the blogging is slow because I'm apparently on holidays, but actually preparing to run a bible study at our national youth convention in a couple of weeks...
nevertheless it's christmas so i'm back in the kitchen. clearly there weren't any cooking blog posts when i was travelling, and although i've been exercising my culinary instincts since, nothing has made it into cyberspace...
i have a bit of a tradition of making mustard at christmas, putting it in little jars and giving it out randomly. i've got a great little book of mustard recipes, including a german one that i'm sure was a secret weapon back in WWII.
but this year it's chutneys. living in the adelaide hills, my christmas theme this year is local cheeses and berries along with local wine. so i've got some goats cheeses waiting to for a recipe, and yesterday made two chutneys from paul gayler's "passion for cheese". (and a third chutney this morning).
here's the recipe for "gooseberry and green peppercorn chutney". i thought to myself that if i could get gooseberries anywhere it would be in stirling, and i was right! in fact they come from scott creek, which is on the back road to cherry gardens.
Boil and then simmer the following in a saucepan for 45 mins, stirring occasionally:
600g fresh gooseberries
2 chopped onions
1 crushed garlic clove
1/2 teaspoon mustard powder
1 teaspoon lemon juice
200 ml cider vinegar (use a good one)
Then add the following and cook on low heat for 1hour, stirring frequently:
1 cup raisins
1 cup brown sugar (use more or less depending on the sweetness of the fruit)
large pinch of salt
100 ml cider vinegar.
At the end add 2 tablespoons green peppercorns and then bottle it.
it tatstes fantastic. the chutneys in this book are to be eaten with cheese, but it will be fine with the turkey as well.
the other chutneys were "saffron pear" (with apple, orange, sultanas, ginger, tomato, cinnamon & nutmeg, white wine vinegar, sugar, etc) and "sweet & sour grape pickle" (green grapes, fresh tarragon, champagne vinegar and honey) - this one has to sit for a month...
we're going to make blueberry ice cream, or perhaps a cassata since i bought some local cherries, and apparently also a salad with raspberry in it.
the wines are a rockford's alicante bouchet and a bleasedale sparkling shiraz from langhorne creek. and some cider.
of course it's not all about food and eating...
leading up to christmas we hang fairy lights in the lounge and light lots of candles, play christmas music and read various christmassy things. this year we're listening to "the dawn of grace" by sixpence none the richer, loreena mckennitt, the new yo-yo ma christmas album, and "hot jazz for a cool night", along with some old favourites...
a lively discussion with the girls last night about the historical inaccuracies and uncertainties of the christmas narrative, and why myth matters...