Sunday, September 11, 2011

Slowly Does It

Trade mag has not yet been delivered, so if I make this a fairly short blog will hopefully find time to return again tomorrow to give you this week's trade secrets. Looks like the family ferry trip from Ireland (late Monday night) may be delayed anyway due to adverse weather conditions.

Will almost certainly be having a trial run of the veg box scheme once my stocks of 'fresh' have almost gone, which no doubt will be more expensive than supermarket supplies, but as it will stop me shopping at the supermarket for quite a long time, it will be worth the experiment. Before then might give our local farmer's market a try (fourth Thursday in each month) - at least will take a look to see what they have and check prices on the 22nd of this month.

Was fairly lucky this recent Tesco delivery as their cauliflowers were Bogof, so got two medium sized ones for 84p for the two. Their larger ones are very expensive and have found even at normal price that two smaller work out cheaper (by weight) than buying one large.

I too write on plastic bags/boxes using a marker pen minimiser deb, it washes off easily, so can keep using the boxes if not the bags again. A good idea to make our own mango chutney - never thought about it (a couple of recipes that I've found are included today).

Alison loves making preserves, but finds it takes time, am giving some recipes (one for mango chutney) that can be made in a slow cooker (so no need to stand over it and keep stirring), and another for the same made in a traditional way - which might be the recipe Deb uses. Also one that needs no cooking at all.

Have yet to find out if I can watch James Martin's prog on iPlayer (re the NHS food) Polly, but it does seem that their allowance of £3.49 per person per day should be ample, working on the principle that it is costs less (per head) to feed one than two. So multiply the numbers that need to be fed in hospital, and the budget should go a lot, lot further. Suppose in hospital the amount of calories can be reduced due to lack of exercise, but the food should be nutritious and - above all - look and taste appetising, but even that shouldn't make a meal cost a lot.

We have a new reader from (apparently) New Zealand, so welcome to Leesling with our usual group hugs. Am not planning to eat the udon noodles for a few days/weeks (the date on the pack to use is December), but will give readers my opinion when we do, so watch this space. Do agree they are very much more expensive than the usual noodles - my 300g pack costing £1.48p), not sure what that converts to in NZ $.

B has popped his head through the door - he is off early today sailing due to tide times. No trade mag, so unless we get it tomorrow, trade secrets will have to be revealed next weekend.

Meanwhile, here are some more recipes. The first three are made using a slow-cooker. As well as serving with curries, mango chutney can be served with cold or grilled poultry and meats, or blended into Coronation chicken, and also a teaspoonful blended into creme fraiche or Greek yogurt, with a teaspoonful of mild curry paste makes a great dip. The second chutney is especially good to liven up cold roast turkey after Christmas (or Thanksgiving). Third chutney makes use of garden produce, and very good eaten with all full-flavoured cheeses, white or 'blue'.

Mango Chutney: makes 1 lb (450g)
3 firm mangoes, peeled, stoned, flesh cut into small chunks
4 fl oz (120ml) cider vinegar
7 oz (200g) light muscovado sugar
1 jalapeno chilli, split
1" (2.5cm) piece of root ginger, peeled and finely chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped or crushed
5 cardomom pods, bruised
1 bay leaf
half tsp salt
Put the chopped mango into the cooking pot and add the cider vinegar, stir to combine then put on the lid and cook on High for 2 hours, giving it a stir after one hour.
When the 2 hours are up, add the rest of the ingredients, stirring until the sugar has completely dissolved, then cover and cook for 2 hours. Remove lid and let the mixture cook for a further hour (uncovered) or until the chutney has reduced to a thick consistency and no excess liquid remains. During this final hour, the chutney should be stirred every fifteen minutes.
Remove the bay leaf and chilli, then spoon the chutney into hot, sterilized jars and seal. Store for at least a week before eating, and use within a year.

