plumsLess wine and more vinegar has been sampled this week as I’ve been sipping samples of hot home-made chutney straight from the boiling pan. After picking several tonnes, (well it seemed like it) of wild damsons and, its near neighbour, wild bullace from the Shropshire hedgerows I needed to find a recipe that would do justice to their flavours. After perusing many recipe books and websites, while finishing off the dregs of a bottle of South African red opened the night before, I finally came across just the recipe I was looking for.

vegetablesA combination of the usual chutney preserving ingredients of vinegar and sugar, along with onions, garlic (lots), raisins and apples (windfalls with the manky bits cut out) and the de-stoned remains of 9lb of bullace results in a fruity but somewhat bland chutney. Add spices to the mix and the chutney reaches a different stratum of flavour.

Ground chilli, ground ginger, black peppercorns, mustard seed and Juniper berry (the recipe called for allspice but the substituted peppery flavoured berry meant I could finally get to justify their purchase) all added to the simmering mass and finally spooned into jars 4 hours later resulted in a dark purple splodge that tasted very similar to HP Brown Sauce.

chutney jarI know you’re meant to leave chutneys to mature for 6 weeks or so but I couldn’t resist opening a jar and adding a spoonful to the necessary post clear-up bacon sarnie. Delicious. And a couple of glasses of fruity red matched the meals hearty flavours.

PG Wine Reviews

O Grande Chilean Red
£5.99 Aldi
You’d expect this blend of all the oomphy grapes of Syrah, Grenache, Carignan and Malbec to stick to the sides of the bottle as you tried to pour it out. But it’s surprisingly light with a flavour of blackberry jam with a little Marmite.

Barefoot Californian Merlot
£6.75 Tesco, £6.75 Waitrose
Smoky plum and cherry jam flavours. Good and juicy plonk.

Exquisite Collection Hau-Poitou French Sauvignon Blanc 2018
£6.99 Aldi
Aromas and flavours of lime, melon and pear.

Clairette de Die French sparkling
£8.99 Lidl
Lightly sparkling sweet stuff. Save your money and buy a can of pop instead.

Aludo Portuguese Chardonnay 2018
£9.99 Laithwaites
Flavours of tinned pear and mango – not your usual Chardonnay flavours. Delicious.

This article also appeared as Paula's Wines of the Week on MatureTimes.co.uk