Tag: chutney

Chutney filled Dates wrapped in crisp Bacon

Dates wrapped in Bacon with Chutney

Devils on Horseback, dried fruit wrapped and baked in bacon, are a typical winter dish, but the temperature dropped, it’s a bit grey outside and I wanted to try something new with my chutney. It’s still a great finger food nibble, even in spring! After I made my rhubarb chutney I thought about new combinations besides the classics with cheese, meat or sandwiches. A package of dried dates caught my attention, I had bought them a couple weeks ago from a Turkish shop I discovered while strolling through the streets. I went inside to check out their meat section as you can get the best lamb from Turkish butchers but I was a bit late and the shop was closing. On my way to the cash point I grabbed a package of dates unsure of what I would use them for and hopped back out onto the busy streets.

The dates finally found their purpose, I filled them with chutney, wrapped them in slices of bacon and baked them in the oven. Sweet and sticky, salty and a bit sour, my chutney filled dates wrapped in crisp bacon! It sounds like an attack on the taste buds but it’s actually a very harmonic combination, all the flavours melt together smoothly. My rhubarb chutney hasn’t sat yet, I want to give it a couple more weeks, so I used my plum chutney (the same recipe, just with plums).

It’s very easy to prepare these nibbles, you just need a few dried dates (as a snack for 3 I used 15 dates) and replace their seeds with some chutney (the plum chutney was very good but I tried one with rhubarb and it was good too). I cut a strip of thinly sliced bacon into 3 and wrapped each piece around a filled dated. Baked in the oven on 200°C / 390°F they turned golden and crisp after a few minutes!

Dates wrapped in Bacon with Chutney

 

Dates wrapped in Bacon with Chutney

 

Dates wrapped in Bacon with Chutney

Sweet and spicy Rhubarb Chutney

Rhubarb Chutney

My love for chutney developed quite late, almost nine years ago while I lived in England for a couple months. One night I found out about the glorious combination of Yorkshire Wensleydale cheese and chutney. I knew about a similar duo, ripe cheese and fig mustard, a great alternative to a sweet dessert, heavenly when the cheese’s milkiness unites with the spicy and fruity flavours in your mouth! When my dear friend Audrey, a lady who likes good cheese as much as I do, offered me this North Yorkshire delicacy I was taken after the first bite. My  favourite was a young cheese, mildly flavoured with cranberries, a bit crumbly and just perfect together with sweet onion chutney. Sometimes, after we had been out, we used to chat in Audrey’s kitchen, get out some jars of pickles, chutneys and a truckle of Wensleydale and we quite often ate more than just a midnight snack!

Not too long after this culinary discovery I started to make my own chutneys. I experimented for a while and came up with a recipe which I now use for all kinds of chutneys, plums, apples, onions or rhubarb. Depending on the fruit’s taste I adjust the spices a little bit but the basic recipe remains untouched. Most of the time I mix in red onions and red hot chili peppers for the spiciness, a couple apples to thicken the texture and lots of spices, turmeric, cloves, star anise, fennel seeds, black pepper, garlic and ginger. Rhubarb is at its seasonal peak at the moment, the best time to turn it into a sweet and spicy chutney!

Cheese and chutney isn’t the only way to enjoy chutney, you can also use it to flavour aromatic gravies, eat it with slices of warm or cold roast meat or spread it on sandwiches.

Rhubarb Chutney

 Rhubarb Chutney

For 3 medium sized jars you need

rhubarb, sliced 550g / 19 ounces
apple, peeled and roughly chopped, 125g / 4.5 ounces
red onion, medium sized, roughly chopped, 1
cider vinegar 220ml / 7.5 ounces
sugar 150g /5.5 ounces
fresh hot chili pepper, without seeds, finely chopped, 1/2
garlic, chopped, 1 clove
fresh ginger, grated or chopped, 1 heaped teaspoon
For the spice mixture (makes 2 teaspoons, you might only need 1 1/2)
turmeric, ground, 1/8 teaspoon
cinnamon, ground, 1/2 teaspoon
cloves, ground in the mortar, 12
star anise, ground in a mortar, 2 single pieces
fennel seeds, ground in a mortar, 1/2 teaspoon
small dried chili, ground in a mortar, 2
spirit to sterilise the rims of the jars

Sterilise the jars in boiling water for 5 minutes.

