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Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Wanted: one orchard

We haven’t won the lottery (sigh) and we don’t have garden space for a coppice but that doesn’t stop me dreaming about blossom and fruit. And, this desire for a handful of trees has only been made worse by Nigel Slater and his recently published Tender: Volume II. With its detailed, fruit by fruit sections and many ideas, it’s especially handy when you find yourself with a glut of something; a situation I had recently with plums (and apples). Let’s face it, love crumble as I do, there’s only so much you can take.

I found this book as I was browsing for another plum recipe (more specifically for plum chutney) and this immediately caught my eye, with its simple ingredients list and ability to complement pork, beef, game or cheese. Sold. Well, not quite. I hurriedly snapped the ingredients list on my phone (below) and dashed home to make the delicious, mellow recipe (it's a heavy book, I didn't want to carry it all the way!).

Feeling smug but guilty, and convinced that this recipe would not be the only success story on the pages I bought a copy online. And I’m still captured by the introduction, I mean, how idyllic does this sound?

“The leaves are turning from green to gold, amber and rust, the last fruits hang crimson and smoky blue on the trees, the pumpkin-coloured dahlias and Michaelmas daisies have collapsed like drunks across the gravel path. The garden darkens to the colour of ginger cake, here and there a shot of saffron, brilliant ochre or deepest crimson…”

OK, dreams aside, in reality, the plum chutney was the perfect addition to our house chutney trio for Sunday’s individual cheese boards which shaped up like this:

With cheeses selected from this fine list in Herbies:

And completed with our buttery oat biscuits (recipe coming soon) and this homemade trio of chutneys (courgette, onion jam and sweet Perthshire plum), presented on this fabulous handmade board:

For now I’ll have to be content with delicious flavours, even if I didn’t grow my own!

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