Chutney. That’s it.

Few weeks back, we went to a friend’s house in the middle of the beautiful English countryside. In his garden, big apple trees were giving away the sure sign that summer was ending, offering big, green cooking apples.

My little one – who gave his first steps in this same garden – found many apples on the ground and spotted many others hanging from the tree. He went on collecting the windfalls and I picked many from the tree. They were all big and juicy. We had so many! Hence, the only thing that felt right to do was to convert them into chutney. I posted some pictures of the chutney on social media and many people asked for the recipe.

The recipe I got comes from a lady whom I used to travel with on the same bus at the same time for many years. She gave it to me once we met and I was with a bag full of apples and I was not sure what to do…and I did not want to waste them!

Without further ado, here it goes. Enjoy!

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You will need:

Equipment:

Kitchen scale

Jars

Heavy based pan (the biggest one you can find)

Muslin cloth

With regards of the quantities, you can slash the recipe in half. Times may not have to be shortened…you may need to keep an eye and follow your common sense. The first time I did it I had to do it with only half the quantities mainly because I did not have a big enough pan. The result was great…which lead me to make an investment and buy the pan I have now.

Ingredients:

1 kg cooking apples, peeled and cored *900 grams is the weight of the apples once peeled, cored and chopped.

250 gr onions, peeled and chopped *same as the apples, 250 grams of the onions once peeled and chopped.

250 gr raisins

1 teaspoon salt

900 ml white vinegar (distilled malt)

60 gr mixed pickling spice (I used “Barts”)

3 teaspoons ground ginger

500 gr soft brown sugar

 

 

Time:

About 2 hours. You need patience…and if you can rope someone in to help you with the peeling and coring and chopping, the better!

 

Yield:

With this quantities,  I get about 4 / 5 jars. (Kilner jars follow the link to give you an idea)

 

Method:

 

Turn the oven on at 120/140 (fan). Wash with hot soapy water your jars and give them a good rinse. Stick them in the oven and take them out when you are about to pot the chutney.

For the rubber seals and / or lids, wash them in hot soapy water, rinse them and put them in a pan with enough water to cover them completely. Bring to the boil and boil the rubber seals / lids for 10 minutes. Turn the hob off, cover the pan with a lid and leave the rubber seals in the pan until you are ready to use them.

Now that the sterilising is done, prepare the spices. Weight in a kitchen scale 60 grs and put it in a muslin. I think you can buy the bags but if you do not have any, a clean non-coloured (white) piece of muslin will do. Put the spices and tie up the muslin making a bag.

Put in the pan in a medium to high with the chopped apples, onions, raisins, and the salt. Add the vinegar.  Add the spices bag and give it a good stir. Bring it to the boil and then reduce the heat and simmer until tender. Remove the spice bag and add the ground ginger.

Add the sugar and stir until it has dissolved. Continue to simmer until the chutney is thick. Stir occasionally so it does not stick to the bottom of the pan.

Once it is done to your liking, take the jars from the oven, and put them on top of a wooden table or marble and pot the chutney. Take the rubber seals / lids and close the pots. Leave them to cool completely. Add a label with the date.

Now. The chutney must mature, so hide them in a dark, cool place for two or three months.

You may ask how long it lasts. That depends a lot on the hygiene procedures of sterilisation. I will say to use your common sense on this one: if you open it and the smell or texture is not right, discard it.

Other wise….Enjoy!!!WP_20170830_005

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The reinvention of the wheel

As I am cleaning my inbox I stumbled across the following:

There are no original ideas. There are only original people. ”

Barbara Grizzuti Harrison

No need to mention, courtesy of Goodreads. And it got me thinking about how my last 24 hours have been, struggling  to make a recipe work adding  ingredients – under the suspicion that it had ingredients missing because it did not look right – only to come to the conclusion that it did not have anything missing except for the milk to bind all the ingredients.

Briefly: as I am still unemployed and enough time  I tried to make some Christmas cookies, the way my German grandmother used to do them.  I asked the recipe to my mother, who kindly gave it to me – after translating it from German – and warning me that there was a “catch”: my grandmother used to write down what she knew she would forget. Then the rest, was in her head.  Hence, the chance that it may be some ingredients missing was 50 / 50. It did not say for how long they should be in the oven, not to mention the temperature.

I wondered for quite some time about what ingredients could be missing, for how long they should be in the oven, does the dough need to be in the fridge? All those questions unanswered, hence the frantic scouting over the internet to see if I could somehow complete the recipe.

Last night, when my son was finally asleep, I decided to “reinvent the wheel” preparing a recipe with the ingredients from my grandmother, plus others, plus some instructions. As I am no chef, experimenting was the word of the evening.

Guess what:

WRONG.

This morning I woke up and happily went to the fridge to see a lump of dough, completely unmanageable.

So.

I decided to follow the simple recipe. And use just milk to bind it all. And guess what?

IT WORKED.

Wonders.

Yes, it took me a bit of time – and a small batch of cookies – to figure out the right temperature of the oven and the time for cooking.

Reinvention of the wheel? trying to be original with the great original idea of adding ingredients since I suspected it could be wrong, because it was too simple? Nah.

Tonight a beautiful batch of cookies came out of the oven, scenting the whole house of cinnamon, ginger and clove, with a note of honey. So the wheel did not get reinvented. It got oiled, it came back from good old memories to this century, to this house, to feed the memories of my son.

Simple is best, and as this recipe was ever so simple – I may even post it here – I thought it was too simple, forgetting that sometimes, if not all the times, simple is best. In every aspect of life and that includes being a parent.

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