Even though I didn't manage to gather any sloes due to poor weather, I am still reaping the benefits of the pathetic summer with my green tomato chutney. Our favourite way to eat the chutney is thickly spread on some crusty warm ciabatta and topped with juicy oven cooked pork sausages. A warming and comforting Saturday lunch to keep out the winter cold (that is if it actually gets cold this year).
I went out into the fields this weekend with the intention of gathering armfuls of sloes from the hedgerows but the above picture is the sum total of our sloe harvest after two days foraging. Last year the bushes were heaving with them and I managed to turn over a kilo of sloes into two and a half litres of sloe gin, but this year the bushes were barren and the only ones we could see were either waist deep in nettles or just too high to reach. I am now regretting demolishing last years gin over a period of a couple of months as I have no sweet liqueur to see me through the winter.
I did however spot lots of rose hips so I am going to attempt to make some rose hip syrup to drizzle on pancakes or stir into thick greek yoghurt. It means I have to go out into the hedgerows again at the weekend but if the weather is as nice as it was last weekend it won't be much of a hardship.
I have been talking about making this wedding cake for a while now but the time has come and gone and I have had time to relax after spending long hours in the kitchen baking, lining cake tins, icing and washing up and then transporting the cake to Stranraer from Coventry and then across the Irish sea when the weather wasn't exactly clement.
Even when the cake had survived all of those things it still had to be stacked, the gerberas applied and centres piped and then sit in a roasting warm room ready for the wedding party. Having said all that it turned out really well. The bride was very pleased with the result and the colours matched the bridesmaids dresses and flowers perfectly. The chocolate cake was moist and rich and the victoria sponge was soft and buttery and was enjoyed by everyone. This is only the second wedding cake I have made and I learn't a few things making it. I will take this knowledge onto the next wedding cake, whenever that may be.
Congratulations to Mr and Mrs McStravick, may their marriage be a long and happy one.
I have been playing on the Nintendo Wii for the last 8 hours with only the odd brief hiatus for a toilet break or to eat, so my hand has now formed some sort of claw shape making typing some what challenging. I have to admit I have had a pretty unproductive day, although I was up at 8am which is unusual for me at the weekend, so I felt I had to redeem myself and tell you about the chutney I made with my abysmal tomato crop this year.
I harvested them a couple of weeks ago because the weather was so appalling that the plants were starting to die. I looked up a recipe for green tomato chutney and found this one. I pretty much followed it to the letter but, incapable as I am at sticking to a recipe, I substituted some of the caster sugar for dark muscovado. The result was a lovely sweet and spicy chutney that doesn't need much maturing, so we have been having it spread on some oven warmed ciabatta with delicious pork sausages.
There is nothing better to ease you into autumn's colder days than chutney and of course my amazingly cosy new slippers.
Just a quick post to mention Cake Wrecks, a blog dedicated to the disasters of the cake baking and decorating world. I was pointed in this blog's direction by a comment from Jo and I spotted this post and pretty much laughed myself silly. My cake disasters don't look too bad now eh? Take a look.