Sweet Spicy Pepper Relish, Sage Butter and Kitchen Tips

Mar 13, 2014 by

I get slightly old vegetables and fruit from my local green grocer for my pigs. I’m delighted to get it and even though my pigs are very picky, I figure the rest can go into my compost heap. However, I am continually amazed at the quality of stuff thrown out, not least that it is not sold at a reduced price.

Last year I had thrown loads of red and yellow peppers on the compost heap (many with little more than a soft patch on them). I suddenly decided to see what I could make and came up with a recipe from Oldfarm that I modified slightly. So the peppers were gathered up, washed and roasted and turned into a delicious sweet spicy pepper relish. This relish is amazing with scrambled eggs in particular. And the longer it is kept the better the flavour.

Sweet Spicy Pepper Relish

About 6 mixed peppers
1 chilli with seeds in
1 clove garlic
Half inch piece of ginger
Good pinch of salt
100ml white wine vinegar (or cider is fine)
100ml water
50g sugar

Roast the peppers in a hot oven. When they are blackened remove and place in a plastic bag. Allow to cool. Pull off as much of the skin as you can manage. It doesn’t matter if you can’t get it all off. Put the skinned peppers into a blitzer and pulse them to roughly chop them but leave some pieces visible. Transfer into a saucepan. Put the chilli, garlic, ginger and salt into the blitzer and blitz until smooth. Add to the pan. Pour the vinegar, water and sugar in and bring the whole mix up to a gentle simmer. Simmer until it has reduced and thickened. Transfer into clean, sterilised jars. Allow to mature at least three months.

This week I discovered a big bag of sage with just a few brown leaves. Memories of pumpkin ravioli drizzled in sage butter in Tuscany came to mind. So I decided to make sage butter and freeze it.

Sage Butter

A good handful of sage (I had a huge bunch but you don’t need this much)
Zest from a lemon and half the lemon juiced
1 clove garlic
Black pepper
125g butter

In a little blitzer chop the sage leaves finely. Add the garlic clove, the lemon zest, black pepper and cut the butter into cubes.

handy little blitzer

When it is somewhat mixed remove to a chopping board and finish mixing it with a fork.

Using the fork or your hands gather it up and roll it into a ball. I used my hands as the butter was still quite firm.

Give it a roll and put it in greaseproof paper and refrigerate until it hardens.

You can either keep it in the fridge and cut slices off it or freeze it sliced. 

Serve a slice on a pork chop or a steak.
Use to push under the skin of a roast chicken.
Toss it into pasta.
Use to finish off roasted summer vegetables.

I also discovered a load of limes in the pigs’ veg. I use limes in Key lime pie and also in lentil dahl and usually when I want one, I have none. I am a great believer in freezing absolutely everything. When you live a 10k drive to the nearest supermarket you have to be. There is nothing worse than running out of a key ingredient, because then you have to get into the car and if you go into Aldi you end up coming home with a trifle bowl and ski gear. This happened me recently!

lime juice

I freeze lime juice, lemon juice, homemade pesto and coconut milk in ice cube trays. I would also freeze leftover wine but strangely I never seem to have any…..

coconut cream cubes and pesto cubes

Homemade stock is also very useful frozen in these cubes and handy when you just need a small amount of stock.

When they are frozen, turn the ice cube tray over and run for a few seconds under the hot tap. The cubes will pop out. Transfer them into a zip lock bag and put back in the freezer.

And remember if in doubt, try it. You will never know if you don’t.

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