AND then when you get home you spy your chilli plant groaning with chillis?
Answer: Look to 2 famous food writers and make glorious homemade rich chutneys for Christmas of course!
First of all Mrs Beeton - famed for her Victorian housekeeping manuals that gained tremendous notoriety over the years. A new 'Mrs Beeton' book entitled 'How to cook' has been published by Orion Publishing Group. This is a combination of recipes from Mrs Beeton and the input of Gerard Baker, a chef, food writer and broadcaster.
This book is great, it covers lots of recipes (220 in total) but also covers so many of the basic cooking techniques any serious cook needs. Its been quite a while since I have seen a recipe book that covers the whole range of cooking skills needed, but this book covers everything from soups and stocks to sauces to jams, jellies and pickles and everything in between. With this you will be able to master the basics and some! The notion of this book is to bring a lot of Mrs Beeton's recipes and techniques bang up to date and this 150th anniversary edition does just what it claims. As well as the chapters described above there are recipes for fish and shellfish, poultry and game, meat, vegetables, eggs and cheese, pastry, puddings and desserts, cakes, biscuits and breads, and lastly drinks. Most of the recipes are short and concise, a significant number of them have a photograph. The introductions to each chapter include advice on buying and preparing that range of foods, advice and tips on preparation and execution are given throughout.
This is quite a big book and it has a great deal to offer any cook, novice or experienced.
I tried the tomato chutney and we really loved it...you are suppose to leave this for a month to mature, we have eaten 2 jars already, its rich and dark and it has a sweetened hit, its good with cheese, ham and especially sausages!
Red Tomato Chutney
2kg chopped tomatoes
1kg peeled/chopped onions
6 garlic cloves peeled/chopped
300g granulated sugar
300g soft brown sugar
1 litre cider vinegar
1 birds eye chilli halved lengthwise
1 tsp allspice berries
1 stick cinnaomon
70g fresh root ginger peeled/grated
1. Sterilise your jars, this will yield about 7 jars worth.
2. I used a food processor to chop all the ingredients that needed chopping. Then put everything in a large pan and bring to the boil.
3. Simmer until the chutney thickens, this will take about an hour, you will need to watch the chutney to make sure ti does not burn. As it cooks and thickens scrape the bottom of the pan to prevent it from catching.
4. The chutney is ready when a lot of the liquid has evaporated. Pot into the sterilised jars seal and store in a coll dark place for at least a month, then use within a year.
Chutney is VERY hot indeed so please take extra care when making this.
If you like the idea of homemade for Christmas then enter into Thrifty Christmas...a wonderful blog with lots of fabulous ideas for things to make at home, either to keep or give as gifts and with a keen eye on saving money.
The green tomato chutney recipe was an internet find and you can follow that recipe below.