My great-auntie Gertie, she of the rabbit-skinning speed record (Portly passim), used to keep a drawer full of gifts in her dressing table. Not ones she had bought in advance, the sort of thing you stash away on the off-chance you’ll match it to a suitable recipient, but ones she’d been given. It was not uncommon to get back the Christmas present you’d sent her a year or two earlier, neatly re-wrapped. Continue reading
It’s been a phenomenal year for plums here in our part of Suffolk and we’ve been in a race with the wasps to see who can get there first. Luckily, we have so much fruit, there’s plenty left for wildlife of all sorts.
The last to ripen have been the black bullace and damsons. The bullace tree in particular is so laden, the plums are hanging like bunches of grapes. As the jam cupboard is already full, we opted for a chutney and I honestly think it’s one of the best we’ve ever made. Continue reading
This is a fabulous jelly with a tart/sweet flavour and a colour reminiscent of the bottom part of a tequila sunrise but it’s perhaps not for marmalade beginners who aren’t confident about testing for a set. Continue reading
Hands up, who eats oranges and throws away the peel? That’d be me, most of the time, and what a waste it is. I was prepping fruit for a salad the other day and my natural thriftiness, I’m happy to say, got the better of me so I made these. Continue reading
Back in the 1980s raspberry vinegar was A Thing. It seemed to get used with wild abandon, sometimes in dishes it shouldn’t have been allowed near. But fruit vinegars are lovely things to have in the store cupboard and they’re so easy to make. Continue reading
A fruit cheese is denser than a jam, softer than a fruit leather. If you’re familiar with membrillo, or quince cheese, you’ll get the idea. Damsons are easier than quince to source and I reckon the result is just as good. Continue reading
It’s approaching that time of year when if you have a garden, everything comes at once and you have a glut of something or another (usually courgettes) and if you don’t, reasonably priced fruit and veg are available in bushel loads at farmers’ markets and you find yourself perhaps buying more than you can eat straight away.
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