Sunday, 3 August 2014

Show time! Chutney time

The first weekend of August is the annual local show. These 'shows' (as there are a few in this area- one for each town, though all around the same time of year) remind me of the agricultural or village fayre from my childhood. As they consist of competitions for fruit and veg, home economics, poultry, dogs, horse riding, food vans and rides... though the rides feature more in some than others. This particular one has an annual rodeo night too. 

When we moved here we went to our very first rodeo at the show that year. Guess it a cultural thing, but none the less we were pleasantly surprised.

So for this year following our recent success entering our flock in the local poultry competition, and my surprise preserve success at the larger region's show a few weeks back- we decided to enter our birds as well as a few jars. As I still had a number of jars of marmalade, mango jam, one last jar of mango chutney. So to accompany these I made a tomato & zucchini (courgette) chutney.

Usually I make a tomato & zucchini chutney when we have a glut of either tomatoes or zucchinis... or both; which often tend to be the case, as I find they tend to like very similar conditions. But given the delayed planting of our veggies this year these were made from purchased produce. The main reason I mention this is I usually use very large zucchini’s or marrows (as they would be referred to in UK) and green tomatoes. But as I bought them from a local produce/ fruit & veg store I did manage to source a couple of fairly large zucchinis and a bag of yellow- orange plum tomatoes.

I will admit the best version of this recipe I have ever made was using (green) cherry tomatoes from our garden; as I pulled a few plants due to over crowding/ overtaking. But peeling them was a nightmare! Peeling the larger varieties was a lot easier (and quicker), though am not so sure about the texture.

For this recipe you will want;

1kg tomatoes, skinned and diced (preferably under ripe or best green)
1 large zucchini/marrow, peeled and diced (2 small will also do)
1 large onion, diced
½ cup of mixed fruit
¾ cup brown/raw sugar
200ml of vinegar (I mix both malt and apple cider, but its personal choice)
tsp ground cumin seeds
tsp ground ginger
½ tsp cayenne pepper
Pinch salt

First job is to peel your tomatoes, so easiest way to do this is to bring a pan of water to a rolling boil. Drop in your tomatoes for a few minutes; til you see the skins begin to come away from the fruit. Then remove from the heat and carefully scoop them out (use a slotted spoon). Then carefully (on a chopping board) peel the skin away and remove any hard ends or eyes (by chopping end off). Then dice and place in a dry pan.

Once finished chop all the other ingredients to a similar size and add to the pan. (Personally I skin my zucchinis first).

Stir and place on medium heat and bring to boil, and then simmer for 2 hrs; stirring regularly.

Remove from heat and place in sterile jars.  

It tastes better after a couple of days, but then it should keep for a few months in cool, dark place.

Unfortunately I didn't make any placements with my preserve entries, though the birds did substantially better! Guess the poultry preening was worth the effort.