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.