Dreaming of Marmalade Making

 
 
 

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.

 
IMG_3446.JPG
 
 

Six Pepper 'Tchup

 
 
 

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.

 
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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.

 

Beetroot & Black Carrot Cake with Nutty Six-Pepper Jelly Ice Cream

 
 

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.

Six-pepper Sunday Roast Chicken

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.

Chee Rabbits and Snaekdog: Smy Chutney Super Fans

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

Tweetdeck

highlights something of interest. Sometimes it feels like Twitter is tapping into the same cosmic stream that makes

iTunes

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

Tweetdeck

:

does water really need a f*@!ing day?

#

worldchutneyday

22 March

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

.

22 March

Both tweets were from

Chee

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

#

worldchutneyday

,

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

Chee

Rabbits is himself a talented musician, writer and artist (

www.snaek.org

) as well as the Royal Sweetness of

Confettiland

, so it is a great partnership, friendship and alliance for all involved.

Chee

Rabbits kindly placed an order on

www.SmyChutney.com

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

Smy

Chutney. I sometimes forget that jars of

Smy

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

Snaekdog

:

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.

Chee

Rabbits and

Snaekdog

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

Chee

Rabbits for his amazing artwork and support and to everyone who enjoys and supports

Smy

Chutney.

and remember...

it's not your chutney...

it's

Smy

Chutney.

Work Them Smy Chutney Batches

Here's a little video to give you an insight into a typical Sunday for Smy Chutney. This one is actually last Sunday but this will encapsulate the past week. You may not find bubbling chutney, or in this case six-pepper jelly, as fascinating as I do but as I was making this video this song happened to get thrown into the mix and it is my favourite song as the minute, Ramadanman's Work Them. Good tunes obviously makes for tastier chutney and this seemed to work perfectly as the potent six-pepper jelly was furiously rolling. The picture isn't brilliant as it was fogging up the camera...probably not the best idea...but I thought it looked like molten lava or a martian firework display.



and remember...
it's not your chutney...
it's smy chutney