Sunday, 14 December 2008

Excellent exchange rate

We're being plied with apples (which are humongous!)and kaki (persimmon/sharon fruit) at the moment. At this time of year these fruits become almost a local currency, being traded for good deeds and favours! I am of course very thankful for them, and we've been enjoying them simply peeled and sliced as well as in crumbles and muffins. I've been trying to eat one a day (especially the kaki, as they are packed with vitamin C), but also, not wanting to let any go to waste, have been looking into more interesting ways to cook with them. My solution is... chutneys! I love browsing through Nigella's pages, and a few years ago was inspired to make a whole load of bottled goodies as Christmas presents, so I thought I'd make good use of the local produce and get chopping. What a lovely way to spend an afternoon!

I started off with the apples, and went along with a recipe for Minty Apple Relish, gleaned from GHK (again). Well, that's how it started out anyway...

6 Cox's apples (or 3 'japanese' apples - I have absolutely no idea what variety they were), about 900g, peeled, cored and chopped
1 red onion (darn it, I'd seen some in Marunaka last week but they'd sold out yesterday, so I just used an ordinary onion), finely chopped
75g sultanas (I bought something that looked vaguely like them from Kaldi, Mama's Kitchen green raisins!)
200ml cider vinegar
125g light brown soft sugar (again, used the golden sugar that was available - must try and source some proper brown sugars!)
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint

Put the apples, onion, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 100ml of the vinegar and 50ml of water in a pan and cook gently until the apple and onion is soft and most of the liquid has evaporated (about 15 minutes). Add sugar, spices and remaining vinegar and simmer for about 20 minutes more before stirring in the mint and spooning into sterilised jars. I managed to find some pretty jars at the 100 yen shop - what a treasure-trove!

Actually, I decided to leave the mint out in the end. It really was tasty enough, and as this will make presents for some Japanese friends, I didn't think the mint would suit their tastebuds. And I didn't have any wax discs to top them with, so I just sealed them as they were. They should keep for a month or so before opening.

When it came to making the kaki chutney, I found an extra bag of them lurking at the bottom of the fridge and so decided to pick up extra ingredients tomorrow to make a bigger batch (need more jars, too). Instead, I spent the remainder of the afternoon helping J and W design the gingerbread house we are going to attempt to make starting next weekend. They are so excited about this little project (actually, about the prospect of picking the sweets of the finished item!), especially having seen one for the first time at church today.
Ahh, it this kind of cooking that makes me feel like a 'proper' housewife - Anthea would be proud of me (as long as she doesn't bring her white glove with her).

1 comment:

  1. Oohh.. Apple Chutney... YUM.. I am reading your blog = ) I am going to add you to my blog list = ) NOW I know who you are.. derr....