Colourful Relishes and ChutneysA Chapter by Sara Mercury
Nothing is worse than sitting down to a hearty meal at a dinner party and seeing only one colour on the table! When it comes to food, I am a firm believer that the presentation is just as important as the flavour.
I'm not talking about wasting money on a bunch of non-palatable garnishes, either. A diversity in colour is a good way to add to the presentation of your sides or your mains. The more colour, texture and flavour you have to offer to your dinner party guests and yourself, the more appealing your dinner party will be!
Relishes and chutneys have the capacity to positively accent any meal, transforming it from something dull and boring into something rather remarkable.
Here are some of my favourites that I've come to love over the years:
Mandarin Pepper Relish
1 red sweet bell pepper
1 yellow sweet bell pepper
2 stalks of celery (trimmed, but with the tender leaves intact)
3 very small mandarin oranges, peeled
1/4 of an English cucumber (not peeled)
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 packets of Truvia * (to cut down on the acidity of vinegar and to add flavour without adding salt)
1/2 packet of unflavoured gelatine
Cut out the inedible parts of the vegetables and cut them all coarsely. Toss them all, along with the peeled mandarin oranges and unflavoured gelatine into a food processor (I highly recommend a Cuisinart for this job) and chop it all very finely, but DO NOT puree. Pour the chopped vegetables and fruit (they will have their own juices, and leave them intact!) into a small bowl. Add the vinegar and Truvia sweetener and blend well. Allow to chill until set. Serve as an edible cold garnish alongside any white meat, to include pork, turkey, chicken, fish. This stuff is also most excellent when served hot over sauteed extra firm tofu cubes!
* You may use 4 tsp sugar or 2 tsp honey in the place of Truvia. (If you decide to use Splenda, aspartame or saccharin, you're on your own.)
Apple Pear Relish
1 Bartlett pear, cored but not peeled
1 Red apple, cored but not peeled
1 stalk celery
about 10 black, seedless grapes, quartered
1/2 packet of unflavoured gelatine
2 Truvia packets (if desired) *
Cut pear and apple into slices, and celery coarsely and put into food processor until chopped finely, but not pureed. Pour chopped mixture into bowl and add the quartered black grapes, unflavoured gelatine and Truvia sweetener (if desired). May be served alongside white meat or tofu. This is also excellent with lamb or mutton.
*You may use 4 tsp sugar or 2 tsp honey in the place of the Truvia if you are not sensitive to sugar. (If you decide to use Splenda, aspartame or saccharin, you're on your own.)
Green Apple-Pear Chutney
This chutney bears the rich, warm and inviting flavours of India, to include curry, cinnamon, cardamom and clove. A hint of orange oil further adds to the enticing aroma as it simmers over the hob. (You will not need air freshener in your home as you prepare this chutney! lol)
2 firm, green pears, cored and finely diced
2 firm, green apples, cored and finely diced
1 cup raisins
10 grape tomatoes, halved
1 yellow sweet bell pepper, cored and finely chopped
3 tsp curry powder
3 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1/2 tsp orange oil
4 packets of Truvia *
1/4 packet unflavoured gelatine
Place all vegetables, spices, flavours, sweeteners, gelatine and fruits into a small saucepan over the hob and simmer on low for about one hour. Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature. Refrigerate prior to serving. This chutney is best if chilled for at least 24 hours prior to serving. Goes well alongside lamb, mutton, pork and poultry.
*You may use 8 tsp sugar or 4 tsp honey in the place of the Truvia if you are not sensitive to sugar. (If you decide to use Splenda, aspartame or saccharin, you're on your own.)
I'll be sure to add more as they come to me!
All the best ...
© 2012 Sara Mercury
Added on May 5, 2012
Last Updated on May 5, 2012
From the Kitchen of Sara Mercury
Lake City, FL
AboutHello, Darlings! I am a published author, and a legal assistant, as well as the mother of a 15-year-old son. In addition to writing novels, I enjoy singing and playing piano, writing poetry and son.. more..