Apricot Chutney

My husband and I joke about hoping the mould was broken when Murphy was born.  I mean he’s a wacky dog.  It looks like the mould wasn’t broken!  I have started volunteering at the local humane society by walking dogs and playing with them.  There is one puppy, a very large puppy, that is just all over the place. Reminded me of how Murphy was when we first got him.

It is fun volunteering there as I get my fix for the dogs and cats without actually bringing them home.  Our house is full enough! 

It’s apricot season!  So it’s time to make our apricot chutney.  It was a shorter season than normal this year, I think because of the harsh winter.  There are rumblings that we are facing another harsh winter.  My tolerance for this is getting less and less!

This is done over two days, nothing too difficult but it is time consuming on some of the steps.  I have no idea where we got our recipe.  We have a print out but it doesn’t say who’s it is.  This is our version of it.

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Dice 3 1/2 pounds of apricots, 3 small onions, 5-6 garlic cloves, and 4 ounces of dates.

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Place these ingredients into a big pot.  Add 3 inches of fresh ginger grated, 1 1/2 teaspoons of whole cloves, 1 teaspoon of whole allspice, 1 1/2 teaspoons of black peppercorns, 2 teaspoons of tumeric, and 2 teaspoons of mustard powder.

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Add two cinnamon sticks and 1 chopped hot pepper.  We used Ring O Fire from our garden.  Also add 2 teaspoons of sea salt.

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Add 4-6 oz of malt vinegar and bring the heat up to medium.  Once it gets to a roiling simmer lower the heat to medium low.  You want to stir frequently because you don’t want it to stick on the bottom.  If it is dry add a bit more vinegar.  Once the apricots have broken down a bit and softened add 7 oz of raisins along with the zest of 3 lemons and their juice.  Our chutney got to this point at about 45 minutes but it can take up to an hour. 

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If the apricots are pulpy enough add 8 oz of brown sugar.  Stir well and bring back up to a simmer.  Once it thickens like a jam cover and remove from the heat.  Allow to sit overnight.  The next day add 4-6 oz of brown sugar and simmer until the sugar is dissolved.  If the chutney is too stiff add a bit more vinegar.  Sterilise the jars you need and then spoon in the chutney.

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After hand tightening the lids on, process the jars for 10 minutes.  Allow the chutney to be stored in a cool dry place for a couple of months to allow for the best flavour. 

This is great on naan, over rice, or with a cheese plate. 

English Pickled Onions

Holy moly this month is just zipping by.  I am flat out with Christmas stuff and work.  I miss blogging regularly! So I’m grabbing a few minutes with a quick one.  🙂

My husband and I are fans of the pickled onion and they are very easy to make, just a little time consuming.  When my dad tried these it brought him right back to when he was young in England at his local.  You know when the local was still a local?  Hard to find these days!  I got this recipe from the BBC of all places.  I was surprised they post recipes but I’m glad they did as these really work.

You need to start the day before with peeling the onions.  I buy three kinds, white, red, and yellow.  pickled onions 1 2012

My least favourite bit is the peeling!  I cry every time.  I do wear the fashionable onion goggles.  🙂  Use only fresh firm onions.

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Once they are all peeled then they need to be salted.  Just enough to lightly coat the onions.

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Cover the bowl with cling film and set aside overnight.  In the morning rinse and then drain to dry.  While these are drying I start sterilizing the jars.  The size jars I have for this are 1/2 pint and I usually get enough onions to fill 7 of them.  To sterilize the jars I boil them for 10 minutes.  The vinegar mixture I use is a liter of malt vinegar, 6 oz of sugar, and several shakes of red pepper flakes.  Heat this in a saucepan and bring to a boil

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I let this simmer as I am packing the onions into the jars.  It’s important the sugar is dissolved.  While packing the jars I put the rings and lids for the cans in the hot water to sterilize further.  I do not boil at this point so I don’t ruin the lids.

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Carefully pour the vinegar mix over the onions.  Fill to just below the top.  Place the lids and rings on and tightened the jars.  This recipe does not need to be processed like jam or stock.  Just put in a dark cool spot.  They will be ready in two weeks.

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These are great as snacks and are wonderful with a cheese plate or a ploughman’s lunch.