It’s one of those big events in our village today: the annual horticultural show. Oh yes, there are still horticultural, and village shows going strong, and there has been competitive pumpkin and bean growing going on for months. No tales of sabotage yet but still time for that to surface!
As well as veg and fruit growing, not to mention the fresh flower arrangement inspired by a film title, there are all the culinary classes too. So for today’s Saturday session here’s a recipe recommendation from some of my favourite blogs and sites for each of the classes:
1. Jar of Jam
A tip here, nothing exotic ever wins. Or perhaps that should read nothing exotic of mine ever wins. I think what you want is a classic raspberry, possibly strawberry. But if you wanted to push it just that little bit further, but still keep it sounding classically British sounding, then I would go for the Blackberry & Apple jam featured on The Cottage Smallholder. Like a little jar of autumn in a jar. Although it depends on when your show is though, as this isn’t going to work for early summer!
2. Jar of Lemon Curd
Hard to make this one distinctive, so it’s all going to come down to quality ingredients. Looking at the recipe on Gastronomy Domine, Liz Upton recommends American Meyer or Sicilian lemons if you can track them down. Failing that I would suggest you need unwaxed organic lemons, and the best eggs you can find.
3. Jar of Marmalade
No fruit specified, but I think you can guarantee at our show there is currently little point in entering lime, lemon or even ginger and kumquat marmalade, no matter how delicious! You preferably have to have been organised during the short Seville season and laid away a jar or two ready for the big day. Not from a blog but my favourite food writer, Nigel Slater, shared his recipe for Seville orange marmalade earlier this year, so I’d happily give that a go.
4. A jar of chutney
I’m not sure of the technical difference between a pickle and chutney, they would seem to be one and the same to me. If only for the gorgeous colour I imagine it goes, then I would try the Beetroot Chutney from Allotment Growing. That said, quite partial to the taste of beetroot too!
5. Fruit cake
So many possibilities, from the light tea bread type to a full on well matured Christmas cake. With no specification, I would think most people would go tea bread type. Which might give you an advantage if you went moist and well matured. Who knows? The judging of these things is a thing of mystery.
6. Six savoury vol au vents
Seriously, did anyone ever make vol au vents? I mean even if you were going to serve them, you bought the frozen ready made cases, right? And as even Nigella buys ready-made puff pastry, then surely not a single one will be made from scratch? I would be tempted to do the full-on nostalgia and attempt the mushroom and chicken my mum always made, which always seemed to involve a tin of Campbells’ condensed mushroom soup. Surely the only way to approach this class is with irony?
If you want serious award-winning stuff, then I would guess you couldn’t go far wrong by following the recipes of the WI. There are books on preserves, bread and even tarts! That should keep you in rosettes for a while!