Tuesday, December 30, 2008


Above you see the results of a morning spent making apple chutney, with Rosa as the willing "gofer". Even with 2 of us plus food processor the whole operation took 4 hours. I use a Jennifer Paterson recipe from a book called Feast Days, published long before her incarnation as one of the Two Fat Ladies. I like this recipe because it includes fresh dates and I found some lovely, plump ones in the supermarket a few days ago.

All was going well until it was time to ladle the mixture into the jars, when we realised we were going to be a jar short. [Yes, I do usually prepare and sterilise more jars than I think I will need but I miscalculated this time - or the Sicilian apples give a better yield.] I hastily found the preserving jar on the right and sterilised it but the trouble is now it is time to seal the jars and I have run out of rubber preserving rings.

About half an hour ago I remembered I had an unopened jar of Foie Gras in the fridge and that it is a similar type of jar; therefore I thought I would be clever and use the ring from it. [Yes again, I know you should use a new one each time but I would have sterilised it and replaced it on Friday as I have better things to do tomorrow than go rubber-ring-hunting!] But can I get the goddam jar open?! No, I just can't and I have tried every trick I know and every Lakeland gadget [Lakeland is a UK kitchen shop famous for inventing problem-solving devices] at my disposal. So please, before I get myself into a "Mr Bean" situation of smashing the wretched jar and binning the contents in order to get the ring, does anyone know how I can open the thing?!

Rosa was very interested in the whole process and went home with a [ringless] jar of chutney onto which I popped a pretty label and a nice Christmasy "hat" before she left. Leafing through my "Preserves" cookbooks, she came across a recipe for piccalilli and was much taken with a picture of the finished product, so I translated the recipe for her and gave her dollops of the necessary spices which are difficult or impossible to find here: mustard powder [impossible], ginger [difficult] and turmeric [difficult]. I hope the recipe works for her!


CherryPie said...

I didn't realise you couldn't get so many of the spices I take for granted here!

Leslie: said...

I suggest you just use up that jar of fresh chutney by making all sorts of things you can use it with in the next few days.

Happy New Year! :D

Maria said...

Wow! Looks delicious as always! Hmmm... hot water, a rubber griiper that wraps around a lid so you can twist it off, hot water, a strapping hot man, and more hot water! Hope that helps! Love, M

jmb said...

A very productive morning Welshcakes, if a lot of work.

An old trick for opening jars which only works on metal lids is to run it under hot water for a few moments. The metal expands while the glass does not and then you can often twist it off. Unfortunately many lids are plastic now and the devil to open. We broke down and bought an electric jar opener. Isn't that the height of decadence.

Happy New Year Welshcakes.
word verification, genta

fake consultant said...

no guarantees on this but is it possible you might be able to freeze the thing and cause it to shrink enough to pop the jar?

another option: why not freeze the chutney and use it first?

Sally said...

Just the weather for chutney; handy sealing hint inherited from older generation. A good layer of melted wax poured on top of the jar's contents and allowed to set, provides a sterile, air-proof seal. Make sure it just runs up the lip of the jar and slide it off whole - one of life's small pleasures - when you want to eat it. Happy New Year Welshcakes from freezing Britian, where the tepmeprature at 11 am is -4!

James Higham said...

My goodness you work hard. Good to see you have some energy back at the right time. Happy New Year to you and to Simi.

old and angry said...

Use an oil filter removal tool, that should open it,
If you have one in your garage, that is.

Ellee Seymour said...

What a fabulous collection you have here. Take care Welschakes and have a very happy new year.

Ellee Seymour said...

Hi Pat, take care and have a wonderful New Year. Don't eat too much!

Liz Hinds said...

Rosa really is an absolute gem, isn't she?

Its' about 6.30 pm here now and I hope you're out being entertained on New Year's Eve!

I hope 2009 sees an improvement in your health.


Unknown said...

Happy New Year, Welshcakes!

May you be blessed much happiness and many joys in 2009!

May the world be blessed with Peace & Justice in 2009!

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Hi, Cherrypie. Yes, it's a nuisance. You can get them in a store in Ragusa [30 mins away by bus] as the town has a bigger North African population. But usually my friends in the UK kindly send them. Good idea, Leslie. Thanks, M. I tried the first two of those. I'll just go and find me a strapping hot man! xx I tried that, jmb but it wouldn't budge. Thanks all the same. I think I'd better look for an electric jar opener too! Both are good ideas, FC. Thank you. Thanks, Sally. I haven't got any wax either! I can't remember what -4 is like! Kind of you to say so, James. My energy does seem to be coming back. O&A, I've got a garage but no car so I don't have stuff like that. Thanks, though. Ciao, Ellee. All good wishes to you and yours, too. She certainly is, Liz! I have been invited but am staying with Simi tonight as there bwill be fireworks and they don't do them by halves! She's not scared - she just barks like crazy. Many thanks, Nick. If only we could have peace and justice everywhere. HAPPY NEW YEAR TO YOU ALL.


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