Category Archives: Preserves

Sweet Apple Relish

My Sweet Apple Relish
My Sweet Apple Relish
My Jars of Apple Relish
My Jars of Apple Relish

Sometimes when I have a quiet weekend coming up I get the notion to make a big batch of some kind of relish, chutney or jam and fill up all the empty jam jars in my press. This weekend I decided to make a batch of Sweet Apple Relish. The last batch of Tomato Relish I made was a hit with friends and family but I’m down to the end of my last jar, and thought that this time around I would make a batch of apple relish. I’m sure pretty much every other 24 year old was doing something really exciting last Saturday night, but alas, I was making relish. And what’s even worse? I did find it really exciting!

Relish is really, really easy to make. It’s cheap, takes minimal effort and really adds great flavour to your everyday sandwiches, quiches, fry ups, omelettes… pretty much anything that could do with a kick. I went to the Glasnevin Farmers this weekend and came across a lovely woman selling the most delicious fruit and vegetables. I decided to stock up on my ingredients from her and so I left weighed down with a significant amount of bags of apples and onions for my batch of relish, and other fruity treats for later in the week.

Irish apples are perfect for this as they’re sweet and slightly sour. My parent’s neighbour has an apple tree and every year the apples fall into our garden, so this summer when they start ripening and making their way into our garden again I will probably make another batch. As the bad weather this Spring means that the Irish apples haven’t started ripening yet,  I would buy ripe red apples rather than green, and I would go for the sweet ones that are packed with sweet juicy taste and a little bit of sour. Apples like coxes work, avoid crispy, watery, flavourless apples like Fuji etc.

Delicious Apples
Delicious Apples

Ingredients:

1.5kg of red apples

2 large brown onions

300g sugar

300ml Apple Cider Vinegar

1 tsp mixed spice

1 tsp ginger

1 tsp nutmeg

2 tsp cracked black pepper

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper.

1. Chop up your apples and onions into small chunks and throw into a very large heavy bottomed pot and add all other ingredients.

2. Stir together and bring to the boil for 10 minutes, then reduce to a simmer and stir for about an hour. When done let cool down and season to taste.

3. Transfer into sterilised jars. To sterilise jars just put clean jars in an oven heatedto 180C for 5 minutes. Simple!

Get Chopping
Get Chopping
Throw All Ingredients Into A Pot
Throw All Ingredients Into A Pot
Let Simmer Away For An Hour
Let Simmer Away For An Hour
The Apple Relish is Done
The Apple Relish is Done
Leave Cool and Spoon Into Jars
Leave Cool and Spoon Into Jars
Sweet Apple Relish
Sweet Apple Relish

Orange Spiced Curd

Orange Spiced Curd
Orange Spiced Curd
Orange Curd
Orange Curd
Jar of Orange Curd
Jar of Orange Curd

This is a yummy thing to have in the cupboard over Christmas! Orange Curd, yum yum! Okay, I had never made curd before, or even eaten it for that matter but I decided to give it a go anyway. I thought it would be handy over Christmas on top of scones, with a mince pie instead of cream, at the base of frangipane tarts, between a layer of cake.. the opportunities seemed endless!

I decided to make orange curd instead of the traditional lemon curd as I wanted to add some Christmas spices, and I thought that they would go better with orange. I added in one lemon though for some extra zing. It did taste really delicious when it was done, the flavours were great.

This is very very easy to made. I read on-line that blending all ingredients before adding them to the pot prevent curdling, and it was true. This takes no time at all to make, and makes nice little gifts for those who appreciate a nice pot of curd! Perhaps you could splash out on some nice ribbon.. I could only find some twine left over from my mum’s Plum Pudding and so it looks a little shabby rustic!

Ingredients (for 5 jars):

450ml freshly squeezed orange juice (About 4 large oranges and I added a lemon in too)

Zest of four oranges

1kg sugar

250g butter

7 large eggs

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp fresh grated nutmeg

1/2 tsp ground clove

1. Cream butter and sugar. Mix in eggs. Mix in juice. Mix in spices. (You can add in more spices to your taste if you like).

2. Heat over a low heat in  a heavy bottomed pot for about 5 minutes until smooth, stirring continuously.

3. Now raise the heat to medium (never boil) and let thicken which will take about 10 to 15 minutes. Stir it the whole time. When the curd coats the back of your spoon it’s done. This is where I freaked out as I didn’t realise that it thickens further as it cools, so don’t worry too much at this point. Don’t expect it to be the finished consistency while still hot in the pot.

4. Take off the heat and pour in to sterilised jars. Let cool, then cover the top of the jar in a little cling film (apparently this helps avoid a skin forming) and put on the lids when cool.

