The Cottage Smallholder

stumbling self sufficiency in a small space

Clove Chutney. Beware!

Portrait of Clove Chutney and Lea and PerrinsDue to electricity power cuts our large vat of Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall’s Glutney Chutney simmered on and off for about eight hours. When the marathon chutney stirring bonanza finished Danny reached for a spoon and tasted the brew.

“This is great. I don’t think that we have to keep this in the larder to mature. Let’s give it away, advise people to keep it for a couple of months and see what happens.” Within a week or so people were coming back for more.

“If we make chutney again,” Danny said as he plumped up the sofa cushions, “I don’t see why we have to wait months for it to mature ever again.”

Before I returned to the picking grounds on the outskirts of the village, I asked how we might crack the Olympian task of inventing a non maturing chutney. He moved the pup off his lap and replied, “It’s easy. Let’s invent a plum chutney recipe ourselves and then simmer it for hours.”

Buoyed up with his enthusiasm, I gathered six pounds of wild plum windfalls and returned, triumphant, with a heavy carrier bag. Danny meanwhile had eased himself off the sofa and laid out the best cook books, pages turned to chutney recipes, on the kitchen table.

Two days later we had a large vat of a horrid acrid concoction that D optimistically described as, “Clove Chutney, with a hint of plum.” He assures me that he had a long list of dishes that might benefit from a dollop of this poison. I’m not convinced and 99% certain that this must be flushed away immediately. Anyway, I need the stock pot to try a really good plum chutney that Anne Mary recommended, with our alterations, of course.

However, the story of the Lea and Perrins recipe legend niggles at the back of my mind, .

In 1835, a nobleman from the Sandys family approached a couple of chemists in Worcester and asked them to make up a curry powder recipe that he had brought back from India. The chemists were called Mr Lea and Mr Perrins. A bright spark in the lab thought that a spicy liquid rather than a spicy powder might be a better bet. The chemists created the sauce but considered that the concoction was far too hot to be palatable and put the barrel of spicy liquid in the cellar of the factory.

A year or so later, the barrel was discovered. The two chemists couldn’t resist tasting the sauce. It was now piquant and tangy as it had fermented and mellowed. They were canny enough to immediately buy the recipe from the Sandys family. In 1838 the famous Lea and Perrins Worcestershire Sauce was launched onto the market with spectacular success.

Danny suggested that we bottle for the future and has even cleared a small square foot of space in his shed. So now, as I write this post, our clove chutney simmers again on the hob.

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  1. Fiona Nevile

    Hello Anna

    I’m ashamed to say that I lost patience with it and threw it away after a year as I wanted the jars. So we will never know…

  2. So what happened? It’s three years on… Did the Lea and Perrins technique work? Or did the bottles explode?!

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