Frome Artisan Market Sunday 5th August It was Absolutely’s Birthday and like a year ago it was rain/thunder/hailstones, except this year I was under cover. Much of the produce this year though was made using pineapples. One of the enjoyable aspects of making preserves is the challenge of taking a few boxes of fruit and seeing what you can make: sweet and savoury. Having never cooked or eaten only very little chutney but having plenty of requests for it I decided this was the moment to try and make some. A little bit weird when you don’t know what you’re aiming for. I looked high and low for a recipe until at last, found what I was looking for on my-pickles-and-jams.com It’s the wonderful Jess’s site -a pickle wizard whose Bengali Pineapple Chutney was what I imagined a really good chutney would taste like. As a contrast to this heavily spiced recipe I decided to adapt a Stevie Parle dish, from his book Real Food From Near And Far into a chutney. What I really liked about this dish, Pollichattu, was the lightness of the spices and the contrast between the fresh ingredients: green chillies, fresh curry & coriander leaves, coconut, spring onions, garlic & ginger with the dried chilli & black pepper & turmeric. It made a great chutney or maybe it was a relish. Regular and new customers liked the new produce and a few pineapple converts were made. Went to the allotment on Monday to do more clearing. Tuesday over to Chew Magna to the market to buy tomatoes and then visited Arne Herbs– a very tucked away nursery which has an incredible range of herbs and medicinal plants. There are always lots of things I want to buy here so I have to keep an eye on the purse strings. I found a Szechuan Pepper plant which I could not resist as I had made a Bullace Jelly with dried szechuan pepper which was delicious: so fresh pepper must be amazing.
I am further encouraged by Mark Diacono’s book A Taste of the Unexpected which encourages growing food which we otherwise import. When I told the owners I made preserves they suggested the berries of a Berberis Vulgaris: these are small and bright orange with a citrus flavour. I imagine if you made a jelly it would be a similar colour to rosehip. I also wanted to buy a wild juniper but you have to buy a pair and so I resisted, for now.
For the following Frome Market in the precinct I made Raspberry Jelly from a Christine Ferber recipe: the juice was so sharp with such a clean taste I added only sugar- it set very well. Also made Passata and put it in beer bottles, Sicilian style but not in such great quantites or with so many helping hands. Making Passata can be a communal activity with plenty of work but lots of feasting and most importantly produce to take home with you. I used Pam Corbin’s recipe which roasts the tomatoes, the delicious smell drove my neighbours a little crazy. I added fresh oregano, rosemary and sage. Sara, my lovely neighbour held the bottles firm while I capped them but there was only enough passata over for samples. No. Next year I will attempt to grow them, as many tomatoes produce very little passata. It’s that word glut. Where is the glut? I think it’s a rural myth.