This is a great time of year in the garden and it’s been such a good year for growing.
Our carrots are doing really well and the onions and shallots have been pulled and are all lying out in the sun to dry for a day or two. The plum tree is laden with fruit which is ripening nicely, but sadly the damson hasn’t been so lucky – some beasties have been munching on the fruit and it’s looking a bit sorry for itself. Plenty of fruit on the tomatoes, though, after a slow start; we’re just waiting for them to turn red.
I'm chuffed to little mint balls with them - they’re the best we’ve ever grown and there are plenty more to come. I think I can feel lots of lovely beetroot, feta and walnut salads coming on.
Given that we’re so well endowed with beetroot I started looking for a chutney recipe to play around with, although I could quite happily eat the entire crop in salads. I based this Beetroot and Ginger chutney on Nigella's but I changed the proportions a little and added a couple of extras in the way of spicing as well as a splash of balsamic to perk things up a bit. It’s a stunning colour and sort of sweet but sharp; I think it'll make a great addition to a toasted cheese sarnie when it’s had time to mature for a few weeks.
Looks like chutney-making season has started early this year – I’m now on a quest for carrot chutney. Wish me luck.
300g red onions
600g Bramley apples
25g fresh root ginger
60g preserved ginger
250g soft brown sugar
375ml red wine vinegar
25ml balsamic vinegar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp mixed spice
⅛ tsp ground cloves
½ tsp ground ginger
Turn the oven on to 200C. Wrap the beetroots individually in foil, place directly on the oven rack and roast for 30-40 minutes until tender then set aside to cool.
Peel and chop the onions and the cooking apples, place in a deep wide pan or preserving pan. Finely dice the cooled beetroot and add to the pan. Blitz both the gingers with a couple of tablespoons of red wine vinegar then add to the pan along with all the other ingredients. Give everything a really good stir, bring to the boil then turn down the heat a bit and allow to bubble for about an hour or so, stirring occasionally, until it's nicely thick.
Draw a wooden spoon across the bottom of the pan and if it doesn’t fill up with liquid you can pot up your chutney into hot sterilised jars. Cook for a little longer if it's still too runny.
Makes seven 190g jars.