Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Tuesday morning

I'm about to make the jellied stock to go into the pies. Not an easy job and the one I didn't drop has some cracks and the one I did drop isn't in any fit state to receive stock, I suspect, although the top received more damage than the body of the pie.

Anyway, I shall try the trick of smearing butter over the cracks in the first one - it seems to work and doesn't change the flavour as the pastry already has butter in it. The dropped one - well, I don't know. I will have to think creatively.

The apple and cranberry chutney I made yesterday was very good. It was actually good straight away and I had some with Cheshire cheese and a soft roll for my dinner, although I'm sure that with time it will improve, as chutneys do. It made ten pots which look really nice with their Christmas hats and rustic labels.

Recipe for Apple and Cranberry Chutney
You need:
450g chopped onion
1k cooking apples (I used Bramleys). These have to be cores, peeled and chopped finely.
500g eating apples (I used Granny Smiths), cored peeled and chopped more roughly.
50g fresh ginger, grated
a good grinding of black pepper (the black specks look nice in the finished chutney)
500g granulated sugar
250ml cider vinegar
500g cranberries
one star anise

Bung everything into a large, heavy based saucepan except for the cranberries. Heat slowly until the sugar has dissolved, then bring to the boil and simmer gently, stirring now and again, until the mixture has thickened and there's no watery juice.
Remove the star anise.
Add the cranberries and simmer, stirring, for about ten to 15 mins, until the cranberries have softened but are only just starting to burst. The apple mixture will go a gentle shade of pink.
Jar and store in the usual way. it keeps for six months, the recipe says, but I reckon it would keep for longer, although it's not one of those very long lasting chutneys.

Later on I'm off to Billericay with a friend to go out for lunch with another friend. We're going to the Magic Mushroom, at Barleylands Farm. I've never been to the restaurant before, but I've been to Barleylands several times and can thoroughly recommend it as a place to take the children to, as well as somewhere to do some interesting shopping.
There's a link to the Magic Mushroom from the above.
After stuffing our faces - sorry, I mean enjoying the superior cuisine - there, we'll probably do a bit of late Christmas shopping around the centre before coming home. I do have a few things still to get so that will be ideal!

Photo: the chutney, more Christmas hat than anything else!

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