Friday 6 June 2008

winter arrives

Last year a friend of mine gave me a beautiful gourmet jar of beetroot chutney after I babysat her dog. It was so nice, perfect with cheese. And we love chutneys and pickles around here. I've made batches of our favourite chilli plum sauce a few times. So I've been wanting to try making a beetroot chutney of my own since then. The beetroot in the shops is so beautiful at the moment, we've had it a few times roasted in the oven with garlic and olive oil.

Then the other day I heard a woman called Sally Wise on the radio. She has a new book about bottling vegetables and gave a simple marmalade recipe which I wrote down. I was prompted to look online for a beetroot chutney recipe and coincidentally found one from the same Sally Wise.

Yesterday after collecting all the ingredients I made both, chutney and marmalade, one after the other (not too exhausting). At my clever mil's suggestion (she's the queen of chutneys and jams) I changed the marmalade recipe slightly swapping some of the orange for a grapefruit, a blood grapefruit in the end because that's what was at the greengrocer. I like a slightly sour taste in marmalade and with this and the lemon it came out with just the right amount of tartness.

There is something very satisfying about producing jars of preserves and lining them up on the shelf. I think it might be addictive! My dad makes jams and chutneys, and my uncle just won first prize in a show for his mango chutney :-) Me, I'm thinking of Onion Marmalade next.

Both the marmalade and the chutney are beautiful in their jars. The marmalade has a slightly orange fleck and while I did fish out quite a lot of rind, including the grapefruit which went a beautiful red colour but seemed quite chewy, I left some for the beautiful look of it. The beetroot is the most fantastic magenta purple (as was a lot of my kitchen at various points in the process, and a lot of my tea towels!)

I have recently discovered the world of food blogs, one especially has become a must see - Smitten Kitchen. The photography on this blog is so beautiful. I need to stop adding blogs to my bloglines reading list but this one will be staying. And I will be cooking some more this winter.

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