This is the first time I’ve made chutney and it worked really well! The tomatoes were donated by a lady who used to live next door to me, she pops round now and again… I will give her a jar, hope she likes it!
- 1.2kg green tomatoes, chopped
- 2 large onions, chopped
- 450g flame raisins
- 50g unsulphured dried apricots, chopped
- 500g muscovado sugar
- 2 tsp nutmeg
- ½ chilli powder
- 1 whole dried cayenne pepper
- 1 litre malt vinegar
Put all the ingredients in a large stainless steel preserving pan (or heavy-bottomed pan) and bring to the boil. Cook on a gentle rolling boil for an hour then reduce the heat and simmer until thick. This might take 2-3 hours. You can tell when it is done when you can make a channel with a wooden spoon across its surface, if it leaves the channel for a few seconds without being filled by vinegar, it is ready. You are looking for a gloopy texture.
Using a jam funnel, transfer into hot clean jars that have been heated to 100°C for 20 minutes. When you put the lid on they will self-seal.
Don’t eat the pickle for three months!
It’s cold and rainy and there’s a snow drift outside your door! What are you going to make using the ingredients you have?
Spaghetti hoops on toast – obviously!
Share your favourite cuisine…
I just got back from a lovely relaxing holiday in France with friends but eating out was a challenge. Chips and salad is often the only option. I have had just iceberg lettuce and black olives before! If you explain to a waiter or restaurateur that you are a vegan, they tend to shrug like that’s your bad luck. Bof! I’m not going to fade away any time soon so it probably does me good but I do look forward to something tasty when I get home. This time that we had sausage, beans and mash! Comfort food for a chilly autumn evening.
Some years ago I stayed in London for a month living out of a suitcase in a hotel near to the hospital my Mum was in. I lived on takeaway salads and snacks. Then I was offered a room in a house for a weekend with a kitchen and a fancy bathroom designed by Tara Palmer-Tomkinson. When my husband visited, he offered to cook me anything I wanted – anything at all – I asked for sausage, beans and mash. It remains one of the most memorable meals I have ever had. You just can’t beat good, hearty, comfort food made with love. Thanks Marc xxx
Posted in Essays
What Frida Kahlo would eat if she were vegan…
According to the chef and author of My Sweet Mexico, Fany Gerson, these coconut-stuffed limes were one of artist Frida Kahlo’s favourite sweets. You make them by scooping the flesh out of the limes and gently boiling the skins in sugar. The coconut is boiled separately with sugar and water then stuffed inside the soft lime skins. Luckily the recipe doesn’t need veganising as it is vegan anyway!
Frida Kahlo Museum, Mexico City
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 12 medium-large limes, rinsed well
- 2 ½ cups sugar
- Green food colouring (optional)
- 2 cups shredded fresh coconut
- ½ cup water
- Bring two litres of water to a boil over a high heat, add 1 tsp of the baking soda and then add the limes.
- Simmer until slightly tender (10-15 mins).
- Remove the limes from the water and cool.
- Make a small incision in the top of each lime with a sharp paring knife and carefully scrape out the flesh, making sure you don’t tear the rind. Keep the flesh for another recipe of a Margarita!
- Put the skins back in the pan, add cold water to cover and stir in the remaining tsp baking soda.
- Bring to a boil, strain and repeat (without baking soda) three more times to remove the bitterness.
- Return the limes to the pan, add cold water to cover, then stir in 1 ½ cups of sugar and a few drops of food colouring.
- Cook over medium heat stirring, until the syrup has thickened to the consistency of maple syrup (15-20 mins).
- Remove from heat, cool completely in the syrup, then transfer the limes to a wire rack and dry.
- Combine the coconut, the remaining cup of sugar and the ½ cup water in a saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring until the coconut is soft. Let cool until it is safe to handle.
- Fill the limes with the coconut and let cool completely.
Serve on a pretty plate as a dessert after a Mexican dinner party!
Posted in Cakes
Tagged lime, Mexico
Autumn Equinox challenge…
An equinox is an astronomical event in which the plane of Earth’s equator passes the centre of the Sun. Equinoxes occurs twice a year; 20 March and 23 September this year. At the equinox, the sun rises directly in the east and sets directly in the west. Before the Southward equinox, the sun rises and sets more and more to the north, and afterwards, it rises and sets more and more to the south.
