Get the pip
Try these delicious ways to preserve and munch on the season’s bounty of apples and pears, suggests NZ House & Garden food editor Sally Butters.
PEAR & PRUNE CHUTNEY Like most chutneys, this one is very simple to make but best left for at least a week before dipping into, to allow time for the flavours to meld and develop.
1.3kg pears, peel, cored and chopped into rough cubes (you need about 1kg flesh) 2 cooking apples, peeled, cored and chopped into similar-sized cubes 2 medium onions, peeled and thinly sliced 2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely sliced 5cm piece fresh ginger, peeled and cut into thin batons 1 red chilli, finely sliced (include seeds for extra heat) 450g prunes, roughly chopped 1 teaspoon salt ½ teaspoon grated nutmeg 12 whole cloves 2 lemons, juice and finely grated zest 500g brown sugar 600ml apple cider vinegar
APPLE & ROSEMARY JELLY This is a great condiment to serve with meat and cheeses. Using jam-setting sugar, which contains pectin, ensures a perfect set. Pretty up a jar with a fabric topper and baker’s twine for a lovely homemade gift.
6 granny smith apples 4 red apples 1.2 litres water 4 x 10cm sprigs fresh rosemary 1kg Chelsea jam setting sugar
Coarsely chop whole, unpeeled apples and place in a large saucepan with water and rosemary. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer 30-40 minutes until pulpy. Allow to cool 10 minutes then transfer mixture to a jelly bag, or a sieve lined with clean muslin or a new dish cloth, and suspend over a large bowl to collect the juices. Allow to drain for at least 2 hours or overnight. Do not squeeze the pulp to try to extract more liquid, as this will make the jelly cloudy. Measure the liquid (there should be about 4 cups) into a clean saucepan and add the sugar. Heat gently and stir until sugar has dissolved. Increase heat and boil rapidly 4 minutes. Skim foam off surface, pour into warm sterilised jars and seal. Leave to set – at least 4 hours. Makes 5-6 small jars Place all ingredients in a preserving pan or large pot and stir over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Bring to the boil, stirring occasionally, then reduce heat to a simmer and cook chutney, stirring occasionally, until it is thick (this can take 1-1½ hours). Remove pan from heat and spoon chutney into hot, sterilised jars and seal. Chutney will keep for a year in a cool, dark cupboard. Makes about 8 cups
OVEN-DRIED APPLE RINGS WITH SLOW-BAKED COCONUT SUGAR & CINNAMON WALNUTS Serve these delightful, crunchy nibbles as part of a cheese platter with the Pear & Prune Chutney (recipe left). The apple rings and spiced walnuts need several hours in the oven but both can be cooked at the same time.
For the apple rings:
1 large lemon, juiced 2 teaspoons salt 3 apples (cooking or sweet)
For the nuts:
1 egg white 1 tablespoon water 200g large walnut pieces 1/ cup coconut sugar
3 ½ teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Heat oven to 50C fan bake. Fill a bowl with a litre of cold water and mix in the lemon juice and salt. Core the apples (but don’t peel them) and slice into thin rings. Place the rings immediately into the water to prevent browning. Shake any excess water from rings and either thread onto long satay sticks and lay these across an oven pan to keep the rings upright and apart, or simply spread the rings over a cake rack sitting in an oven pan – the air must be able to circulate freely. Place rings in oven to dry for about 4 hours – they are ready when their texture resembles soft leather. Meanwhile, prepare nuts. Whisk egg white and water together until foamy. Add nuts and stir until well coated. Pour nuts into a sieve and allow to drain for several minutes. Combine coconut sugar, salt and cinnamon in a plastic bag. Add nuts and shake to coat. Spread nuts in a single layer in a lined oven pan, separating them if possible. Place in the oven with the apples and bake until well dried and crisp, stirring once or twice – this will take about 3 hours. Apples and nuts will keep for several weeks stored separately in airtight containers in a cool spot. Serves 6
Lemongrass, kaffir lime and grapefruit zest combine to create an other-worldly pale ale with just the right zing.
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