Thursday, February 14, 2008

Saving summer produce

As I mentioned earlier in the week, Takapuna market on Sunday was a treasure trove of fabulous produce!!! I normally only go every second week, but I am considering going again this weekend as the produce was so great.

I love late summer produce – it is perfect for making into relish and jams, so on Sunday afternoon I spent a couple of hours making green tomato relish and roasted red pepper relish. I had seen the green tomato relish recipe in Stephanie Alexander’s book The Cook’s Companion, when I found the tomato sauce recipe I made a couple of weeks ago. I was curious as to what it would taste like. When I was at my in-laws in Taranaki a couple of weeks ago my mother-in-law gave me all this fabulous produce from her wonderful garden, including some green tomatoes to try out the relish.

The relish is more delicious than what I thought it would be. It is kind of a sludgy green colour, but the flavour is quite interesting – it is has cayenne pepper and garam masala in it. I imagine that it will be really nice with a strong vintage cheddar or with cold meat.

The recipe for the red pepper relish comes from Jamie Oliver’s new book, At Home with Jamie. I think he calls it Cheeky chilli chutney. I didn’t put too much chilli in mine, so I called it roasted red pepper relish. It is a mixture of roasted red peppers, chillies, red onions and balsamic vinegar. My friend actually had made it when we were in Invercargill earlier in the year and it inspired me to make it as it was so tasty. Great with cheese and also I reckon it would be good to tart up a tart!!!

Lastly, on Tuesday night I made my organic plums into a red wine and plum sauce. The recipe was one from a cooking class I went to at the Epicurean workshop a few years ago. I really like plum sauce – in the past I have made a spicy version that uses canned plums and has sumac, tamarind and lots of chillies in it. The sauce I made on Tuesday was flavoured by a pinch of allspice and juniper berries. I thought I had juniper berries in the pantry, but didn’t, so I substituted a couple of cinnamon sticks. I also added a bit more sugar (only about 2tbsp) as my plums must have been a bit tart and the sauce didn’t taste rounded enough for me. The sauce (despite the bad photos above!) is a gorgeous deep plum colour.

Plum and Red Wine Sauce (from Epicurean workshop class)

1 kg ripe plums, stoned and roughly chopped
2 c red wine (I used shiraz which I don’t really like to drink, but it was good for this. The recipe specified not to use pinot noir, I guess because it is not full bodied enough)
½ c sugar
6 crushed juniper berries tied in muslin (I used cinnamon sticks)
2 pinches allspice

· Combine all ingredients, except plums, in large pot, bring to the boil and simmer for 10 minutes
· Add plums and cook until most of the liquid has evaporated and mixture is thickish (about 45 – 60 minutes)
· Puree in food processor to make a smooth sauce
Bottle in sterilised bottles

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