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Going Fridge Free!

My son Simone loves his food and loves to cook, even at only 5 years old he is a right chip of the old block! Most recently he has discovered the art of preserving. What he loves most, yet finds hard to get his head around is how such a simple process can create such a great change in food. Essentially it’s just mostly a reaction to vinegar, salt and sugar.

It’s not just in the Cristiano household where preserving has enjoyed a renaissance; on restaurant menus across the UK pickles are increasing in appearance, becoming a popular way for chefs to add zing and texture to a dish. With winter feeling like it’s just around the corner, now is the perfect time to start preserving left over allotment veg for the stark cold months ahead.

What I love most about this revival is the experimenting of chefs with their pickle choices, creating complex flavours with ingredients from around the world such as chilli, fish sauce and other spices. In London we’ve been seeing some truly creative dishes which include the likes of pickled heritage potatoes, pickled samphire, pickled clementine, pickled shiitake, pickled rose petals and pickled shimeji and spring truffle.

If you want to get really geeky about fermentation, Sandor Katz has written a book all about the process, called the Fermentation Bible, and covers everything from sauerkraut to booze to growing mould cultures. The dry curing process is my preserving method of choice. The likes of prosciutto, coppa and bresola all get an intense, rich flavour and extended shelf life from the long dry cure process they go through.

Like I tell my son, this trend in preserving is nothing new, in reality it’s our ancient ancestor’s refrigerator! Check mine and Simone’s recipe from our latest kitchen creation, a homemade take on a Leathams product……

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Tomatillo and Lime Jam

Ingredients

  • 500g     Tomatillos, Roughly Chopped
  • 300g     Sups sugar
  • 250ml   Water
  • 50ml     Lime Juice
  • Rind of one lime
  • ½ tsp    Salt

Method

1  Place all of the ingredients into a saucepan set over medium-high heat.

2  Let them come to a simmer and stir occasionally, letting them cook until it has thickened and achieved a soft jam consistency.

3                     Remove from the heat and cool in the fridge.

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