Quite often in Bulgaria, your neighbor will give you a gift from their garden. My mother-in-law grows about 50 tomato and cucumber plants, but gives a lot of them away. It is not uncommon for a friend to drop by for coffee and give you 5kg of tomatoes or a crate of cherries. I am not sure as to the origin of these practices, but needless to say, since we started working on our weekend house in Gyueshevo, our neighbor gives us bags of veggies and fruit every time he sees us. Just yesterday, my daughter and husband came home with about 30 pears. While I find these gestures very warm and neighborly, it does however leave you in a bit of predicament. What to do with all the bounty before it goes bad? Preserve it! I have far surpassed last years stock with my canning and preserving, I now have a variety of jams, jellies, preserves, sauces ready for the winter and I am not done yet.
A gift from our neighbor in Gyueshevo
I have been wanting to make this plum chutney recipe for a while, I originally came across this chutney while working at the Hilton. It would be used on duck breast hors d’oeuvres or served with their paté, as well as other dishes. I loved making it because I would need to taste to make sure the flavors were balances, but in actuality I did a lot of unnecessary tasting! I am not sure who to attribute the recipe to because I am not sure if it is something that is corporate or unique to the Hilton Hotel in Sofia, but I have tweaked it slightly and will do some further tweaking as I would like to adjust the amount of sugar used.
700g natural sugar (brown), *consider using 550 – 600g
300ml apple cider vinegar
200g raisins (golden) or a combination of dried fruits
800g plums, seeded and roughly chopped
500g apples, peeled, cored and cut into 1/2″/1.25cm pieces
10 – 15g of fresh ginger, julienned
1 tsp cinnamon, freshly ground if possible
1 tsp freshly ground white pepper
1 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
1 tsp freshly ground cloves, (about 19 whole cloves)
Bring the sugar and vinegar to a boil on high heat, then lower to medium-low heat.
Add the raisins or dried fruits and stir, cooking until soft about 5 – 7 minutes.
Then add the apples, which I should have cut into smaller pieces.
And the ginger.
Stir and cook till the apples are softened about 5 minutes.
Then add the plums and cook. My plums were rather over ripened so, I didn’t cook them more than and additional 5 minutes.
Finally, add the spices and cook another minute or two then remove from heat. Let cook and store in the fridge for about a week or can.
I would like to share my chutney with one lucky reader. If you would like to receive a small jar of my chutney mailed to your home, please give leave a comment below by the 23rd of September and I will randomly select one winner on the 24th of September.
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