Saturday, 9 May 2015

Rhubarb & Ginger Jam

11 years ago we bought a house with an all but abandoned veg patch.  There were three large rhubarb clumps.  When I made three raised beds around the crudely dug earth, I divided the rhubarb and replanted it in several places in my revitalised veg patch, presuming it would not all survive.  It did, and so now I have more rhubarb than I know what to do with.  Usually I chutney it, marmalade it.  But this year in addition to selling it for a pittance, I have made jam with it.  To be followed by rhubarb syrup to have with prosecco.

Rhubarb & Ginger Jam

Makes 4x 450g jars

1kg rhubarb (forced pink rhubarb would give this jam a nicer pink colour!)
1kg sugar
1 lemon
40g root ginger

Trim, wash and chop the rhubarb into 1cm wide pieces.  Place in a large plastic or ceramic mixing bowl, grate over the zest of the lemon and the ginger, or puree the ginger with the lemon juice and a little water.  Keep the lemon pips!  Add the sugar and mix well.  Leave for 2 hours, stirring from time to time, for the sugar to dissolve into the rhubarb juices.

After 2 hours place the contents of the bowl, together with the lemon pips tied inside a piece of muslin, into a large saucepan.  Bring to the boil then simmer quickly for 20-30 minutes until the jam as reached setting point.  Test this by placing a little jam on a saucer that has been in the freezer and seeing whether it wrinkles when you push it across the plate with your finger.

The recipe I based mine on said use jam making sugar, which has added pectin which helps jam set,  as rhubarb is low in pectin and only simmer for 10-15 minutes.  But I simply used white granulated sugar and setting point seemed to be after about 30 minutes of simmer, and the jam is still slightly runny.

Pour into sterlised jars when both the jars and jam are still hot and seal immediately.



Indian Mango Chutney

9 year old Sprout has announced she likes Mango Chutney so I just had to try and make some.  Recipe is off the web but apparently from Madhur Jaffrey.  I didn't have green mangoes, just overripe juicy ones.  Plus I used pickling vinegar as I forgot to get cider vinegar.  Oh well, here goes nothing...

2 large green mangoes
2 tsp salt
2-4 cloves garlic, peeled
1 inch fresh ginger, chopped
12 floz cider vinegar or distilled white vinegar
14 oz granulated sugar
4 tbsp golden sultanas
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp cayenne pepper

Peel mangoes and dice.  Sprinkle 1tsp salt over and leave for 24 hours.   As my mangoes were very ripe I didn't do this, but I am now wondering whether sprinkling my very soft mango with salt might help keep what little crunch it had.  If you do salt the mango, drain and pat it dry after 24 hours.

Put garlic and ginger into processor with a little vinegar and blitz into a smooth paste.  Put the rest of the vinegar, sugar, sultanas, turmeric, cayenne, 1 tsp salt, and the ginger and garlic paste into a saucepan and bring to the boil.  Simmer without a lid for 15 minutes or until slightly thick.  Add the chopped mango and simmer for a further 20-30 minutes until the mango looks translucent and the chutney has thickened some more.  Check seasoning and pour into sterilised jars.

Apparently this chutney can be eaten immediately, but most 'British' chutneys say leave for 3 months before eating.  Equally the instructions are to store this chutney in the fridge even before opening, but one will join my other varieties in the garage until it's time comes.

Thai Jungle Curry with Pork

Unusually for nowadays the kids ate something different to us at their tea time because they had a friend round for tea. So that gave me the opportunity to try something new for the grown-ups.  I am due to cook a Thai curry for my curry night in a few weeks so I thought I'd try a different Thai dish and jungle curry seemed just the ticket, with relatively few ingredients and a short cooking time.  This is a soupy curry.

Serves 4
400g diced pork
2 tbsp cooking oil
2 tbsp red curry paste (recipe I based this on said 4tbsp!)
1 aubergine, diced (I didn't have any so used spring greens!)
1/2 mug peas or sliced beans
10cm ginger, finely sliced
2 baby corn cut into about 3 (optional)
400ml chicken stock (or water)
4tbsp fish sauce
5 kaffir lime leaves , stems removed and finely sliced
1/2-1 tsp dried chilli flakes
Holy basil (optional)

Fry the curry paste in the cooking oil for a couple of minutes then add the pork and add for another couple of minutes.  Add the rest of the ingredients, apart from the peas/beans and holy basil if using, together with the chicken stock and bring to the boil.  Simmer for 10 minutes then add the remaining ingredients and simmer for another 5 minutes.  Check the seasoning and add more salt/fish sauce as required.  Serve over Thai fragrant rice.

Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Leftover Roast Pork in a Sweet & Sour Barbecue Sauce

This dish started off with me following the chilli sauce recipe from Ching-He Huang's Chilli Chicken with Jasmine Rice, but as I added additional ingredients from a Thai Sweet & Sour dish I learnt in Thailand as I prefer the saltier flavours, it began to take on more of a barbecue sauce flavour.  The kids have devoured it, including mine and Dad's portions, so I had better write it down to be able to reproduce it again.

2 big handfuls of roast pork.  If you don't have this much you could always leave the pepper chunky and add a small tin of pineapple chunks to bulk the dish up.
1 tbsp sunflower oil

Sauce
1 tin of tomatoes
3 garlic cloves
2.5cm ginger
1 red pepper
2 tbsp light soy sauce
2 tbsp oyster sauce
2 tbsp sweet chilli sauce
2 tbsp tomato ketchup
1 tbsp sesame oil
1 tbsp lemon or lime juice
1 tsp sugar
1/2 teaspoon chilli flakes

Skin the garlic, de-seed and roughtly chop the pepper, roughtly chop the ginger and blend everything in a blender cup.

Fry the chopped pork in the sunflower oil, leaving it to brown as much as you dare.  Add the sauce and bring to the boil.  Serve with rice.

Monday, 2 March 2015

Hungarian Goulash with Leftover Roast Pork

Leftover roast pork in our house usually gets used in a stir fry but last week I thought I'd try something different, and so goulash came to mind.

Serves 4
2 large handfuls roast pork
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 large garlic clove, finely chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
1-2 tsp smoked paprika
2 tsp caraway seeds
A large red pepper, chopped (I blended mine with the tomatoes because my kids say they don't like it if they spot it)
1 tin chopped tomatoes
4 tbsp red wine vinegar
Leaves from a small bunch of fresh marjoram or oregano (optional, but i have so much growing wild in my garden I was pleased to have a recipe to use it in!)
1-2 fresh red chillies, de-seeded and finely chopped

Fry the onions in a casserole dish over a medium heat until they start to brown.  Add the garlic, red pepper, and chilli peppers and fry for another few minutes.  Add caraway seeds, marjoram or oregano stir, then add tomatoes, paprika, vinegar and pepper & salt.  Top up with hot water (about a can) to cover the meat.  Bring to the boil, put the lid on and simmer for 10-20 minutes or until the onion is cooked.

Serve with basmati rice and a dollop of sour cream if you have any.

Monday, 23 February 2015

Leftover Roast Chicken with Chorizo & Butter Beans


A really quick tea I put together last week with leftover roast chicken.

Serves 4

1 large handful of leftover roast chicken, or more if you have it
100g spicy chorizo, cubed or finely sliced
1 can butter beans
1 can chopped tomatoes
1/2 can recently boiled water
1 onion, finely chopped
1 large clove of garlic, finely chopped 
1 tbsp olive oil
Pepper & salt to taste

Fry the chorizo in the olive oil until it starts to brown.  Add the onion and garlic and cook for another 5 or so minutes.  Add the rest of the ingredient, topping up with water to make into a suitable stewlike consistency, and simmer for 10-20 minutes to ensure the onion is cooked.  Season to taste.

Serve over rice, pasta or just with crusty bread.


Monday, 9 February 2015

Quick Moroccan Inspired Fish Stew

There is an advertisement on television right now with a dad and young daughter making a Mediterranean Fish Stew.  Here's my take on it.  More Moroccan, and less (read as no) child participation.

Serves 4
Cooking Time: around 15 minutes

1 small onion, finely chopped
1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tin chopped tomatoes
1 red pepper, chopped small or pureed to hide it
1-2 tsp harissa paste
4 fillets frozen white fish (I use pollock)
Handful of black olives (optional)
Handful chopped parsley or coriander (optional)

Fry onion, garlic and red pepper if using chopped in the olive oil over a medium heat in a saucepan until it starts to brown.  Add red pepper puree if not added chopped earlier.  Add tomatoes, half a tin of recently boiled water, harissa and bring to a simmer.  Add the other ingredients and simmer until the fish can be broken up easily into small pieces.  Stir in parsley or coriander if using, and season to taste.

I serve it over couscous (Add a good pinch of salt, pepper and a glug of olive oil to half a mug of couscous.  Cover with a full mug of boiling water in a dish with a tight fitting lid and leave to cook in the heat of the hot water whilst you make the fish dish) or bulghur wheat (boil a mug of bulghur wheat for 10 minutes in lots of salted water whilst waiting for the fish to cook).  If in need of brownie points off the children I will serve it over pasta.