Tuesday, April 30, 2013

We asked Margaret O’Farrell, who writes a blog called A Year in Redwood where she chronicles her life as a former city girl, now a country girl and pig farmer, to do a blog post about entertaining at home. Her blog won Best Lifestyle Blog at the Blog Awards 2012 last October.
Margaret and Alfie grow freerange, gmo-free pigs in North Tipperary.  They have grown their pork and bacon business under the Oldfarm (www.oldfarm.ie) brand, selling pork directly to homes and restaurants throughout the country. 

Margaret told us, “We do quite a bit of entertaining here, between folks coming on pig-rearing courses and friends coming to stay.  Sometimes I find I can get stuck in a bit of a rut; always turning to the same tried and tested recipes!  Does this happen to others?  Every so often I have to have a ‘talk with myself’ and convince myself to try new recipes.

I know, I know, you are not supposed to try ‘new’ recipes on guests, but if they are friends I am sure they won’t mind.

So here’s a recipe I’d like to share with you.   If you like curries, which we do in this house, you will love these accompaniments.  Whatever your favourite curry recipe is... it will look really good served with this Raita and Chutney.  Curries make for easy and casual entertaining, and this little side dishes, make the presentation look really good.

Both dishes add a ‘cooling’ effect to a curry, which was certainly needed as I served them with Hugh Fernley Wittingstall’s goat curry .( Let me tell you that Hugh’s is soooooo sooooo hot! :)  If you like a hot spicy curry, it is definitely one to try.

The chutney can be made a few days ahead, and the raita only takes a few minutes to pull together - always useful when entertaining.
Old Rose vegetable bowl to left, Old Rose small angled bowl to right.

350 ml/12 fl oz/1 1/2 cups natural yoghurt
75 g/3 oz seedless grapes
2 firm bananas
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp freshly ground cumin seeds
1/4 tsp roasted cumin seeds to garnish.

Place the yoghurt in a chilled bowl.  Add the grapes and sliced bananas, and fold in gently.  Add the sugar, and ground cumin continuing to mix gently.  Chill in fridge and just before serving sprinkle over the toasted cumin seeds.

 Mango Chutney
(This amount makes about 3 - 4 jars).

4 tbsp malt vinegar
1/2 tsp crushed dried chillies
6 cloves
6 peppercorns
1 tsp roasted cumin seeds
1/2 tsp onion seeds
175 g/6 oz/ three-quarters cup sugar
450g/1 lb green (unripe mango, peeled and cubed.
5 cm/2 in long piece of ginger, finely sliced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
thin peel of 1 orange or lemon (optional)

Put the spices and sugar in a saucepan with the vinegar.  Simmer for about 15 minutes on low heat to allow the spices infuse into the vinegar.

Add the mango, ginger, garlic and peel.  Simmer until the mango is mushy and most of the vinegar has evaporated.  This can take as much as three-quarters of an hour on a slow simmer.

Pour into sterilized jars.  Leave for a few days before serving.


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