Friday, February 4, 2011

Pantry item

As an aid to introductions at the hen's party tomorrow night, we've all been asked to bring an item for Lauren's pantry beginning with the same letter as our first names - prizes given for originality.

I initially intended to re-label a bottle of red wine as 'Robyn's Reserve Red' and create a lengthy description on the back using as many r-words as possible. I was quite enthusiastic about the idea at first, but when it came to making up coherent, relevant sentences using only r-words, I couldn't put together a version I was satisfied with.

The hen's party was getting ever closer, I wasn't getting any further with the wine description, so I started to think of other possible pantry items. Ideally, I should make something from the Edmonds book, but I didn't think there was anything starting with 'r' that I could pass off as a pantry item. Without much hope, I picked up my Edmonds book to flick through the jam and pickle chapters - just in case.

As I thought, the only 'r' recipe was raspberry jam, and I'd already made that. There weren't any recipes beginning with 'r' amongst the pickles, chutneys and sauces.. but there was a tomato relish (p234)! How about 'Robyn's Relish' as a pantry item? Homemade, too - that's got to count for something!

I hadn't left myself much time to get it made, though: by the time I bought my ingredients, I only had today to make the relish. The tomatoes and onions have to be salted and sit for 12 hours - a difficult length of time, if you're doing it during the week - so I was up at six this morning, chopping onions and blanching tomatoes.

The tomatoes and onions had produced quite a bit of liquid by the time I got home this evening. I poured this off and put the vegetables in a pot with some brown sugar, chillis and malt vinegar. This mixture bubbled away happily for an hour and a half while I pottered about preparing jars and making nibbles for the party.

When the boiling time was up, I mixed together a paste of mustard powder, curry powder, flour and vinegar, and added that to the pot. Another five minutes' boiling, and the relish was ready. I'd only done a half-recipe, which turned out to be exactly the right size to fill two of the jars I had prepared.

After the jars had cooled down, I took the larger one, and prettied it up a little with a cover and a label. Robyn's Relish: one pantry item beginning with 'r', ready to go. Now all that remains to be seen is whether someone else has come up with something better!

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