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Don’t waste your harvest bounty: Blanchflower will turn your surplus fruit and veg into something special

By Phil Howells at

We can do our bit for the environment by simply eating our local harvest, says Blanchflower owner Phil Howells. Here he reveals a special offer for local residents – and has three delicious recipes for using up the autumnal bounty

Anyone paying attention to the recent United Nations climate report would have been shocked by the percentage of climate changing emissions made up by wasted food. It is an amazing 8%, more than all air travel, and 30% of food grown is wasted.

You may think it’s a bit of a reach to start a piece on picking blackberries from hedgerows and fruit from your gardens with such alarming stats, but what better way of reminding ourselves to eat local, seasonal products more often than by using the delicious harvest at arm’s length. Every year we are surprised by how much better home-cooked is than the shop-bought alternative and with no plastic wrap or air miles, this is a win-win.

The team at Blanchflower

Here are three recipes for this time of year. The crumble is the instant treat you deserve for gathering and cooking this annual bounty. The chutney and jam are the gifts that keep on giving through the winter and into next year.

At Blanchflower, we walk the walk as well as talk the talk and we have an offer for you. If you have any surplus harvest-time veg and fruit (within reason) and you get it to us, we will make something from it and share it with you. Email phil@blanchflower.co if you want us to collect locally, and please put harvest in the subject line.

Here are three recipes for you to make at home. Have a very happy harvest!

Spiced Plum Jam

Ingredients

  • Plums (Any) 1500g
  • Caster Sugar 1000g
  • 1 Orange zest and juice
  • Cinnamon ½ tsp
  • Ground Ginger ¼ tsp
  • Mixed Spice ½ tsp

Half (or quarter if large) and stone the plums and mix in a pan with all the other ingredients. Leave to infuse for a few hours or overnight.

Heat gently, in a large shallow jam pan stirring frequently until simmering, being careful not to let the sugar stick.

Once simmering, turn the heat up and boil until setting point is reached *

Once set, pour in sterilised jars and seal immediately.*

*This is 104c if you have a sugar thermometer. Otherwise place a saucer in the freezer before you start and then test the jam by placing a tsp on the saucer and returning it to the freezer for a few minutes. If the jam wrinkles when you push it with your finger, it is set. If not, boil for another few minutes and then test again.

Sterilise your jars by putting them through a hot cycle of the dishwasher or placing in the oven at 100c for a few minutes. Make sure they are completely dry. Place lids in boiling water for a few minutes and dry thoroughly. Make sure there is no air gap when filling the jars.

Blackberry, Apple and Chilli Chutney

  • 600g hedgerow blackberries
  • 600g windfall apples (Any variety) cored, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 6 cloves
  • 2 tbsp mustard seeds
  • 3 red chillies, finely chopped
  • 2 onions peeled and finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 40g root ginger finely chopped
  • 300ml cider vinegar
  • 300g sugar

Put the blackberries in a pan and mush over a gentle heat. Add the apples. Gently cook until the fruit is very soft. Pass the pulp through a coarse sieve.

Add the oil to a separate pan and gently heat the mustard seeds and cloves for a minute moving them around the pan, then add the onions, garlic, chillies and ginger and soften on the lowest heat possible for about 15 mins.

Add the vinegar and turn up the heat gently, then add the sugar and stir until dissolved.

Add back the fruit pulp and bring back gently to a simmer. Simmer for about 20 minutes until the chutney thickens slightly.

Spoon into hot sterilised jars and put the lids on straight away.

The chutney will be at its best after two months but perfectly edible and enjoyable after a week or two.

Blackberry and Apple Streusel Crumble Tart

Pastry

  • 225g plain flour
  • 125g cold butter cut into cubes
  • 30g caster sugar
  • 1 beaten egg

Fruit compote filling

  • 4 large bramley apples
  • 275g blackberries
  • Approx. 125g caster sugar

Streusel topping

  • 260g plain flour
  • 260g butter
  • 260g ground almonds
  • 50g flaked almonds
  • 260g caster sugar

Method

First of all make the pastry. This is really easy using a food processor. Mix the flour and sugar briefly in the processor and then pulse in the cubed butter until it looks like coarse bread crumbs. Be careful not to overmix. Gradually pour in the beaten egg whilst continuing to mix and stop as soon and the mixture comes together. Wrap in cling film, flatten to a disc and place in fridge for about half an hour to rest. This stops the pastry shrinking.

Meanwhile make the streusel topping. Preheat the oven to 180c fan. Briefly mix all the ingredients in a food processor until just combined. Tip onto a lined baking sheet and bake in the oven for approximately eight minutes, mixing it halfway through, until lightly coloured.

Remove the pastry from fridge and roll out to approximately 3mm. Use to line a large 28cm tart tin. Put back in fridge for another 15 minutes or so. Line the case with baking parchment and baking beans and blind bake for 10 minutes. Then remove the paper and bake for another two to three minutes until the pastry is just cooked and set on top

Make the fruit filling by peeling and chopping the apple and mixing with the sugar in a saucepan with a couple of tablespoons of water. Heat gently, whilst stirring for a few minutes. Add the blackberries and cook for another few minutes until the fruit is just soft but holding its shape. Check for sweetness. Allow to cool.

Fill the pastry case with the fruit until level and then top with the streusel mixture. Bake in the oven for approximately 20 – 25 minutes until golden brown on top.

Serve warm with cream or custard.

Blanchflower, 12-14 Shaw’s Rd, Altrincham WA14 1QU. Visit blanchflower.co for more.