Caponata

Caponata

From River Cottage Veg Everyday! by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall

I guess I’m a bit addicted to caponata but back when I was eating wheat it was specifically the one at Carluccio’s, high-street Italian restaurant extraordinaire and friend to the gluten-free.  Choice people, their menu has CHOICE!  But not the caponata, apparently.  What the…..?  I have no idea why the caponata would contain gluten, unless they’re sloshing malt vinegar in there instead of wine or balsamic.  Even then malt vinegar is a contentious gluten-free point.  But anyway, it is excluded from the gluten-free menu.  Bah!!  I don’t need you Antonio Carluccio.  I shall just make my own.  This is directly from River Cottage Veg Everyday! by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall because I implore you to buy it.  Even though there’s a big old section about ‘magic dough’ and, believe me, before I went gluten-free I made it, loved it, and it was magic.  The non-bread recipes though totally make this cook book worth it even if you are gluten-free.  See vegetables in a different light.  I may not be vegan, or even veggie, but I do firmly believe in the Michael Pollen quote, “Eat food, not too much, mostly plants”.  I’d like to add my own addition.  “And some cake”.  He, he, he.  But back to the caponata, this sweet and sour aubergine stew with tomato, capers and olives is completely delicious.  I’m sure you’ve all realised how much I love the aubergine by now.  Use this stew hot as a side dish, a BBQ accompaniment, or as a dip with breadsticks or even (sacrilege) tortilla chips.  I’d like to draw a tenuous link between gluten-free tortilla chips being made from corn, and polenta being corn.  See, this is ALMOST a natural paring.  Am I right?!  Of course caponata is Sicilian and not Italian.  I’ll get my coat…

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Burnt jam BBQ ribs

Burnt jam BBQ ribs

Adapted from Space Wildschwein’s BBQ Glazed Ribs

A few years ago I harvested the first cherry plums that the tree in my garden had produced since I’d moved in to the property. I love plum jam and it was very delicious.  However, one particular batch I was finishing one evening was just on the verge of setting when I took my eye off it.  I was probably a bit tired from all the jam making!  It caught on the bottom and started to burn.  Quickly I jarred it and hoped in the morning the smokiness would be less noticeable.  My wishful thinking was not rewarded unfortunately and the smokey jam was as bad in the morning.  No toast or cake would benefit from this preserve and I had 11 small jars of it!  Not to be deterred I approached the internet and started searching with gusto.  To my joy I found just the thing I was looking for.  A legitimate use for burnt jam.  Now I’m not suggesting you purposely burn a batch of jam just to make these ribs, but I’ve seriously considered it a few times!  The day we ate the last plate of ribs from that batch of burnt jam was a sad day.  However, you can replicate the flavour with a half teaspoon of liquid smoke in the mix or by finishing the ribs on an outdoor BBQ. My point though is that if you ever burn your jam a bit, don’t throw it away because it is good for something.  And I do love it when good comes out of a bad thing.

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