Sunday, 16 September 2012

Pattypan's Kitchen

I have been busy in the kitchen again.  Yesterday was a busy day I had acquired all sorts of goodies and needed to get on with processing them.  I bought 2kg vine tomatoes and roasted them down in two large roasting trays sprinkled with shallot onion garlic thyme rosemary sage a little sugar a little  white wine vinegar basil bay leaf black pepper white pepper  until everything was golden brown and then just whizz everything up in the food processor and then pour into hot sterilised kilner bottles (or their equivalent) adding  little lemon juice to each bottle before  hot water bath processing them  for half an hour from when they boil.  People think why bother doing it all yourself - because I know where the ingredients have come from there are no nasties in them and I have produced 7 jars of sauce reasonably economically that can be used in lasagne pizza as a base for soup etc. Just on the ingredient front alone works out to 50 pence a jar. (if I didn't have the jars it would cost more for the initial outlay but once you have the bottles it works out a lot cheaper).  This obviously does not take the energy element  into account but this is usually about 45 minutes all tol  Since I have started making this myself I have hardly bought pasta sauce from the shop the only time being when I do run out.  At present I have 14 jars in store and during the next few weeks have plans to put down a lot more as we use tomatoes quite a lot and if I can get cheap tomatoes or grow your own it makes it even cheaper to produce.  This makes a mild pasta sauce compared to the shop bought ones but it is lovely and you can always add extra ingredients to pep it up.

I have also prepared a stone of pickling onions (the first of a couple of tranches).  My onions are sat brining at the moment I will finish them off later tonight but I have to "spice" my vinegar beforehand  i.e. warm the vinegar up with a mixture of spices [tied in a muslin bag] (if you want a sweet vinegar add the sugar now as well) and then once boiled up let it go cold and then use cold vinegar for the pickled onions as it will give a much crisper pickle.  Putting warm or hot vinegar in makes the onions go soft.

I also went mooching through my recipe books.  Quite a while ago I remarked on a pickle/relish that we had found a few years ago at a Christmas market in Lincoln which consisted of apples mint clear vinegar and sultanas as far as I could see.  Yesterday I was browsing my Mary Norwak Complete Book of Home Preserving ISBN 0-7063-5695-0 and I came across a very unusual recipe for a Mint Chutney.  It is not a chutney as we know it but I am quite excited because I believe it is the recipe that I tried and loved  updated with a few tweaks here and there.  So I made it yesterday as I had a whole load of mint in my herb border that needed liberating.  I will post the recipe separately later on but with a few tweaks (ie I hadn't got the exact ingredients so used substitutes) I don't think I am far off getting it how I want it, but it is very refreshing and I am quite taken by it because it creates a lovely little pickle with very simple ingredients.

I also gathered together my ingredients for making picallili yesterday as well and that will be processed later on today (ie prepared for brining)

I was going to make a lasagne yesterday but we didn't have enough cheese so I got some chicken breasts out of the freezer instead.  I was in two minds as to what to do with them but being as I had the pickling onions some peppers and fresh bay leaves I decided to do home made kebabs drizzled with sweet chilli sauce and then served with rice.  They were very tasty (although a certain person grumbled about me using bay leaves) but they do give a subtle flavour to any meat dish.  

We have home made steak pie for tea tonight cooked with mash, carrots, peas and lashings of gravy.  You need more substantial food when the weather starts to get a little chillier.

I also managed to get some greengages yesterday so am going to do some greengage jam and maybe some clementine curd as I have some clementines to use as well.  I also intend to dry the peel from the clementines to add in home baking and casseroles etc..  I also have in mind a more traditional apple chutney and some nectarine chutney and nectarines in syrup and apple sauce. but we will have to see how we get on.  As usual there is always a long list of things to do and if I don't get them done today well there is always tomorrow.

I also need to make the shortcrust pastry for the pie.  I might even make a bread and butter pudding to go with it.

At the moment I am quite missing my chest freezer will have to see if we can get one at the end of the month.

Right I have things to do and I need a cuppa

Catch you all later on




  1. I freeze my pasta sauce. This is only the 4th summer we are having a garden and this year our tomato babies had an accident (lol now but wasn't funny then) and only the cherry tomatoes survived - so I was made to buy the big tomatoes to make my sauce...
    It feels totally different in deep winter to have this homemade soup, there is some summer in there...

  2. Hi Tina

    I use any tomato often a mixture of what I can get my hands i.e. cherry tomatoes, large beefsteak ones, vine ones on and they all cook down the same. I have dreams and plans to one day grow all my own stuff but for the best part I rely on reduced bargains at my local greengrocers or when they have no "offers" buying the vine tomatoes. I agree with you when it comes to taste it is proper simple food with no adulteration as you say "a taste of summer" in winter - can't beat it. Its also getting away from over-reliance on the supermarket to provide everything as this way of preserving is all down to the "forager instincts" i.e. you looking for suitable products to process whether it be from the shops or from the wild larder or the productive garden. I am looking forward to the pumpkins as I usually freeze a load down for roasting with our Sunday dinner but also have a marmalade recipe too and its delish with croissants in a morning.

    Thanks for popping by and sharing


  3. Hmmm i always make tomato sauce to a similar recipe reminds me I have to make more for the winter.

  4. Pattypan how do you prepare your pumpkins for freezing ready for roasting and when how do you cook them? I would love to do this and have them ready prepared in my freezer :)

    Thank you for a lovely blog :)

    1. Hi Clematis Crazy

      They are very simple to do. I cut the pumpkin into wedge slice pieces like you would a melon but I scrape all the membrane and the seeds out with a spoon or teaspoon and put into a separate container - I then cut the wedges into two or three decent sized pieces I usually scrape off the outer skin. I then blanch the pumpkin pieces in boiling water for no more than a minute take out and straight into cold water I then drain in a colander to get the excess water off. I then wrap in portion sized polythene bags but you could equally put them into a tin foil dish. to cook: I then throw them straight into a pan of hot fat and let them go caramelised - scrummy. I became addicted to pumpkin when I went to Australia on holiday many moons ago. Not many people in this country had come across it at the time but it is a firm favourite along with roast sweet potatoes. Hope this helps but if you have any problems yell



    2. P.S. Thank you for your kind words



    3. Pattypan thank you ever so much, I will definitely be doing this soon :) :)

  5. In my experience you can never ever have too much passata sauce it is a very versatile ingredient.

    Take care



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