5. Keep in fridge and it should keep around 2 to 3 weeks.

Cream Butter and Sugar
Cream Butter and Sugar
Add in Eggs
Add in Eggs
Add in Spices
Add in Spices
Mix in Orange Juice and Zest
Mix in Orange Juice and Zest
Heat and let Butter Melt
Heat and let Butter Melt
Heat and Stir for Ten Minutes
Heat and Stir for Ten Minutes
Let Thicken
Let Thicken
Pour in to Jars Straight Away
Pour in to Jars Straight Away
Orange Curd
Orange Curd
Jar of Orange Curd
Jar of Orange Curd

Tomato Relish

Tomato Relish
Tomato Relish

 

There’s nothing easier to make than this tomato relish: add ingredients to pot, let stew for an hour, cool down, and now it’s ready! Ballymaloe Country Relish is my favourite and is such good quality, so I usually don’t bother making relish myself, but I thought it would be nice to make a batch and stock up with a few jars for Christmas. They make nice little gifts for people too if you wrap a ribbon around your jar. I haven’t done that myself, but it’s a nice idea for the more organised people out there!

This recipe is adapted from a Rachel Allen recipe (and as a Ballymaloe cook, her recipe is probably closet to their famous Country Relish), so give it a go and enjoy.

 

Ingredients (makes four jars):

800g vine tomatoes chopped

200g cherry tomatoes chopped

250g cooking apples chopped (I used a mixture of cooking apples and cox’s apples)

250g chopped brown onion

225ml white wine vinegar

175g raisins

300g sugar

2 tsp salt

1 tsp all spice

1/2 tsp ground ginger

1/2 tsp ground black pepper

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

1 tsp nutmeg

 

1. Throw all ingredients in to a big pot. Let sugar dissolve and then bring to the boil, stirring all the time. Then bring down to a simmer and leave to simmer for an hour, stirring the whole time to avoid the end of the pot burning (using a heavy bottomed pot will help prevent this).

2. When done, let to cool. Taste and season if required with extra spices or salt/pepper.

3. When cooled put into sterilised clean glass jars. (You can sterilise them by placing them in the oven at 180C for 5 mins). Secure lids tightly. These are best enjoyed if left to mature for a week or two first, but I had some of mine that day and it was really nice too.

Chop Tomato and Onions
Chop Tomato and Onions
Add in Sugar, Spices and Seasoning
Add in Sugar, Spices and Seasoning
All Ingredients In
All Ingredients In
Start to Simmer
Start to Simmer
Almost Ready
Almost Ready
Tomato Relish
Tomato Relish

 

Christmas Mincemeat

Delicious Mincemeat
Delicious Mincemeat
Colourful Ingredients
Colourful Ingredients

This weekend I decided to channel my inner Darina Allen (I wish) and start making all my sauces and preserves for Christmas. I know what you’re probably thinking (“get a hobby”), but anyway, that’s what I did! I decided to make the mincemeat now for the mincepies I’ll make over Christmas, and made four jars of really delicious mincemeat. I absolutely love mincepies, so I was quite happy to make this and give the usual Christmas recipe a bit of a twist.

This is really easy, it takes time (the time it takes to sit overnight and the cooking time) but apart from that the effort is minimal, just chuck some ingredients in a bowl and mix.

I decided to cut back on the raisins, sultanas etc in my mincemeat recipe and put in a nice big portion of dried cranberries and chopped dried prunes, which gave a delicious sweet taste and is different from the traditional stuff. It also gave a lovely bit of colour. I also threw in a nice big portion of chopped walnuts and almonds, mainly because I love them and tend to put them in most of my recipes but also because they give this recipe a nice little bite.

I hope you enjoy, this is seriously delicious if I do say so myself! I ate a good few spoons of it when it finally came out of the oven!

Ingredients:

300g mixed fruit and peel (mix of sultanas, raisins, currents and candied peel. I bought a bag of this mix from Shamrock rather than buying them all individually)

100g dried cranberries

150g chopped prunes

300g chopped apples (I used Cox’s)

60g finely chopped walnuts

60g finely chopped almonds

180g soft dark brown soft sugar

zest and juice of one large orange

zest and juice of one lemon

1 tsp cinnamon

3 tsp all spice/ mixed spice

1/2 nutmeg grated

125g butter (do not use margarine, it will ruin the flavour)

4 tbsp brandy (I used Hennessy’s)

 

1. Mix all ingredients together in a pot except for the brandy. Let it sit in the fridge overnight, this lets the flavours mingle.

2. Place in a an oven at 120C for 3 hours.

3. Take out of oven when done and when it has cooled add the brandy.

4. Put into clean, sterilised jars.

5. Enjoy in mincepies, little buns, pastries, mince slices etc!

Add Mixed Fruit and Peel
Add Mixed Fruit and Peel
Add Cranberries
Add Cranberries
Chop Prunes
Chop Prunes
Add in Brown Sugar
Add in Brown Sugar
Add Zest
Add Zest
Chop Nuts Finely
Chop Nuts Finely
Add Nuts and Spices
Add Nuts and Spices

 

Add Butter
Add Butter
Halfway Through Cooking
Halfway Through Cooking
 Cooked Mincemeat
Cooked Mincemeat

 

Christmas Mincemeat
Christmas Mincemeat