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.

apples on treeA 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.

I 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.

Tesco SimplyPG Wine Reviews

Tesco French Claret 2015

£4.15 Tesco

Great value and great flavours: earthy plums and dark cherries. And it's not sweet like many cheaper Clarets can be. A nice wine.

Réserve de Verdière French Muscadet 2015

£5 Sainsbury's (down from £6 until November 1)

Not wishy-washy like some Muscadets, this one from Sainsbury's has nough about it to match many foods. Flavours of tinned pears.

Tesco Finest Argentinean Torrontes 2015

£7 Tesco

Crisp, fruity and aromatic – lemon and orange in a glass.

Spar MerloMorrisons' Alsace Gewurztraminer 2015

£8 Morrisons

Sweet and sour flavours of melon, pear and pineapple. Lots of juicy flavours. Match to cheesecake (I did).

Vin d'Alsace Clos Saint Jacques Riesling 2014

£11.99 Majestic

Flavours of honey, apple and lemon. Match to Thai curries like coconut fish curry.

This article has also appeared as Paula's Wines of the Week on