Hi, Jess here this week – sharing some festive fare! We like nibbly things here at Country Trading – lets face it, who doesn’t? We’re also big fans of making and receiving homemade gifts. Putting the two together makes for a tasty Christmas! We are all busy at this time of year, so it is nice to have a few things up your sleeve that don’t take long to make, taste great and make great gifts.
I remember a couple of years ago I decided to make mustard pickle to give out at Christmas. Being the good kiwi girl that I am, I reached straight for the Edmonds book. It had me chopping up bags of veggies, making a brine, soaking them overnight and then the next day, bottling them. It took forever and by the time I put it in jars, I was pretty much over it. Also, it was the saltiest thing you have ever tasted so was totally inedible, even for my husband, who loves salt!
I mentioned my tale of woe to my Dad (who is an excellent pickle maker) expecting him to be able to give me some ancient wisdom on where I went wrong. Instead, he said “Why didn’t you make MY mustard pickle recipe? It only takes 30 minutes and is really tasty” Why indeed? Perhaps because I didn’t actually HAVE his recipe! Once he gave it to me I was eager to give it a go and true to his word, it is a delicious pickle that is ready to bottle in under 30 mins.
My Dad sometimes makes this to take home to our big family Christmas celebrations and with him having seven sisters who all have partners and kids, that’s a lot of people! We can devour the lot in one sitting – it’s perfect with cheese, crackers and cold meats.
In Heather’s household, Andrew likes to make a Spicy Nut blend that are always a hit! They are fiery and moreish, keep well in jars and are another great thing to have on hand during the silly season for emergency gifts or emergency snack attacks! You can use any mixture of spices and any mixture of nuts so it can really suit any taste!
In Geraldine’s family, Christmas was most commonly spent outdoors, tramping their way through the silly season. Christmas dinner was usually cooked in the D.O.C hut or on the campfire and she can remember it always being a treat making the packet of powdered Continental cheesecake mix up for Christmas pudding!
Dad’s Mustard Pickle
Preparation Time 15 mins
Cooking time 10 mins
Makes 6-8 Jars.
You can chop the vegetables as finely as you like to take it from something that spreads nicely on sandwiches to practically a vegetable side dish. You can use white or malt vinegar to make it, white will give you a milder flavour and a yellower pickle.
1 Small Cauliflower
1T Mustard Powder
1/2t Curry powder
6T Plain Flour.
- Chop vegetables into small cubes then place in a large pot with enough water to cover.
- Bring to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes then drain.
- Blend the thickener ingredients together then add to the drained vegetables.
- Bring back to the boil and simmer for another 5 minutes until thickened
- Bottle in Sterilised jars and seal.
This recipe is based around peanuts (which are nice and cheap). The egg white loosens the glucose syrup so it coats the nuts easily.
1T Glucose syrup (tried honey but it burns)
1 egg white (maybe two depending on the size of the eggs)
500g blanched peanuts. (skins would burn)
500g of other mixed nuts to make up to about a kilo in total. Break up brazil nuts into smaller pieces. I usually add a few hazels, cashews, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds. The seeds seem to add a nice sweetness.
Spices to taste. Create a hot curry mix or chilli to keep the kids out. A total of around 4 teaspoons (less if using cayenne). You don’t actually need spices at all if you prefer them plain. Our favourite mix is 1 t coriander, 1 t cumin, 1/2 t cayenne, 1 t curry powder.
Salt to taste
- Mix the glucose and egg white in a large bowl till slightly frothy.
- Add spices and mix.
- Add all the nuts and mix till coated well. It’s best to keep adding nuts till the coating stops pooling at the bottom as it works better if there isn’t a lot of liquid left over.
- Place baking paper on probably 3 trays. Use a slotted spoon to spread the nuts on the trays thinly, one nut deep, gaps are OK. Sprinkle with some salt if preferred.
- Place in an oven at 140°C for up to 30 minutes taking care not to let them change colour. This process is just drying them so I often turn the oven off at 20 minutes and leave them in there till cool. Store in air tight containers and they keep OK for a couple of weeks.