Tuesday, September 27, 2011

On my 'to do' list

I have this fear of getting near the end of my Edmonds challenge and having to face a long list of chutneys I haven't got around to making. Since I seldom use chutney, I don't find myself in need of it, and have to consciously plan when I'm going to make it.


Still, if I don't want to get stuck with a heap at the end, I've got to make chutneys more often than I have been, beginning with the cashmere chutney (p230) I made last night.


It's a fruit-based chutney, made from apple, dates and sultanas. The first step is to cook the chopped, unpeeled apples in malt vinegar. I was doing a half-recipe, in which about one cup of vinegar ought to have been enough to 'almost cover' the apples. Actually, it took far more than that, and I worried that the extra vinegar would affect the flavour of the finished chutney.


While my apples were cooking, I chopped up the dates and stuck them in a bowl with raisins, crushed garlic, and a heap of grated fresh ginger. These went into the pot with some brown sugar and cayenne pepper, and back on the heat for another half-hour or so.


It didn't take long for the chutney to start thickening up. I was already pressed for time in which to sterilise some jars, and half-expected the chutney to be ready long before the jars were. In the end, it came together ok, though the jars were still hot enough to make the chutney bubble and fizz as I ladled it in.


The quantity I'd made was exactly enough to fill the four assorted jars I'd prepared, so there wasn't much leftover for tasting. The small amount I tried from the edge of the pot had quite a potent flavour: I'd expected it to be tangy and fruity, but was surprised to find it was spicy as well. I guess that small amount of cayenne had a bigger impact than I expected.


At this stage, I found the flavour too sharp for simply using on bread etc, and may need to use it up by adding it to casseroles and things. But who knows what the flavour will be like in a few weeks' time? I'll let it sit for a while before I judge.

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