This apple chutney was inspired by a recipe from The Cranks Recipe Book, but we changed it a bit to our liking! It’s great for using up windfall apples in the autumn. The combination of flavours here make for a delectable chutney, completely delicious, and better than any you could buy.
Sometimes old railway lines have apple trees with fruit for the taking due to people throwing their apple cores out the train windows in the past. Parks and other public grounds often have the trees too. Look out for them in your area!
Apple Chutney Ingredients
These quantities fill about 3 medium jars. We doubled up and made 6 this year!
750 ml. cider vinegar
675g. molasses cane sugar (or any very dark sugar)
3 bay leaves (make little tears in them)
1 kg. cooking apples, peeled and chopped
100g onions, chopped quite finely
100g of raisins or sultanas
100g of fresh root ginger, peeled and finely chopped
6 cloves of garlic, finely chopped or crushed
a little seasalt
Slowly dissolve the sugar in the vinegar in a large pan. Add the bay leaves. Prepare the apples, onions, garlic and ginger and add these also with the salt and raisins. Bring to the boil, then turn down to a simmer for about 2 hours, stirring frequently, until the excess liquid is gone.
Cool and jar. Gorgeous in a cheeze and pickle sarny, as part of a ploughman’s lunch or just with some crackers as shown above.
Olio is an app that you can download to your phone to share food in your local area. People share things that they can’t use up in time, while farmers and gardeners sometimes offer produce that they have too much of. We’ve added this information to our free food section but you can just search for the app.
It’s all a bit short and sweet from us today, just like the choccies pictured above! They’re from new clearance food outlet Low Price Foods,
and though the front page is focused on snack items we found really
cheap pasta, tins and dried fruit there too. Definitely worth a regular
check as they get new things in often.
Sourdough and Gardening: We have a new post on making Sourdough for Pennies here. It also details some of our recent gardening exploits and which seeds are still good to plant in July.
Cheap Clothes: Everything5Pounds are selling three pairs of shorts for £5 at the moment!
Sourdough bread is absolutely delicious and can be really easy and cheap to make. It’s the way bread was made for thousands of years, containing healthy bacteria for the gut, and the long fermenting process partly breaks down and digests the gluten. We’re not experts by any means, and are quite lazy bakers, but we’re successfully making lovely sourdough for pennies. Tesco sometimes sell off 1kg bags of plain flour for 15p (in baskets round the store) and those are what we’ve been using here, each one making just over two loaves.
We made this starter recipe using grapes and it certainly created a wonderfully frothy active starter that sits on a windowsill and is called Herbert! There was no wasting the discard when we first fed Herbert; we made pizza dough and left it to sit all day, then topping with tomato sauce, tomatoes and Asda free from Mozzarella (they have much cheaper free from cheese than the other supermarkets). It was gorgeous.
There’s a basic sourdough bread recipe here. What follows are our lazy variations!
The first bread we made was a herby olive oil focaccia. We kneaded the dough once, coated in herbs and olive oil and left it to rise all day in a tin before baking late afternoon along with dinner. It tasted amazing.
Then we tried olive bread, and returned to the dough after a couple of hours and gave it a second kneading and shaping. This one was left to rise overnight and baked in the morning. Again, the taste of this stuff is delectable.
The loaf pictured at the top of the page was the result of putting it into an oven that was not pre-heated (told you, no expertise here). The high rise happened during the lower temperatures, and we love it.
We were really pleased to receive this sweet and sour red cabbage recipe just now (during the Corona Virus crisis) as red cabbage is a really cheap vegetable that is rich in nutrients and good for the immune system. It’s also unlikely to be sold out due to bulk buying!
Goes with most things and ingredients can be altered to suit e.g. use any cabbage, vinegar, sugar, (what you’ve got).
This recipe also freezes well.
2 tablespoons marg or veg oil
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 red cabbage, shredded
2 apples peeled & grated
1/4 cup white vinegar
salt & black pepper
Heat marg/oil in saucepan. Add cabbage & apple. Cook for 5 mins. Stir occasionally. Add vinegar & brown sugar. Season to taste. Cover and cook gently for 20 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Serves 4-6.
Optional: add 1/2 sliced onion with cabbage & apple + pinch fennel or caraway seeds when salting (or whenever).
If you do want to stock up your cupboards, the place to do it is Approved Food. They sell clearance food, drink and household items online. They’re a fantastic source of bargains and are set up to cope with bulk buying, so you’re not depleting resources.
Nettle soup is a traditional springtime dish, eaten for both its nutrition and taste. Don’t worry – nettles don’t sting when cooked!
Don’t gather nettles or other wild food beside a busy road where it will have been contaminated by traffic fumes. If you keep cutting them you’ll get a regular supply of fresh young leaves, though they can get a bit insect infested during the summer! The older leaves are not good to eat and are hard on the digestive system.
Below are two different recipes for soup.
A ‘cream of’ style nettle soup
2 tablespoons of vegetable margarine or oil
2 tablespoons of white flour
1 onion, roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
Freshly picked and washed young nettles (several good handfuls – picked with gloves and caution!)
2 cups soya milk (tesco value is cheap and organic too) OR a handful of soaked cashew nuts
1 cup water or stock
salt and pepper to taste
Fry the onion and garlic in the oil or marg. for a few minutes then stir in the nettles (no need to chop or remove stalks) until they soften. Stir in the flour and gradually add the soya milk and water or stock, stirring all the time. Add seasonings and blend.
Soup with nettles and potatoes
Ingredient quantities are totally adjustable:
Do an onion and 5 garlic cloves in some oil. Add half head of celery and two potatoes, cover with water, bring to boil and simmer till soft. Then add the gathered nettles, some sage and parsley (feel free to experiment with other herbs but sage is great in this), a stock cube and salt to taste. Cook for for a few minutes and blend.
Food for Free by Richard Mabey is a great guide to Britain’s wild foods. A favourite reference tool of ours, detailing wild herbs, berries, greens, sea vegetables and fungi.
2 cups of porridge oats
1 large tablespoon of vegetable margarine
1 banana, mashed
a handful of raisins
a splash of unsweetened soya milk
Melt the marg in a pan and then stir in the oats. Mix in the banana and raisins, add the soya milk and stir well. Press the mixture into a flat cake tin or oven proof dish (10×10 inch did well) and bake for 10-15 minutes in a hot oven. Score while still warm, leave to cool and cut into squares.
If you would rather have a more traditional sugar laden flapjack, add a tablespoon of golden syrup to the mix, but really, they’re delicious without it!
Chocolate variant: add two heaped teaspoons (or more!) of cocoa in with the banana and raisins 🙂
Recipe inspired by Lucy who always adds banana to her flapjacks 🙂