Thursday, 1 September 2011

Bottle it up

After what can, at its most generous, be described as a somewhat erratic August, September made a point of stepping out, fresh and bright this morning.

It soon clouded over, of course, but there are pleasures aplenty to be found at this time of year and the thought of them can make even such grey days brighter.

I have most of Saturday to myself, with The Other Half Yorkshire bound for Castleford’s final home game of the ordinary season.

So what to do?

This is, surely, the season of putting things into jars – and indeed, it’s the perfect time to think about chutneys and so on for the end-of-the-year jollies – it might be September, but I refuse to mention ‘that’ festival by name this early.

Indeed, if I do make chutney, it’ll actually mean that I’ve managed to be more advanced in my culinary planning than at any time previously in my life.

Within the last year, I’ve picked up a copy of Lynda Brown’s The Preserving Book, which is a mouth-watering volume of ideas for a wide variety of preserving styles.

So right at this moment, I don’t know quite what I’ll make, but it will be a pleasure all of its own to spend a couple of evenings browsing and musing.

But continuing the theme, I know that I want to make blackcurrant jam, so Saturday morning will probably see a raid on the local Turkish grocers that has these glorious, grown-up fruits on sale.

And then there’s the possibility of a rather big challenge: for some years, I’ve been trying to get my hands on some crabapples.

My maternal grandmother had crab apple trees in her garden, and every year, we’d collect bags of the fruit, to be made into a beautiful, clear pink jelly by my mother.

These absolute gems make a magnificent savoury condiment that’s utterly divine with good sausages – and other thing, of course. Well, that’s certainly my memory.

Finally, after so long, Mark, the organic greengrocer on Broadway Market, thinks that he can get me some this year.

But on one condition – he’s promised to ‘do me a deal’, on the basis that I’ll make sure there’s a jar of the finished jelly for him too, since he says he’s too busy to make his own.

I’m tickled pink. There is something so gloriously old-fashioned about making such an arrangement. It’s a market working at its best, on a genuinely human scale.

There are one or two other things that tempt me: I know that The Other Half, for instance, is rather hoping that, if I carry out my threat to render pork fat at home and produce my own lard – so that, unlike most shop-available stuff, it hasn’t been pointlessly hydrogenated – I’ll do it when he’s away.

Or perhaps that’s already quite enough for one weekend!

No comments:

Post a Comment