With Mother's Day just around the corner, we're doing something unbelievable - we're giving away a copy of My Underground Kitchen with every copy of My Underground Deli sold. Thats 2 for the price of 1! Give them both to Mum, or even keep one for yourself. We won't tell!
My favourite time of year... FEIJOA SEASON! How do you use up yours? One of my favourite things to do on a lazy Sunday afternoon is whip up a batch of this feijoa chutney recipe from My Underground Kitchen - it was shared with me by one of my Instagram followers and the best part is... no peeling required!!
Feijoas are quintessentially Kiwi, and thanks to this tasty condiment (which only gets better as it ages) you can enjoy them year round.
makes 6 cups | to prep 10 minutes | to cook 1 1⁄2 hours
1kg feijoas, topped and tailed 500g onions, diced 300g golden raisins 500g chopped dates 500g brown sugar 1 tablespoon ground ginger 1 tablespoon mild curry powder 1 teaspoon ground cloves 1⁄4 teaspoon cayenne pepper 4 teaspoons salt 4 cups cider (or malt) vinegar freshly ground black pepper
Halve your feijoas; the bigger your halves, the chunkier your chutney, so cut them in quarters if you prefer a finer texture. Add all of the ingredients except the pepper to a heavy-based saucepan and cook over a low heat for 1–11⁄2 hours, stirring occasionally, until thick. Season to taste with freshly ground black pepper.
Decant into sterilised jars (see below), making sure there are no air pockets. This chutney is best if you leave it to mature for 1–2 months, but i can never wait that long! Store in the fridge for up to 6 months.
To be extra certain your jar is only going to preserve chutney, and not something else funky, it’s best to sterilise them before filling. Sterilising is pretty easy. Wash the jars and lids in hot, soapy water and then place in the oven at 150°c for 15 minutes. Take care when handling hot jars. Put hot contents in hot jars, or wait for hot jars to cool before you fill them with ingredients at room temperature.
On Wednesday I was invited to address the Year 12 food tech class at Pakuranga College. How awesome! We spoke about how JUK started, organic growth, following your passion and the importance of the being smart when it comes to purchasing and costing, having minimal waste and following your dream no matter what it may be.
For their current class assignment, the students have been asked to create a selection of recipe cards to accompany food relief parcels in the Pacific. These parcels must feed a family of four at $2 a head, over five nights.
Working out how to be smart with leftovers; thinking about how to use of grains and carbohydrates for comfort and full tummies; being culturally sensitive when it comes to herbs and spices; purchasing in-season produce and then putting everything through a system so you can track costings; making sure you're charging for labour and utilities; these were all important points I covered with the students. It made me think about the costing structure we have in place at JUK and how systems can be put in place to make the daily grind so much easier to manage and track.
It's so important to keep all of your ducks in a row... making sure the numbers are accurate and in the right place, as well as making sure all accounts are filed on time. This sounds like quite a daunting task but I think the key is keeping up to date throughout the year, something I learnt quickly when my dinner numbers boosted from 2 to 200!
The software we use day-in and day-out with Xero has made regular reconciling, monthly accounts and up-to-date reports easy to manage and, with the end of financial year fast approaching, having these sorted makes the process much faster (and easier!). As we all know, I barely have enough time in the day to check my emails let alone sort through accounts for the end of financial year.
From talking to the students about being smart around in-season produce, planning and processing costs, I not only (hopefully) taught them a thing or two but I was able to kick into gear what needs to happen for our own end of financial year - which luckily isn't too much of a headache when you have a great system like Xero supporting you!
As a small, growing business it can be such a juggle to stay on top of every aspect, from ordering the right quantities of ingredients for our daily fresh meals and keeping the delis running smoothly to managing inventory and admin - which is somewhat of a daunting task. Anyone else out there struggling to balance life around their business?!
Following the Women in Business event last year, I’ve been lucky enough to spend some time with a Xero expert (their offices are just down the road from JUK office), which has helped me so much. Who knew you could pay all of your bills in one batch payment with two clicks of a button... Even though I've been a Xero user for 3 years now, I was only using 1% of the software capabilities!
A busy shift in the kitchen can be pretty exhausting (we call it Kitchen Crossfit!) and the last thing I want at the end of a long hot slog is to be processing and reconciling accounts. Xero saves my bacon, quite literally. For a foodie like me trying to wear an accounting hat, it's easy to use, it's intuitive and self-explanatory and it saves me so much money in unnecessary accounting costs.
Using Xero allows me to focus on being creative in the kitchen, which we all know is the part I love the most. If you've been sticking your head in the sand about accounting (like I did for the first couple of years of running a business), maybe Xero could be your life-saver, too!