Pink Pickled onions

03CE1C23-76CE-4A3C-9C25-14A7A67C344CI often contemplate having a go at making jam, chutney or curd, but keep getting put off. In my head it feels like something really challenging and a bit scary. I stumbled across a recipe for making your own pickled onions and that somehow felt like a sensible first step towards more demanding recipes that require the filling of jars!

This recipe is really flexible, you could vary the type of onion used and the type of vinegar used.

Pretty in Pink Pickled Onion (makes one 400g sized jar)

1 large red onion, finely sliced into half moons
300ml apple cider vinegar
3 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp salt
1 tsp pink peppercorns

1. Sterilise the jar by washing it in the dishwasher; you have to time this right so the onions are ready to fill it when the dishwasher finishes, so the jar is still hot.

2. Heat the vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper corns in a small pan, whisking gently until the salt and suagr dissolve.

3. Carefully remove the hot jar from the dishwasher just after the cycle finishes. Pack as much onion into the jar as you can fit in. Pour the pickling liquid over the top and secure the lid on the jar.

The onions will keep for 2 – 3 weeks in the fridge.

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Muhammara, maybe?

This is my adaptation of muhummara dip, which I love to order in our local Lebanese restaurant. Mine is more of a store-cupboard version than a strictly authentic one.

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Muhammara dip

75g walnuts (I’ve substituted hazelnuts before when I ran out of walnuts)
1 tsp cumin seeds
3 roasted red peppers
3 heaped tablespoons of breadcrumbs
2 heaped tablespoons of tomato puree
2 tablespoons of honey (if you’re being authentic, you should go in search of pomegranate molasses, but honey isn’t a bad substitute)
1 teaspoon chilli flakes
A squeeze of lemon juice
Salt and pepper
Olive oil

1. Roast the nuts and cumin seeds in the oven for up to 5 minutes at 180°C until the nuts are just starting to brown. (If you are roasting the peppers, you could put them in the oven first, as they’ll take about 30 minutes to roast, alternatively you can grill them.)

2. Blitz the walnuts, cumin seeds and peppers in a food processor.

3. Add the other ingredients to the food processor. Blitz until smooth. I only add a splash of olive oil, but up to 2 tablespoons would work here.

Avocado and sweetcorn salsa

It’s raining and grey here in Yorkshire so I needed some food that is full of sunshine to cheer me up. This is a Mexican inspired recipe that’s easy to throw together.

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Avocoda and Sweetcorn Salsa (makes one small bowl full)

225g canned sweetcorn, drained
1/2 red onion, finely chopped
8-10 cherry tomatoes, quartered, and de-seeded if you don’t like the insides like me!
A handful of fresh basil, finely chopped
1 ripe avocado, peeled and diced
1 tablespoon of lime juice
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and mix together well.  Leave in the fridge for a couple of hours before eating.

Fresh coriander is a good substitute for basil.

This is also nice mixed with cooled pasta shapes to make a pasta salad for lunch.

Blackcurrant, rosemary and chia seed jam

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This recipe is an amalgamation of two things, the inspiration comes from a very naughty but extremely nice treat, while the ingredients list focuses on things that are good for you. So overall a fairly balanced approach I’m sure.

To start with the inspiration…

I was lucky enough to receive a box of fudge for Christmas from Wonky Kitchen. They offer the most amazing range of flavours and the texture and taste of the fudge is unbelievably good. They had a stand at the Winter Food Festival in Harrogate and while I’m so happy they travelled there from Devon it’s a shame they aren’t based a bit closer to Yorkshire. (Luckily you can order from them online!) My box of fudge contained the following flavours; Cherry Brandy, Strawberry and Balsamic and Blackcurrant and Rosemary.

Next the ingredients …

I’ve been hearing lots about chia seeds and when I saw them in my local Home Bargains store I thought I’d give them a try.

I’ve put them to use here making a jam. The great thing is that there is no cooking involved so it’s very easy and quick to make.

Blackcurrant, Rosemary and Chia seed jam

100g blackcurrants
1 tbsp chia seeds
Leaves from one Rosemary stalk, very finely chopped
Honey

  1. Blend the blackcurrants in a food processor.
  2. Stir in the chia seeds, 1 tbsp warm water, the chopped fresh rosemary and around 1 tsp honey (more if you require your jam to be sweeter).
  3. Mix well.
  4. Chill in the fridge to allow the seeds to swell and create the jammy consistency.

This doesn’t keep for too long. Store it in the fridge.