Friday, July 16, 2010

Old black magic

It's not been a bad year for fruit so far. I had an over-sufficiency of blackcurrants. I off-loaded some on my parents but as I'd already taken a few pounds off their bush they were getting a bit fruit-packed. Especially as they're not supposed to be eating a lot of sweet stuff. I don't have a sweet tooth myself (he says, hiding the evidence of a tube of fruit pastilles I accidentally scoffed in one while shouting at the television news), so I've not been making tarts and the like. Picking at the raw blackcurrants is fine but let's be honest, that faint whiff of cat is always a bit off-putting. Then I had an idea, which is why I've now a couple of jars of blackcurrant ketchup. As always with me, the recipe is very approximate.

  • A pound or so of blackcurrants
  • Two or three or four chopped cloves of garlic
  • A chopped shallot, or a couple of chopped silverskin onions, or you can cheat and cop up a couple of pickled onions, which is what I'd have done had I been planning this
  • Oil for cooking; I used extra-virgin olive oil because that's what was on the worktop
  • White wine vinegar
Wash the blackcurrants and remove all the bits of stick, leaves and spiders and stuff because this is a vegetarian recipe. Gently fry the blackcurrants until the juices start to run. Now add the garlic and onion and cook until the onion starts becoming translucent. Add enough vinegar to cover the mixture and bring to the boil. As soon as it reaches this stage, bring the heat right down and let it all simmer gently. Now decant the mixture into sterilised small jars. You'll be left with a very messy pan with bits of caramelised blackcurrant in it. Deglaze the pan with a big splash of vinegar and pour this into the jars. Warm another tablespoon of vinegar in the pan and use this to cover the mixtures in the jars. Seal them and put them somewhere darkish for a couple of days.

After a couple of days you'll have a thick, dark purple spreadable mass. The cooking and the vinegar both bring out the sweetness of the blackcurrants (but it still comes as a surprise to me that the result is as sweet as it turns out to be). Spread on some bread with a bit of iceberg lettuce and crispy bacon and the job's a good 'un. It works well with a well-flavoured cheese, too.

I was going to try this on a sausage butty but when I opened the packet they'd gone all furry. I had that bachelor moment where you reckon that a hot grill would burn all the fur off but then common sense took over. So the blackcurrant ketchup works quite well with a last-minute Co-op pork pie.


Lulu LaBonne said...

THIS - I will make.

I seem to remember making a nice cordial to go with champagne once - are you a champagne drinker Kev?

Kevin Musgrove said...

Lulu I'm not (many years on the wagon). There are some very nice cordials and liqueurs that the enterprising soul can make.

Kevin Musgrove said...

(and ta for the compliment!)

nursemyra said...

Can I swap you a jar of vegemite for a jar of blackcurrant ketchup?

I'd offer to throw in a pack of Tim Tams but you say you don't like anything sweet.

(Tim Tams are a good bargaining tool for sex though....)