I'm back in Devon with the family for a week or so before I head back to London, and I arrived back to a complete abundance of apples and plums in the garden. Leaving the city behind for green gardens, the fresh sea air and long (and inevitably rainy) walks on the beach has to be the best thing about coming to Devon (as well as seeing the dog and family). In our garden we have an old, wizened-looking bramley apple tree, and its branches are currently laden with the weight of hundreds of apples. Every morning there are dozens of wind-falls - many of which are taken by the birds, slugs and pilfering neighbours. Now I love an apple pie and an apple crumble, in fact I love all manner of apple cakes and bakes, but I'm also incredibly fond of chutney. I'm a massive user and abuser of condiments, they get dolloped and smothered on top of far too much of what I eat, and chutney is no exception. Give me some cheese, chutney and bread and I'll most probably adore you unconditionally until I'm next hungry.
Now, as a word of warning, I would suggest that you leave this chutney for at least a month (if not longer) before you eat it, as it will otherwise taste vinegary as f***. With time the vinegar mellows, and you're left with a wonderfully sweet, sticky and slightly spiced apple and plum chutney.
- 1kg bramley apples
- 3 onions
- 3 cloves of garlic
- 1 tbsp sea salt
- 500ml red wine vinegar
- 2 tsp mustard seeds
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 kg ripe plums
- 400g golden caster sugar
You'll also need approximately five sterilised jars. I tend to just use old jam jars that have been cleaned and then sterilised by being placed in the oven on 180deg for about half an hour.
1. First up you need to wash, peel and core the apples before chopping them into little pieces. Halve, peel and dice the onions. Peel and finely dice the garlic cloves.
2. Place the chopped apples, onions and garlic into a large pan with all the spices, salt and vinegar. Bring this to a boil on the hob, stir well, and then reduce the heat to a gentle simmer. Cover the pan and leave to simmer for about 30 minutes or so.
3. Whilst the pan is simmering away, wash, stone and roughly chop the plums. Once the apples have been bubbling away for about half an hour and the apples are soft, add the plums and the golden caster sugar to the pan and stir well. Simmer on a low heat for a further 45 minutes without the lid on the pan until the chutney has reduced and slightly darkened in colour. Stir frequently to ensure the chutney doesn't catch on the bottom of the pan.
4. Ladle the warm chutney into the cool sterilised jars. Seal the jars, label them, and keep them away from your greedy hands for at least a month for the vinegar to mellow.