My Easter break this year was a little different from usual – and significantly quieter. I have finally managed to convince the very hard-working Husband that it is okay to take a break and enjoy some time that is just for him – no work, no kids, no me – although it wasn’t easy to start with. Last year we managed to persuade him (or bully him, depends who’s telling the story) to accept an invitation to go up to the Byron Bay Blues Festival with a group of friends.
Our family are all big music fans and have been WOMADelaide devotees (or tragics, again it depends who’s telling the story) since it began here, taking the kids in backpacks when they were small. We all knew The Husband would love Byron Bay, but it took all sorts of cajoling, nagging and manipulation to get him to agree to go away for a week without us and there were even unfortunate scenes in the car on the way to the airport, as he resisted to the bitter end. Contrary to his expectations, the world did not cease to turn, either in a domestic or commercial sense, he actually relaxed and enjoyed himself and happily set off again last week, leaving me with the assorted offspring.
Given that our eldest has moved out of the familial nest, our son is at the age where he disappears for days at a time and the youngest had an hour-long general anaesthetic to dig wisdom teeth out of her jaw on the Wednesday before the Easter break, I knew things were going to be pretty uneventful over the weekend. Glad of an excuse to do very little – and to have the remote control to myself – the four day break looked quite good from where I was sitting. (Perhaps less so for my poor, swollen and bruised baby, though.)
I happily engrossed myself in the pile of books by my bedside, the menu of murder mysteries on the television, the thorough perusal of Paula Wolfert’s book “The Food of Morocco” to select the lunch menu for a family meal on Easter Sunday (harcha, vegetable couscous and salmon poached with preserved lemon, raisins & pine nuts, followed by cheese and chocolate) and the big box of late, cooking tomatoes that I purchased on Thursday afternoon. In between the above, plus playing on the internet, tending to my daughter’s needs for nourishing, but soft, foods and administering pain relief I had a lovely time turning these bruised and over-ripe fruits in to chutney, tomato sauce (ketchup) and tomato sugo. I now have a fridge and freezer full of summer ready to brighten up the winter months.
The tomato sugo recipe I use is one that I’ve posted before here. It is a simple recipe, but oven-cooked, thus maximising the sweetness of the tomatoes, and is a rich base for soups, casseroles or pizzas. I made the tomato sauce (ketchup) in my trusty Thermomix using my modified version of a gorgeous recipe from the very clever Quirky Jo – check out her version here. The chutney was my own recipe. I like a bit of spicy flavour with chutney, but not too much heat, so I’m generous with the ginger and spices, but less so with the chilli. Chutney is simple to make, keeps for ages in the fridge, is a deliciously tasty addition to a cheese platter and, like so much else, always nicer when you make it yourself.
Spicy Tomato Chutney
- 1 & 1/2 kgs tomatoes roughly chopped (I used Romas)
- 2 chopped onions
- 3 Tbsp grated fresh ginger
- 1 cup sultanas
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 1/2 tsp cumin
- 1 1/2 tsp ground coriander
- 1 level tsp dried chilli flakes
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
- Combine all ingredients in a pot, bring to the boil then reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 1-1 1/2 hours until thickened.
- Sterilise jars by scalding with boiling water or running through a hot cycle in a clean dishwasher. Dry by standing upside down in warm oven.
- When cooked, pour chutney into hot jars (pouring hot chutney into cold jars will make the jars crack), seal, cool and store in fridge.
That’s how I filled in my delicious four days. How about you, my lovelies – how did you enjoy the break?
Christine (Food Wine Travel)
What a beautiful batch of chutney you’ve made, Amanda. It must have been lovely having a nice leisurely weekend to cook and play, even if you did have to play nurse. Hope your daughter is better now.
What a wonderful weekend! Sometimes it’s nice to be husbandless for a short break 🙂
Looks delish! I really need to start learning how to bottle/preserve things…I’d love to make a chutney and something like pickled cucumbers too.
just a girl from aamchi mumbai
Oh I love Tomatoes cannot imagine a life without them. I would be making a Tomato and date chutney tomorrow while I drool looking at the gorgeous pictures of the chutney on your blog. Love it.
It sounds like a lovely quiet weekend indeed, and I sure hope your baby is feeling better after that dental work- ouch!
Chutney and preserves make the whole house smell just gorgeous when they’re cooking, so spicy and delicious.
We spent the weekend very quietly too, but managed to scoff amazing amounts of food still 🙂
Maureen | Orgasmic Chef
What is it about men that they can’t give themselves permission to go off and have fun but they encourage us to do it? I’m glad he went.
however that comment about the remote hit home. Is it every man who thinks it’s HIS job to change channels or just our two?
I need to be making ketchup again. I haven’t done it for 2 years nearly.
Everyone needs time out Amanda and your weekend sounded perfect for you and hubby. Maybe not so for your poor daughter and I hope she is back to normal now. Great effort with the box of tomatoes, probably sick of the sight of them right now I imagine but come winter you will really appreciate your effort.
For me of course, visiting hospital every day was the norm although I was able to spend 3 hours on Good Friday with my daughter, SIL and grand-children which was lovely.
You put your time to good use especially with the making of this wonderful chutney. I love how it’s made with apple cider vinegar – that would give it a particular zing and how it has the sultanas for a bit of sweetness. Your jars look wonderful and looking at them you must feel very satisfied xx
Like you – I love a bit of one on one time with the remote control. I also love the look of your sugo – great colour and so wonderful to have on hand for the wintry times ahead.
Lisa the Gourmet Wog
Oooh that looks delicious! I need to get on the chutney bandwagon and start up a supply!
I love your pictures and recipes, they are mouth watering. Would love for you to share them with us at foodieportal.com. We are new but at foodieportal.com we are not photography snobs, we are just foodies.
Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella
I’m going to be so sad when the last of the sweet summer tomatoes leaves us. This is a good way to let them live on in the pantry!
Anna @The Littlest Anchovy
Oh how I wish I had thought to do this with my tomato harvest this year. Nevermind, I have bookmarked this for next years crop. What a gorgeous chutney Amanda!
I am sad about tomato season ending – you are wise to bottle it – looks lovely and sounds like a lovely holiday
The Food Sage
I love being left to my own devices for great stretches of time, too. I really enjoy my own company … i don’t get on my nerves, i know exactly which buttons not to push, and i’m quite easily pleased – scrambled eggs and a good cup of coffee/glass of wine (depending on time of day) and i’m sorted. So i hear you lady. And i hope you had a lovely, restful Easter. Thanks for sharing your tomato chutney recipe and i love the photograph that expertly captures a lovely collection of jars and bottles. Job well done!
Yesterday I tried this recipe and it is made so yummy and delicious that I can’t express it in words. Thanks for this amazing recipe.