Thursday, October 28, 2010

Past and Present

This chutney has few ingredients (all from the storecupboard), easy to make and eats well with cheese, cold meats, even a curry. One worth adding to the Christmas Hamper to give as a gift.
Apricot Chutney:
8 oz no-soak apricots
half pint water
6 oz raisins
10 oz soft brown sugar
1 tsp ready-made mustard
6 whole cloves
8 fl oz white vinegar
Put the apricots in a pan with the water and raisins and leave to soak for at least half an hour. Add the rest of the ingredients and stir over low heat until the sugar has dissolved. Bring to the boil and simmer for an hour or until the chutney has thickened (when a wooden spoon drawn over the base leaves a clear path).
Pot up in the usual way and store in a cool dark place.

Although not a pickle, if we have apples, it is always worth making up some 'pectin' that can be added to low-pectin fruits when making jam. Once made this should be stored in the freezer. Label clearly or you might think it is apple jelly/stock/egg whites.... as so many things look the same when frozen.
All that is needed to make pectin is apples and water. Five pounds of apples will need approx 2 pints of water. The important thing to remember is that ALL parts of the apples are cooked, the peel, the cores, the flesh as it is the bits so often discarded that contain the most pectin, and in the old days it was these 'discards' that were used to make the pectin, the flesh being used for other things.
to make the pectin:
Removed any bruised bits, then roughly chop the apples and put in a pan with the water (this should barely cover the apples). Cover and simmer over the lowest heat for about half an hour or until the apples are very soft and pulpy.
Pour into a jelly bag that is hanging over a large bowl and let the apples drip for a good 24 hours, then put the juice into a pan and boil until reduced by half - by which time it should be thick and syrupy. Ladle into 5 fl oz containers (yogurt pot size), cover and freeze when cold.
Note: one 5 fl oz of this pectin should be sufficient to set 2 lbs of low pectin fruit.

This next is not so much a pickle, more a relish (although never quite sure of the difference). However, another favourite of mine and - like the beetroot chutney - can eat a whole jar in one go. As I always have sweetcorn kernels in the freezer (if canned, drain well before using), and white cabbage, onions, bell peppers, not to mention vinegar and sugar, you could say this store cupboard relish starts off as store cupboard ingredients. If you prefer, use half white vinegar and half cider instead of all cider vinegar.
Corn Relish:
1 lb (500g) sweetcorn kernels (frozen, fresh or canned)
half pint (300ml) cider vinegar
6 oz (175g) red and green peppers, diced
8 oz (225g) white cabbage, very finely chopped
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 tblsp brown sugar
2 tblsp plain flour
2 tsp dry mustard
1 rounded tsp salt
1 rounded tsp turmeric
Put the sweetcorn, vinegar, peppers, cabbage, onion, and sugar into a pan and bring to the boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring from time to time.
Meanwhile, mix together the flour, mustard powder, salt and turmeric then after the veggies have been cooked the 15 minutes,, stir this into the pan, and continue stirring and cooking for five minutes, by which time the mixture should have thickened. Remove from heat and put into a large bowl and cover. Place in the fridge for 24 hours to allow the flavours to develop, then pot into sterilized jars. This relish will keep up to a month in the fridge. The relish can be store in plastic containers up to six months in the freezer.
This relish eats well with cold meats, and particularly good with chicken.