Saturday 25 July 2009

Pear and Walnut Chutney

I’d like to believe that if I wasn’t at home with a baby that I would be going out and seeing everything I am missing right now but I know the reality is that many events would still slip by in the whirlwind of everyday life.

The difference at the moment is that I have a lot of time to listen to the talkback radio and find out about events I would love to see. Michael Nyman is in town and I would love to see him play. It is the Melbourne International Film Festival and I have heard quite a bit of discussion about the premiere of an Australian film called Bailibo , about the murder of journalists in East Timor in the 1970s. I also would be interested to see another Aussie film, Beautiful Kate, which is at the cinema soon and stars some of my favourite actors.

But the most fascinating event I have heard about lately is the Bobcat Ballet performed to Bohemian Rapsody. I mentioned it to E and he made me laugh with his guesses. So I thought I would do a ‘One out of Three Aint Bad’ question for my favourite quiz show, Spicks and Specks. Below is a list of the real performers and the ones that E guessed. Can you guess which one is correct?

a) Wild cats
b) Bob Dylan fans
c) Construction vehicles

Yes, it is C. What a bizarre idea! It is happening in Mackey in Queensland but may come to Melbourne. If it does I would love to be there but probably wont make it.

Although I am missing some events, there are others that I can go with a baby, of which I had previously been ignorant. One of these is Rhyme Time at my local library. It is a morning session where babies get to sing and dance to nursery rhymes. It is noisy and fun but the most fascinating aspect of it is to see the librarians directing mothers where to park their prams in the foyer and beside the bookshelves.

Afterwards I often go to Andre’s for his lovely sourdough bread. A few weeks back I had a yen to make pear and walnut chutney from a recipe I had jotted down years ago. Pears are in season right now and often reside in my fruit bowl. I had the pears and walnuts but no sultanas. The recipe called for firm pears so I didn’t think I could put off making it too long before I had soft juicy pears. If I made it before Rhyme Time, I could enjoy it on fresh bread at lunchtime. I remembered my tomato chutney that had cranberries in it. This seemed an appropriate substitution for the sultanas.

I set about preparing the ingredients in the morning and it took longer than I anticipated. As usual, I found myself rushing and barely had time to simmer it as long as the recipe said. I had to turn off the heat as we were running out the door. I left it to cool while we were out. I returned with some dense spelt bread at Andre’s. Lunch was a simple repast of good bread, good cheese and excellent homemade chutney.

It looked a little like fruit mince, but it was spicier. I added a few more spices than in the recipe but nevertheless it was a sweet chutney and more chunky than other chutneys I have made lately. The addition of walnuts was surprisingly pleasing. It was great with bread and cheese, lovely stirred into a curry, but not so good with vegie sausages.

I was curious about the combination of pear and walnuts. It is such a lovely winter pairing. It seems I am not alone in my appreciation. There were many great ideas on FoodBlogSearch, so I have listed just a few below.

Savoury Recipes:

Sweet Recipes:

Chunky Pear and Walnut Chutney
Makes 2 medium jars

70g dried cranberries
Zest and juice of 1 orange
600g (4 or 5) firm pears, peeled and chopped
1 granny smith apple, peeled and chopped
1 onion, peeled and chopped
1 cup (250ml) cider vinegar
200g sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp mustard powder
1 tsp allspice
1 tsp ginger
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
60g roasted walnuts, chopped

Pour orange juice and zest over the cranberries. Set aside.

Bring cider, onions, apples and pears in large saucepan. Bring to the boil, reduce heat and simmer for about 30 minutes. Add cranberry mixture, sugar, salt and spices. Stir an additional 20-30 minutes until the mixture has thickened. Add the walnuts and leave to cool slightly. Store in sterilised jars. (I just poured boiling water over my jars because I knew it wouldn't last too long.)

On the stereo: All of this and nothing: Psychedelic Furs


  1. I'm flying down to Melb this coming weekend for Wicked and the film festival. Do go there! I love the diversity of the movies shown there. One of the best part of living in Melbourne, really. :)

  2. Ive watched a couple of rhyme times and story times in a local book shop, they look like such fun, I need to find a child to take with me!
    Chutney looks lovely too, I really should have a go at making chutney, but I worry it will just stay in the cupboard unused :(

  3. Wow, pear and walnut, what a delicious combination! The bread looks yummy! Where is it from? Thanks

  4. Thanks Anh - I have enjoyed some films at the film fest over the last few years but it is not easy to make it there with sylvia here but hope to go again other years

    Thanks Flower - I make chutney because I tend to use it - but I have found that jam just sits in my cupboard so I don't make that (as for Rhyme Time, that is great it is going on somewhere you can watch all the joy!)

    Thanks Anonymous - the Bread is from Andre's Coffee House in Sydney Road - I have just posted about it so will put a link in

  5. Great use for pears. Those names are just crazy!

  6. I love the picture at the top Johanna with the chutney and the bread and cheese. Looks like a fantastic lunch.

    Like your idea of not fussing too much over the sterilising and just getting on and eating the stuff. I must admit sterilising chutney/jam etc always scares me a little bit. Much better to make less and be able to try out a few more delicious recipes!

  7. I like pears too much to let them get into any of my cooking! But I do like fruit in chutney though, and if a pear ever survived long enough in our house I would be very interested to try this!

  8. Thanks Ricki

    Thanks Sophie - it is an ideal lunch for me - and I have got less worried about sterilising jars because I only make small amounts of chutney but I am also more confident that if I boil the jars about 10 minutes they are fine

    Thanks Lysy - I love pears too but get overwhelmed when I have heaps of fruit to eat through because I lose interest if it sits around too long and gets a bit tired - you just need to put a few extra in your basket!

  9. Hi Johanna.
    Thanks for linking to my pear pizza recipe. I LOVE pears, and we have just a few more months to wait here in the Midwestern U.S. I can't wait to try your chutney.

  10. I love the combination of walnuts & pears and am so glad you found the recipe for the Walnut, Pear and Gorgonzola Salad---it's so, so good and especially enjoyable in the fall.

    Enjoy your time with the baby---they grow so fast. We travel & do things with our kids 99.9% of the time and I'm always amazed at how many opportunities abound if you only look for them. A different way of going out of course, but completely satisfying nonetheless!

  11. Mmm love the combination of pear & walnuts!

  12. Delicious chutney, Johanna - a perfect winter flavors fix.

    Time spent with Baby is precious. Those things outside that you miss will always be there, but being home with Sylvia can never be replaced. : )

  13. I have just made my second batch of chutney which I will give as Christmas gifts. Super easy recipe!!


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