Ah, hello Saturday – so good to see a relaxing one again. My New Year’s resolution is one that, thus far, I am managing to keep, and that is to have Saturdays off. My day to day job is owning/running an Arabian horse magazine and the deadlines always come around quickly! Invariably, working seven days a week, into the evenings as well as the early hours of the morning, is the norm. So I decided, this year, to have Saturdays off. I actually love working on Sundays – it’s so peaceful and I always seem to get more done. But Saturday is now my rest day, to catch up with life, family, friends, organising and, of course, cooking.
Naturally, given that I have this blog, I love cooking and I love to share my preparations with friends, either in reality or virtually. Due to Facebook often being overwhelmed with food posts, I set up Samantha’s Home Bistro, where I can post all my foodie things without annoying friends that aren’t interested in such things. I also use the same name when making goodies for my friends – I have a regular group that order gluten-free Christmas cakes from me, as well as my chutneys – spiced port and cranberry and Christmas, and rhubarb and ginger in early spring.
This morning was given over to watching James Martin on Saturday Kitchen. His last hosting session, and while I laughed heartedly at the good-natured banter in the studio – and the infamous Rick Stein slip up on the ‘look back’ reel – I did have a few tears in my eye as James bid us goodbye.
I am a big fan of James’ recipes – but more about that and other chefs that I like to follow in a future post.
My immediate focus post Saturday Kitchen was making my now annual rhubarb and ginger chutney – perfect with cheese and gluten-free crackers! My visit to Giddens & Thompson yesterday ensured that I had all the fresh ingredients that I needed, and so it was time to make this vibrant and aromatic chutney.
The first job was to trim and slice the rhubarb into small pieces, ready to be cooked.
Then, put 100ml of white wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar in a pan with half a teaspoon of rock salt, 150g of golden caster sugar, a finely chopped medium white onion, and a good 1cm piece of peeled, fresh ginger that has also been finely chopped.
Bring this to a rolling boil for five minutes or so, and then add the rhubarb.
Simmer this for around 15 to 20 minutes until the rhubarb has begun to melt and the chutney is thickening.
Taste for sweetness – I prefer things to be tart rather than sweet, but you can add more sugar if you require. I also feel that, as this is a chutney for cheese, you wouldn’t want it to be too sweet but that could just be me. I love the flavour of the ginger with the rhubarb, so I tend to add a little more than 1cm, just for that extra warmth and kick as well as to balance out any sweetness.
Once the chutney is ready, leave it to cool and then pour into sterilised jars. Seal, label, and all is done – ready to either give as Easter gifts tomorrow, to pass on to good friends, or to just enjoy over the course of the year.
The first batch I make each year never tends to go far – so I always make at least two or three more to ensure that I have enough to get me and my friends through the summer months.
There we are – the first small batch. I love the vibrant pink of this particular set as it looks so enticing. Of course, the chutney comes out differently every time, depending on the rhubarb used. And, of course, there always has to be a test, which in this instance is the tiny jar at the front!
All I need to do now is put the labels on the jars and they are all set to be delivered tomorrow when I have lunch with my family. For now, I’m going to play with some wild garlic and make some delicious garlic mushrooms, and also some blue cheese butter using roquefort (sheep’s cheese) for tonight’s steak.
Have a wonderful evening folks, Samantha xx