Wednesday, 19 February 2014


Good Morning to you,

I was chatting to a friend recently and we were discussing convenience foods.  I mentioned that I  make all our daily meals, because I like to know the ingredients which go into our food. My friend mentioned, that she would much prefer, to buy tins of soup and jars of sauces, as that allowed her more time to do the things which she enjoyed.

I asked, what about the cost of processed foods, as I feel it can be more expensive to buy these products.  But she did not agree with me, she felt the extra money she paid was worth the extra time she gained.

I have to admit, I was surprised by her answer, but when I sat down and thought about it, I could understand her point of view.  I appreciate that I am retired now and I have plenty of time in the day to cook, but I also feel I save money and eat more healthily by cooking our meals each day.

I cannot imagine living on convenience food, as when I have eaten these foods, I find the salt content is much too high.  I find that during the evening and night time, I need to drink plenty of water, I can drink a large tumbler of water before I go to bed.... I know that is not good, but I do sip it.  I also have to place a tumbler of water on my bedside table because I will drink that during the night as well.

Please don't think I am criticizing, because I believe, each to their own, but I do feel with a bit of organisation, meals can be organised ahead of time. 

For instance, Danielle works full time and long hours, so each Sunday, Danielle and Daniel (yes isn't that wonderful, we have our daughter whose name is Danielle and her partner is called Daniel) have a Cookathon and cook meals for the week. They place portion sizes into the freezer, so that when they arrive home, after a long day at work, they have meals ready which they can enjoy..... admittedly, the only thing to remember, is to place the food into the fridge to defrost overnight.

I did the same when I worked, but I also used my slow cooker a lot. I would prepare the food before I went to work, pop it in the slow cooker and when we all arrived home the meal was ready.

How do you feel about convenience foods, do you use them as an addition to your home cooking or do you prefer to use them more often so that you can free up your time?

For myself, I just know that when I eat well, I feel well.

So, onto today's cooking.  I love Chutney's and today we are going to be making,

Red Tomato Chutney.  Ivy used to make chutney's with vegetables which Gramps grew in their allotment.  She also used the ingredients which were available to her, at the time, such as malt vinegar and pickling spices. 

I am using Ivy's recipe, but I am not using malt vinegar, I am using red wine vinegar.  Ivy also used pickling spices tied up in a muslin bag, but I have decided to add garlic and chilli flakes instead.

If you could see the instructions in Ivy's book, you would smile, as there are only four small lines of instructions.... ladies obviously knew what they were doing in those days and did not need the many instructions, which are written in our present day cookery books.

So without further ado, it's on with the pinnie and the music I have chosen to listen to today is,

Kirsty MacColl.  I love her music, but the titles of her songs are fabulous as well.... listen to "There's A Guy Works Down the Chip Shop Swears He's Elvis" and "Don't Come the Cowboy With Me Sonny Jim".  Listen to "Miss Otis Regrets" ... I just know you will enjoy it. 

It is time to organise my ingredients.  You will need,


1.5 kg red tomatoes
2 medium sized red onions
2 red eating apples
350fl oz red wine vinegar
150g Molasses natural unrefined cane sugar
3 cloves of garlic
1 teaspoonful of  sea salt (to crush garlic) 
1 teaspoon of chilli flakes
1 tablespoonful of olive oil

Sterilize 2 x 1/2 litre Kilner jars
using your usual method.


Place the tomatoes in a heat proof bowl
cover with hot water.
Leave for 5 minutes.
This process will allow the skins to be
easily removed.

Remove the tomato skins


coarsely chop the tomatoes
set aside for a moment.

Finely slice the onions
or if you prefer
finely chop the onions into small pieces


add 1 tablespoonful of olive oil into a pan
and saute the onions until they are translucent.

Whilst the onions are cooking,

Peel, core and chop the apples
into small pieces
and set aside.
(If you do this too far ahead, make sure
you add lemon juice to the chopped 
apples to stop them from turning brown.)

Crush the garlic with 
1 teaspoonful of sea salt
add to the onions.
Cook for a minute

add 1 teaspoonful of chilli flakes
and cook for a further minute or so.

Add the chopped tomatoes to the pan
the chopped apples.
Place the lid on your pan
and once the mixture is hot,
reduce the heat and cook until the 
tomatoes are soft.

I often find that there are some rogue tomatoes
which do not cook down, so I
use a masher to deal with
these stubborn tomatoes.

Add the red wine vinegar
to the pan


also the sugar.

Keep stirring the chutney until the sugar dissolves


simmer without a lid for about 30-35 minutes
or until all the liquid has evaporated.
You want a thick consistency.

Please don't leave the kitchen, I tend to get on with
other things... like washing up, as the chutney
needs stirring every few minutes or so.
You will find as the chutney reduces, it has a
tendency to stick to the pan.

Towards the end of the cooking process,
be careful when you stir the chutney,
as the chutney has a tendency to "spit".

Place the chutney into hot sterlized Kilner jars,
and then seal.

Store in a cool place.
Leave for a month or so, to allow the flavour to enhance.

I have a shelf in our garage which I use
during the winter,
as with the cold weather this makes
it ideal for cold storage.

When the Red Tomato Chutney is ready, you will have a delicious addition to a sandwich..... George spoons this Red Tomato Chutney onto hamburgers whereas I love it added to a cheese wrap.

You may have noticed that I did not remove the tomato seeds.  We really don't mind the seeds in the chutney, but if you prefer, before you chop the tomatoes, remove the seeds.

Enjoy my variation to Ivy's Red Tomato Chutney.

Take care and I will see you on Sunday.

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Dear Friends,

It is so wonderful to know you enjoy reading Ivy, Phyllis and Me! Thank you so much for taking the time to leave me a comment. I really do appreciate it.

Best wishes to you.


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