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.
I was asked to make a cake for a friend’s birthday breakfast and made this as it can be eaten with yoghurt and fruit but is not too sweet. It also has the benefit of being gluten free and having no refined sugar added. It uses unsulphured apricots (the dark ones) and ground almonds together with a boiled orange. The cake is topped with orange slices. This also makes a great pudding.
This chutney is made with dried apricots, apples, onions and sultanas and is spiced with fresh ginger and cardamom seeds. It is delicious with hard English cheese and cold meats – a welcome addition to a Christmas hamper or a summer buffet.
I have been making my own mincemeat for more than 30 years. It tastes so much better than most of the shop-bought ones and is definitely worth the effort. The fruit becomes glossy and almost jewel like with the addition of the brandy and lime juice. I use it in mince pies and also add a couple of tablespoons to an apple crumble for an interesting twist. It also tastes excellent when used to stuff baked apples – just remember to score the apple to stop it exploding!
It contains dried apricots as well as raisins, sultanas and currants and I use vegetable suet which makes it ok for vegetarians but unfortunately not for those on a gluten-free diet. I can make it gluten-free but that would be using beef suet so not vegetarian. It lasts well (at least 9 months) if kept in the fridge once opened.