Monday, 10 October 2011

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness...

And with that mellow fruitfulness comes heaps of fruit and veg in the kitchen.
I've now made three batches of red tomato and red onion chutney, using ripe tomatoes either from our garden or from my friend's poly-tunnel at the smallholding 'next door'.
The red onions I've used were from our garden too! This is one I've been making for a good few years, and it really is my favourite breakfast thing, I love it with eggs and bacon.
However much I make, we always, always get through it really quickly. Originally a Women's Institute 'Preserves & Pickles' book recipe, I've made a couple of changes - namely using red onions instead of ordinary ones, and using a fabulously smoky sweet paprika, the best I can find.

We were given a bag of pears, which have become pear and ginger chutney after I tried some someone else had made and thought it was really nice. It was fab with some farmhouse pate, and my first taste of my batch is pretty similar, so that was a success.

You know there is an old wives tale about an abundant harvest in the hedgerows being a portent of a hard winter? Well before the papers were predicting snow for three months - we'd already been saying if the tale was true we were due for a cold winter.I've never seen anything like the fruit down the back lane here this year. We saw sloes and crab apples in the hedge there for the first time, and I've also made a batch of hedgerow jelly, which has sloes, crab apples, elderberries, blackberries, rosehips, and haws in!

Also I've made some mango chutney this morning, the mangos were reduced in Tesco! They are not as yet growing wild in West Wales! (But the red chilli I used was from the greenhouse here)
I couldn't find the recipe I used last year, and I'm pretty sure I used the fruit/sugar/vinegar from one recipe with the spice blend from another, so this year I made sure I've written down what I used!

I've also tried a batch of preserved lemons for the first time, made some lemon and lime marmelade, a large batch of bramble Jelly, and some bramble cheese, made from the fruit that was drained for the jelly and I've also got a small batch of crab apple and sloe jelly on the go at the moment, I must say I do like making jelly type preserves it's very satisfying when it sets

We've got a bottle of sloe vodka on the go, and a bottle of blackberry whiskey, both will be ready for Xmas. I've also made a couple of bottles of elder rob, an elderberry cordial, which is recommended for seeing a cold off. The second batch has been given an extra kick with some star anise, which is also supposed to be good for colds and flu.

My last thing to make will be some lemon curd. I've never tried to make it before, but I've always enjoyed homemade curd when I've bought it, much nicer than the shop stuff. I've got a few lemons left, and a few eggs from our chickens so I want to make some. Then I really must stop. I have nearly run out of jars, and of course all these preserves need to be stored, my cupboard is totally full, so if we DO get snowed in - LOL - we will have plenty of jam and pickle to keep us going until someone digs us out!


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