In a large pot, bring all the ingredients together with 1 1/2 teaspoons of the spice mixture to the boil. Cook for about an hour on medium temperature until the chutney thickens. You can add more of the spice mixture if you like before you fill the chutney into the jars.

Dip the rim of your jars in spirit and wash out the lids with the alcohol as well. Fill your jars with the chutney and close well immediately.

You can eat the chutney right away but I prefer to let it sit for 3 weeks. You should keep an open jar in the fridge (mine stays fresh for months) and the closed jars in your pantry.

Rhubarb Chutney

 

Rhubarb Chutney

A Mountain Bun

Mountain Buns

When I was a child we used to go to the Italian Dolomite Alps. Every year, in December, we stayed in a beautiful village in the Alta Badia region called Corvara. I loved being there as it looked like a wintery fairy tale (I always had a weak spot for places like this). Old wooden houses, trees packed with thick snow and the most amazing Tyrolean food – my childhood heaven. Yesterday I thought about how much I would love to be in the mountains again, in a wooden hut with an open fire and lots of snow outside. I would sit at a rustic old wooden table and eat rustic food.

Although I will not be visiting Corvara this winter, at least I have the wooden table and the hearty food. Therefore, my Wednesday Sandwich has to be a mountain sandwich – kind of – rich, with ham and cheese, homemade plum chutney and ground pepper. This morning, I baked my own buns with coriander and aniseed and I got some nice ham and cheese.  I made a plum chutney with lots of spices a couple months ago which is great together with cold cuts and mountain cheese. You could also use any other chutney or even plum butter, you just need something that adds a bit of fruity sweetness to this sandwich.

Mountain Buns

A Mountain Bun

For 2 sandwiches you need:

2 buns or 4 thick slices of bread, 2 slices of ham, 6 thin slices of strong mountain cheese like Swiss Appenzeller, plum chutney, a few leaves of lettuce (I used field salad as I had some left) and some crushed pepper.

Set your oven to grill (highest temperature).

Cut the bun in half, spread the chutney thinly on one half and put a slice of ham on top. Cover with 3 slices of cheese and put in the oven until the cheese starts to melt. Take the bun out, sprinkle with pepper, add some lettuce and put the other half of your bun on top.

I know it’s a bit of work, but baking your own bread or buns is definitely worth the effort and I’m sure you will agree after your first bite of the warm and fluffy buns. I prepared mine last night and let the dough rise overnight. Then you just have to put the buns into shape the next morning, let them rise for 40 minutes and bake them. If you want them plain just leave out the coriander and aniseed, they are still delicious!

Buns

This recipe makes 12 fabulous buns or milk rolls:

plain four 550g / 1.1 pound
dry yeast 1 package for 500g / 1 pound of flour
milk, lukewarm,  300ml
butter, melted, 50g / 2 ounces
organic egg 1
sugar 1 teaspoon
salt 1 1/2 teaspoon
coriander, crushed, 1 teaspoon
aniseed, for the topping, 1 teaspoon

Combine the flour with the yeast, coriander, sugar and salt. Mix the milk with the melted butter and the egg. Mind the temperature as the mixture should be lukewarm. Pour the liquid mixture into the flour and start mixing with your dough hooks for around 10 minutes until you have an elastic dough ball. Put the dough on a floured working surface and continue kneading with your hands for a couple minutes.

When I prepare the dough in the evening I place it in a clean, buttered and covered bowl in the fridge and let it rise overnight. You will have to take it out of the fridge 30 minutes before you can continue with the next steps.

In case I want to bake my buns the same day, I put the dough in a clean and buttered bowl, cover it with a tea towel and let it rise in the 35°C / 95°F warm oven for 60 minutes. This works really well but make sure that your oven is set to top/ bottom heat and not to fan.

Set your oven to 220°C / 430°F and prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper.

When the dough is bigger and puffy punch it down and knead for 1-2 minutes. Cut into 12 pieces and roll them in your hands into a round shape. Place the buns on your baking sheet, sprinkle with anisseed and give them another 40 minutes in a warm place to rise again (covered with a tea towel).

Bake the buns for 6 minutes, take the temperature down to 200°C / 390°F and bake them for another 7-10 minutes or until golden brown. Let them cool for a couple minutes.

Mountain Buns