Saturday, March 22, 2014

Chutney x A LOT

A few weeks ago when we went to the market, our mango people told us that was their last week for the season. So we bought double our usual and went home to make chutney. This wasn't something we had really thought through very carefully, the results of which I will reveal as I go through my chutney tale.

In the past we have used a chutney recipe that requires soaking overnight. This was Sunday morning and we had to work on Monday, so that wasn't going to work. I did a quick search, and found a recipe from Not Quite Nigella that looked do-able, so we used that as our guide.

Her recipe called for 1 kilo of mango flesh, or about 2 large mangoes. We obviously wanted to make a larger batch to use up plenty of mangoes, so we started cutting and scooping them into a bowl on the scale. About 15 mangoes later, we were at 3 kilos - so I think the original estimate of 2 mangoes = 1 kilo of flesh is just not right.

We put the firmest mango cheeks through the shredder blade on the food processor, and chopped up the softer, riper cheeks. We popped this all into our big stockpot, and then realised we had almost no space for anything else. Wah-wahhh.

And because we tripled the recipe, we had nowhere near enough brown sugar, or raisins. We had no onions. We scraped in with just enough cider vinegar. But we realised that Andy would need to go to the shops. He had wanted to run to Bunnings for some seeds anyways, so, perfect.

Because I was expecting Andy back in about 30 minutes, I put everything that we had into a bowl and mixed it all up. Then I put it into two pots to start to simmer, to allow the sugar which we did have to dissolve a bit. Then I cleaned up - chopped up the mango skins so they would compost a bit quicker, gave a few of the seeds to Tika, who loves to suck the flesh off them, and wiped so much mango juice off of every surface. I even did all the dishes.

Mango chutney in progress

Over an hour later, I was beginning to wonder if Andy got lost or sucked into some sort of space-time vortex. He sort of did - in Townsville on Sundays, shops don't open until 11am, and he left the house a touch before 10. So although he spent plenty of time in Bunnings, he still had to wait outside the grocery store for it to open.

But eventually he did make it home. By that time the chutney had simmered down enough to fit back into the one pot. We added the onions and the last few bits and pieces, plus a whack of chilli sauce because it was so sweet, cooked it properly, and then got ready to can it.

Day 8 - 9 litres of chutney

We ended up with 13 and a half jars of this stuff - about 9 litres worth of chutney. The full ones we processed properly and put them away to last us throughout the year. But for dinner that night it seemed appropriate to have the little half jar with some curry.

I made chappatis, sag paneer (spinach and tofu curry), and we had some leftover dhal, with brown rice and, at the front, our chutney.

Chutney dinner

Sure, it was an epic process, but the memories of scooping 15 mangoes, stirring a simmering pot of chutney, and cleaning up all the sticky mess will fade as we enjoy our spoils for the next few months!

Sunday, March 02, 2014

Green Curry

Remember when I made curry paste?

Well, we finally used it in a curry. It was quite mild - probably due to the painstaking time I spent de-seeding the green chillies. It tasted very lime-y, which is good and tangy.

Thai Green Curry

The curry had tofu sticks and carrots (bought), sweet potato, eggplants, cowpeas, eggplant, sweet potato shoots and hibiscus spinach (all from the garden). We served it on brown rice and topped it with some crunchy shallots. And from-scratch curry becomes an easy weeknight meal.