Not that I’d want to shoo summer away, but let’s face it, we’ve had pretty rubbish weather. Too hot, too cold, too wet, too dry. Thank goodness our native(ish) allotment crops know what to expect with British pseudo-summers.
Cara and Maris Piper, the potatoes, are now cosy in their black bin, harvested ahead of the blight, which had swept through the allotment. We also have a freezer full of home-made oven chips, thanks to Noel, who, for some reason doesn’t want to use the title King of the Potato Peeler which while accurate, isn’t the profile he aspires to on Twitter.
There are so many apples, they are weighing down the branches and falling on the heads of passing allotmenteers, not that that’s funny at all. Not even a little bit. The onions have resisted bolting and are hanging in the greenhouse, plaited, ready to adorn the neck of any passing beret-wearing French cyclist.
Still basking in the glory of being crowned Jam Queen at the village show with my award-winning™ pink-tinted gooseberry conserve, yes for some reason the green berries turn pink in the jam-making process, I thought I might as well have a go at chutney. There may be an award in it, possibly a medal. I do like a good bit of bling.
The Empire-expanding Brits brought chutney from the Indian sub-continent and adapted it to our tastes – and our colder-weather harvests. Being from Yorkshire and not wanting to see anything go to waste, under the ‘waste not, want not’ banner, or hit anyone else on the head, I gathered up the apples and set to work.
As well as apples, the recipe called for onions, which I unplaited, spices, which I confess I had to buy from one of those new-fangled shops, along with sultanas, vinegar and sugar. As it simmered for a couple of hours, the house was filled with the aroma of spices, it smelled like Christmas, all warm and inviting. Something to savour during the cold, dark days, a reminder of the summer harvests. Unfortunately we’ll have to wait at least a couple of months before we can open the jars as it takes that long for the flavours to mature. Fortunately there are enough apples to feed the village and the passing French cyclists with tarte tartin. And it’ll soon be time to make the Christmas cakes. Yes, it’s definitely beginning to feel a lot like Christmas.