Chutney

I Love preserving and I hate waste.

Everyone knows who grows them, that courgettes are prone to be very prolific and grow very big very quickly. Chutney is one of the answers to not wasting them (another is chickens, they are happy to eat what you can’t manage!) This recipe is inspired by Hugh Fernley-Whittingstall’s ‘River Cottage Glutney’. Basicly you can through most things in and it comes out great! ๐Ÿ™‚ Here’s Hugh’s recipe with my pictures! ๐Ÿ™‚

1kg courgettes, unpeeled if small, peeled if huge, cut into 1cm dice (or use pumpkin later in the season)
1kg red or green tomatoes, scalded, skinned and roughly chopped (or 1kg plums, stoned and chopped)
1kg cooking or eating apples, peeled and diced
500g onions, peeled and diced
500g sultanas or raisins
500g light brown sugar
750ml white-wine or cider vinegar, made up to 1 litre with water
1-3 tsp dried chilli flakes
1 tsp salt
For the spice bag
1 thumb-sized nugget of fresh or dried ginger, roughly chopped
12 cloves
12 black peppercorns
1 (generous) tsp coriander seeds
A few blades of mace

Put the vegetables and fruit in a large, heavy-based pan with the sultanas or raisins, sugar, vinegar and water, chilli flakes and salt.

Make up the spice bag by tying all the spices in a square of muslin or cotton. Add the spice bag to the pan, pushing it into the middle.

Chutney 1

Heat the mixture gently, stirring occasionally to dissolve the sugar, and bring slowly to the boil. Simmer for 2-3 hours, uncovered, stirring regularly to ensure it does not burn on the bottom of the pan.ย 

Chutney 2

The chutney is ready when it is rich, thick and reduced, and parts to reveal the base of the pan when a wooden spoon is dragged through it. If it starts to dry out before this stage is reached, add a little boiling water.

Chutney 3

Pot up the chutney while still warm (but not boiling hot) in sterilised jars with plastic-coated screw-top lids (essential to stop the vinegar interacting with the metal). Leave to mature for at least two weeks – ideally two months – before serving. ยท

Chutney 4

Warning: Don’t mistake tea spoons for table spoons for the chilli flakes like I did!!! Mind you a nice hot and spicy chutney is nice ๐Ÿ™‚

No Stock Cube Necessary

The weather’s changed here in the UK so it’s time to make soup!

We’re onto winter vegetables and over grown courgettes here at hillside lodge and so vegetable soup is on the menu.

Always start with some form of onion or leek, it doesn’t matter which, nicely chopped. This is where you throw in the garlic if you want it and herbs.Soup 1
I’ve added bay leaves, loveage, and thyme. fry gently then add your veg until they’re heated through. Lovage tastes similar to celery so add some celery stalks instead if you like.

Soup 2 Soup 3 Soup 4
Add boiling water from the kettle, you can judge how much. It depends how thick you like your soup. Add a tsp of sea salt and a few pepper corns.Soup 5
Cook until the veg are cooked, then crush a little with a potato masher or put in a liquidiser to finish.Soup 6
See, no need for a stock cube! ๐Ÿ™‚

Chilli’s and squashes

I am really pleased to report that my 5op chilli plants that I bought in the summer are now looking like this.

Chillis

As I hadn’t time to prepare the beds when the plants were ready my squashes and courgettes went into a wheel barrow and some large pots. They are looking like this.

Squash

These are at an advantage being by the back door, watering is easy. I’m looking forward to the fruit now that I have got all those flowers ๐Ÿ™‚ By the way, these are all growing in my home made compost!

Garden Update

Well, here in Norfolk in the UK, the weather has been very gloomy and dull and the plants and vegetables are reluctant to grow.

I’ll show you the bright bits first. The chive flowers always are a treat.

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The Aquilegia are one of my favourites as they flower for quite a long time.

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The greenhouse is very slow this year, any taste of warmth though and the plants put on a spurt of growth.

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I went out this morning for watering duty and something has been eating my chilli plants

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and my courgettes

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Life for plants is very hard and frustrating for humans.

Courgette Chutney

Because of the art projects I’ve been doing, some of my surplus veg etc have been hanging around for a while. I’ve had some Apples someone gave me in a basket in the pantry, some green tomatoes in the fridge (yes still ok!) and believe it or not a couple of courgettes still surviving out side! So yesterday I decided to do this lovely river cottage recipe that I remembered I Liked.

Courgette glutney

This lovely pickle is a fantastic way to use various summer veg gluts, and overgrown courgettes are one of my favourites. You can alter the recipe according to what you have, and chop and change the spices to suit your taste, too. Makes about 10 jars.

1kg courgettes, unpeeled if small, peeled if huge, cut into 1cm dice (or use pumpkin later in the season)

1kg red or green tomatoes, scalded, skinned and roughly chopped (or 1kg plums, stoned and chopped)

1kg cooking or eating apples, peeled and diced

500g onions, peeled and diced

500g sultanas or raisins

500g light brown sugar

750ml white-wine or cider vinegar, made up to 1 litre with water

1-3 tsp dried chilli flakes

1 tsp salt

For the spice bag

1 thumb-sized nugget of fresh or dried ginger, roughly chopped

12 cloves

12 black peppercorns

1 (generous) tsp coriander seeds

A few blades of mace

Put the vegetables and fruit in a large, heavy-based pan with the sultanas or raisins, sugar, vinegar and water, chilli flakes and salt.

Make up the spice bag by tying all the spices in a square of muslin or cotton. Add the spice bag to the pan, pushing it into the middle.

Heat the mixture gently, stirring occasionally to dissolve the sugar, and bring slowly to the boil. Simmer for 2-3 hours, uncovered, stirring regularly to ensure it does not burn on the bottom of the pan. The chutney is ready when it is rich, thick and reduced, and parts to reveal the base of the pan when a wooden spoon is dragged through it. If it starts to dry out before this stage is reached, add a little boiling water.

Pot up the chutney while still warm (but not boiling hot) in sterilised jars with plastic-coated screw-top lids (essential to stop the vinegar interacting with the metal). Leave to mature for at least two weeks – ideally two months – before serving.

Happy Eating! ๐Ÿ™‚

In the garden today!

I finally got to work in the garden today, I’ve been so busy with my art that I haven’t had a chance to do anything but keep things watered. It’s still very windy and very dry, we are desparate for rain here in East Anglia!

So at last today I’ve put the corn and courgettes…

…pumpkins and squashes…

….peas and beans….

…safely in the ground and tomatoes in nice big containers so they don’t blow over.

I’m feeling very wind swept but glad I’ve finally tended some plants!