Sunday, 11 September 2011

Sunday morning


The beginnings of apple and plum chutney

Good morning.  It's pretty wet out there at the moment but no wind worth the mention.  I'm really hoping that it will dry off a little bit later on as there's a bit of gardening I need to do today (having neglected it yesterday).

I had a bit of a disappointment yesterday.  It was going to be one of our Witches get-togethers last night, here.  However one of us was still jet-lagged, one couldn't come anyway, one was still too uncomfortable from an operation earlier in the week and one went down with a migraine, so we decided to sat another date when everyone's better and able to come.  That left me with a selection of nibbles and some alcohol - we all bring something to eat but, obviously, the hostess must provide a few more basics.  I am so glad I decided to go to Aldi yesterday.  They do nice nibbles and their biscuits are to die for - and all a whole lot cheaper.  Also, on her Frugal Cook blog, Fiona Beckett recommended a red wine sold there that she said was very much better than the price would indicate.  I bought a few more things too, including some plums and some tomatoes (both very sound and with good flavour) and was pleasantly surprises at the final bill.  Must go there more often!

Anyway, I digress.  I am left with some nibbles (which DG can help me with later on) and some alcohol.  Not a problem, in fact I'm quite pleased because I want to try a recipe for mulled wine plum jam and now I have the wine! 
I still have quite a lot of the apples J gave me - they're so sound that there's not a lot to throw away when I use them, so they're going a lot further than I expected.  So, on the hob right now, is the makings of apple and plum chutney.  As with most chutneys, it is very easy.  Equal weight of apple and plum, some craisins (dried cranberries, but it could be raisins, sultanas, etc) and some shallots, spices (ginger, cloves and allspice), salt, pepper, cider vinegar and sugar.  All but the last item is simmering away to soften, making the house smell spicily plummy.  Once it's all soft, in goes the sugar for a long slow simmer.
I have also found a recipe for mulled cranberry jelly but that will have to wait.  The instructions indicate that it has a shorter jar life, so it's been shelved until December.  Also, it's not using up the apples!
All these jams and chutneys I am making - well, guess what people will be getting for Christmas this year!  It's such fun decorating the jars with festive labels, festive tops and red ribbon or raffia.  This year I might make cards and gift tags to match the labels and tops as well.  A complete package, in fact!

This afternoon DD and DG will be round, laden with red cabbages (well, two anyway) harvested from DD's allotment.  Our task will be to Delia them into spiced red cabbage with apple - loads of it - to be frozen for Christmas and other occasions.  It's a great favourite.  They will stay for tea and, for that, I want to make some plum flapjacks which, if the recipe is anything to go by, will be delicious.  The ones not eaten will be individually wrapped in greaseproof paper for my packed lunches this coming week.

OK, so the apple, plum and onion has had long enough to soften so I must off to add the sugar and set it all a-simmering.  Then I have to brave the rain to get the jars out of the shed!   Have a good day!

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