Ultra Spiced Christmas Bread

Oops. I misread teaspoons and tablespoons again, this might be a bit much. Then again, it might not, so I thought I'd better write it down. From the bread machine recipe book, with extras:

Basic White, Bake Raisin, Extra Large, 4 hours

  • 1.25 tsps yeast
  • 1 lb 5 oz strong white flour
  • 1.5  tbsps sugar
  • 1 oz butter
  • 2 tbsps milk powder
  • 1.5 tsps salt
  • 400 ml water
  • In the raisin dispenser – 5 oz mixed dried fruit – today we have cranberries, blueberries, and cherries – and 3 tbsps (should be 3 tsps cinnamon) mixed spice – 1 tbsp ground cardamom, 1.5 tbsps speculaas spice, 0.5 tbsps cinnamon.

It's in the machine now, we'll see what happens …

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Dried Fig and Sour Cherry Chutney

A Nick Nairn recipe from Good Food December 2001. Dried figs are great, we always have them around on the holidays, but there's also usually quite a lot left over. This says serve straightaway or "leave to mature", which probably means it's a bit late to make for this year, but making it in January time and putting somewhere dark and cool for several months would work. This quantity says to make 1.5 pints, which is a couple of reasonable size preserving jars or one big one.

 

  • 3 tbsps olive oil
  • 1 large red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 in piece root ginger, grated
  • 2 tbsps mustard seeds (doesn't say what colour)
  • 1 tsp dried chilli flakes
  • 3 x 75 gm packets dried sour cherries (or cranberries)
  • 250 gms / 9 oz dried figs, roughly chopped
  • 1 cooking apple, peeled and chopped
  • 100gms / 4 oz light muscovado
  • 100 ml / 3.5 fl oz red wine vinegar
  • salt and pepper

Heat the oil and fry the onion and garlic, 2 -3 minutes. Add ginger, mustard, chilli, dried fruit, apple and sugar, salt and pepper and stir well. Pour in the vinegar and 300 mls / half pint cold water. Stir and boil. Simmer 25 minutes, stirring occasionally, make sure it doesn't catch, or until the liquid has nearly all evaporated and the chutney is thick. Serve as is or put in a sterilised preserving jar and mature.

Sounds good – texture, acid versus sweet versus heat, all the elements of a good chutney. Not sure I'd use red wine vinegar, cider would be fine and slightly lighter. It's not so easy now to get the dried sour cherries, the supermarkets seem to have switched to sweeter ones. But I get barberries (sumac berries) from the local Middle-Eastern grocer, which are really sharp sharp sharp, and a mixture of those with the sweet cherries has worked well in vodka flavourings. Some asafoetida (hing) would give some of the sourness back as well.

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