Sweet and Hot dried fruit Chutney: makes 3 lb 6 oz (1.5kg)
12 oz (350g) no-soak apricots, roughly chopped
8 oz (225g) dried stoned dates or prunes, roughly chopped
8 oz (225g) dried figs, chopped
2 oz (50g) candied peel, chopped
5 oz (150g) raisins
2 oz (50g) dried cranberries or dried cherries
3 fl oz (75ml) cranberry or apple juice
half pint (300ml) cider vinegar
8 oz (225g) caster sugar
zest of 1 lemon
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp salt
Put all the dried fruits into the cooking pot and pour over the cranberry (or apple) juice. Cover and cook on Low for 1 hour, or until the fruit has absorbed most of the juice.
Add the cider vinegar and sugar, then switch the slow-cooker to High and stir until the sugar has dissolved, then cover and cook on High for 2 hours or until the fruit is very soft and the chutney fairly thick (it will continue thickening as it cooks further). Stir in the lemon zest, the spices and salt, then cook UNCOVERED, for 30 minutues until most of the liquid has been taken up. Spoon into hot sterilized jars, cover and seal. Store in a cool, dark place and open within 10 months of making. Once opened and stored in the fridge it will keep for up to 2 months longer.

Beetroot, Apple and Onion Chutney: makes 3 lb (1.4kg)
half pint (300ml) malt vinegar
7 oz (200g) gran. sugar
12 oz (350g) raw beetroot, thinly peeled, grated and chopped
12 oz (350g) eating apples, peeled, cored and chopped
8 oz (225g) red onions, very finely chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
zest of 2 oranges
1 tsp ground allspice
1 tsp salt
6 oz (175g) chopped dates
Put the vinegar and sugar into the cooking pot, cover and cook on High until steaming hot. Stir until the sugar has completely dissolved, then stir in the all the ingredients except the dates. When fully mixed together, recover and cook for 4 - 5 hours, stirring occasionally, until the veggies are tender. Add the dates and cook for a further hour until the mixture is very thick - again stirring once or twice to prevnt the chutney catching on the base of the pot. Pot up as recipes above and store in a cool, dark place. Open within 5 months of making, then store in the fridge and use within 1 month.

Here is another recipe for mango chutney that is cooked on the hob.
Sweet Mango Chutney: makes 4 1/2 lb (2.25kg)
4 lb (2kg) yellow mangoes, peeled, stoned and sliced
9 oz (250g) cooking apples, peeled, cored and chopped
8 oz (250g) onions, chopped
4 oz (100g) raisins,
1 pint (600ml) distilled (clear 'white') vinegar
13 oz (375g) demerara sugar
1 tblsp ground ginger
2 - 3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tsp grated nutmeg
half tsp salt
Put all ingredients into a preserving pan and bring to the boil. Simmer gently, stirring occasionally, for bout 1 1/2 hours or until no excess liquid remains and the mixture is thick. Pot up in the normal way, covering immediately with airtight and vinegar-proof lids. Store for 2 - 3 months before eating.

Finally, for those who wish to speed things up, here is a recipe for chutney that needs no cooking and can be made at any time of the year.
No need to cook Chutney: makes 6 1/2 lb (3.25kg)
1 lb (500g) onions
1 lb (500g) cooking apples, cored
1 lb (500g) sultanas
1 lb (500g) stoned dates
1 lb (500g) soft brown sugar
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground allspice
1 tsp salt
half tsp pepper
1 pint (600ml) malt vinegar
Mince the onions, apples, sultanas and dates and mix together in a large bowl. Stir in the rest of the ingredients until well combined, then cover and leave for 24 hours, stirring from time to time to make sure the flavours are well blended.
Spoon into pre-heated sterilized jars and cover immediately with vinegar-proof lids. Store for 2 - 3 months before eating.

Will be back tomorrow in the hope to be able to share trade secrets, if the mag hasn't arrived, will at least be able to reply to comments and maybe give a few more recipes for pickles or relishes (or anything else you might prefer), so hope to hear from you. After that, will be taking the rest of the week off to spend time with the family etc., returning to chat with you again on Saturday. Unless weather conditions means the visit is postponed. Will have to wait and see. TTFN.

Spellcheck has failed so apologies for any mistakes.