Thursday, March 4, 2010

Of Chutney and other things

There has been much discussion here in regards to our apple crop. Our fruit trees are quite old and when we moved in practically ring barked by the ride on mower the previous owners used to do the yard. After 10 years of babying we have a bumper crop of lovely little green apples this year. We bottled the first bucket and now Greg has picked another. So my thoughts have turned to Chutney. I love chutney's and sauces and such and I used to supplement our income by a goodly amount years ago before the local council insisted all small producers pay a fee to the council to have their home kitchens approved for food preparation. this resulted in me saying several uncomplimentary things to the council inspector and saving my brilliance in the sauce and jam department for family and friends. So rather that twenty or thirty liters of chutney I shall make just a dozen or so jars. A particular favorite is Moroccan Chutney the recipe is below and I don't know if anybody in Morocco makes it but tough.

Moroccan Chutney
This is a smaller amount enough for home use. All the bits should be of a similar size.

1 kilo of green apples peeled cored and chopped
1.5 kilo of tomatoes as ripe as possible chopped (Skin off if you want)
1 kilo of onions peeled and diced.
1 kilo of dates chopped
1 or 2 lemons finely chopped skin and all or pulped in the food processor.
2 litres of good quality white wine vinegar ( cheap vinegar does not give you a good taste)
2 1/2 cups brown sugar
The spice mix is important as well, I like to buy small amounts of spices from a shop that has a good turnover.
* 1 teaspoon ground cumin
* 1 teaspoon ground ginger
* 1 teaspoon salt
* 3/4 teaspoon black pepper
* 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
* 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
* 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
* 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
* 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
If you would like a subtle flavour use a level teaspoon for a bit more kick use a heaped teaspoon, if you must have chili in it add dried chili powder or flakes to your taste. Put the ground spices into a cold pot. toast gently until you can smell them but if you burn them chuck them out and start again. When the spices are fragrant then add the other ingredients and stir over a low heat until the sugar dissolves and then simmer until it is thick and looks yum.
You have to stir it quite frequently and if you use a pot that you have burnt food in before then it will be more likely to stick. I have a jam and chutney only pot. I also use my big pressure cooker for small batches of stuff as it has a lovely thick bottom. Because you don't put a lid on chutneys when you are cooking them the pressure cooker is just a heavy bottomed pot.
Once the chutney is thick put it into hot jars - Jars that have been washed and then put into a 100 Degrees Celsius oven for at least ten minutes. I put the lids on straightaway (some people let it get cold but I don't) as the chutney cools the jars will vacuum seal. Don't worry if they don't. If you taste test your chutney and think Oh yuck too much vinegar leave it to sit for a few weeks the vinegar mellows. I hope you enjoy this let me know if you make it. It is really nice with Lamb Kebabs and Cous Cous.
You can make up the spice mix and keep it in a bottle to add to your stews and such or a little to the cous cous along with some currants and toasted almonds is really nice.


Jules said...

Yum Yum! That sounds delicious. I'm impressed with your knitting too, I've neve been able to crack that, just can't cope with 2 needles!

Karen said...

mmm sounds delicious, my younger son made something like this last year for his Dad's birthday and used it with Lamb Shanks, daz's fav and it was a massive hit.
cheers for the recipe xoxo