This time of the year I love faffing about in the kitchen, squirrelling away the gardens bounty, whether simply wrapping apples in paper to over winter, bottling, making jam or generally stocking up for the winter…..
... filling the pantry shelves with jewel like jars of fruit to feed us through the long months or giving them away as gifts to friends who visit.
Plum and liquorice deliciousness in a jar.
I came across this recipe for Plum and Liquorice Chutney whilst thumbing through a magazine in a waiting room and the kind receptionist photocopied it for me ( I am too much of a coward to sneakily tear out a page when no one is looking)
Not being a fan of the vinegary, tangy chutneys – I leave those to his Nibs and his boiled ham - this one, with its suggestion of chough syrupy liquoriceness appealed.
Yesterday, with the wind doing its best to bend the trees in half and sending clouds tearing across the sky, it was the perfect day to stay inside and preserve …..
….. so, with Radio 4Xtra on in the background and the scent of roasting plums in the air, I could be found happily playing with the Aga .....
….. amid the aroma of liquorice root, cardamom and other warming spices filling the kitchen I spent a blissful hour cutting plums, removing stones, grinding spices and stirring the brown sugary and red wine goodness. I snook in a couple of star anise to replace some of the cardamom (which was very overpowering when ground) and this added a further whiff of liquorice.
The gently bubbling mixture was transferred to the simmering oven and left for a few hours to thicken into a sweet gloop sending out a lovely waft every so often as I opened the oven door to stir…..
…… it smelt divine…
Finally, sampled for suitableness by my trusty testers, neighbours Ron and his Mother-in-Law Betty and force feeding His Nibs when he came in, it has been bottled and labelled and sits prettily on my pantry shelf maturing (hopefully) into something tasty to adorn some winter fare.
Whatever you are doing, enjoy your weekend.