Well, my lovelies, I’m really going for broke with a third “In My Kitchen” post in as many months. This is all the brainchild of Celia over at Fig Jam and Lime Cordial and if you wander over there you can check out what my friends have in their kitchens this month too! As I’m running out of time to post before the break and because I really wanted to share this with you, I’m also including a recipe from my kitchen – just scroll down to the end of the post for it.
When my US friend Dianne Jacob arrived here last month to speak at our conference, she bought me a lovely surprise – a goodie bag of treats that she thought I might not find here in Australia. Among them were these two Microplanes. These laser-cut and wickedly sharp graters are an absolute must-have for any serious cook and I did not have either of these models. In fact, I hadn’t even seen the large grater in the stores here so they were both a welcome addition to my gadget drawer. I already had the bandaids – and it was just as well, as I needed them after the first time I used this gift.
Dianne included in her gift a container of dried “plumcots”. These are plums which have been crossed with apricots. I’ve never seen them here at all and am wondering if there is a whole new crop out there that we could be growing. They are quite delicious and I’m looking forward to trying them out in my next chicken tagine dish.
I’ll put my hand up here and admit to being afraid of these big boys. They are dried Ancho Chillis and were also a gift from Dianne. I know that the larger the chilli, the milder the taste, but I’m still intimidated. If anyone has any suggestions for me to use them – safely – I’m all ears.
We had some friends over for a few drinks the other day and David and Kath brought me this glorious bunch of Lemon Balm and Kangaroo Paw. It is still gracing the bookshelf and perfuming the air – thanks, guys.
It is cherry season here in the Adelaide Hills and we can pick them by the bucket-load at the moment. If you are a local, just look for the signs on the side of the roads and support your local growers. When you’ve got your bucket full of cherries try this little treat out – my Christmas Cheery Cherry Chutney. Like most of my cooking, it is easy to prepare (although I suggest you invest in a cherry stoner), is the perfect accompaniment for the season and a delicious way to tart up all of those left-over meats.
Christmas Cheery Cherry Chutney
- 1 kg pitted fresh cherries
- 1 onion finely chopped
- 1 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup finely chopped candied ginger
- 2 level Tbsp powdered ginger
- 2 level Tbsp Chinese five spice powder
- 6 whole cloves
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1/2-3/4 whole nutmeg freshly grated
- Place all ingredients in heavy based saucepan, cover, place over medium heat and bring to the boil.
- Reduce to a simmer and cook until soft and thickened.
- Remove cinnamon stick, cool, store in clean jars in the fridge.
I’ve injured many more fingers than I have on microplanes! I love the colours of yours though! Unfortunately the handle snapped off my fine grater, and the grating part of the larger grater popped out of the handle on my other one! Perhaps I use them too often…
Wow – the plumcots sound fabulous – what a great gift ! I would like to put them in a Xmas pud or cake for that matter !
Ancho chiles are the “kindly uncle” in the world of chiles. Not very spicy – compared to most chiles – and are quite versatile. When fresh these are called “poblano” and are the preferred chile for rellenos, chiles stuffed with cheese
They have to be soaked in hot water so the skin (quite tough) can be removed and the stem and seeds extracted.
This chile has a great affinity for pork and there is a wonderful pork stew that originated in Durango Mexico but I’m afraid you would not be able to get all the ingredients.
Meanwhile, this is an excellent recipe to show off the flavor of the pork and the chiles: http://mexican.food.com/recipe/pork-chops-in-orange-chile-sauce-237424
This site had a bunch of recipes using anchos.
And I thought I was a stupid ‘country gal’ for not having one of those microplanes I was forever seeing on foodie shows!!!
Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella
A nice bounty in your kitchen this month! I’ve got a large Microplane grater and I use it a lot although I really like the all metal Microplane as my handle is coming away from the head 🙁
This sounds delicious, and you can never have too much ginger :)!!
Coffee and Crumpets
The cheery cherry chutney looks fabulous. My mouth was watering just reading the ingredients.
The Microplanes are great and you will enjoy using them. Though, I’ve had my share of grated knuckles and nails.
I am happy to have found your blog and look forward to perusing it.
What a lovely list of unusual goodies from Diane. I’m sorry I can’t help with those chillies. I love how cherries are so available. I love the look of your cheery cherry chutney too but boy, that is hard to say – even when sober! xx
Mel @ The cook's notebook
How thoughtful of Dianne. And YUM! I love plumcots but also not seen them here. I was watching Food Safari Mexico last night on the SBS version of iview and the guest was the owner/founder of Guzman y Gomez. He was talking about ancho chillies and a few others and showing how to cook them. Worth a watch – but not when you are hungry!
Cherry Chutney! they must taste really delish!
Amanda, how cool is it when cherry season arrives! We’re eating SA cherries this year – seem to be better than the ones coming out of Young. Those graters are deadly – I’ve grated off more skin than I care to remember! 🙂
Have a wonderful Christmas! xx
Lizzy (Good Things)
Hi Amanda, sorry I missed this post! So many wonderful goodies in your kitchen. I love my microplane graters… they can hurt, though! The cherry chutney sounds yummy. I’m having a cherry extravaganza this season! Wishing you and yours a peaceful and joyous Christmas. Thank you for your friendship and inspiration, Liz xoxo
This was a big hit with ham and turkey among several families during Christmas 2015 – thanks Amanda!