A Scotty Christmas Special

Christmas, what a pain in the ass! Don’t get me wrong, I really enjoy jolly fat men in red suits, giving and exchanging gifts, eating too much, drinking way too much, and the whole spending time with your loved ones bit; what I don’t enjoy is the full 24 days of expense, stress and in your face commercialism that precedes what is actually one of my favourite days of the year. If you work in either hospitality or retail, I’m sure you will sympathise.

Perhaps the worst part of the entire ordeal, is that at some hideous point during the annual shit fight that is december, I’ll be forced to cross the threshold of some monstrosity spewing forth the very essence of mediocrity; the dwelling of the disenchanted, gawping masses; the most repugnant monument to consumerism; a shopping mall! Seething hordes of parents on the verge of nervous breakdowns corralling their hideous, ungrateful spawn through great cavernous halls of retail. Teenagers, revelling in the recent release from the purgatory that is secondary education, casting their mockery for the status quo into the void of uninterested onlookers, and ultimately finding that (a) their new freedom is actually quite boring, and (b) no body gives a shit about their aimless frustration. Add overworked, underpaid, and thoroughly uninterested commerce slaves to the mix and you’ve got yourself a heady cocktail of “I hate this fucken place!”

All the gifts under the tree
All the gifts under the tree

So in the interest of avoiding as much of this whirlwind of effluent as humanly possible, I’ve developed a couple of interesting little stocking stuffers you can throw together in the safety and comfort of your own kitchen. Not only will you avoid the throes of retail vampirism, everybody (except kids) loves a hand made something-a-rather, and it’s way cheaper than buying this shit! So you’ll save money, stress, and come off looking really thoughtful, even if you just make the same shit for everyone. Xmas sorted!

Caramelised Onion Relish

  • Servings: 2kg
  • Time: 1hr
  • Difficulty: med
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Caramelised onion jam in a re-used jar
Caramelised onion jam in a re-used jar

Ingredients
  • 2.5kg onion thinly sliced
  • 300g brown sugar
  • 300g balsamic vinegar
  • 3 bay leaves
Method

Sautee the onions in a large pot until golden brown. Add the remaining ingredients and stir well to incorporate and bring to the boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook out for at least 20mins, stirring very frequently as the sugar will catch and burn easily. The liquid should reduce down until almost all of it has evaporated and the onions are black and sticky, but not burnt. Preheat your oven to 120ºc. Wash your jars thoroughly and then put into the oven for 5 mins to sterilize. Boil the lids of the jar for 5 min and allow to drip-dry. (We re-use old condiment jars. As long as the rubber seal is intact they will work fine). While still hot put the jam into the jar. Knock the jar on the bench to pack down the jam and release any air bubbles. Fill to the very top of the jar and then screw the cap on tightly. As the jam and the jar cools it will create a vacuum further sealing the jar.

Green Tomato and Nori Jam

  • Servings: 6kg
  • Time: 24 hours
  • Difficulty: med
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Nori green tomato jam
Nori green tomato jam

Ingredients
  • 6.5kg green tomatoes
  • 1200g sugar
  • 330g grated ginger
  • 700g rice vinegar
  • 40g toasted nori
Method

Core and peel tomatoes using a potato peeler. Chop tomatoes into 2 cm chunks. Combine everything in a pot except the nori and bring to the boil. Remove from the heat, cover the top with glad wrap and put in the fridge over night. The next day bring the pot back up to the boil and then simmer until very thick. Toast the nori and cut into 1 cm squares, add to the tomatoes and stir in well. Season with salt, and then cool. Process the jars in the same way as the last recipe.

Home made Kim Chi

  • Servings: 1 bucket
  • Time: As long as you wish
  • Difficulty: med
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Kimchi
Kimchi

Kim Chi Base
Ingredients
  • 300 korean chilli powder
  • 300 GF soy
  • 120 sugar
  • 300 fish sauce
  • 300 sesame oil
  • 100 spring onion finely sliced
  • 120 ginger finely sliced
  • 60 garlic finely chopped
  • 500g water
Method

Combine liquids and sugar. Add all other ingredients. Age for at least 24 hours before using.

Kimchi
Ingredients
  • 2 wombok cabbage roughly chopped
  • 4 large carrots peeled and grated
  • 8 Tblsp salt
  • 2 cups of kim chi base
Method

Mix the cabbage, carrots, and salt in a large bucket and work vigorously with your hands, squeezing and crushing to release the liquid from the cabbage. It will take some time, and considerable hand endurance, but continue to work until enough liquid is released that the vegetables can be submerged beneath its own juices. Mix in the kim chi base until until well combined. Find something that fits snugly inside the bucket, such and a plate or another bucket, that can be used to weigh down vegetables and keep them submerged. Place your kim chi in a warm, dark place to ferment for at least 2 weeks before eating, depending on the warmth of the climate and how tangy you like it (I found that 3 weeks was pretty ideal). Check the flavour, and if necessary add more of the kim chi base. Place into a clean jar and screw on the lid not too tightly as the continuing fermentation may cause CO2 to build up and crack your jar. Alternatively store in the fridge to slow the reaction. This should keep for months, even years.

All in jars ready to go under the tree
All in jars ready to go under the tree
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