We have just one week until Christmas and the shops and markets are bursting with people scrambling to get their last minute gifts and making sure they don’t run low on food and drink! I have personally been scaling the shops of Glasgow trying to get my hands on a couple of bottles of Winter Pimms which always gets me in the holiday mood. After a lot of searching and tweeting, I eventually found out that one Waitrose in Glasgow was selling it so I finally got my bottles. Phew! Thank God for Waitrose. (I have since found out you can buy it on the Pimms website).
Another Christmas-must is of course…cheese. I adore cheese and it finds its way into most dishes I make. This time of year is a time for indulging more than usual, so a visit to the cheesemonger is one of my favourite things to do, and I am already excited about heading to George Mewes on Byres Road in Glasgow’s West End for my cheeses this week. To accompany my cheese selection I love a variety of fruit, chutneys and jellys.
Recently, the lovely people at The English Provender Co. sent me a few jars of their chutneys for me to try out, along with some handy cheese pairing tips and festive recipes (see below). The range has undergone a beautiful rebrand with attractive watercolour labels…
And so last week, I had a lovely evening trying out the different chutneys with the cheeses they recommend pairings with…
Caramelised Red Onion Chutney – pairs well with a strong hard cheese like mature Cheddar or strong blue cheese like Blacksticks blue or Stilton.
Sweet Tomato and Chilli Chutney – pairs well with smoked log cheese or a hard cheese like Red Leicester, mild Cheddar or Double Gloucester.
Plum & Bramley Apple Chutney – pairs well with white soft cheeses like brie and cambazola, rind washed cheeses like Epoisses or Morbier, or try blue cheeses like Blacksticks blue or Stilton.
I had a lovely St Agur which I had with their Caramelised Red Onion Chutney on slices of toasted baguette.
I simply cut the baguette into 1-2cm thick slices and arranged in a single layer on a baking sheet placed under the grill until golden on each side. You can also bake in the oven for 10 minutes, turning halfway through. Once cooled, I piled the slices with the St Agur and topped with a generous spoonful of Caramelised Red Onion chutney.
The chutney itself is rich and sweet with just the right amount of sharpness to it, and works so well with the creamy and tangy blue cheese.
I then paired up the sweet and slightly spiced Plum & Bramley Apple Chutney with a creamy cambozola. I tried a little taste of the Sweet Tomato and Chilli Chutney with a Somerset cave aged cheddar but it really does pack a punch! A little too spicy for my pathetic palette I’m afraid, but I know my brothers will love it, so it will definitely be making an appearance on our family cheeseboard on Christmas Day.
I will certainly be adding some of the Caramelised Onion Chutney to some grilled mature cheddar cheese over the next few days and if you take a look on their website, they have several recipes to give you some inspiration on how to use their chutneys and pickles. Here is just one of them…
POTATO ROSTI WITH BEETROOT AND SMOKED SALMON
Serves: 4 as a starter or 2 as a main | Preparation time: 10 minutes | Cooking time: 8 minutes
2 medium floury potatoes, peeled (about 450g)
1 tablespoon of sunflower oil
4 slices smoked salmon or trout
4 tablespoons soured cream
A few sprigs dill to garnish
4 tablespoons of The English Provender Co.’s Beetroot Pickle
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the rösti, coarsely grate the potatoes into a clean tea towel. Fold the towel around the potato to form a ball and squeeze to remove as much moisture as possible. Season the potato with salt and black pepper, then divide into four equal portions.
Heat a large frying pan over a medium heat and add the oil and butter. Add the röstis and using the back of a spoon gently push down to make a compact cake.
Fry the röstis, for 3-4 minutes on both sides, or until golden-brown all over and tender all the way through, adding a little more oil to the pan if required. Remove from the pan and drain on kitchen.
Divide between 4 plates, top with a slice of salmon, a spoonful of beetroot pickle and a little soured cream. Garnish with a sprig of dill and extra freshly ground black pepper.
The English Provender Co Chutneys and Pickles can be bought at all major supermarkets.