17 September 2008

Sweet, spicy and just a little tart...y

Gosh...that title could be a bit of a self-descriptor, couldn't it?

Well, maybe not tarty...

How about "cognisant of her gods-given feminine attributes and will occasionally dress the part?"

Hmmm...tarty scans better...especially after some of the bordering-on-lascivious glances I got today. Lascivious in both senses: certain women disapproved of a particular blouse while certain men appreciated today's wardrobe choice.

Every once in a while it's good to do things like that. Stress on "once in a while" -- I'm sure if I dressed like that every day I'd either get a talking to about distracting the boys from their work while making the more body conscious slim-everythinged girls painfully aware that a thin middle isn't part of the universal definition of attractiveness, the lack of "professionalism" or "genuine concern" that I've gone off the deep end and am going through some sort of crisis/depression or have been taken over by the spirit of Cher.

So...why do I do it? I'm not sure I have a good reason--or any reason really. Do I need one?

Maybe part of the reason lies within a search for balance (or rebalance). I think I live a rather quiet life--I don't fly jets, swing from trapeezes or work for CSIS (even though I did consider applying)--so every once in a while I do something that brings out a different side to the usual Jasmine that most people have come to expect: take off (by myself) to a different country where I don't speak the language, be nearly deafened at a rock concert or wear something that's technically within the office dress code but would probably more appropriate at a bar, a concert or in a different country where I don't speak the language.

I guess the same can be said for cooking. Take a sweet, juicy and luscious tree-ripened fruit, and turn up the heat and add spices and a couple of hits of acid until you get a nice balance of sweet, tart, salt and sour. It's still recognisable as derrived from that original fruit, but it's got an injection of attitude that lets it play nicely with meats or a good wodge of cheese.

Yup...it's peach chutney. Thick and chunky, sweet and savoury with a gorgeous golden colour that will lift your spirits even in the dead of winter.

If you've never made chutney before, this is a really easy recipe and one you can do in an afternoon (as opposed to prep the night before). Even though it's okay to eat immediately, let it sit for about a month before spooning it out.

Lascivious peach chutney
makes approximately two litres

1.75 kg peeled, diced fresh peaches
2 tbsp pickling salt
675g sugar
375ml apple cider vinegar
2 dspn minced garlic
175g diced cooking onion
1 dspn powdered ginger
2 minced fresh red chillis (or to taste)
180ml lime juice
175g raisins
50g minced ginger, boiled in a simple syrup for about 15 minutes and then drained
20g plain flour
1 dspn dry mustard
1/4 tsp turmeric

Salt the peaches and let stand for about an hour (or longer, if you wish).

Simmer the sugar, vinegar, garlic, onion, ginger powder, chillis, lime juice and raisins. Drain the peaches (reserve the juice--you'll see why in the next post) and add to the pot. Bring the entire mixture to a good, ploppy boil.

Lower the flame and let simmer for about 30-40 minutes until soft and it begins to thicken, stirring occasionally. Add the boiled ginger and cook for another 10 minutes, stirring often.

Mix together the flour, mustard and turmeric. Take the pot off the hob and add the flour mixture to the chutney in several additions, stirring well between each spoonful. Return to the heat and stir for another five minutes until it reaches the thickness you want.

Ladle into hot, sterilized jars and store in a cool, dark place. I don't return the jars to the canner afterwards--I just wait for the lids to snap. If you get bottles that don't seal properly, then put the bottles into the fridge and finish those first.


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K and S said...

this sounds like it would be a nice condiment to pork chops or steak.

Anonymous said...

I can relate to all of it. And given the current colour and flavour of my emotions I too should put on a questionable blouse, travel or ... whatever. Maybe the chutney will be enough!

Anonymous said...

I see you got your canning confidence mustered! Nice work.

Anonymous said...

I've been looking for a peach chutney recipe! Thanks for posting this - there's a bounty of peaches in my neck of the woods!

Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) said...

Beauty comes in all shapes, sizes, and blouses!

Meeta K. Wolff said...

I am on a chutney, preserve, jam trip at the moment. want to save all these delicious fruit to enjoy later. i really like the sound of this!

Brilynn said...

I really need to do more canning. My aunt recently gave me some of her peach jam and plum jam and they were both fantastic. Your peach chutney would have been wonderful on the roast pork I had last night.

And no, I don't miss Ozzy and The Landload, not even the teeniest bit... it's too early for that. I will eventually miss them only for their comedic value after the fact.

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Way to go Jasmine!!
Oh and the Lascivious peach chutney looks sweet, spicy and tarty too!

Anonymous said...

Your chutney looks delicious. I've never even thought of making it before. Now I will.

Sending you big hugs,

Anonymous said...

lascivious sounds good to me.. Haha. Cool post.

Fitness Foodie said...

I love making and eating chutneys. This one sounds great, love the chilis in it. They make great housewarming gifts

Michael Kruse said...

I have eaten almost 1/2 the jar you gave me and it is YUMMMY. I stuffed some chicken breasts with it and some sharp cheese. DOUBLE YUMMY!