Wednesday 19 October 2011

pumpkin chutney (and the big stink!)

As it's getting a lot colder now (frost predicted tonight as I write this) and the 2 pumpkins in the allotment looked ready, I picked them on Saturday and proceeded to turn them into chutney.

The variety of pumpkin is "Turk's Turban" - you can see why from the picture above.

Now, these pumpkins were really tough to get through - I still have the blisters from peeling and chopping them! However, there was much more flesh per pumpkin than you get in the traditional ones for Halloween, and a lot fewer seeds.

So, once chopped up finely it is time for some cooking

I'm using just over half a bottle of Sarson's pickling vinegar (like most other British brands nowadays it is owned by another company, in this case Crosse and Blackwell, though I would imagine someone else owns them by now....). It's ready spiced so there is no messing around with a small muslin bag of pickling spices - you can of course do this if you have your own secret pickling recipe!
Also a 500g bag of dark brown sugar, some ginger, curry powder and garam masala, although of course you can add your own spices to taste.

The pumpkin was chopped up quite fine into rough cubes about 1cm cubed.

Now for the bubbling, and this is where the big stink comes in...

This is the chutney bubbling away in my mum's jam pan that I think dates from pre-war and didn't get melted down for Spitfires... It's steaming away just as much as the Icelandic hot springs we saw last year, and although not a sulphur smell, it is really quite a strong vinegar smell.
So much so that when my daughter came back up the street from a walk she could smell it from 3 houses down the road!

Anyway, the two pumpkins made 7 jars of chutney, now all I have got to do is keep my hands off them for a month or two while they mature!

Sunday 9 October 2011

late peas

These peas are still going, as long as the weather holds out then we shall be eating fresh peas at the end of October!


The unusually warm and summery weather for the first weekend in October gave a new lease of life to various things, such as the sunflowers, but also the sweetcorn and the courgettes.

Allotment Report 9/10/11 - Still harvesting!

I don't know whether it was because everything got off to a bit of a slow start this year, but we are still harvesting plenty from the allotment.

The prettiest things have got to be what we think are borlotti beans  - we really ought to keep a better track of what we put in! However, these are the first of our "drying" beans to be ready to pick and store, the pods were dry almost to the point of cracking open. The unusually hot and dry weather during the past week or two (last weekend was 30 deg C - in October!!!!) has really helped, although I presume nature is a bit confused having gone from a not very warm summer into an autumn storm and then back to the highest temperatures since May! Autumn has now resumed with a wet and windy weekend....

This lunchtime have picked beetroot, broccoli, a leek (first one this season), and quite a number of reasonable carrots most of which have avoided the dreaded carrot flies... We are going back over the potato patch to locate any that we have missed first time round so we don't end up with potatoes in the middle of the peas next year!