Thursday, 6 August 2009

Major Marshall’s Chutney: (Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end, but it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning)

Each day this week we’ve hit the ground running, no early morning chats putting the world to rights over a leisurely cup of tea in bed, no checking over-night e.mails and responding, no singing in shower, just straight to work on the harvest. The last Early River’s plum chutney is made and it’s my personal favourite, Major Marshall’s Chutney. Slightly more Indian than Anglo-Indian, a touch of the Raj brought home, one imagines, by an officer suffering sub-continent gastronomic withdrawal, but with only English summer garden produce to hand and perhaps a campaign chest of spices.

Major Marshall’s Chutney

6-8 lbs Plums stoned and halved
Pickling Spice (see below)
2 lbs red onions
2 lbs red tomatoes –skinned (green are good too –un-skinned)
1 ½ pints of red wine vinegar
2 lbs tart apples
1 lb dried apricots
1 lb golden syrup (one 450gms tin)
1½ lbs Demerara sugar
1-2 tablespoon tomato puree
6 tablespoons pickling salt

Picking Spice
½ teaspoon anise seeds (optional)
10 allspice berries
1 teaspoon of dried garlic (or four or five whole fresh cloves)
6 thin slices of fresh fat ginger
6 bay leaves
8 green cardamoms roughly crushed
6 dried chillies or 2 teaspoons chilli powder
2 two inch lengths of rolled cinnamon
6 cloves
2 tablespoons coriander seeds
2 tablespoons dried methi (fenugreek leaves) optional but good
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
2 whole mace blades
2 teaspoons mustard seeds
15-20 mixed peppercorns
Muslin to wrap all the spices and tie in a bundle (faggot or bouquet garnis)

Mince the onions, tomatoes and apples in blender to rough chop. Mince the apricots to fine chop. Add all the fruit to very large pickling pot or kettle and add rest of ingredients. Add spices in muslin faggot. Cook on moderate heat until well-reduced and makes a furrow on the surface with a wooden spoon. You may need to check spicing for heat and strength and remove faggot when personal taste has been acheived. Bottle in sterilised jars. Ready immediately if you, like me, can’t resist, but will age nicely for months to come and only get better. Good with everything!
I’m afraid the rest of the story is in pictures only until I have time to write with poise, I leave you caught red handed!

Enough to start my own shop?

Plum Jam on the go.

Plum Wine starting to ferment.

Early Transparent Gages - next on the list!


Magic Cochin said...

Mmmmmmmm! I'm thinking about the spicy vinegar steam! Eye watering - head clearing!!! in a so bad it's good sort of way.

I bet that pickles going to be mighty fine by Bonfire Night :-)


PS - I'm checking the Cambridge Gages daily for the first signs of one good enough to devour!

Jan said...

That chutney looks great... which reminds me to add red wine vinegar to the shopping list!

Rob (ourfrenchgarden) said...

Hi Fay

A veritable small industry rather than a talented home cook.

Bet that pickle develops and becomes more rounded with age.

Ah Indian food. We used to go to Madhu's Brilliant restaurant in Southall. If we were feeling particularly flush, then it was Saloos in knightsbridge- the best tandoori chops ever!

Frances said...

Thank you for visiting. I have very much enjoyed a quick stroll through your recent posts ... your recipes are making me hungry.

Promise to see you again. Cheers!

Woodland Fay said...

Magic Cochin - if there is any left by Bonfire Night! Keep checking those Gages, ours coming to ripeness too fast! It's the weird weather this year.

Jan - pleased to be of small service! Are you pickling too? Starting to find time to read all followed blogs, everyone seems to be preserving their crops this week.

Rob - taking a few days off the cottage industry - hummm now you've put an idea in my head, Saturday Southall night! BTW my Cooking and Travelling cookbook had to be returned twice, broken spine, you had this problem?

Frances - Many thanks for visiting, hope to catch up with you here or your blog again soon