It’s 11pm, and I’ve been trying to install imaging software on my laptop for hours now. It’s left me extremely grumpy and tired of staring at the screen, but I want to post something tonight before be, so I though I might try to bring back to mind the chutney I made to go with the cheese course of the Scottish inspired meal I started blogging about the time before last.
I bought two lovely Scottish cheeses – Lanark Blue and an Arran smokey garlic cheddar. These went nicely with the oatcakes I’d already made to go with the first course, and I also sliced up some cherry tomatoes and seasoned with salt and pepper. The highlight of this part of the meal for me, though, was the chutney I put together during the afternoon. I’d never made chutney before, just as I’d never made jam, but I wanted to give it a bash – didn’t think it could be too difficult, especially since you don’t need chutney to set as firmly as jam, so even if I got it a bit wrong it’d be passable. It’s that kind of positive thinking that’s got me where I am today. I’ll lay out a rough guide to what I did, though rough is definitely the operative word:
Ingredients to make a very small, experimental amount
- half a red onion
- four or five cherry tomatoes
- fig balsamic condiment
- mustard powder
- balsamic vinegar
- salt and pepper
- jam sugar (sugar with added pectin)
I finely chopped the onion and cooked in a small pot, with no oil but with enough fig balsamic condiment to cover the whole base of the pot. I reduced this down over a high heat, stirring often, until the onions were sticky and had taken on the flavour of the condiment. I then added the cherry tomatoes, which I’d also chopped finely. I should have skinned these first – I’ll do that next time. I stirred the tomatoes through and simmered until they had broken down, then tasted. I added salt and pepper for depth of flavour, plain balsamic for tang without extra sweetness and a tiny amount of mustard powder for a hint of a kick. A nudge with the tip of a soft leather boot, more than a kick. I also added a couple of teaspoons of the jam sugar, to thicken and sweeten the chutney, then brought up to a boil, reduced the heat so as not to burn anything and allowed the chutney to boil for about five minutes, until thickened. I tasted again, and then set aside to cool before putting in a jar, to store.
The chutney was particularly good with the smokey garlic cheese – I was surprised at just how much I enjoyed it, in fact. It will come across that I have a lot of confidence in my own kitchen abilities, but the chutney/cheese/oatcake combo was one of the few times that I really felt I’d created something exceptional. Of course, a big part of that was the quality of the Arran cheddar. They usually have a stall at any farmers market or similar event you care to mention, and there’s often some kind of deal if you buy three or four of the cheeses. It’s difficult to say no to, though I must because, while I love cheese, I do find that too much of it is bad for me, and the definition of ‘too much’ would definitely cover having three or four rounds of it in the fridge. It might not be so bad if it were three or four of the same kind, but it’d be all different ones, so I’d want to have them all open at the same time and would eat cheese for dinner for a week, and take a month to recover. I do love the occasional indulgence in it, though, and this was a perfect opportunity…
I don’t have much more to say on the matter of chutney, and neither time nor current inclination to start on another topic. My final thoughts are that I’m looking forward to making this again and properly documenting it, and that it might have been a touch too thick, something to work on. That’s all from me, here’s hoping I can get some kind of imaging software on the go on Sunday as I have a picture of the venison pie that was a bit wrong in the taking, because I was rushing, but I’m hoping to manipulate it to something showable.
Until then, a picture of bread that I made. No real reason, just to get a bit more colour about the place. It was nice bread.