New chutney recipes

This week, I have tried making a new chutney with rhubarb, flavoured with coriander and curry powder. It looks delicious but needs to mature for a month before tasting! Making chutneys is always a time consuming task, not just with the long slow cooking but also allowing it time to mature in a cool, dark place. If you are tempted to taste it too soon, it can be too vinegary or too spicy. However, after a month or two (depending on the recipe) the flavours have mellowed and the chutney is ready.

I delivered a batch to Southborough Butchers last week which were made in January but which are now ready to eat. If you are local to Southborough, they have 4 variations available as well as my apple and chilli jelly :

  • Apricot apple and hazelnut
  • Plum pear and apple with chilli
  • Pear and apple
  • Spiced damson

All these chutneys go well with cheese, cold meats, sausages and even with curries. We have also used the spiced damson chutney as a sauce for pan fried duck breast and as a gravy enhancer.

If the rhubarb chutney passes its taste test, I will make more and market it. Watch this space!

Stock clearance

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In order to make space for new chutneys and other preserves, I am having a stock clearance sale . All items are available on a first come first served basis, so if there is something you particularly want, please contact me as soon as possible.

Stock available : 300g jars

1 x Apple and sultana chutney  £2.50

1 x Pumpkin and raisin chutney  £2.50

1 x Apricot apple and hazelnut chutney  £2.50

5 x Victoria plum jam  £2.00 each

5 x Raspberry jam  £2.00 each

7 x Luxury apricot and brandy mincemeat  £2.00 each

4 x Seville orange marmalade  £2.00 each

8 x Dark Seville orange marmalade  £2.00 each

 

Stock available : 200g/190g jars

18 x Spiced Damson chutney  £1.50 each

12 x Blackberry jelly  £1.50 each

4 x Cranberry and orange compôte  £2.00 each

1 x Spiced redcurrant jelly  £1.50

Please email me at toobusytomake@btinternet.com or message me via my Facebook page Too busy to make

 

 

 

 

Other uses for marmalade


The Seville orange season is short, so in January or February when they make their brief appearance in our shops, I buy some to make marmalade and a couple of family favourite puddings.

However, like many, I don’t usually eat toast in the mornings so jars of marmalade accumulate! This year, I decided to try using marmalade in other recipes to see whether they would taste good.

First, I made a bread and butter pudding by spreading marmalade on panettone that was left over from Christmas, and baking with a mixture of eggs and cream. It was so delicious that it was eaten before I could photograph it! I made a second and the same thing happened. The fruit in the panettone meant I didn’t add any extra but I chopped the strips of orange peel in the marmalade into small pieces before adding them to the pudding.

Second, I tried a marmalade drizzle cake, using my normal lemon drizzle cake recipe and replacing the lemon zest in the sponge with Seville orange zest and spreading a mixture of marmalade and Seville orange juice over the top of the cake as soon as it came out of the oven. I think the cake works very well – the bitter orange tang comes through the sponge making a delicious variation on drizzle cakes.

I usually freeze the zest and juice of Seville oranges to use later in the year and will report back on future experiments with marmalade and the zest and juice.

Restocking the larder


The beginning of the new year has been a good time to do a thorough stock take and to start making more chutney.

Thank you to everyone who bought food from me in the run up to Christmas. I lost count of the number of Panforte and biscuits I made! Thank you also for the lovely comments – it is pleasing to hear that you enjoy eating the foods I have made as much as I have enjoyed making them.

I have made three chutneys so far this year

Apricot, apple and hazelnut which has cardamom seeds, ginger and mixed spice giving a crunchy texture and spicy fruit flavour

Plum, pear and apple with chilli and pepper giving a hot flavour

Pear and apple which is a classic chutney flavoured with cinnamon, ginger and cloves.

All three chutneys are maturing and will soon be ready to purchase. Those of you who are local to Southborough can buy a selection of my chutneys and jellies from Southborough Butchers on London Road. They all go well with cold meats and cheeses and can also be used to enrich casseroles and gravies.

 

Open house 

 

I am holding two ‘Open House’ sessions before Christmas so if you would like to try before you buy, then please come along to 72 Prospect Road, Southborough on

Friday 9 December between 4pm and 8pm or on

Wednesday 14 December between 11am and 1pm or between 4pm and 8pm.

I will have a number of chutneys, jellies, jams and marmalades open for tasting as well as some biscuits and cakes. Most will be available to take away but I can make more Panforte or biscuits to order.

I look forward to seeing you soon!

Some of my chutneys and jellies are also available to buy at Southborough Butchers on London Road, Southborough.

Try before you buy

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On Wednesday 16 November, I will have a stall at the Nizels Golf and Country Club ‘Christmas Beauty Evening’, near Hildenborough in Kent.

I am planning to take along a selection of preserves, biscuits, cakes and savoury nibbles which can be given as Christmas gifts and many will be available for tasting on the night. I will also be taking orders if you would rather wait until nearer Christmas to receive your foods.

I am also hoping to sell my foods at other locations in the run up to Christmas so watch this space for further information.

Email me at toobusytomake@btinternet.com or call me on 07787 963896 if you want to place an order or find out more.

 

 

Damson cheese

 

According to Sara Paston-Williams, Damson Cheese is one of the oldest traditional country dishes, always found piled up on the shelves of a country store cupboard.

I have tried a couple of recipes but prefer one that uses slightly less sugar. It still produces a sugar crust and will keep almost indefinitely! We love to eat it with cheese such as a mature cheddar or crumbly Lancashire, but it is also good added to enrich a venison casserole or gravy to accompany beef or game.

The damsons are cooked until soft, then pressed through a sieve. After adding sugar, the pulp is cooked again until thick and then stored in a cool place to mature.

 

 

Spiced Damson Chutney

 

September has been a busy month in the kitchen which has meant not enough time to write about what I have been making! I went fruit picking at the end of August, not sure whether the damsons would be ripe yet. They were – and I ended up picking quite a few. I love the dark purple skin with the dusky bloom – quite unlike other plums. They are quite tart raw, but when cooked with the other chutney ingredients, they produce a deep, concentrated flavour.

Since then, I have made three batches of Spiced Damson Chutney which is a firm family favourite – made with allspice berries, cloves, cinnamon and ginger. The chutney goes well with cheese or cold meats and can also be used as a sauce for duck.

 

 

Spiced redcurrant jelly

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I picked redcurrants a few weeks ago and made another batch of spiced redcurrant jelly. From the field to the jar within 24 hours – perfect! The jelly will be delicious with roast lamb or venison or I use it to enrich a game gravy. As I don’t own a stand for the jelly straining bag, I go for an upturned chair and bits of string – this works just as well! The jelly has white wine vinegar added to give it extra flavour as well as cinnamon and cloves.