Chutney

As part of my creativity drive, I asked my best friend to remind me of what I used like to doing when we were at school. She said I used like baking cakes  and although I still bake the odd apple pie, I had completely forgotten that at school, people would come to me to commission birthday cakes. You wonder why they came to me rather than just buy one from a shop. Now that is a whole other story that I will get into one day. But for now, suffice to say someone had to remind me of something that I loved doing. I love cooking although I am so time poor these days that cooking meals can no longer be more than 30 minute affairs.  So I decided to go back to basics and make things because I love cooking and baking simply for the gratification you get when you make things, especially baking as it so visually rewarding.

Just in case you are wondering where this is all going, well I got this crazy idea into my head that to kill two birds (actually four) with one stone I would make chutney for my son’s school fayre. This was going to tick several boxes for me, namely:

  1. Have some mother and and son time with my 8 year old
  2. Indulge my creative side and make chutney from 3 different recipes ( why use one when three would do!)
  3. My boy will have two of his friends round to help, so he gets to have a play date in there as well as his mum (me) never organises anything anymore because she so damn busy spinning her wheels.
  4. The proceeds from the sale of the chutney at the school fayre would go to Charity, one of they being a school in Zambia and education in Africa is very very close to my heart.
  5. Relieving the apple tree in the garden of its load as the apples were practically falling to the ground and rotting away.

I could keep going in terms of the boxes that were ticked as all sorts came out of the wood work like I suddenly had bragging rights at the mum’s night out because not only was I running a stall at the school fayre, we had made the chutney ourselves, tree to jar!

In terms of time committment to this adventure it wiped to two whole Saturdays and one Sunday evening but it was worth it. It was tough going when at the start one of the boys almost took off the top of thumb with the apple peeler and I was more upset about what I was going to tell his parents rather than what plaster to put on his thumb. We go through that, and then they remembered they were eight years old (this happened a lot) and the computer games were more appealing than helping me measure out spices and chop more apples. Tip, never mix a play date with chutney making, no a good idea although I must add that it was never meant to be a play date but no one told the boys.

Another Saturday for bottling with two ways of sterilising the jars, labels be stuck on jars and hats to be put on top of the jars to make them look all pretty and the result is the jars in the see in the picture.

Was it hard work? You bet! Was it rewarding? Yes, yes, yes. I felt I had achieved something and I had something to show for it as well.

So yesterday was the day of the fayre and I was up with the larks bursting with excitement. Can yo believe it? I am a fully grown woman who has been involved in lots of ‘exciting’ things this year like attending the Singapore Formula 1 Grandprix and thinking this is making my head hurt when can I leave, and here I was, going to sell home made chutney at the school fayre and I was up with the larks with excitement? Go figure.

There was also the small matter of we made a hundred jars and I had visions of palming them off on people for Christmas because we sold twenty and got stuck with eighty.

Well, the boys were brilliant sales boys, we had them ready with the schpiel and parents just couldn’t walk past when an eight year old went up to them and said we had made the chutney ourselves and they peeled two hundred apples (I don’t know where they go that number from because no one was counting but it was working so who was I to question), and we had pictures of them picking the apples in their wellies because it had been raining to boot, those parents just didn’t stand a chance.

To our delight we sold all one hundred jars in two hours!!!!!

Rewarding on whole new level.

So who knows what my creativity experiment will take me. Not giving up the day job yet though.