Showing posts with label chilies. Show all posts
Showing posts with label chilies. Show all posts

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Spicy Tangy Sticky Kumquat Chutney

When kumquats are in season, may you be blessed either with a tree that produces the little orange orbs or a generous neighbor with one. This chutney is sweet and spicy with just the right amount of vinegar bite to make it spoonable over everything, from chicken to pork chops to fish.

When I was growing up in Texas, kumquats and their non-related look-a-likes, loquats or Japanese plums, were common in backyards.  We weren’t fortunate to have our own but neighbors and relatives were more than happy to share.  Over the years, I have bought them when available but never have I seen them as plentiful or as inexpensive as here in Egypt.

It must be the season because I bought a bag of more than two pounds or one kilo for about 50 cents in American money.  And, boy, was I delighted because I had just the recipe I wanted to adapt for them from, once again, my new favorite cookbook Fried Chicken and Champagne.

Spicy Tangy Sticky Kumquat Chutney recipe - Click here to print

About 2 pounds or 1 kilo kumquats
1 1/2 cups or 355ml orange juice
1 1/4 cups or 295ml rice wine vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons crushed red pepper or red pepper flakes
2 in or 4cm piece of cinnamon stick
1 large, thick thumb-sized piece fresh ginger
4 cups or 900g sugar
1 large fresh chili pepper

Wash your kumquats and remove any stems.  Finely slice them, removing any large green seeds. 

Pile them in a bowl and cover them with the orange juice.  Push them down into the juice a little if necessary.  Cover the bowl with cling film and let marinate overnight in the refrigerator.

The next day, peel your ginger and grate it finely into something that saves the pulp and the juice, because you’ll want to use both in the next step. 

In a large saucepan off of the stove, add in the kumquats, rice vinegar, red pepper, cinnamon stick, ginger and sugar.

Stir until the sugar is dissolved and pick out any large green seeds you might have missed.

Bring the mixture to a boil and then turn the fire down. Be careful at the beginning because the sugar really makes it bubble up. You do not want this to boil over!

Cook until it thickens to your desired consistency. The original recipe had some interesting instructions about bringing it to the boil and turning it down three times, so I did this, only to realize that I wanted the sauce to be more like a chutney.  Boiling only three times left it very runny.

I abandoned all that up-flame-down-flame and just gave it a steady very low boil, stirring every few minutes, until it was pretty thick.  Remember that once it cools, it will thicken even more so stop before you can stand a spoon in it or it will be too thick cold.

Meanwhile, mince your fresh chili, discarding the seeds if you don’t like things too spicy.  My pepper wasn’t very hot so I serious considered adding two.  Then I remembered the crushed red pepper and thought better of it.  But you can judge for yourself.

Once the chutney is almost thick enough, add in the minced pepper.  Stir and cook just a few minutes longer.  You want the pepper to retain its color.

Turn off the fire and remove the cinnamon stick.  It’s done.

While it cools, take your helper out to play with the handful of leftover kumquats.

This was divine with bacon-wrapped, pan-fried chicken breasts, as well as pork chops. (YES, I FOUND PORK CHOPS IN CAIRO! And they were, despite reports to the contrary, cheaper than steak.) I don’t have any clean empty jars or I would have bottled the chutney boiling hot, like I did with the pepper sauce here. Instead I stored in Ziplocs in my fridge.

With bacon-wrapped chicken breasts. Oh, man!

Pan-fried pork chops!
If you are a lover of sweet and sour and especially if you are also a lover of orange marmalade, this is the chutney for you. If you like things extra spicy, you might also want to try my nectarine kumquat habanero chutney!


Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Funky Spaghetti

Funky spaghetti is a cross between warm salad and tasty linguine, with tomatoes, olives and fresh basil! Serve it as a main course or side dish.

Food Lust People Love: Funky spaghetti is a cross between warm salad and tasty linguine, with tomatoes, olives and basil! Serve it as a main course or side dish.

I wish I could remember when I first heard the name Jamie Oliver.  Certainly I watched his first series, The Naked Chef not long after arriving in Malaysia, so possibly as early as 2002. 

But I distinctly remember watching the Oprah show in 2003 when he made his first appearance and cooked this dish, with the help of some picky eater children.  It’s so fast that I was sort of expecting it to make an appearance in his new 30-Minutes Meals which my wonderful, kind and generous friend, Jane, has recently lent me.  But it didn’t.

It’s still one of the fastest and most delightful dishes around.  The little bit of prep that is required is easily done in the time the pasta cooks.  And in under 15 minutes, dinner is served. (N.B. My adaptation is probably NOT suitable for picky eater children!)

Funky Spaghetti
My recipe was adapted from this one by Jamie Oliver on the Oprah Winfrey website. It serves 3-4 (or more as a side dish.)

1 pound or 500g linguine
10 ounces or 300g baby plum tomatoes, red and yellow, preferably at room temperature
2 handfuls of fresh basil, leaves picked, and chopped if rather large.
6 to 8 glugs extra-virgin olive oil
1 clove of garlic (peeled and finely chopped)
Good splash, or even two, of balsamic vinegar
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
5-6 Greek-style (read: really salty) black olives
2 small hot green chilies, chopped very fine.

Put a large pot of water on to boil. While your water is coming to a boil, halve tomatoes.  Depending on the size of your little tomatoes, you might want to quarter them.  

Put pasta in the boiling water and cook until al dente.  While the pasta is cooking, add the garlic and chilies to a bowl with the vinegar. 

Add the tomatoes to the bowl and scrunch them until slightly mushed.  Season to taste with the salt and pepper.  

 Pit your olives and chop them up and add them to the bowl.

Cut the basil finely and add to the bowl. 

Food Lust People Love: Funky spaghetti is a cross between warm salad and tasty linguine, with tomatoes, olives and basil! Serve it as a main course or side dish.

Pour on the olive oil and give it all a good stir. 

Drain pasta, and while still steaming, mix with tomatoes.

Separate onto plates and serve. 

Food Lust People Love: Funky spaghetti is a cross between warm salad and tasty linguine, with tomatoes, olives and basil! Serve it as a main course or side dish.