a busy domestic blog of knitting, sewing and all kinds of needlecrafts, cooking my garden produce and preserving it

Tuesday, 24 October 2017

Passata and Pickles

I seem to be in non-stop preserving mode at the moment. If there's a fruit or vegetable that can be stored by turning into jam, chutney, pickles or whatever, I'm doing it.
I've already pickled our home grown onions, turned cucumbers into bread and butter pickle, made chutney with pumpkins and jam with apples and blackberries.

This weekend I've turned my eye to the stock-pile of frozen tomatoes, and cleared some space in the freezer by making passata. Mine's a rather lazy version,with no sieving required! I pour boiling water over the still-frozen tomatoes so I can easily slip the skins off, then boil them for half an hour or so till the fruit 'collapses' - and that's basically it. Once the jars are sealed, I've found this to keep almost indefinitely, but over winter, I'll use it in soups, added to pasta sauces, or poured over enchilladas.

Next I decided to tackle the courgette glut that's filling my fridge vegetable compartment. It's possible to freeze them but they always seem so limp and damp afterwards, no matter how they're cooked, but a couple of years ago I tried using them instead of cucumber in bread and butter pickles, and the experiment paid off. I think they might actually keep longer, which is good as I already have two jars of cucumber pickle to eat!
So, an hour or so salting, some hot vinegar poured over, and that's another batch of preserving done ...

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Preserving time again

'In progress' chutney

Autumn's always the time of year for making chutneys and jams on a massive scale. Although sound pumpkins and apples keep easily enough, there are always damaged ones thatneed to be processed in some way, so ... out with the preserving pan - first to rescue a couple of butternut squash by making chutney, then to turn some damaged apples, with the help of blackberries from the freezer, into jam.

The finished chutney

Friday, 27 January 2017

Something new for Burns Night dinner ... haggis nachos

We like haggis at our house, so, in preparation for Burns Night, I'd picked up my haggis from the supermarket, and was planning to make our normal haggis supper - haggis, chips and mushy peas - when my teen spotted someone on the web talking about haggis nachos.
Now, at first, that sounds like a rather weird culinary-fusion idea, but I thought a while and decided to try it. 

There are a variety of versions on the web, and I remembered I'd seen one in Sue Lawrence's Eating In book, but basically, you cook the haggis (I did ours in the microwave) then break it up and layer the meat with nachos, cheese and jalapenos before popping in the oven to melt the cheese. You could always serve guacamole or salsa with it, but we didn't. We were a bit too enthusiastic with the jalapenos,especially as haggis is rather spicy itself, but apart from that we enjoyed it. Nest year though I think I'd like to find a way to make 'traditional' deep-fried haggis sausages ...