Monday, 25 January 2010

New Year...New Entries

I feel I may have let you, the few people that read my blog, down. Although I had set out to be dedicated to this blog, I have realised that it is very hard balancing my time between university work and my free time.
I have been incredibly busy these last few weeks with revising for exams and all. However, today I finished my last exam which means I can begin writing more for this blog.
In the last 3 weeks I have not been able to cook myself a proper, decent meal and instead I have been living off tinned tuna fish and omelettes. So, my first blog entry of 2010 will be about an amazing chutney recipe that my dad and I came across during the Christmas holidays. We were trying to find a way we could use up some dried figs, which were from figs collected in August off our own fig tree. They seemed to be a lot less popular than we had expected and so were trying to find a way to, simply put, get rid of them.
While searching our recipe books and looking through recipe websites, we found that there are not that many recipes that ask for dried figs. However we suddenly came across a chutney recipe which although its main ingredient was apples, it did actually include dried figs in its ingredients list.
We had never made a chutney before, marmalades, yes! but not chutnies! So we set out quite apprehensivly: chopped up all the ingredients, boiled them up with some sugar, and were extremely pleasantly suprised with the results! This chuntey recipe was both simple and easy to follow, even for chutney virgins like us. The sultanas and dried figs gave it an amazing amber colour but also gave it a lovely texture. It was not as smooth and baby-food like as other chutneys, but rather had oompf and a zinginess to it. The cayenne pepper also gave it warmth and heat. Overall this chutney was absolutly amazing and we found that it worked best with cheeses rather than cold meats. I, as well as other members of our family who tried the chutney on Christmas day, loved it so much that we made another batch of it in the last few days of the holidays. We gave one large jar to my grandmother, my parents kept another jar and I brought a small jar back to university with me. I have been greedily getting through it, by topping off a piece of cheddar cheese on an oat cracker with a spoonful of this amazing chutney.

Apple, Dried Fig and Apricot Chutney

5 apples
3/4 cup dried apricots
3/4 cup dried figs
1/2 cup raisins
4 cloves of garlic
2 by 1 inch cube of ginger
1 3/4 cup of sugar
1 1/2 white vinegar
2 tsp salt
1 tsp cayenne pepper

1) Peel, core and chop the apples into small pieces, depending on how fine or chunky you want your chutney. Chop the dried figs and apricots into pieces as large as thoughs of the apples and add them along with the raisins, to a medium sized pan.
2) Mince the garlic, grate the ginger and add them to the pan.
3) Then add the vinegar, sugar, salt and cayenne pepper and give the mixture a good stir.
4) Bring the mixture to a boil and then turn the heat down to medium-low heat for about 40 minutes, until it reaches a thick consistency similar to jam.
5) Stir the mixture every now and then, to make sure it doesn't stick to the bottom of the pan.
6) Once it's ready, let it cool completely in the pan before pouring into jars.

This recipe should get you about 3 small jars.