To me one of the quintessential tastes of Connemara is soda bread, butter, homemade blackberry jam and sweet tea.
This recipe, an accidental find, is a blackberry chutney that expands the options for a readily available and free resource.
But it is a change, and a new idea in terms of how to use blackberries to make something other than jam - Blackberry Curd is very fine option, as is Blackberry and Beetroot salad.
The cool thing is that fruit, with their high acid content, are less likely to go wrong during the preservation process, so this might be a good one to start with - particularly with the added acidity of the vinegar.
Its going to be a bumper crop this year, that much is obvious from today's walk to pick blackberries.
It was great to see so many blackberries reaching maturity this early in the year, and the plants are weighed down with immature fruit.
Although I struggle with briar's in the veg patch I am lucky in the fact that the walls here are covered with briar's, and with little or no traffic they are clean.
I went in to see if I could get some allspice, for a Jewish recipe I found for turnips - but no luck there.
1 tsp Olive oil
1 red onion, finely chopped
1 lb blackberries
1 cooking apple, cored, peeled, diced
1 tsp lemon zest
2 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp sea salt
2 tsp honey
1/2 combined tsp (i.e. - 1/2 a teaspoon of all, not of each) of:
Mustard seed, crushed
Coriander seed, crushed
Cumin seed, crushed
1: Heat the olive oil in a heavy based pan, add onion, chili and ginger
(I also at this point added the spices and lemon zest)
3: Add blackberries and cook for 3-4 minutes
Delicious served with goat cheese and crusty bread, but it can be used as a chutney with other dishes, I'm looking forward to having it with bacon wrapped rounds of goat cheese.
I will add photos to this post in about 3 weeks, unless I am back at work.
This recipe has a real salt and sweet flavor, but should not be eaten for at least two weeks after jarring.
That's easier said than done, every pickle so far has either been eaten or given away as a gift.
And that kind of brings it to mind - why, with the availability of good, cheap pickles, preserves and chutneys do I bother with so much work? It does seem quite impractical
Well, I think it is important to know how to preserve food, I can milk a cow, catch a fish, skin a rabbit, butcher a lamb etc. - so there is that primary drive for knowledge.
There is food miles, I wrote before at how shocked I was to be buying garlic from China and onions from New Zealand - when these are not particularly seasonal foods.
I am not a religious person by any stretch of the imagination, but there are so many references in the bible, koran and other texts it is hard to ignore how fundamental and intimate the sharing of food is.
Across all cultures, the sharing of food is for joyful occasions, weddings, births and holidays.
I will have an excess of food - the koran says
Food for two suffices three; and food for three suffices four
That simply means to share.
A fundamental part of christianity is the last supper, the gathering together and sharing of food.
In Nehimiah 8:10 it says "Go and enjoy choice food ..... and send some to those who have nothing prepared"
And by digging up these recipes, and sharing them with others on the world wide web, maybe that is an extension of sharing food, and maybe that explains why I do this blog.