Sunday, September 19, 2010

Chutneys and Summer Stock Sunday

For more Summer Stock Sunday, and today is the last one (boo!), visit Robin Around the Island by clicking on the link here. Thanks Robin for hosting this meme, it has added colour and fun to my summer. Hope you're having a lovely break in Holland!
This first picture speaks summer so much to me. These were the blossoms on our plum tree at the start of the summer, promising a bountiful harvest. They didn't disappoint.
I preface this post with a little note about my Mum, who was a fantastic cook, and who each summer would make about 300 pots of various jams and marmalades. She never made chutneys - we preferred jam.
This next picture is the view from our kitchen window. I love this tree, its gnarled branches, its abundant foliage, and its succulent fruit.

The birds love it too!

And Hubby loves it three, he takes many, many bird photos from this window, much better photos than these.

My Mum was a tee-totaller, had taken "the pledge" at her Confirmation, and never drank when the pledge ran out (at age 18). However, in baking, she believed in adding lots of alcohol to fruit cakes, liberally soaking the Christmas cake in whatever she could lay her hands on! Her excuse was that it helped preserve the cake (but her cakes never lasted very long anyway, whatever we didn't wolf down would be eagerly eaten by the many visitors who called for a cuppa).

Anyway, I have adopted her philosophy, and liberally add alcohol to cakes and preserves, and I use her excuse too. You can decide for yourself.


(The liquer is one I bought on a visit to Montserrat a few years ago, and I was just looking for an excuse to use it! The walnuts were added for my diabetic brother, to slow down sugar hit, but they work really well- turning it into a kind of confection).

600g Plums

1.75 Kg Apples,chopped in small pieces - either cooking or eating, if using cookers you'll need to increase the amount of sugar slightly

500g onions, chopped

225 g (or thereabouts, this was one packet here) raisins or sultanas

500ml vinegar (preferably cider vinegar)

1 teaspoon coriander seeds, crushed (see tip at end)

1 teaspoon ground ginger or finely chopped ginger root (see tip at end)

Half teaspoon salt

500g sugar (any kind)

125g walnuts, halved or chopped, your call (this was one packet here)

3 tablespoons (or you decide how much!) hazelnut liquer- or any other liquer that you fancy, play around with it, let me know how you get on!

The method is easy peasy - put everything except the walnuts and liquer in a saucepan and cook slowly for 2 or 3 hours. Add the walnuts , then cook for another hour. Add the liquer at the end, and stir in- you don't want the alcohol boiled off!

Notes: 1. I don't bother peeling the apples and the peel disappears in the mixture.
2. Instead of the coriander seeds or the ground ginger, you can use essential oils, but there are two cautions: you must be sure of the quality (one way is by making sure the Latin name is on the bottle, Coriandrum Sativum is coriander and Zingiber Officinalis is ginger, and Myristica Fragrens is Nutmeg, Nutmeg features in the next post Green Tomato Chutney with Vodka), and you must use only the amount stated; even though it seems very little, these oils are strong. You dissolve 2 drops of each in either a tablespoon of sugar or the hazelnut liquer (if using) and add it at the end of cooking, mix in well.

And these sad photos are the plums that I didn't get to pick. There really were soooo many and, well, there was Porto and Madrid...
some even rotted on the branches, which made me very sad...and that just teaches me that I can't have everything

Sorry I haven't been around this week- been sick.
I'll visit everyone starting tomorrow, and will also post the green tomato chutney recipe tomorrow- it's prepared, I promise!


  1. Beautiful summer pictures...
    I hope all those beautiful memories will tie you over the long winter until next spring.;)
    Thank you for such an endearing comment on my blog the other day.
    Have a lovely Monday,

  2. Really sorry you've been sick! Hope you are better! My Mom "canned" a lot when I was growing up and still did a lot up until 2005. Mostly veggies but some pears and jellies too.

  3. Beautiful flowers and the chutney you made sounds delicious. I love chutney of all kinds.

    Thanks so much for sharing all your wonderful summertime adventures on this year's Summer Stock, it's been a real treat.

    My photography is available for purchase - visit Around the Island Photography and bring home something beautiful today!

  4. Love your old gnarled tree!
    I'm so sorry to hear you've been ill. Hope you are feeling much better.