Pumpkin and Apple Chutney

This delicious autumnal chutney combines tart Bramley apples and sweet pumpkin and is perfect with strong cheddar. Thoroughly wash glass jars in hot soapy water. Rinse well with boiling water and drain. Transfer to oven (170c/325f/gas 3) for 10 minutes or until thoroughly dry.

1kg pumpkin in small cubes (1cm)
4 firm tomatoes roughly chopped
500g Bramley apples, peeled and chopped (1cm)
1 large onion finely chopped
125g dried mixed fruit
125g soft light brown sugar
1 tsp ground mixed spice
2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
750ml cider vinegar
Fresh herbs such as thyme or tarragon

Place all ingredients (except the herbs) into a large saucepan. Bring to the boil before reducing heat to a simmer.

Simmer gently, uncovered, for about 45 minutes until pumpkin is tender and mixture getting gloopy.

Spoon into hot, sterilised, glass jars and seal.

To enjoy the chutney at its best, store in a cool, dark, dry place for about 2-3 weeks before eating. This allows time for the flavours to mature. The chutney can be stored in a cool, dark, dry place, away from direct sunlight for up to six months unopened. Once opened, keep in the fridge and consume within two weeks.


Courgette Bread

This recipe is very quick and simple to make as it is based on low-fat soda bread, which means there is no need for yeast and no waiting for the bread to rise. The courgettes give moisture and texture to the bread and the recipe is a novel way of using up any gluts of the vegetable and also any oversized ones. They can also be used to make delicious cakes. Courgette bread is best eaten freshly baked but can be kept for up to 2 days.

1 courgette (about 4 oz)
14 oz plain flour
2 tsp bicarb
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp light muscovado sugar
1 plump garlic clove finely chopped
1 tbsp sunflower oil
14 floz buttermilk, or as needed

Preheat oven to 200°C/400°C/gas mark 6. Coarsely grate the courgette (including skin) and put into a tea towel. Squeeze out all excess moisture.

Sift the flour, bicarb, salt into a large bowl. Add sugar and garlic, then stir in the grated courgette. Drizzle in the oil and gently stir in with the buttermilk. Stir until the mixture is combined into a soft dough (overmixing will make the bread tough). Gather the dough together with floured hands and turn it out onto a floured surface. Knead very briefly until smooth. With floured hands very gently make a round ball. Lift the loaf onto a greased baking sheet and sprinkle over a little extra flour. Make a deep cross with a sharp knife.

Bake 30 minutes or until risen and brown. Transfer to a wire rack and leave to cool slightly before slicing.


Pickled Beans

A great way to use up surplus green beans (French or Runner – all varieties work well). A simple recipe using dill and garlic (or anything else you wish to experiment with).

You will need four hot sterilised 1 pint jars with new metal lids or Kilner type jars with lids and seals. They will have to withstand boiling for ten minutes in a boiling water bath.

For the boiling water bath, use a large saucepan with a trivet at the bottom to keep the jars away from direct heat. The boiling water should come at least two thirds of the way up the jars and the processing should be timed from when the water returns to boiling.

Allow the flavours to mature for a couple of weeks before eating.

2lbs fresh green beans, rinsed, trimmed and cut into 1 inch lengths
4 cloves garlic, peeled
8 sprigs of fresh dill weed
4 teaspoons of salt
2 ½ cups white wine vinegar
2 ½ cups water

Blanch beans for three minutes and plunge into cold water

Divide the beans, dill and garlic into the four jars. Add 1 teaspoon of salt to each jar.

Bring vinegar and water to the boil and pour over beans

Fit lids and process for ten minutes in a boiling water bath.

Borlotti Beans and Courgette Hummus

100g fresh borlotti beans
¼ onion
1 bay leaf
250g courgettes
1 tbs tahini
10ml extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper
Juice of half a lemon

Simmer beans with onion and bay leaf until they are soft. Add ½ teaspoon salt to the beans for last five minutes of cooking time.

Drain and discard onion and bay leaf

Cut peeled courgettes into even sized pieces and sauté in olive oil and seasoning until tender.

Place beans, courgettes, tahini, lemon juice and seasoning in a food processor and blend until smooth.

Spoon into serving dish and garnish with olive oil.


Courgette Bhajis

250g Gram Flour
2 tsp Bicarbonate of Soda
Spices – to taste but, say, 50g Garam Masala mix
Salt and Pepper
Oil for deep frying – very hot
Large onion thinly sliced.
Large courgette/marrow


Peel and remove seeds. Grate (about a packed grater full). Put in tea towel and squeeze out water.

Sieve dry ingredients into large bowl.

Mix in onion

Working quickly, add courgettes and stir until it all comes together.

Using two spoons, drop golf ball size dollops into hot oil (in batches). They take only one or two minutes to become crispy and brown.

Drain on kitchen paper.