of fun, but a little hectic in the glut months of Autumn when piles of precious berries, fruits and veggies are filling the kitchen.  Some late night jammin’ and picklin’ may be in order.  A few pickling/ preserving techniques and basic chutney/ jam recipes up your sleeve can make this time of year a joy.  Preserving the beauty of harvest time for later months when blooming nature seems very distant.  Homemade raspberry jam (we make it sugar free) in January is one of life’s great treats!

Here are a few recipes for picklin’ and preservin’ from the B.H.K library:

Beachu Kimchi

Beetroot, Apple and Caraway Sauerkraut

Apple and Plum Chutney

Chilli Onion Marmalade

5 Minute Fig and Prune Compote

Simple Blackcurrant Compote

rsz_p1080453

Categories: Recipes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: