Less wine and more vinegar has been sampled this week as I’ve been sipping samples of hot home-made chutney straight from the boiling pan. After picking several tonnes, (well it seemed like it) of wild damsons and, its near neighbour, wild bullace from the Shropshire hedgerows I needed to find a recipe that would do justice to their flavours. After perusing many recipe books and websites, while finishing off the dregs of a bottle of South African red opened the night before, I finally came across just the recipe I was looking for.
A combination of the usual chutney preserving ingredients of vinegar and sugar, along with onions, garlic (lots), raisins and apples (windfalls with the manky bits cut out) and the de-stoned remains of 9lb of bullace results in a fruity but somewhat bland chutney. Add spices to the mix and the chutney reaches a different stratum of flavour.
Ground chilli, ground ginger, black peppercorns, mustard seed and Juniper berry (the recipe called for allspice but the substituted peppery flavoured berry meant I could finally get to justify their purchase) all added to the simmering mass and finally spooned into jars 4 hours later resulted in a dark purple splodge that tasted very similar to HP Brown Sauce.
I know you’re meant to leave chutneys to mature for 6 weeks or so but I couldn’t resist opening a jar and adding a spoonful to the necessary post clear-up bacon sarnie. Delicious. And a couple of glasses of fruity red matched the meals hearty flavours.
PG Wine Reviews
Vignobles Roussellet French Malbec
Quaffable wine that gives you change from a fiver: damson, cherry and a bit of milk choc.
Hardys Voyage Australian Shiraz Mouvedre 2015
£5.29 Co-op (down from £7.29 until September 19)
Quite a tart-tasting red with raspberry and reducrrant flavours plus milk chocolate smoothing things off.
Co-op Irresistible South African Fairtrade Sauvignon Blanc 2017
Light pineapple and apple flavours.
Wolf Blass Australian Yellow Label Chardonnay 2016
£6.99 Co-op (down from £8.99 until September 19)
Apricot flan flavour. Not too buttery so doesn’t swamp food.
Valle Antigua Chilean Merlot 2016
A pleasant red with fruity cherry flavours.