2021 Grateful 51: The gift that keeps on giving

I spent a sizeable chunk of last summer making chutney. I rarely, if ever, had all the ingredients the recipes called for so I improvised. This meant, of course, that each batch had its own particular flavour, never to be repeated. I’m not very systematic in my cooking. I lose track of what I’ve put in and forget if I’ve added a teaspoon or a tablespoon. This can be disastrous but chutney is very forgiving. I went to the press the other day to get a jar of my favourite) to find the shelves nearly bare. I only opened two jars myself and I know I made at least two batches. Likewise with my other concoctions. Christmas was mainly about chutney this year. And with each jar given, I asked for a review. One of my regular reviewers described my fave as ‘a ballerina’, meaning it has everything!

This review of my peach and chilli made me smile…


We have powerful weaponry, and yet we come in peace.
We have travelled many light years to reach this place, for only one purpose:
Hand over all your supplies of Murphy’s Peach and Chilli Chutney
and we will depart forthwith. The choice is yours:
Annihilation or the Chutney, ‘cos that stuff is da bomb.

Given the month so far, I’d happily trade what’s left of my P&P if they’d take some our illustrious leaders with them.

Photo by Ugné Klein

My regular peach chutney was described as ‘autumn in a jar’. How lovely is that, eh?

This also tickled me…

Fake bread + fake cheese = PDBS*
Fake bread + fake cheese + Murphy’s Rhuchap chutney = PDGS**
* (Pretty Damned Boring Sandwich)
** (Pretty Damned Good Sandwich)
Note, for purposes of the experiment, ‘Fake bread’ is defined as baked goods containing no yeast or grains. ‘Fake cheese’ is dairy-free.

That said, just about anything would make fake bread taste better 🙂 And if you’re wondering, Rhuchap was my rhubarb, cherry, and apple chutney.

By far the most popular this year though was my chilli apple jelly. Each batch was an experiment with the amount and type of chilli used.

Needing to free up some freezer space coming up to Christmas, I decided to make another batch of my Chinese plum sauce, which according to one reviewer was better than the one they get at their local Chinese. It has a lot of ingredients, some hard to find, but I’d stocked up for this very occasion. I took what I thought was 2.5 kg of plums from the freezer, added all the expensive bits, only to realise that I’d taken not plums but cherry sorbet. Another dig around found a half kilo of frozen plums and brought me to a decision point. Save the last of my plums or go for broke and make a stir-fry sauce? The gambler in me won out. And by all accounts reports are very positive.

Photo by James Sremos

I get untold satisfaction from making chutneys but that is outweighed by the delight people take in tasting them and finding creative ways to use them. Last year’s cherry salsa found new life as a base for a toasted cheese sandwich.  The last batch of chilli apple jelly has replaced sugar and cloves in a hot whiskey. Gotta love the ingenuity.

Most of my recipes are based on those found in a 2010 edition of Lynda Brown’s The Preserving Book, a Christmas present from the lovely EK in 2019. It’s the gift that keeps on giving.

Grateful this week for the simple pleasures in what was once a rather complicated life.


Talk to me...