“Highly experimental” recipe in progress

When life gives you lemons loquats…

When we bought this place, we also got a loquat tree thrown into the deal. Not specifically, it was just one of the things in the garden. The previous owners didn’t like loquats, apparently. They had asked their gardener to snip off the buds at the beginning of the year to prevent any loquat development.

And I do get why. Which is actually kind of unusual for many of the decisions that were made here.

The birds love the loquats, so there is huge fruit loss from that direction, which also means a fair amount of mess in and around the tree as well. Add to that the beagle, which will happily hoover up anything (in this case, half eaten loquats) that drops to the floor, and the… er… consequences of mammals gorging on soft fruit. Nothing horrific (yet), but we’re going to have continue to keep an eye on that as the season progresses.

Anyway, because we didn’t snip any buds off the loquat tree, today, I went up a ladder and brought down a couple of kilos of actual loquats. I avoided the over-ripe ones, the under-ripe ones and the ones that the starlings had taken a single peck of and moved on elsewhere. And I made – well, I am making – loquat chutney.

It started like this, looking exciting and colourful:

That’s destoned loquats, vinegar, sugar, cabbage, carrot, chili, an apple, red onions, garlic, salt, pepper, a splash of Hendo’s, a splash of red wine. Lob it all in a pan and reduce it down for a number of years. Simples.

And it’s now beginning to take on that world-weary, homogenous chutney appearance:

Which – I am happy to admit – does not look great. But this is chutney. You don’t buy chutney for its rugged good looks. You buy it for it’s sweet, tangy flavour. And this seems to have that in huge amounts.

I’m quite hopeful that I might have made something quite good here. But there’s some more reduction that needs to happen before I can say for definite, so I’m leaving this on a low heat while we go for our regular Wednesday afternoon horse visit to the other side of the Mountain. (Yes, there are other people at home to keep an eye on things.) (Thanks for your concern.)

Stand by then – eventually – for a full report on how successful (or otherwise) this highly experimental recipe turns out to be. Bring on some well-aged Cheddar, I say.

UPDATE: It’s really good. Really strong, but really good. I’m quite impressed with myself.