Saturday, 31 January 2009

Pickle, chutney, marmalade, sauce

Sounds like a skipping rhyme.... "pickle, chutney, marmalade, sauce, is it my go? yes of course!"

I've been looking forward to this weekend all week - and why? what are my big plans? Making pickles, chutney, marmalade and a sauce or two! I think if I was American I could describe myself as a dork, if I have got the meaning right, but I can't think of a suitable word from Britain. Anyway, I've been looking forward to making lots of stuff by boiling up sugar and vinegar and salt and stuffing it all into hot jars.

I made up a list of what I wanted to make and picked up the things I would need through the week, the only things I couldn't get hold of were dry mustard powder and, more importantly malt vinegar. I read up about the vinegar and it seems the most important factor is the percentage of acetic acid in it - it needs to be a minimum of 4%. I looked at the apple cider vinegar, white wine vinegar and Jerez sherry vinegar in the shops here and the percentages were 5%, 6% and 7% - so hopefully no problem! I'm using a mixture of all three so that the minimum acidity will be 6%.

I planned on making:
  1. Seville orange marmalade - with and without whisky, with the windfall oranges.
  2. Piccalilli - a spicy bright yellow mustardy pickle with cauliflower and other vegetables that probably only I like.
  3. Indian Chutney - with apples and dates.
  4. Lime Pickle - this seems quite like preserved lemons.
  5. Tomato and chilli sauce.
I've made sweet orange marmalade, piccalilli and chutney before, the lime pickle and sauce are new to me. I mostly followed the recipes in an Australian Women's Weekly magazine/book (The Book of Preserves, Ed.: Maryanne Blacker, 1990) except for the Lime pickle, where I used/adapted the recipe from '1001 Recipes' (Ed.: Alexa Stace, 1997).

Seville Orange Marmalade
  • 1 kg Seville oranges (bk - 6 oranges, me -9 oranges)
  • 2 litres water (tap)
  • 2 kg white sugar, approximately (I didn't re-measure the boiled up fruit mixture, as instructed, I just stuck in all the sugar).
I sliced up all the oranges on Friday night, reserving all the pips separately in a cup and covering with water. The oranges are left overnight with the water in a large covered bowl.

Today, Saturday, I couldn't drain off the liquid from the pips, it was too jelly-like, so I tied them all up in a piece of calico (USA=muslin) and boiled this up with the oranges and water, like I have done before. After 45 minutes - 1 hr I added all the sugar, stirred without boiling until the sugar had dissolved and then boiled for another 20 minutes or so until it was (hopefully) at setting point. It passed the set test anyway.

  • 500g cauliflower, chopped (bk: 1/4 med. cauli, me: 1 whole small cauli just enough!)
  • 240g carrots, sliced (bk: 2 med, me: 3 smallish)
  • 2 celery sticks, sliced
  • 1 medium cucumber, sliced (I seeded and diced 1 small/med (English) cucumber)
  • 25og pickling onions, quartered (I bought jars of small pickled silverskin onions, used whole)
  • 1 cup coarse salt
  • 1 1/4 litres white vinegar (I used white vinegar from onions, 300 ml, 700 ml white wine vinegar, 125 ml apple cider vinegar and 125 ml sherry vinegar)
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon turmeric
  • 1 tablespoon dry mustard (couldn't get, or any English mustard, so bought a new bottle of American mustard and added a good 1-2 tablespoon of this)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 2 gloves garlic, crushed (I used 3 small/medium cloves)
  • 2 small fresh red chillies, chopped (I could only find large, mildish ones, so used 2 of these, removing the seeds and pith)
  • 1/4 cup corn flour blended in 1/4 cup vinegar (I ended up using double as I was worried the veg would be over cooked before the sauce was thickened)
Chopped up all the veg on Friday night after work, mixed with salt in a large covered bowl overnight.

Rinsed vegetables well in cold water (and added the pickled onions), and drained. They still seemed very salty. 

In large saucepan, combined the rest of the ingredients, except the corn flour and the extra vinegar. Brought to the boil, added the veg, simmer covered for 5 minutes. Stirred in the blended corn flour/vinegar mixture, stirred until mixture boils. It didn't seem to thicken very much, I was worried the vegetables were getting too soft so added more corn flour and cooked for a couple more minutes. Poured into hot sterilised jars.

Indian Chutney
  • 400g apples (2 large granny smiths), peeled, cored and chopped
  • 500g onions (4 medium), chopped (I chopped mine quite finely)
  • 500g dates (I used semi-dry/moist prunes instead as they were on special offer)
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard (couldn't get, used 1-2 tablespoons American mustard)
  • 1 1/4 litres white vinegar (I used 400ml apple vinegar, 400ml sherry vinegar and 450ml sherry vinegar)
  • 2 1/2 cups brown sugar (I used 500g raw cane sugar)
  • 2 tablespoons dried juniper berries (not in recipe, I added as I had them)
I should have combined everything except the sugar in a large pan and brought it to the boil, and simmered uncovered for an hour or until thick and pulpy. I didn't read the instructions properly and put the sugar in at the beginning, but it seemed to dissolve ok so I don't think it has caused a problem. I simmered/boiled it for more like 1 1/2 hours, boiling to thicken it near the end of the time. Again, I ladled into hot sterilised jars.

