Monday, 7 April 2008

Glut Cooking

You know the signs - they start groaning any time you produce yet another dish containing that magical vegetable or fruit you happen to have in excess. Sometimes, they actually leave it on their plates (as my beloved did last spring when he simply couldn't face anymore asparagus)! So the solution is what I call glut cooking.

My current glut is zucchini and tomato, so I have been cooking up things like zucchini, tomato, onion and herb chunky mixes to freeze for the winter months when I will use them in stews, casseroles and soups. But the freezer can only hold so much of that - it's got to have enough room for other glut cooking, like pumpkin soup.

So yesterday I made The Chutney. I love this recipe - you can use it as you normally would or just throw it in with spare ribs or any other cut of meat you like and bake for about 1.5 to 2 hours - superb and oh, so easy.

Zucchini and Tomato Chutney
1.5kg zucchini, diced
1.5kg tomatoes, roughly chopped (or just use the little ones whole)
750g onions, diced
500g apples, peeled and diced
250g raisins
15ml paprika
15ml cinnamon
5ml mixed spice
30ml salt
125ml water

Place all of the above in a large pot and cook over low heat for a couple of hours until everything is soft and pulpy. You'll need to stir it occasionally to stop it sticking to the bottom of the pot. Add 400ml vinegar (I used apple cider vinegar, but you could use malt vinegar) and 500g sugar. Simmer until thick like stew (it never gets as thick as shop-bought chutneys). Ladle into sterilised jars and cap while very warm. As it cools, you will hear the satisfying pops of the vacuum forming. This recipe is enough to fill four large and six medium jars.

Note: to sterilise your jars, wash thoroughly and place still wet jars and lids on a tray in a 120C oven for about 20 minutes. Use jars with metal lids if possible, as you can achieve a good vacuum seal with these if you put them on while warm. Fill straight from the oven, wrapping a damp teatowel around the jar. Place lid on top and screw down while placing your knuckle in the middle pop-up thing (you might need to use a teatowel so you don't get burned).

love and light

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