orWine Tastings in the Comfort of you own villa or B&B while on holiday in Tuscany or Liguria

To book an informative and fun wine tasting whilst holidaying in Italy or arrange for a wild food walk in your area contact me on tuscanytipple at libero dot it or check out my Facebook page

Total Pageviews

Friday, 20 August 2010

Go on, guess...

No. You'll never get it. Have a go though. What ingredients do you think I have just made jam out of? ... No ... no not that either ... no you are not even close!

Here's the story while I keep you guessing. You know us gardeners always like to experiment with something new. New vegetables or exotic fruit, or a different variety like yellow tomatoes, or purple beans, or red carrots etc. Sometimes these experiments are a great success and they enrich our dinner table, other times they are not. The latter may be due to problems germinating perhaps, or just not ripening properly, or producing lots of foliage, but no fruit, the list goes on.

Failure may also be due to the fact that the resulting produce simply isn't very nice. Maybe it's a really stringy bean or you've always had a prejudice against pumpkins and approaching them again after years you find out why you didn't like them in the first place (it's the consistency... however I've made a large batch of curried pumpkin soup for the freezer, which I find tolerable).

Well my experiment gone wrong this year (apart from the pumpkin...) is a variety of greeny pink aubergine. I saw the seeds and thought: "hmm, I like aubergines, grilled, as Melanzane alla Parmigiana, under oil, in a ratatouille etc, why do they always have to be purple." They turned out to be earlier ripening than their purple cousins. One plant died misteriously, but a good 7 or 8 of them were doing well.

So it came to the first harvest, I sliced them and noticed an abundance of hard seeds inside. That would be quite good if I wanted to grow this variety again next year, but the taste test showed them to be tough and stringy and pithy with the seeds even when grilled for some time. Not very nice at all!!!

So here I was, with a bunch of happily producing aubergine plants with inedible aubergines. What to do with them? I was tempted to throw the whole lot straight onto the compost heap. Then I passed a stall at the Medieval festa of our town recently (for photos see Facebook...), and they had various homemade preserves on tasting there. And amongst other exotica there was an aubergine and chocolate jam! And you know what? It tasted good.

I didn't want to be rude and ask for the recipe, so today I made up my own. Try it, you'll be pleasantly surprised!

  • 1kg aubergines, cubed
  • 2 large apples cored and roughly chopped
  • 50g cacao powder (maybe less...)
  • 600g sugar
  • Simmer the aubergines and apples in about a cup of water until well soft.
  • Press the mixture through a tomato mill or a mesh thus getting rid of the seeds and skins.
  • Return to the pan and bring back to the boil.
  • Add cacao powder and sugar and stir in rapidly on a high temperature. Boil for just a few minutes, stirring constantly until the the bubbles plop on the surface.
  • Bottle in hot sterilised jars.
Now you didn't see that one coming, did you?


jann said...

OK. That sounds bizarre and very very interesting. Love anything with chocolate. How exactly do you sterilize your jam jars? I've always been too scared of botulism to try making jams....

Stefaneener said...

No, not at all.

Hmmm. Did you strain out the seeds? While I firmly believe that almost everything is improved by chocolate, I just don't grow things I'm not thrilled to eat. Aubergines top that list.

Very thrifty of you.

Ayak said...

Wow! I certainly didn't see that coming. What does it taste like? Well what I mean to say is that I'm not very keen on aubergines, so is it a very auberginey taste? Or does the chocolate take over?


Heiko said...

Jann, you Americans are afraid of your own shadows! In the case of jam I have never ever had a single jar go off, even after years of storage. You boil the jam, so everything in there is dead, and you either boil the jars and sterilise them in a hot oven. What can go wrong?

Stefani and Ayak, I do love aubergines, but in this recipe the chocolate flavour does take over. I got rid of the seeds by puuting it through a tomato mill. You know the sort of thing you can buy in every supermarket here to make seed-free passata. As in this: http://pathtoselfsufficiency.blogspot.com/2008/08/my-new-tomato-press-and-other-tales.html

Mr. H. said...

Do you remember the name of that particular eggplant? I'm a fan of anything that produces early and could surely work around the seeds...we are just happy if we get any eggplant to grow for us even if they are seedy and tough. We do love our aubergines, a delicacy around these parts.:) I think my wife has that face-book thingy, I'll have to look at your festival pictures sometime if I can figure out how to use it.

Heiko said...

Mr. H, It was a packet which was meant to contain mixed varieties of aubergines, but turned out to be mostly these greeny ones. I'll keep some seeds off the next for you.

Facebook is actually quite simple. And despite the controveries, it's only as much privacy revealed as you chose to. I reckon, I'm pretyy public as it is through my blog, so haven't got else much to loose. It's not that I'd be talking about secret incomes that the taxman could find out about, which would be a worry if this was the case.