Faced with a collapsed,
fully-laden cooking apple tree in her garden in August, a Bath Crafting Cranny reader
and self-confessed thrift fanatic decided not to cast her windfall of apples on
the compost heap but to roll up her sleeves and get chutney-making.
These straitened economic times called for a little make-do-and-mend mentality, she thought. So she stuck on a pristine pinny (possibly, but not actually, this one) and set about slow-cooking apples, onions, garlic, ginger, sultanas, brown sugar, cider vinegar and pickling spices until they reduced to a dark, syrupy deliciousness. The result – a particularly good partner to ham, strong cheddar and stilton – was such a hit with her family and friends (and, indeed, the famously cheese-loving editor of this blog) that it seemed a good idea to offer the chutney further afield.
The chutney is only being produced in painfully small batches of 6-8 jars,so availability is sadly limited. However, if you are lucky enough to live in the Bath area, you can purchase a jar now for £3.50. 10% of proceeds will go to the Home Farm Trust: a charity supporting adults with learning disabilities (more details are here).
The compulsively thrifty theme has been
continued by making use of other rescued materials: re-used jars (where
possible); obsolete computer-paper labels; pretty scrap fabric lid tops. If you
have any spare, unwanted materials that you think might be helpful in this
plucky enterprise, do please get in touch.
For more details, email Scrapiana (aka Eirlys Penn).
And for those who want to make their very own, Eirlys has kindly given us the recipe:
kg apples, peeled and finely chopped
1 lb/450 g onions, finely chopped
1 1/2 lbs/700 g brown sugar
8 oz/225 g sultanas (though raisins will do)
1/2 pint/300 ml vinegar (I prefer cider, though white malt is fine)
4 tsps/20 ml salt
A good pinch of cayenne pepper
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
2 tsps/10 ml pickling spice (if you don't know what goes in this, it can be a combo of any of the following that you can muster: cinnamon, mustard seed, ginger, allspice berries, peppercorns, cloves, dill seeds, coriander seeds, mace, bay leaves, red chilli)
1 piece of root ginger (that's nice and specific, isn't it? Common sense required there, alas.)
apples, onions, sugar, sultanas, vinegar, salt, cayenne pepper and garlic into
the slow cooker (or heavy saucepan). Tie spices and root ginger into a muslin bag and add to
the pot. Stir thoroughly until the sugar is dissolved. Cook for 8-9
hours or overnight (or longer, if you like it really treacly). Stir well every now and again to stop it sticking and burning...
Remove bag of spices, stir well, and pour into heated jars/cover etc. This should fill about 6-8 average-sized jam jars. You will also have an eye-tinglingly chutney-scented kitchen for some little while (worth considering if you happen to be entertaining subsequently).
Best left a month or so to mature before enjoying alongside the cheese of your friendly cheese-monger's recommendation.
* From a Tower Slo-cooker recipe/instruction book of about 20 years ago...
An Italian gourmet deli food-shop is just under our noses... I was lucky enough to discover it last year when I started my job close by. It trades under 'La Bottega' (Unit 6, Brassmill Enterprise Centre, Bath, BA1 3JN, 01225 317044, map here). Lots of cheeses, meats, olives, wines, pastas, rice, oils: the list goes on. And - at Christmas - they sell the most delicious and best-value Panettone you'll see this side of the Alps.
A beady eye is needed to find it though: there is a shop sign above the door but, other than that, it just looks like a warehouse...