Before I started writing this blog I used to write recipes longhand into a series of exercise books. On page one of desserts is one from my sister and scrawled at the bottom are the words ‘possibly the best pudding in the world’. Continue reading
I was watching food historian Ivan Day make an apple and quince tart on a television cookery programme the other day. Instead of fresh quinces, he used a preserve, the idea being that our ancestors would use it to add the fruit’s flavour long after its harvest season had passed.
It’s a notion that still holds good today. Continue reading
A well-made mango chutney is a thing of beauty. It must have chunks of mango to qualify and not be a sickly orange slurry (I could rant on about this for ages). It’s easy enough to make your own, but mangoes are expensive, unless you are lucky enough to stumble across a corner shop selling boxes of them dirt cheap. This never happens to me.
What we do have, though, are large numbers of pears. Continue reading
Think of drinking wine under a vine-covered trellis and you’ll probably be transported back to the heady romance of a holiday in Greece or Italy. I don’t have so far to travel. I just go to Tufnell Park. Continue reading
I’ve been drowning in fruit this month, with baskets of pears and crab apples all over the kitchen. It’s a lovely position to be in in many ways but the sheer volume can be a bit daunting, especially when you haven’t actually eaten all of last year’s bounty. I still have bottled pears and jars and jam and jelly in the store cupboard, in spite of giving quantities away to friends and family.
Luckily a friend came and did a bit of scrumping in the orchard but that still left me with more than four kilos of crab apples. As we have already made herb jellies of every description, as well as industrial amounts of chilli jelly, I wanted to do something slightly different. Continue reading
It turned out to be a sort of crab apple, or perhaps more correctly, a domesticated variety that had reverted to its wild state. Maybe someone dropped an apple core there many years ago.
The fruits are small and quite sour so I used them to make this jelly, which arrived in Suffolk from the United States via Northern Ireland.
I should explain. Continue reading
I’ve been meaning to write a post about books for gluts, the best cookery books to have on hand if you have a lot of garden produce and are running out of creative ways to use it up. But I never get any further than these two essential volumes. Continue reading
It’s odd how a recipe can vanish almost completely from the culinary repertoire of one country yet continue to be eaten and enjoyed in another. Sometimes it will even get re-imported as an exotic foreign delicacy. Membrillo, the Spanish version of quince cheese, is the perfect example. Continue reading
The woodshed is full for the winter and with the hours of daylight shortening, we’ve been clearing the last of the summer fruit and veg from the greenhouse and garden. It’s chutney time. Continue reading
It was a bit of a wrench picking the hips from the wild roses because they looked so beautiful glowing in the autumn sun, but I consoled myself with the thought that they’d shrivel and drop off soon anyway and I’d be conserving their flavour through the winter, suspended in an amber jelly. Continue reading