You would not believe that multiple homicides had not been committed in my kitchen today. Really, you wouldn’t. I have been playing with blackberries. And elderberries. And, oh my, the red staining!
The Captain was quite pleased. You see, I am not known as a tidy cook. Despite my name. That will not make sense unless you know me, but no matter. However, on the boat, I have no option but to clear up as I go along. The kitchen is simply too small to do otherwise. Today I have spent what feels like all day, all day I tell you, washing up. I could easily have been swabbing down after the homicide squad have finished. Who could have believed that the elderberry, such a small thing, could contain so much juice? It went everywhere. I found it on my clothes. Predictable. On my arms. Unsurprising. My feet. A little concerning. Up the walls. More worrying. Down the outsides of the boat. Just bizarre. But the culinary magic that I have conjured with these berries is a wonder to behold!
Today I had the whole day to cook. The weather decided to join in. We cruised along the Trent in sweltering sunshine, all the windows open, melting in the heat. Not the best day to make jam possibly. I looked like I had been steamed alive by lunchtime. Oh. Wait. That would be because I was doing my best to replicate those conditions. The Captain had told me on Monday, that I would have no foraging opportunities during the day as all the locks were manned an it is a tad harder to jump ship on a river. Especially a rather large one. Consequently, I foraged like a mad thing yesterday to stockpile ingredients.
The results of all this sweaty laborious effort are:
Also, but not yet pictured, Blackberry Vodka, Blackberry Liqueur and Elderberry Balsamic Vinegar. It has been a long hot sticky day with lots of red. Everywhere. But the tastings, the aromas and the meals to come have made and will make it worth it.
Meanwhile, I shall leave you with my recipe for Blackberry Chutney. I conflated several recipes and ended up with something entirely different. If you would like any of the others, do let me know. Enjoy.
2 red onions, finely chopped
juice and zest of 1 lemon
3cm fat piece root ginger
2 tbsp Dijon mustard
150mls white wine vinegar
Put all the ingredients except the vinegar into a large pan. Stir over gentle heat until blackberries burst and juices start to run. Season with salt and pepper. Add vinegar and bring mixture to the boil. Simmer very gently for as long as possible until thick – about 45mins to an hour. Spoon into sterilised jars and seal.