Irish Marrow Chutney

Pride of place on any cheese board

Pride of place on any cheese board

Originally, I made this as a way of using up a glut of overgrown zucchini, something that happens with alarming speed and regularity following Summer heatwaves. I am always astonished at how rapidly tiny dew-spangled zucchini, still clinging to their flower, become enormous woody monsters. These rather dry marrows make the perfect base for a warm and fruity chutney that takes pride of place in any Ploughman’s Lunch or cheese platter. Ginger, cloves, nutmeg and cinnamon add aromatic spice. Chili and cayenne give a gentle bite, while the fruit adds sweetness and depth to the complex flavour. Whiskey rounds it all out.

Allow the chutney to mature in a cool dark place for around 6 weeks before opening.  After that, don’t save it just for cheese and greens. It makes a delightful addition to gravy accompanying roast pork or turkey. It adds an extra dimension to beef stew.  It goes well in steak sandwiches, or toasted cheese ‘n chutney. I even have it with eggs and bacon 🙂

Evil Red Stuff & its Genteel Cousin

Evil Red Stuff

Evil Red Stuff

A relish is not as smooth as a sauce, nor as sweet as a chutney. It’s a bitey, vinegary addition to a hamburger, the side of a thick steak or nice meaty sausages. The best thing about making your own is that you can adjust the “heat” to suit yourself. In Casa de Chaos, we have those that like it mild, and some that like it very hot indeed. I often bottle half of a mild batch, then add extra hot chili to the remainder for those with asbestos tongues.  

Zucchini Relish

This relish has a colour and flavour rather reminiscent of old fashioned mustard pickles, which makes it a nice addition to soups, stews or cheese ‘n pickles toasted sandwiches. It’s also a good way to use up some of the oops-how-did-that-get-so-big zucchini that seem to materialise on the bushes at this time of year.

I truly believe that marrows have some sort of dimension folding magic flowing through their sap .. seriously. How else can you explain the cute button attached to a flower still glistening with morning dew, transforming into the enormous woody marrow that you have to fetch a wheelbarrow and two of the kids to lift so you can get it inside to cook for supper?? It’s unnatural I tell you ..

Irish Marrow Chutney

I have been a little busy for the past couple of weeks, so I’ve not been paying much attention to the courcozelle vines beyond the minefield.  It came as something of a surprise to find that the tiny striped zuccinis I remembered seeing just a week ago are now marrows of significant size.  There is enough for soup, stuffed marrow and chargrilled zuccini pasta sauce for the next month.  Today is St Patrick’s Day however, so I will honour the occasion by making my absolutely favourite chutney.  This is not to downplay my enjoyment of any of the others I make.. however this is the jar I reach for to accompany a dark ale, sharp cheese and crusty bread on any autumn afternoon picnic.  The flavour reminds me of mulled wine .. deep, fruity and richly spiced.  It makes a very tasty addition to stews, meatballs, pies and cheese-and-chutney sandwiches.  Gently warmed it also makes a superb gravy for roast beef or venison.  I may just pour an extra shot or two of whiskey to sip while waiting for it to cook.  Sláinte Gaelach

Buck Rarebit .. sorta

My version of the Welsh classic

My version of the Welsh classic

The only thing this dish has in common with the Welsh national dish is the ingredients.  Welsh Rarebit is essentially grilled cheese on toast, with whatever sauce and additions are at hand.  Buck Rarebit adds a poached egg. I had some left over pastry one day and experimented with that. Since then I have repeated the experiment several dozen times .. just to verify my findings you understand.