Monday, 26 October 2009

I kissed a frog and I didn't like it.

I've been making an effort to balance my preserves store of late. I have oodles of jams and jellies but was feeling a bit chutney lite. I'm always looking for something new to try so have been experimenting with a number of recipes that caught my eye. This approach is something of a double edged sword as, yes, there are previously untapped gems out there but to get to them you have to kiss a few frogs (and mix a few metaphors). Unfortunately, 'kissing a frog' in chutney terms is hard work as it involves a few hours chopping and simmering and a whole heap of washing up.

So to help you tread a little more sure footedly on the chutney path, here's a brief review of my recent chutney frogs:

Sloe Chutney - Avoid, avoid, avoid. Excessively tannic to the point of unpleasantness.
Spiced Pear Chutney - Sounded lovely, I imagined something sweet yet chilli hot. Unfortunately the spice blend was far too 'currified', it's like eating cold curry. Avoid unless you're Dave Lister.
Lavender Chutney - Probably unfair to include this as an out and out frog. If it was called Lemon Chutney it would be fine, it tastes lovely, very lemony but the lavender taste seems to have been completely destroyed in the cooking process though. Plus the recipe only made one jar. And the onions made me cry. Huff.
Date and Walnut Chutney - This one should be nice and it very nearly is, the spice blend is far too heavy on the cumin though and the it overwhelms the walnuts completely.

The Spiced Pear Chutney I'm hoping to use up as actual curry sauce, I've got half a sheep being delivered next week so I'm thinking some sort of slow cooked mutton curry may be in order. To be fair, the Lavender and Date and Walnut could be salvaged with some tweaking of the recipe next time round so I have a bit of a dilemma. It seems daft to make another batch now that I have about 10 jars of chutney in the cupboard but it also seems daft to chomp my way through 10 jars of not quite up to scratch chutney.

For the time being I'm keeping hold of them in the hope that the taste improves as they mature. I have had one success though:

Hedgerow Chutney
1lb onions
2lb cooking apples (peeled and cored weight)
2lbs blackberries
2 tsp grated lemon rind
3/4 pint cider vinegar
12oz sugar
3tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp mustard powder
1/2 tsp chilli flakes
1/2 tsp ground ginger.

Put everything except the sugar into a pan and simmer until the onions and apples are soft. Then add the sugar and heat gently til it has dissolved. Boil steadily until it becomes thick and jammy, spoon into sterilised jars and seal with vinegar proof lids.

Why the picture of the baldy chicken? Just because her little baldy head is making me laugh quite a lot at the moment!


  1. Love this, it is always good to hear about the things that go 'not so well'. For me at the moment it is my rosehip syrup which a few days was luscious and now is fermenting into something else entirely.

  2. Maybe it'll ferment into something lucious and alcoholic - you never know!

  3. thanks for the chutney is always helpful when someone tries it and then tells you it's gross to save you the

  4. I know this is not about spice plum jam but I tried spiced plum jam last night spread thick on a nice buttered brown bread crust. Yum, yum, drool, drool.

  5. Maybe the chicken kissed a frog, hence the bald head.

  6. I should explain that 'Anonymous' is my Mum and she was sent home on Sunday with a 6 pack of jam including spiced damson (I've no idea why a chicken would kiss a frog though, or why this would cause it to go bald ...) : )