Home Made

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This jar contains some Chutney I made yesterday.  It is probably the most home made thing I have ever made.  It is a subtle blend of Ireland, Morocco and India, which would place it physically somewhere around Turkey.  Here is the recipe.

1. Plant Onions and Tomatoes in the Spring.

2.  Buy some organic un-waxed lemons some time around July.  Pickle the lemons in Salt and lemon juice with a selection of spices such as mustard seed, whole black pepper, coriander, cumin and whole red chiles.  There are lots of recipes for “Moroccan preserved lemon” on the internet.  I got mine from Casa Moro:  The second cookbook.  http://www.amazon.com/Casa-Moro-The-Second-Cookbook/dp/0091894492

3.  Harvest plums and apples from your garden.

4.  Buy 1 red chili, some white balsamic vinegar and some sugar.  ( we just don’t have the climate in Ireland to grow grapes for vinegar, cane for sugar, chilies and lemons).

5.  In a pot mix a good glug of the vinegar with sugar.  Fiddle with the proportions to your taste.  Some people like more vinegary pickle, I like it sweeter.

Chop up lots of bruised windfall cooking apples, discard the brown bits and use only firm fresh white apple.  Mix the apple well into the vinegar and sugar to stop it browning.

Add sliced onions from your garden, ditto sliced tomato – green is fine.  Add chopped plum, finely sliced fresh red chile.

Remove a lemon from your pickle jar, scrape off the flesh with a spoon, discard, and wash the skin well in fresh water.  Slice the skin finely and add to the chutney.

Add a good spoon of well ground Panchphoran. (this is an Indian 5 spice mix of onion seed, cumin, mustard seed, fenugreek and fennel which brings out vegetable flavours very well)

6.  Boil the chutney until the apple is pureé and then stick it in a sterilised jar.  (OK I didn’t make the jar either – but I reused an old one, so that is environmentally friendly)

The red chili gives this chutney a kick.  If you prefer mild chutney you can leave it out.

It got the ultimate vote of confidence from my 18 year old son who said, and I quote verbatim “well, it’s not completely disgusting“.  Children have such confidence in their parents culinary arts.

On a historical note, Chutney achieved fame because of the British Navy.  In the search for prophylactics against scurvy the British Navy experimented with various foodstuffs, many of them pickles such as sauerkraut (used by Captain Cook on his voyages to good effect).  Throughout the 17th and 18th centuries various foods and drinks were experimented with, including lime chutney and lime cordial.  In reality neither was effective in treatment of scurvy and it is the availability of fresh food that cures scurvy.  However, chutney gained in popularity among the British in the Caribbean,  in India and ultimately at home in England.  In the Victorian era fortunes were made in the production of sauces which owe their origin to chutney, such as Ketchup and Brown Sauce.

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