The Fruitfulness of Autumn
A September Sunday afternoon and needed a break from gardening and a crate of home-grown apples, pears, onions and garlic that needed using. What better way to spend a few hours than cooking up some autumnal fruity chutney? This is a recipe I use most years, it alters sometimes as I throw in additional ingredients just because I happen to have them and it seems like a good idea at the time. The secret to the success of a good chutney is to cook for at least 3 or 4 hours, really slowly until the mixture reduces down to a sticky, dark paste, stirring occasionally to stop it sticking and burning the bottom of the pan. Scraping the base of a burnt on preserving pan is not much fun. So far, every jar of chutney has been rich and deep and after a few months of storage in the garage, deliciously mellow. This one is a winner with a good mellow Cave Aged Wookey Hole Cheddar and crusty bread.
By the way if you don’t go in for all of this hand-chopping lark, purist and therapeutic as it may be, put everything in a food processor in smallish batches and chop to the desired size.
Kate’s Autumn Chutney Recipe
Kate’s Autumn Chutney These amounts should fill approx. 6-8 jars
1.2kg Peeled Onions finely chopped
1.6kg Peeled & Cored Cooking Apples finely chopped
800g Peeled & Cored Pears finely chopped
1.2kg Green Tomatoes finely chopped
500g peeled Carrots finely chopped or grated
1 x Thumb sized peeled piece Root Ginger finely chopped
3-4 peeled & crushed cloves Garlic
1 Jar 450g Preserved Ginger finely chopped with the syrup
1.2litres of Malt Vinegar
1.1kg Soft Dark Brown Sugar
3/4 small dried red chillies (depending on taste)
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
1 teaspoon Allspice berries
1 teaspoon sea salt
Put everything in a large stainless steel jam pan and gently bring up to the boil, then simmer for 3-4 hours until the chutney is really dark and thick. Fill sterilised jars with the hot mixture and cover with cling wrap. When the chutney is cold put the screw tops on the jars and label. Try to leave for at least 6 months – the longer the better. Put the jars in a dark secret hiding place and discover them by accident a year later – with cheese & ham – a marriage made in heaven.
Cheese & Chutney Pairings
Whilst waiting the obligatory six months minimum for the chutney to mature, why not try some the Hawkshead Lake District chutney’s we stock with a few pairing ideas.
Farmhouse Cheddars: Currently some of the cheddars we currently stock are Wookey Hole, Montgomery, Keens, Isle of Mull Cheddar, Blackbomber & Godminster Organic Cheddar. Recommended Chutney’s: Scrumpy Apple, Apple, Date & Damson, Red Onion Marmalade, Chillililli and of course the all-time classic – crunchy Piccalilli
Blue Cheeses: Colston Bassett Stilton, Montagnolo Affine, Cashel Blue, Picos Blue, Beenleigh Blue, Crozier Blue, Cote Hill Blue Recommended Chutney’s Pear & Date, Plum & Port, Mango Chutney, Apricot & Cranberry Relish. Also try drizzling earthy dark brown runny honey over the sharper blues, the rich sweet flavours round off the sharp edges beautifully
Goats & Ewes Milk Cheeses, these cheeses work well with a point of contrast. Manchego, Pecorino, Norfolk White Lady, Berkswell, Crottin, Apley Goats Log. Recommended Chutney’s: Figgy Berry, Fig & Cinnamon, Mango, Damson and Quince Paste or Membrillo..
Finally, this sounds a bit nuts, but try a thick wedge of delicious, decadent triple crème Delice de Bourgogne with a teaspoon of Bonne Maman Strawberry Conserve – not jam, a bit too sweet. You could make some scones to serve warm with this and perhaps a glass of chilled champagne wouldn’t go too far amiss.