Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Stocking your Storecupboard

In times past, cooks would fill the larder shelves with home-made preserves, pickles, relishes and sauces. This was one way to use up surplus garden produce which would then - not having freezers - last through the winter months. Now it may not seem worthwhile to make any of these but as everyone knows, home made tastes a great deal better than bought and is always far cheaper.
6 lb (3kg) - weight after preparation - of mixed vegetables
best ones to use are: marrow, cucumber, beans, cauliflower, small onions
12 oz (375g) salt
6 pints (3,6 ltrs)
9 oz )375g) gran. sugar
1 level tsp. mustard powder
1 rounded tsp ground ginger
2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
2 1/2 pints (1.5 ltrs) distilled vinegar
2 oz (50g) plain flour
2 level tsp turmeric
Remove seeds from the marrow and finely dice the marrow and cucumber. Top. tail and slice the beans, remove skin from the onions and cut in half. Break the cauliflower into small florets. Get a large bowl and start layering the vegetables, sprinkling each layer with salt. Pour over the water, cover and leave for 24 hours. After this time, remove the vegetables and rinse well under running water. Drain to remove as much water as possible.
Using a large pan, put in the sugar, mustard, ginger and garlic, adding 2 pints of the vinegar. Stir to blend then add the vegetables. Bring to the boil and simmer for 20 minutes (by then the vegetables should be cooked but still al dente). Blend the flour and turmeric with the remaining vinegar and add to the pan. Stir and bring back to the simmer and cook for 2 minutes. Spoon into warm, sterilised jars and cover with screwtop, vinegar-proof lids.

Sweetcorn Relish:
1 lb (450g) sweetcorn kernels, fresh or frozen
10 fl.oz. (300ml) cider vinegar
60z (175g) mixture of red and green bell peppers, diced
8 oz (225g) white cabbage, very finely chopped
1 large onion, finely diced
1 tblsp demerara sugar
2 tblsp plain flour
2 tsp dry mustard
good pinch salt
1 tsp turmeric
Blanch the corn for 3 minutes in boiling water. Strain. If you wish a smoother relish, either mince the peppers, cabbage, and onion together, or pulse, using a food processor for a few seconds then combine with the corn. Into a pan put the flour, salt, mustard, turmeric and sugar and blend together with the vinegar. Heat until the sugar has dissolved, then bring to the boil. Add the vegetables and simmer for 25 minutes, stirring from time to time. Spoon into hot jars and cover immediately with airtight vinegar-proof lids.