Friday, 17 October 2008

Chutney and Bean Cakes

Yes, it's that time of year again! And, although I don't want to mention the C word, if you want to have a nice, mature chutney to go with your left-over goose, your Christmas Eve ham and your nice bit of Stilton, you've got to get cracking as a chutney often takes two months or so to mature. Also, many gardeners are dealing with October gluts. Lots of apples, onions and over-grown courgettes for the taking, and this chutney uses all of these ingredients. It's a good all-rounder and cheap to make. Anyway, here's the recipe, slightly adapted from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall' s original.

500g marrow (or overgrown courgette/squash)
500g green tomatoes/any tomatoes really
250g cooking apples (about 1 large apple)
250g onions (about 3 medium sized English onions)
250g sultanas (or raisins or currants, whatever)
250g brown sugar (you can use soft brown or demerera)
350ml of cider vinegar (that's a whole bottle, generally)
1 tsp of chilli flakes (optional, but a very nice addition)
Spice bag of 6 cloves, 1 tsp peppercorns, 1/2 tsp coriander seeds (my tip is to use an odd children's sock as a spice bag...don't say yuck, they're clean!)
Roughly chop all that needs to be chopped and pop it in a large, heavy based stew pot/preserving pan with the sultanas, sugar, vinegar and spices. Bring to a gentle boil, simmer for around 2 hours.
When the chutney is done it looks dark and mushy and nice. Also, you can divide the mush with a wooden spoon and see the base of your pan easily as you divide. Place into sterilized jars. This amount of chutney fills three medium sized Hellman's mayonnaise jars.
Leave to mature for a month or two and enjoy with your Christmas cold cuts! Or...why not try it with these bean cakes, the recipe for which I adapted from the original Cranks cookbook.

8 oz of dried beans, or chick peas, soaked overnight in lots of water
2 tsp of garam masala, or any curry-type spice mix you like
3 big cloves of garlic, crushed
1 red pepper, finely chopped
1 tablespoon of chopped, fresh coriander, if you have it
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 egg, beaten
Flour for coating the cakes

Boil your beans until nice and tender, how long depends on the age and type of bean you use. You can test one by squashing it between your fingers, if it's nice and mushy then they're done. Drain your beans. Fry your onion, pepper and garlic in a little oil or butter. Pop your beans in your food processor and briefly blitz them. Don't go overboard, you want some texture remaining. Add you onion mix, spices, coriander and season really, really well. Form them into smallish cakes, just as you would crab cakes or fish cakes. If you think your mixture is too dry to form the cakes, mix in a little beaten egg. Then I like to put the cakes into the fridge for an hour , they seem to behave better in the pan if they've rested in the fridge for a while. Once they've rested, dip them in beaten egg, then in a little flour. Get some oil nice and hot in your frying pan and fry the cakes two or three at a time (no more, overcrowding the pan is disastrous!) for two minutes on each side. Drain on kitchen paper and serve with salad and salsa or in wholemeal rolls with lettuce and chutney!

Ladies, if you're thinking of venturing into the wonderful world of pulse cookery then I why not try these sites, vegetarians know a thing or two about dealing with beans and lentils. Also, I can highly recommend Claudia Roden's Middle Eastern Cookery and anything by Madhur Jaffrey, pulses need a bit of spice and these writers know a great deal about the mysteries of the eastern cooking!


Anonymous said...

I know many a family member who would love that chutney...I'll have to remember for next fall! Thanks for the inspiration...

Anonymous said...

Oh yum...thanks for this! And thank you for the link...I am a bit of a bean fanatic much to the disdain of my family..."oh no, you haven't put beans in again have you?" :)

Gumbo Lily said...

I think I have enough veggies left over from the garden to do a chutney. I've never made it, but I think my family would like it on hamburgers and such.


Shropshire Girl said...

Thank you for these receipes. I shall def. be trying the bean cakes this next week!

Marie N. said...

The bean cakes look like a perfect winter recipe. I look forward to trying that!

Anonymous said...

Mmm chutney! Have you made your mincemeat for Chrimbo yet? I have a vague recollection you have. What about your pudding, do you sweat it for weeks in 4 gallons of brandy...mmmm Christmas food.

Islandsparrow said...

I'm so happy to have found your blog via Gumbo lily- I've been enjoying myself - sipping my chai tea,laughing over your videos and adding Joni Mitchel to my imeem list. And I think I'll re-read Middlemarch - it's been a long time. I may even try your chutney - it would make a good Christmas gift. Thanks for a happy half hour! I'll be back :)

Dulce Domum said...

Hi Martha
yes, tis good stuff m'dear, it enlivens many a sarnie!

Hi Tina
Yes, my lot have accused me of bean fanaticism too. It's for their own blinkin' good. Don't they know they're good for their hearts...?

Hi Jody
Oh, yes, I reckon you'll enjoy making it. It's a doddle compared to jam and jelly.

Hi Sandra
My DH made Falafel the other night, they were delicious, I hope you enjoy making the bean cakes.

Hi Marie
They're really good in wraps with yogurt and coriander and salad. Yum!

Hi Sarah
No, not yet chucky-egg. I shall wait for Stir it up Sunday (like a good little Anglican) before I make me pud, but yes, you're right about the booze. Mucho, mucho booze.

Hi Island Sparrow
Thank you for visiting! I hope you try the chutney, if you do let me know how you get on!