Soon it will be time to make Seville Orange Marmalade and I cannot wait. This year I plan on doing some experimentation on my usual recipe. The photo above is of a toast breakfast with fig and cherimoya from last year and also holds a clue to the intended experimentation. Until I get my hands on some Seville oranges I will be daydreaming and doodling as shown below.
Ketchup is not my favourite condiment by a long shot. I only really eat it with chips and even then not consistently. Heinz was founded in 1869 and had over 60 varieties of sauces and products on offer when in 1876 it began offering Heinz Tomato Ketchup. Ketchup were traditionally sauces made from other ingredients with mushroom ketchup being very popular in England. Since 1907 Heinz have become synonymous with "ketchup" when it began exporting it all over the world.
The ingredients list of Heinz ketchup is: Tomato Concentrate , Distilled Vinegar, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Corn Syrup, Salt, Spice, Onion Powder, Natural Flavoring. The two types of corn syrup are worrying and my own mother looked down on ketchup and discouraged it but did not outright ban it. Parents attending a 6 week jam and chutney making course told me of their frustrations of their children wanting to add ketchup to all their food and worried about the syrup and salt levels. The following week we made a healthy alternative ketchup and the children loved the taste and the parents loved giving them a homemade option using fresh tomatoes with minimal amounts of sugar and salt. I was so impressed with the results that I decided to make my own version but the idea was overtaken by the business end of the summer fruit season.
Fast forward a year and there was a deal on tomatoes at Swiss Cottage Green Grocers that I couldn't resist and the memory of the tomato ketchup popped back into my mind. What I didn't count on was that the entire process would take me about twenty-four hours and that at the end of it when I shut my eyes I would see a psychedelic array of tomatoes like those above.
I roasted 9 kilos of tomatoes along with some onion and garlic with olive oil until they had carmelised and released their juice. Next was the most labour intensive part of the process; putting all the roasted ingredients through a passaverdura which separates the skin and seeds from the tomato flesh.
The countless cranks were worth it as the resulting paste from the passaverdura cannot be matched from sieving as it really does scrape every last bit of the tomato that you want in your sauce and leaves the rest.
Next up was to place all the tomatoes that had gone through the passaverdura into my trusty pot, well one of my trusty pots, and add a very secret seection of spices. The only sugar I added was about half a jar of six-pepper jelly to give it a bit of sweetness and a bit of heat. and let it simmer and thicken for about two hours. The resulting sauce is thick, tangy, spicy and flavourful but it's all about the tomatoes.
Twenty-four hours + 9 kilos of tomatoes = 5 x 250ml bottles of Six-Pepper 'Tchup. I have been enjoying the 'Tchup with eggs and invariably adding it to sauces and recipes. I'm not offering these jars for sale at the moment as I've already been through two of them and gave two away as Christmas presents. I will definitely make some more once tomatoes are back in season and the memory of cranking the passaverdura has faded. In the meantime I will be rationing the remaining bottle and trying my hand at some other traditional ketchup recipes, perhaps mushrooms or walnuts - watch this space.
This is the Beetroot and black carrot cake served with homemade vanilla ice cream with mixed nuts roasted in six-pepper jelly with sea salt and demerara sugar and topped with candied black carrots.
It was such an enjoyable cake to make from start to finish and it finished by being one of the best cakes that I have ever made. It was put together in my favourite way to cook; I was inspired by a recipe that I had eaten, a seasonal ingredient obsession, something catching my eye, adding in an old favourite and a bit of a challenge. I was making a pudding to follow an amazing meal prepared by the incredible Frank About Food which is a pretty hard act to follow so I was looking to creating something a bit special. My cousin Sharon's courgette cake acted as my inspiration as it's delicious and I needed something totally chocolate free. I went to Swiss Cottage Green Grocers and spotted some black carrots that I thought I would want in my cake I was pre-building in my head. I'm obsessed with beetroot so I thought that would add some more natural sweetness and help with moisture. It ended up being such a light, flavourful, moist cake which went really well with the ice cream and all the different textures, with the ocassional salt and bitter tones from the sea salt and candied black carrots respectively.
- Roast chicken
- Roast duck
- Six-pepper jelly
- Black cherry & black pepper compote
- Apple and pepper chutney
- Pumpkin & pomengranite chutney
- Plum gumbo
- Seville orange marmalade
- Homemade bread, ciabatta and baguette
- Pickled beetroot
- Pickled cabbage
- Vegetable Juice
- Red Leicester
Check out these jars of Smy Chutney, lounging on a sunny terrace in Rome, marvelling at the Colosseum, having an aperitivo and thinking about the important things like - where has the best pizza in Rome? The best tiramisu? Is there a city in the world as beautiful as Rome?
