Apple Chutney

Originally from the Preservation Society book but I tweaked it a bit, so getting a full post so I remember what I did.

I did two variants. The main one with Xeres vinegar, which tastes like something I will use anywhere onion jam would be used (in a grilled cheese or a burger comes to mind).

The second is a balsamic variant which I have dreams of using on some baked brie with walnuts…

Still, go buy the book!

Yield : 6 half pints

2 birds eyes peppers
3 cloves garlic
900g apples (cortland, spartan, empire, snow globe, gala)
450g onions
170g raisin*
550g brown sugar
1 1/2 table spoon salt
30 ml grated fresh ginger
10 ml allspice
10 ml cloves
10 ml black peppercorns
10 ml ground tumeric
2 ml dry mustard
375 ml apple cider vinegar
375 ml xeres vinegar **

Balsamic Variant :
* A bit less raisins, add dried apricots (cut in small pieces)
** Balsamic vinegar.

1. Grind the spices together.

2. Put the onions and apples through a food processor and chop finely. Transfer to a large pot and add the vinegar.

3. Finely chop the garlic and thai peppers. Add to the pot along with the raisins.

4. Add the rest of the spices.

The Balsamic variant will look darker like this :

5. Turn the heat on medium until a slow boil form. Turn the heat down and simmer for 1 hour.

The balsamic version will start to look outright Halloween worthy. I added a finely minced jalapeno along the way to this one, as the sugar was getting too dominant.

6. Scald the jars. Fill with hot chutney. Leave 1/4″ headspace. Process for 10 minutes.

And the darker balsamic.


Watercress salad with duck and balsamic grapes

A dish that is easy enough to pull together but works as a center dish for a dinner party. I think next time I might put the grapes in a side bowl and allow people to spoon them over their plate rather then pouring them over the salad.

2 duck breasts or magrets
1 large bunch of watercress or 2 small ones
2 pears
2 cups seedless green grapes
2 table spoon balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup water
1 french shallot, minced
1 lemon
salt pepper
ground coriander


1. If using magret, remove the excess fat. Score the fat cap of the duck, careful not to cut the skin. Season on both sides with salt, pepper and ground coriander.

2. Put fat side down in a cold skillet then turn the heat to medium. Render the fat for several minutes, draining as required.

3. Turn to color the flesh side for about a minute. Then remove from pan and transfer to a oven proof dish and put in the oven at 375F.

4. Drain excess fat from the pan. Add the minced shallot and cook for a few minutes until translucent

5. Add the water and balsamic to the pan to deglaze. In that order, if you like your sinuses.

6. Add the green grapes.

7. Cook on medium-low heat until the grapes are warmed through, become wrinkly and absorb some of the liquid,

8. Take the duck out of the oven and allow to rest. Pour any rendered fat in with the grapes.

9. Thinly slice the pears and dunk in a bowl of water with the juice of the lemon.

10. Wash the watercress and remove the stems. Lay on your serving plate.

11. Fan the pears on the greens,

12. Slice the duck and add to the plate.

13. If desired, pour the balsamic grapes over, as well as any liquids remaining in the pan.

Chèvre Chaud

A delicious appetizer, with just enough variation on the theme to be interesting, yet simple enough that it can be scaled up with ease.

The pictures and quantities below are for one portion, scale up as you require.

1 coffee spoon Balsamic Vinegar
2 coffee spoon Port
1/2 tea spoon Sugar (optional)
1 Fig
Baby Spinach (to taste)
Baby Arugula (to taste)
1 tea spoon Dijon mustard
1 table spoon Cider vinegar
1 table spoon Olive oil
1 pinch Ras el hanout
1 small Baguette
Goat Chesse (to taste)
Sliced almonds (to taste)
1/2 tea spoon Honey
Salt and Pepper (to taste)



1. In a small pot, pour about 1 coffee spoon of balsamic vinegar and 2 coffee spoons of port. Allow to reduce on a very low heat. To make a thicker syrup you can add about half a tea spoon of sugar.

2. In a sealed container mix the Dijon mustard with the cider vinegar and olive oil. Add salt and pepper. Shake until uniform in texture.

3. Cut the baguette on the bias. Lightly rub olive oil on both side of the bread.

4. Toast the baguette slices.

5. While the bread is toasting, wash and slice the figs. Grind the spices if you bought them whole.

6. Assemble the croutons.

Left : Cheese topped with sliced almonds
Center : Figs, topped with the cheese.
Right : Cheese that has been seasonned on both sides with Ras el Hanout

Put back in the oven at broil until the cheese is warm and starting to melt.

7. Dress the greens with the vinaigrette. Drizzle a bit of honey over the crouton with the almonds. Drizzle the balsamic reduction over the crouton with the figs.

Serve while warm.

Warm Beets Salad

Something I’ve been meaning to do for a while but kept pushing off. So of course the first really hot day of the summer is when I decide to roast beets for an hour… I can be weird sometimes.

You want an apron for this one, and possibly gloves. And to keep reminding yourself that beet’s juice stains. A lot. Wipe things down as you go to prevent having pink/red stains all over your kitchen.

3 red beets
3 yellow beets
4 cloves of garlic, halved
goat cheese
olive oil
balsamic vinegar
salt + pepper


1. Pre-heat the oven to 375F

2. Scrub the outside of the beets until they are clean, but don’t peel them.

3. Cut the top and bottom of the beets and put them on top of a large piece of aluminium foil. put the halves of garlic between the beets. Pour some olive oil over all the vegetables. Add salt and pepper then fold the foil as air thigh as you can. Repeat with the yellow beets.

Then put both packets in the oven for 1 hour or until the beets can be pierced with a fork.

4. In the meat time, wash the spinach and prepare a simple olive oil and balsamic vinegar dressing.

5. Once the beets are cooked, open the foil packets and allow to cool until you can manipulate them.

6. Gently scrape the blade of a knife on the edge of the beets to peel them then slice into cubes.

7. Put the beets on top of the spinach leaves, add as much cheese as you care for and spoon some dressing over the whole thing.