In China the Mid-Autumn Festival, known as the Moon Festival, is celebrated around the time of the September equinox. It celebrates the abundance of the summer’s harvest. One of the main foods is a mooncake filled with lotus, sesame seeds and dried fruit. Families would sit in the garden with teacups placed on a stone table, they would pour tea and chat, waiting for the moment when the full moon’s reflection appeared in their tea. Food offerings would be placed on an altar set up in the garden, including apples, pears, peaches, grapes, pomegranates, melons, oranges, and pomelos.
One of the first decorations purchased for the celebration table is a clay statue of the Jade Rabbit. In Chinese folklore, the Jade Rabbit is an animal that lives on the moon. Offerings of yellow beans and cockscomb flowers are made to the Jade Rabbit.
I’m fresh out of mooncakes, lotus and cockscomb flowers but I do have some rather pokey Schezuan Peppercorns so I made Hong Sao Tofu. A welcoming and warming dish for the cool evening of the Autumn Equinox.
- 1 large tsp Schezuan peppercorns, dry roasted and ground in a pestle and mortar
- 3 star anise
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 4cm fresh ginger, thinly sliced
- 2 tbsp soya sauce
- 1 tbsp soft brown sugar
- 2 small or 1 large dried red chillies
- 1 Lapsang Souchong teabag
- ½ block tofu, chopped into cubes
- 2 tsp roasted sesame seed oil
- 1 onion, sliced
- 1 head broccoli, chopped
- 1 red pepper, sliced
- Put all the ingredients (except the tofu and veg) in a pan with a splash of boiling water and heat gently for at least one hour (take the teabag out after 20 mins or as soon as you can taste the smoky flavour in your sauce or it will overwhelm everything else).
- Continue cooking (adding water as needed) but don’t let it boil… it will reduce over time to a thick, glossy, tasty sauce!
- In the meantime, fry the tofu in sesame seed oil until golden brown and then set aside.
- 15 minutes before you want to eat, stir-fry the vegetables in a dash of sesame seed oil in a hot wok.
- As they are beginning to soften throw in the tofu and your sauce (you obviously have to strain it first!).
- Then cook everything together, stirring occasionally, until the broccoli is as soft as you like it.
- Serve with jasmine rice.
Make the sauce…
and light some candles!
Make a dish using all seasonal produce…
I had a ripe banana, a ripe pear, a handful of desiccated coconut and few fresh dates hanging around so I adapted the Post Punk Kitchen’s Banana Bread recipe to include all my leftovers! As the evenings draw in and there is a real autumnal feel in the air, these moist, sweet and spicy muffins are definitely seasonal comfort food! You could adapt the fruit to suit whatever you have in your kitchen (apple, fig, apricot…). You could also tweak the spices a bit adding ginger, nutmeg or even cardamom.
- ½ cup soya milk
- 1 tsp cider vinegar
- ½ cup vegan margarine
- ½ cup dark brown sugar
- 1 tbsp maple syrup
- 1 ripe bananas, mashed
- 1 ripe pear, peeled and diced
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup wholemeal flour
- 1 cup white flour
- ½ tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- ¼ tsp allspice
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 tbsp. desiccated coconut, toasted
- 6 fresh dates, stoned and chopped
- 12 pecans
- 2 tsp sugar
- Preheat the oven to 180°C and place 12 muffin cases in your muffin tray.
- Whisk the vinegar into the soya milk to curdle and set aside.
- Cream the margarine with the sugar then add the syrup, banana, pear and vanilla and mix well together.
- Add the soya milk and whisk well.
- Sift the flour, baking soda, salt and spices into another bowl.
- Combine the dry flour mix with the wet ingredients and mix well.
- Fold in the coconut and dates.
- To make the shiny, sugary pecans, dissolve the sugar in a small pan with a little water and heat to make a syrup. Toss in the pecans and stir around to ensure they are fully coated in the sugar syrup.
- Spoon the muffin mix out into the 12 cases.
- Pop a pecan on each one and bake for 25-30 mins. You’ll know they are ready if you poke a cocktail stick into one of them and it comes out dry.
Then settle down and tuck into one or two with a big hot cup of tea and a good old movie like the Murder at the Gallop!
Posted in Cakes
Tagged Autumn, Pear
What three endless food supplies would you take if you were going to be stranded on an island?
Contrary to popular belief, this vegan would never find herself stranded on a desert island!!! But if pushed to pick three foods that I could have endless supplies of it would have to be tofu, avocado and the humble potato. Tofu for soup, scramble and stir fries. Avocado for guacamole, salads and to spread on toast (if I managed to rustle up some bead) and potatoes because I have Irish blood and I would miss my spuds!