(grazie Nina e Zappa per le foto! x)
Feast your eyes on a range of canap
s that I made for a recent gathering. They were the prelude to an Italian-made porcini risotto starter, roast beef and caramelised onion main and lemon curd ice cream that I made for dessert. The canap
s were a hit and starting from the right of the photo and moving left they were:
- Brie topped with banana & date chutney
- Cream cheese topped with six-pepper jelly
- Goat's cheese topped with jamón Serrano and black cherry and black pepper conserve
- Rocket topped with pan-seared duck breast and plum gumbo
- Grilled mackerel topped with greengage chutney
- Stilton topped with black cherry and clack pepper conserve.
The top three favourites were the mackeral and greengage chutney, duck with plum gumbo and rocket and the classic banana & date with brie. The stilton was meant to be paired with a red onion marmalade but we ended up serving it as another accompaniment to the beef with the carmelised onions. I used Nairn's mini oatcakes for the
s but I prefer to make my own and add different seeds and spices to complement the
or they are nice to eat on their own as an alternative to crisps.
Close up of (from bottom to top) duck, rocket & plum gumbo; jam
n, goat's cheese and black cherry; cream cheese and six-pepper jelly.
Close up of (from bottom to top) stilton and clack cherry and black pepper compote; mackerel and greengage chutney.
I love a Sunday roast. I love six-pepper jelly. So I massaged six-pepper jelly into a chicken and roasted it up.
I've tried this technique many times and the resulting chicken is crispy, spicy and super moist.
There's nothing like sharing a home-cooked roast dinner with friends and family but I knew that I had a hectic week and that by roasting a chicken I would be setting myself up for some easy but tasty meals to eat throughout the week. I made three tasty salads with some of the left over meat and ate those on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. This one has the chicken, mixed greens, shredded carrot and beetroot, mixed seeds and a dollop of rhubarb chutney.
With the left over carcass, some onion, carrot, celery, bay leaf, parsley, salt and pepper I made a chicken stock. I use stock cubes in emergencies but I always try to have an arsenal of homemade stocks in the freezer as they make such a difference in soups and gravies.
From which I then made red cabbage, chicken, parsnip and pinenut soup to have for lunch on Thursday and Friday and I was able to freeze two large portions as well.
I'll share some of my other leftovers meals as there are so many, I have a post nearly ready to go on rissoles and risottos. I'll also post the full recipe for the above soup.
Last weekend I was fortunate enough to be asked to be involved in the
Marie Curie Blooming Great Tea Party at the Avo Hotel Dalston. Lots of care and planning went into an amazing day which saw over £400 being raised for Marie Curie which will help this brilliant charity continue with its work. Delicious food and drink were donated and prepared by generous businesses and lots of locals came out to enjoy cups of tea, sandwiches and the cakes and other goodies that were available. The weather cooperated and everyone was in high spirits and feeling good. Here are just a few photos from the day, apologies on the quality but I lost my handbag the previous weekend which had my camera in it:
This is only some of all the donated food and drink.
My lemon curd cupcakes (curdcakes somehow sounds wrong...) and my chocolate and six-pepper jelly cupcakes. They were very well received!
Strawberry & pineapple jam standing at the ready to be teamed with homemade scones and cream!
Lots of amazing individuals and businesses were involved in this day including:
(apologies for anyone that I have not included!)
You can see more photos by checking out the
Click on the link to find out more about
or if would like to donate to the cause.
it's not your chutney...
it's Smy Chutney.
Lately I've been meeting amazing people and sometimes becoming good friends with people on Twitter. It's often the case where I may start following someone whose blog I have found helpful or
highlights something of interest. Sometimes it feels like Twitter is tapping into the same cosmic stream that makes
seem to predict what music you need to have "shuffle" into your life at exactly the right time. Several weeks ago I saw the following tweets pop up on my
does water really need a f*@!ing day?
I absolutely love chutney. Is there some kind of chutney lovers website or committee I can join? I wish to talk to like minded chutney lovers
Both tweets were from
Rabbits, they made me smile and I started following him immediately. Entertaining discourse ensued and two people with similar interests and senses of humour forged a friendship. Together we have not succeeded in a
however we have gone on to recognise an entire Chutney Kingdom full of kings, queens, princes, folklore, creatures and music where every day is World Chutney Day. As you should know
Rabbits is himself a talented musician, writer and artist (
) as well as the Royal Sweetness of
, so it is a great partnership, friendship and alliance for all involved.
Rabbits kindly placed an order on
and since receiving his order he has been giving me lots of feedback and recipe ideas. I asked him for some pics and what I received today had me welling up as they are just SO fabulous. I am, as ever, so touched that someone would take such time and effort to celebrate
Chutney. I sometimes forget that jars of
Chutney have a whole other life that I don't often get to glimpse once they've been sold on. It's these glimpses that make me the happiest as does making new friends. So let me introduce you to
I've added this to my website as I do all feedback and pictures sent in but I will be putting this up on my actual wall as well as my virtual ones.
will obviously be rewarded in free chutney samples for their contribution to the chutney arts and as a show of thanks. I can't say thank you enough to
Rabbits for his amazing artwork and support and to everyone who enjoys and supports
it's not your chutney...
it's not your chutney...
it's smy chutney