Friday 12 February 2010

Busy in the kitchen

The kitchen is the hub of our house and each day revolves around it. We tend to do the little fixing jobs in there, as well as the usual cooking and domestic chores. The only exception was when it was too blooming cold to spend long in there, back in the January ice and snow. Then normal life went on hold as we holed up in the sitting room with the wood burner lit, only venturing into the kitchen to cook a quicker-than-usual meal.

Life is back to normal again, though it is still cold outside. Lidls had Mangoes for sale at just 29p each recently. Whenever they do this I buy half a dozen and make Mango Chutney. Here is the recipe I used this time:

GREEN MANGO CHUTNEY (recipe taken from The Australian Womens' Weekly book of Preserves)

6 medium (1 1/2 kg) green mangoes, peeled, chopped
1 tablespoon coarse cooking salt
1 3/4 cups sugar
2 1/2 cups brown vinegar
3/4 cup chopped dates
3/4 cup chopped raisins (mine went in whole)
2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger (mine had curled up and died so I chopped up 5 pieces of preserved-in-syrup ginger)
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tspn chilli powder
1 tspn ground cinnamon
1 tspn ground cumin

Place mangoes into large bowl, sprinkle with salt, barely cover with cold water, cover; stand overnight.

Drain mangoes, discard salt water. Combine sugar and vinegar in large saucepan, stir over heat, without boiling, until sugar is dissolved. Stir in mangoes and remaining ingredients, bring to boil, simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, for about 45 mins or until mixture is thick. Poor into hot sterilized jars; seal when cold.

The dates give it colour. I have tried a couple of different recipes, but they omitted dates and were much more golden. These chutneys are far superior to the "chutney" you buy in the shops which is horridly sweet and more like mango jam. I always put a large spoonful of mango chutney in my chicken curries.

Cold winter days call out for filling cakes. This is a family favourite I have made regularly over the years. The recipe comes from an American book "101 Delicious-apple Desserts".


1. 3 1/2 cups cake flour (1 lb approx. plain flour)
2. 2 tsp baking powder
3. 1/2 tsp baking soda
4. 1 tsp salt
5. 2 tsp cinnamon
6. 1 3/4 cups sugar (I always use far less sugar and use a scant cup or less)
7/ 1/2 cup shortening (margarine to us Brits)
8. 1 egg
9. 1 tsp vanilla
10. 2 cups applesauce

14 oz (398 ml) crushed pineapple, drained
1 cup chopped pecans ( I omit these)

If you don't have a cup measure, just use the same standard teacup throughout.

Combine first 10 ingredients in a mixing bowl and mix thoroughly. Add remaining ingredients, mix well. Pour batter into a greased and floured 10 inch tube pan (I just use a standard 8" cake tin or 2lb loaf tin) and bake at 350 deg. F for 1 1/2 hours or until done. Cool in pan.

Very quick to make up and a lovely moist cake.

Oops - just came back to add this recipe, which is one of our family favourites (Kim - I'm sure your family will enjoy this)


1 pound beef or lamb mince
2 medium sized onions, chopped
1 green pepper, halved, seeded and chopped
2 tblspns vegetable oil
1 an (16 oz) whole peeled tomatoes with liquid (I use chopped tinned tomatoes)
1 can (10 1/2 oz) condensed beef consomme (haven't used this for ages - use beef stock instead)
2 tspns chilli powder
1 tsp salt
1` can (3 1/2 oz) pitted black olives, sliced
1 cup long-grain uncooked rice
4 oz Cheddar cheese, grated

Saute beef, onions and green pepper in oil in a flameproof baking dish or Dutch oven, stirring constantly, until beef browned. Pour off all excess fat.

Add tomatoes, consomme, chilli powder, salt and half the olives. Bring slowly to boiling; stir in rice and cook for 5 mins. Cover dish.

Bake in a moderate oven (375 deg.) for 30 mins. Uncover, stir; top with remaining olives and cheese. Continue to bake for 15 mins longer.

Tip: I don't care for olives, so I don't use them. Sometimes I vary this by adding tinned drained kidney beans - which also makes it go further if you have sudden extra people to feed. It's a real winter-warmer of a recipe. Sorry I don't have a photo of it.


  1. Wonderful recipes, I shall have a go at them when life returns to normal here, particularly the Rice Veracruz. LIke you, "The kitchen is the hub of our house and each day revolves around it" and we are all a bit lost not having the big table to use and somewhere to dry dogs, watch TV and gather while someone cooks. I shall be so glad when the refurb is over and we can recommence family life around this important roo.

  2. Always did love reading cookery books - this was a lovely post for a grey afternoon's entertainment!

  3. The cake and the rice dish sound gorgeous, cut, paste, e-mail to self and print will be coming into play here!

  4. ohh, I have a mango and some dates, I shall try a tester pot, to see if we like it, I normally make a fresh mango chutney with curries, but I like the sound of your recipe

  5. Happy cooking folks. Anne, if you like I will look out the other mango chutney recipe I've tried recently, as that is a paler one and looks nicer in the jar. Haven't tasted it yet though, it is still maturing!

    Jinksy - I have one or two cookery books myself and I am an absolute sucker for anything with country or farmhouse in the title! It's nice to find new recipes on other blogs.

    Rowan - I can see you'll be busy this weekend then, especially if its still too cold to garden.

    Kath - how long before your kitchen is finished? I must come and visit your blog again and play catch-up. Smack wrists!

  6. When I come to your blog, I can hardly get past the primroses!! They are so beautiful, as I've said before. As for cooking, I'm fine if somebody else does it for me!

  7. I am a new reader of your blog and today I am just floored to read you could buy mangoes at 29p. That is amazing. I live n Queensland, Australia and it is a long time since I have seen them at that price. Thanks for the recipe.