Champions chutney

Okay, tenuous link in the title because it’s Wimbledon men’s finals day, but this chutney is seriously for winners. I made a big batch of chutney a few weeks ago that just didn’t make the grade. So I’ve spent time trying out some tweaks this week. The result is this really sunny, crowd pleasing chutney. It’s a gem, delivering an intensity of flavour and a wonderful warmth with every bite.

Champions chutney

To make around 3 x 500ml jars as shown above, you will need:

  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 5 garlic cloves
  • 1 white onion
  • 200g chopped aubergine
  • 600g chopped ripe tomato (I used big fresh tomatoes)
  • 200g runner beans chopped into 1cm pieces
  • 800g chopped courgette
  • 3 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tablespoon poppy seeds
  • 1 tsp hot chilli powder
  • 200g honey
  • 350ml cider vinegar
  • A little seasoning

To make:

  1. Fry the onion and garlic in a large heavy duty pan for a few minutes until soft and translucent.
  2. Add the spices and seeds then fry together for 2 – 3 minutes.
  3. Add the chopped vegetables. The size of the these depends on your own preference. It’s nice to have some chunkiness to a chutney, but you don’t want it too rustic. Give everything a good stir before pouring in the honey and vinegar. The liquid should just cover the vegetables.
  4. Let the chutney come to a boil, give it a good old stir and then turn down to a constant simmer, with the lid off. You need the liquid to evaporate over the next 1 1/2 to 2 hours and the vegetables gently soften. You can’t leave it to its own devices for the whole time. You need to give it the occasional thorough stir. Towards the end you’ll need to keep stirring to make sure it doesn’t dry out or start sticking.
  5. The chutney is ready when the liquid has reduced right down, leaving you with a thick sumptuous pot of sticky vegetables.
  6. Once you are happy, pop on a lid and leave to cool. Then re taste and check seasoning, before adding to jars. Make sure you stir well and distribute evenly in the jars.

I was lucky enough to pick my own vegetables for this chutney from the most idyllic working farm in Andalusia. The care and attention taken to nurture the produce is amazing. It undoubtedly makes a difference to the taste and romance of every dish made from such a wonderful place.

Spot the three of us in the sunflower field. Magical x

Sunflower_1

Roasted vegetables with saffron dressing

I loved the whole BISH BASH BOSH concept that Jamie Oliver introduced us to in the late 90’s. He transcended the austere and seemingly grown up world of traditional TV chefs and authors, making cooking and creation more accessible for real 20 somethings like me. I loved it. Glass of wine in one hand, music on and a sense of relative chaos around the kitchen. There were sizable chunks of roughly chopped this and that, with glugs of olive oil and plenty of balsamic on the go. His recipes always turned out well and tasted great. Happy days.

Fast forward 15 years. Add pets, a husband and two children. I am now often clutching the Dyson Animal rather than the wine whilst preparing food for everyone. Some days there’s quite a bit of clutter and unintentional BISH BASH BOSHING. Other days I face culinary rejection from critics under the age of 6.

However, when there is calm and space of mind, I find complete peace in my time carefully preparing and creating good food. I have a stronger set of principles about what I eat these days. I actively look for ways to create good food that makes us feel nourished and whole. Knowing this means I enjoy the taste of delicious, well sourced food more than ever.

This recipe was adapted from my friend Natalie’s Ottolenghi cookbook. It features recipes from two bright chefs who produce beautiful mindful food.

Roasted vegetables with saffron dressing

This salad is stunning. It is vibrant, healthy and wholesome.

If you can, prepare your vegetables carefully and with love. Take time to taste the dressing. Leave the ingredients to settle a little before re-tasting and serving up. The vegetables will keep well in the fridge for up to 2 days and the dressing for 3 or 4.

Saffron_1

For a salad for 4 try this with:

  • 2 aubergines cut into 1-2 cm slices
  • 1 butternut squash cut into 1-2 cm slices
  • olive oil to brush vegetables
  • Lambs lettuce
  • 20g toasted pine nuts

For enough dressing for above with leftovers:

  • A small pinch of saffron strands
  • 3 tbsp of hot water
  • 180g greek yoghurt
  • 2 garlic cloves crushed
  • 2 – 3 tbsp lemon (go by taste)
  • 3 tbsp olive oil

Saffron_2

To prepare the salad:

  1. Infuse the saffron in the water for a few minutes. Pour the infusion into a bowl with the other dressing ingredients plus a little salt. Whisk up till you get a smooth sauce, then chill.
  2. For the vegetables, brush with oil on both sides and lay on an oven tray, roasting at 220 degrees C for around 25 – 30 minutes till golden. Let them cool before serving.
  3. Assemble either as a large salad or as individual servings.

I have served this with grilled goats cheese and roasted beetroots too. It is a very robust dressing and has enough flavour to stand up well to cheese, fish or white meat.

Enjoy x