Month: September 2011

Time for chutney

It’s been a funny year; a warm spring, wet summer then a chilly early Autumn which I, for one, didn’t seem ready for. These conditions have meant that food is growing and maturing at different times than we’re used to. It can make designing seasonal menus in advance a bit tricky but I have learnt to just look out the window at my modest vegetable plot, or browse the many grocers’ shops in my neighbourhood, to judge for myself what is at its best. Of course, after a year of being ‘resting chef’; leaving full-time employment to go back to basics and discover real food all around me, I am still learning.

Whatever the weather, this is certainly the time for chutney. Some fruits and vegetables may have flourished and matured early due to the hot spring, while some may be struggling to ripen due to the lack of late summer sunshine. Some of you may well have a glut of beetroot, apples, marrows, squashes, onions and green tomatoes by now that you’re not sure what to do with. What better way to preserve those flavours, and your hard work, than to make a batch of chutney that you’ll be able to enjoy for months to come. You may be sick of marrows or apples now but come January, a thick smear of homemade chutney in a ham and cheese sandwich would be a welcome treat.

Here is a rough chutney recipe, feel free to adapt to suit your own chutney needs as long as the fruit/veg to sugar/vinegar ratio is about the same otherwise the chutney won’t keep for as long.

Makes 2-3 jars. Multiply as necessary.

625g Fresh fruit/veg – Whatever you have to hand, I use a combination of marrow, tomatoes and apples for a basic recipe. Beetroot, pumpkin, squashes, pears, figs, plums, quince, apricots are all good too, use a combination of fruit/veg that work well together.

125g Onions, any type you like

60g Dry fruit; ie. sultanas, prunes, dried apricots (optional)

125g Brown sugar

150ml Cider vinegar (I add a good glug of farmhouse style cider too)

12g root ginger

1 clove of garlic

1/2 tsp mustard seeds

1 tsp thyme leaves

a little mild olive oil

Salt and pepper

You could add spices such as coriander and/or cumin seeds, chilli flakes, fennel seeds etc. and a blob of redcurrant or elderberry jelly adds a nice rich sweetness (optional).

Peel and dice the onions, garlic and ginger finely. Peel and chop the fruit/veg/dried fruit. Heat a little olive oil in a heavy bottomed pan and fry the mustard seeds, and other spices if using, until they sizzle and pop in the pan. Add the onions, garlic and ginger and soften for a few minutes. Add the chopped vegetables, fresh fruit and dried fruit, and stir in the sugar, cider vinegar and cider. Add the thyme leaves and a blob of redcurrant or elderberry jelly. Let the mixture simmer, uncovered, until it is thick and glossy, with most of the liquid reduced. Stir periodically to prevent the mixture sticking to the bottom of the pan. Season to taste.

Wash the jars thoroughly, place in the oven and sterilise at 100c for at least 10 minutes. Pot the chutney while it and the jars are still warm.

The chutney will last 2 years unopened in a cool, dark place. The chutney will benefit from a maturing period of at least a month. Once opened, keep in the fridge and use within 6 weeks.


Sunday Lunch Club

Following on from the success of Bishopston Supper Club, Bishopston Tea Party and the wine and cider dinners, I thought I’d like to give Sunday lunches a try. I’ve always been a fan of the humble Sunday roast, when done well it is an utter joy and the perfect comfort food especially now Autumn has well and truly arrived.

A Sunday roast is a particular treat for me as I’ve been working most Sundays for the last 15 years! When I am free there is a lot of pressure to find the right place, the perfect company, at a time and price that suits all. Quite often we (a group of fellow Sunday roast appreciating friends and I) struggle to find pubs/restaurants still serving (good) food by the time we have all got our arses in gear sometime in the afternoon. Out of this frustration, I decided that if I wanted to have a nice, relaxed, family-style Sunday lunch with my friends I may as well cook and host it myself.

So I shall be hosting a Sunday Lunch Club at my home in Bishopston once a month during the winter months starting from 16th October, arrival from 2pm. There will be a roast dinner (veggie options available, please ask when booking) with all the trimmings, and a simple dessert, with coffee to finish all for £15 per person (suggested donation). Please feel free to bring your own drinks, papers, slippers etc. and prepare to relax in front of the fire for a leisurely Sunday afternoon.

NB. All ingredients will be locally sourced and seasonal. No lumpy fake gravy, frozen veg, grey meat or soggy Yorkshires. Guests will sit and eat together family-style. Specific dietary requirements catered for, just ask when booking. The address (BS7) will be emailed nearer the time.

On Sunday 16th October I served roast 38-day dry-aged rib of beef with Yorkshire pudding, goose fat-roasted potatoes, red wine & elderberry jus with various seasonal veggies, and apple & quince crumble with rosehip ice cream for pudding.

Email to book, or to be added to the mailing list for future events.

Wine Dinner with Grape and Grind


After the successful first couple of wine-matched suppers, Bishopston Supper Club and Grape & Grind are hosting another special supper evening together on Friday 16th September, starting at 7.30pm.  For those of you who have never attended a supper club before please check out the Bishopston Supper Club page (link above) to see how it all works. The only difference in this case is that a glass of wine would be served to match each course (rather than the usual BYO policy). The number of places is limited and on this occasion we request that a deposit of £10 per person be paid to Grape & Grind, in advance, the remaining £30 to be paid, in cash, on the night.

The menu for Friday 16th September, including the wine matches, is as follows;

Aperitif – Sanchez Romate Amontillado

Wild mushroom and tarragon soup – Allegrini Valpolicella 2010

Pigeon and rabbit terrine, plum chutney – Castelmaure Corbieres 2009

Fish pie – Toques et Clochers Limoux 2008

Apple curd tart, blackberry sorbet – Chateau de Ricaud Loupiac 2002

Coffee/Lahloo teas & truffles

NB. I’m happy to provide menu alternatives for those with specific dietary requirements, please notify us when booking.

A confirmation email with the address etc. will be sent out once the deposit is paid.

You’re welcome to bring along other drinks if you wish.

Darren will be on hand to tell you a little about each wine, and why he chose them, on the night but please contact him at Grape & Grind if you would like to know any more details, or to book your place.

101 Gloucester road, Bristol, BS7 8AT

Tel.: 0117 9248718