And this is where I have got to by Saturday night, so far everything looks good. The chutney seems to taste a bit too vinegary, but this will hopefully mellow a bit with time. I've started the lime pickle, but the limes need to be salted for 24 hours, they hadn't realised nearly enough juice after 15 hours, so might make these up tomorrow, along with the chilli tomato sauce. I love having all these jars of stuff stored up. It makes me feel prepared, I'm not sure what for, but still, it's a good feeling, and I have enough to give a few jars away to work colleagues.

Wednesday, 28 January 2009

Satay Udon noodles with brocolli, oyster mushrooms and cashew nuts

Made to kind of celebrate the Lunar New Year on Monday - not that I have any connection to this celebration, but it seems like a happy colourful event. I think the Chinese tradition is too eat noodles for the New Year to ensure a long life?

After living in Southern Spain for TWO YEARS I've finally realised that the 'ornamental' oranges that are grown in the parks here (not the sweet orange trees grown in orchards all around) are probably Seville oranges. The locals I'd asked about them just told me they were too bitter to eat, the fruits are left to rot or thrown away. Hmm, very bitter, knobbly shape....just like the seville oranges that are so prized by marmalade makers in Britain.

So after all the terrible wind I picked up some of the windfalls and will be making marmalade at the weekend. Reading up about Seville oranges I found out that the juice could be used instead of lemon juice, still providing the sourness but obviously with an orangey taste. I tried that out in this dish and it was really delicious! I'm going to be picking up more.

Tuesday, 27 January 2009

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!, originally uploaded by soja.

I think this little chap is supposed to be lucky! I saw these cats everywhere in Peru, especially in shop and restaurant windows.

He was picked up on a trip to Japan just over a year ago.

Happy Year of the Ox!

Sunday, 25 January 2009

Flower Power!

Colourful huh?! I'm making up a gift for a good friend's daughter, she'll be seven in a couple of weeks. I phoned her mum to check that this would be an ok gift. I'm going to make up a little package with some silicon cake moulds, a wooden spoon and a couple of cake recipes.

I'm pleased with how this has turned out - I made up a pattern for the apron and oven glove myself. The shape of the apron is based on one I own. On my apron the neck strap is just part of the binding, I wanted to change this so that it would be adjustable and more comfortable. After thinking for a while I came up with this. I have sewn a couple of pink buttons onto the back front of the apron and then made four button holes on the detachable neck strap so that it can be adjusted to the right size. I have also added a big pouch style pocket, lined with red and trimmed with matching bias binding.

The oven glove is made of matching fabric, polar fleece for wadding/batting, lined with red fabric and trimmed with the same matching fuscia binding. I've made it in what I hope is a good size for the recipient - I remember finding adult gloves too unwieldy and clumsy when I was her age.

I also made up a quick hairband, based on the pattern in 'Bend the Rules Sewing' by Amy Karol to keep her hair out of the mixing bowl!

Monday, 19 January 2009

Tea for Two

Now, I should have taken a picture of these things all packaged up - they looked much nicer! The coasters are made from thick cotton (Ikea) with a layer of thin polar fleece in the middle (sewn with the cotton, not added separately - much easier!) They are based on the coasters in "Bend the Rules Sewing" by Amy Karol, I just used fleece instead of cotton and added a few rows of machine quilting to make them sturdier.

I made some embroidered napkins to match, with teapots and a little green shamrock, the gift is for a very dear family friend, an Irish man who used to collect tea pots, loves tea and has a sweet tooth. I made up the pattern - hence the pots are a bit wonky.

I packed them up with some teabags and sugar cubes all tied up with red ribbon and a label that said "Tea for Two!" Hope they arrive in time.

Monday, 12 January 2009

And this little bit of crafting stayed at home

New cushion inserts and removable covers. Fingers crossed Lucky doesn't eat them! I finally broke down, the furniture shop a few doors down from me had the cheapest sofas I've seen here on special offer just before Christmas, I bought one.  

Despite adding found-on-the-street foam and cushions, sitting on the terrible sofa supplied by the landlady was still uncomfortable, it was really just a skeleton of a sofa as all the base and back cushions were missing. 

In celebration, and semi-need, I made these cushions and covers from the last little bit of scraps of some favourite material I had leftover from other projects- the ribbon hides where I pieced together the corduroy left over from a skirt. The backs are plain black and greyish linen cut from some old worn out trousers. So a little bit of old and a little bit of new - and I got to enjoy the holiday in comfort. :-)

Sunday, 11 January 2009

Handmade Year Finished

Christmas present tags, originally uploaded by soja.

Everything got finished, wrapped and posted off in time!

Have missed being here and jotting down what I'm doing. A mixture of making things that were secret (presents for people who may have seen their gifts early if I'd posted pictures of them), an injury from a scared little cat, and um, not sure, being part hermit?