It's Thanksgiving (recently), for Americans.
It's Saturday for us.
It's Thanksgiving Saturday for Becky - an American who lives with us!
So once again the Grecky partnership invited a bunch of us to celebrate their belated special day and pretend like they have a real American family.
With which we are happy to oblige.
Although we aren't expected to bring anything I usually like to turn up with a dish or two,
this year I had a go at a couple of fine American traditions:
and a spicy novelty cornbread
Plus this year I got a special bonus - Nicky made me a birthday pot of delicious chilli chutney
After much prompting she admitted that it's actually a Jamie Bastard Oliver recipe, but it was so tasty I'll forgive her!
Skillet Cornbread with Cranberries and Roast Jalapeños
Is it a griddle pan? Is it a skillet?
Makes about 1½ pints - enough to fill a 10" skillet
The Le Creuset one I bought calls itself a griddle pan, but it looks more like the dictionary definition of a skillet as a small frying pan.
Whatever - it makes damn fine cornbread.
- 1 tablespoon butter or vegetable oil for greasing the skillet
- ½ cup plain flour
- 1 cup cornmeal, preferably stone-ground
- 4-5 jalapeño peppers (or to taste), roasted, finely chopped and pounded
- 3-4 tablespoon chopped fresh coriander/cilantro
- 1 cup dried cranberries, (or to taste) slightly bruised
- 4 tablespoon honey
- 3½ teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- about 15-20 turns of freshly ground black pepper
- approximately 1 cup buttermilk (a little bit more or less; enough to make cake like batter)
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 5½ oz unsalted butter, melted or any cooking oil
Preheat the oven to 400°F/200°C/Gas Mark 6.
Put in a 10" skillet to heat up.
In a bowl, sift the flour with the baking powder and salt. Stir in the cornmeal.
Grill the peppers until their skins char, turning them so they don't burn.
Put them in a plastic bag to cool. Then peel off the skin and remove the stems and seeds.
Pound the jalapeños, black pepper and the fresh coriander leaves until it is coarse paste.
Bruise the cranberries a little so they are slightly broken, then add to the flour and toss them through.
Whisk most of the buttermilk, honey and eggs in a different bowl and stir in lightly with the flour mix.
Add the last of the buttermilk gradually to achieve a pourable cake-like batter.
Add the coriander and jalapeño paste.
Add the melted butter and stir just until blended.
Heat the cast iron skillet on the stove top or in the oven until it is really hot.
When the dough is added it should sizzle loudly.
Add 1 tablespoon of oil or butter, then pour in the batter.
Transfer the skillet to the oven, turn down slightly
and bake for about 15-20 minutes,
or until the center springs back when gently pressed.
The bread should be golden brown and crispy at the edges.
Turn the corn bread out onto a rack to cool and slice only when cooled.
Jamie Oliver's Cheeky Chilli-Pepper Chutney
pickle veg vegan
Oooh a cheeky chutney!
S'alright though :(
- 8-10 fresh red chillies
- 8 ripe red peppers
- olive oil
- 2 medium red onions, peeled and chopped
- 1 sprig fresh rosemary, leaves picked and chopped
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 x 5 cm stick cinnamon
- sea salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- 100 g brown sugar
- 150 ml balsamic vinegar
If you want your chutney to last for a while, make sure you have some small sterilised jars ready to go.
Place your chillies and peppers over a hot barbecue, in a griddle pan or on a tray under a hot grill,
turning them now and then until blackened and blistered all over.
Carefully lift the hot peppers and chillies into a bowl (the smaller chillies won't take as long as the peppers so remove them first)
and cover tightly with cling film. As they cool down, they'll cook gently in their own steam.
By the time they're cool enough to handle, you'll be able to peel the skin off easily.
When you've got rid of most of the skin, trimmed off the stalks and scooped out the seeds,
you'll be left with a pile of nice tasty peppers and chillies.
Finely chop by hand or put in a food processor and whiz up. Then put to one side.
Heat a saucepan and pour in a splash of olive oil.
Add the onions, rosemary, bay leaves and cinnamon and season with a little salt and pepper.
Cook very slowly for about 20 minutes or so, until the onions become rich, golden and sticky.
Add the chopped peppers and chillies, the sugar and the vinegar to the onions and keep cooking.
When the liquid reduces and you're left with a lovely thick sticky chutney, season well to taste.
Remove the cinnamon stick and the bay leaves.
Either spoon into the sterilised jars and put them in a cool dark place, or keep in the fridge and use right away.
In sterilised jars, the chutney should keep for a couple of months.
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