Saturday, 16 April 2011

Can I have the recipe please?

So, it's been a bit of a day of discovery for me.  

I was out picking grapes for my Gawn inspired chutney; my resident fantail (in Te Reo piwakawaka) was REALLY having a go at me, disturbed by my presence in his/hers grape vine. Suddenly Twyler my real scaredy cat, went racing inside, raced out, back in, under the bed, back out...back in, under the bed again. I think that darned fantail attacked him - all because I dared to pick MY grapes! 10 minutes of cuddles later and he's settled...piwakawaka pie for dinner? (with grape chutney!). I tried to put a pic of a fantail on here but the link was a gazilion miles long so I encourage you to look it up. But this is my poor traumatised Twyler.....

I made the chutney and it's delicious:
1. Put 5-6 cups of grapes into a saucepan and sprinkle over 2-3 teaspoons of cinnamon and 3 teaspoons of vanilla essence.
2. Add a sprinkle of salt, 1/2 cup of white vinegar, 1/2 cup white sugar and 1/2 cup of raisins or mixed fruit (optional).
3. Put on stove top on a low heat and simmer until the mixture has reduced to 1/3 of its volume.
4. As the grapes warm up they start to swell and then you can have great fun squashing all the juice out of them one by one.
5. Stir often so the mix doesn't burn/stick to the bottom of the pot.
6. Once reduced, remove from the heat and allow it to cool.
** I added some brown sugar as it was a little tart and then I also blitzed it briefly with the stick blender towards the end so it's now the consistency of thick, slightly lumpy gravy.

Serve with soft cheese (eg cream cheese, feta) and crackers or add a small amount to the side of your plate to sample with different chicken/fish dishes. 

Tonight, I tried it with some blue brie on crackers and it is absolutely delicious. so then I thought why not try it with chicken.

First I dusted some sliced chicken breast with Moroccan spices - I got them at the Martinborough Fair, but there is no contact info on the pack so as I can't replace them - they are like gold - absolutely yum.

Then, I turned the oven on to 150 C, and heated some oil in my tagine on the stove top, put the chicken in and added a handful of peeled shallots, some sliced leeks, a few fresh mushrooms I found on my lawn (they were mushies!), a good dollup of the grape chutney and a splash of chicken stock. I put the lid on and popped it in the oven to slow cook for an hour or so (depends on how much and the size of the chicken).

So far it smells delicious!
Last night, I made Poisson Cru - or Tahitian Raw Fish. I love it and lived on it when I was in Tahiti last year. This time it was a little disappointing as the fish didn't get was tasty but tough. So earlier, I decided to cook the leftovers (I hadn't added coconut cream to the leftovers).

I heated a blob of butter in a pan, and chucked in the bowl of fish...there was quite a lot of juice from the limes and I guess just the liquid from the fish. I tossed it, then served it up as a very early entree. It was divine! Reminded me of the best tasting fish from when I was a kid - when snapper, crayfish, blue cod and flounder were not only for the rich and famous.

So, why am I telling you all this...?
I reckon there's a place out there for those of us who love to cook, but aren't all that innovative...or just like to follow a recipe. I have access to such good food here in Greytown, a fab butcher, fresh produce stores, Moore Wilson's just up the road...and some great supermarkets. I love to cook and to try new things but wouldn't say I have too much talent with making things up - or presentation.

I'd love to share recipes with people who just would like to give something a go...and then happily brag that it worked.  

This evening I walked outside, it is a beautiful autumn evening and there is a full moon.  I have lovely food in the oven and my world isn't shaking...from earthquakes or bombs...I am truly blessed.


  1. Suzie Q,

    I make a dish with turkey breast fillets or turkey steaks and a sauce that includes grapes and currents that is very good. This makes me think that your grape chutney would probably be good with turkey too.


  2. I've found the chutney works with just about every meat Edie - pity I've now run out of grapes for the season.