Of things delicious and pretty

I seem to have left a long time between posts, and a fair bit has been going on.  My house is gently scented by the huge pot of simmering beans, which I’ll transfer into ice-cube trays when they’re done, and freeze them in easy serve portions for these chilly days that are starting to creep upon us.  Max is soundly sleeping, he’s got his first full day at daycare tomorrow.  He’s been really enjoying his visits so far, he even has day sleeps for them without too much fuss – I’m starting to expect that he may do the same thing for me, but to no avail!

I’m planning to learn how to knit, so that might be the next adventure, I have had fun this week making cards, which has been quite fun, and I have quickly collated enough stuff from the trashy advertising that is constantly being put in my mailbox to make about a hundred more – if only I could find the time!

I’ve also made a huge batch of tomato chilli chutney, saucy plum jam and farm pickles.  I do have to admit that the jam has come out more as a sauce due to the recipe coming entirely from my head, therefore not ending up a very runny but delicious mess.   If  you have an idea about making jam you could probably change-up the recipe to make it more jam like, however it is certainly yummy.  And the pickling liquid is good, but the things I pickled also quite experimental – though this led to the happy discovery that radishes and cabbage are pretty damned good pickled, and the interesting discovery that so are snow peas, beans however seem to get pretty stringy.

So, recipes, if you wish you are welcome to come and have a glimpse into the insanity that is my kitchen….

Tomato Chilli Chutney

  • 500g tomatoes
  • 4 birdseye chilli (or whatever suits your taste buds)
  • 1 Tbsp oyster sauce
  • 1 Tbsp molasses
  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • Herbs
  • 1/8 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 4 garlic cloves

Plonk it all in a pot, bring it to a boil and wait for the sugar to dissolve, stirring constantly.  Then reduce to a simmer and leave it be for 45 mins.  Then process, put into sterilised jars and seal.  Or however you wish to store it.

Saucy Plum Jam

  • 300g plums, quartered with pips removed
  • 100g pineapple, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp chinese 5 spice
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 1/2 granny smith apple
  • 1 c castor sugar

Bring it all to a boil, simmer til the fruit is all soft, blend it all up.  Then keep it simmering until it reaches some kind of a thick consistency.  Jar it up.

Pickling liquid

Your base is going to be:

– 1-1/2 cups cider vinegar
– 1-1/2 cups water
– 3/4 cup sugar
– 2 tablespoons coarse salt
To this I added:

  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 Tbsp curry powder
  • 2 chillies
  • a few black peppercorns
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds

You then bring it to a boil, while waiting for it to boil go through your chosen veg and do any prep required. I used onion, cabbage, radish, snow peas, cauliflower and green beans.  Discard anything that looks even slightly past it.  Place into jars. Once the liquid has boiled for about 5 minutes, pour it over the vegetables and seal the jars.  They need to then go into a dark place, and be left alone for a couple of weeks for the flavour to develop (if you’re impatient like me keep a little jar aside, and after a couple of days you can start on it, but it is better the longer you wait.



The Music of Food

I’m watching a program called ‘Two Greedy Italians‘ and as they are cooking they speak of the music of the food, the pitches and

the greedy italians

tones telling them whether the food is ready for the next step.  I love it, and I agree.  Think of the sounds of sizzling onions, the satisfying knock on a loaf of bread, the change when the mortar and pestle starts to really pulverize your spices. Even the different sounds that a pot of water makes as it goes through the stages of boiling.

Thought I’d also let you know what I had for dinner tonight:

3 S’s

You’ll need:


  • 1 piece salmon (around 170g), skin on
  • 1 lime
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 1 garlic clove
  • chilli to taste
  • wholegrain mustard
  • plain yoghurt
  • kumera *
  • pumpkin
  • carrot
  • asparagus
  • rocket
  • cherry tomatoes
  • snow pea shoots
  • avocado
  • walnuts
  • 1 granny smith apple
  • apple cider vinegar
  • wholegrain mustard
  • lime juice
  • chilli powder
  • garlic

What you need to do

1 – Get your mortar and pestle – I do love using a mortar and pestle.

2 – Chop your lime in half, then one half into thirds.  Add this to your mortar and pestle along with chilli, ginger and garlic.  Pound it up a bit. Marinate salmon in this for 10 mins or so, you’ll see that the juice has penetrated into the top layer of the fish.  Don’t leave it too long as the acid in the juice sort of cooks the fish.  (One day soon I’ll tell you all about Poisson Cru, remind me).

3  – while the fish is marinating, chop up your pumpkin, kumera and carrot roughly, boil them until tender.  Blanche the asparagus at the same time, then plunge into cold water.

4 – heat a pan, add a touch of olive oil, add the fish, remove chilli from marinade, reserve the rest.  Cook fish for 2-3 mins each side, I like to have the pan really hot, and turn down the element as I put the fish in (start skin down) – that way there you get a great crispy skin on it, but the heat is a bit more moderated for the skinless side and it cooks a bit slower leaving the flesh more tender – or should that be tenderer?

5 – Drain your veggies, add mustard, yoghurt and some of the marinade. Mash it all up.  I like to leave it a wee bit chunky still. Add herbs if desired – I like to use thyme or rosemary.

6  – Construct salad.  I’m going to take a guess that you can manage this bit – listen to the music of the salad and do whatever pleases you!

7 – pour equal parts vinegar and lime juice, one garlic clove and a sprinkle of chilli powder into a jar, do the hokey pokey and shake it all about, and that’s your dressing.