After a busy week in the restaurant I often spend some part of Sunday walking our dogs in the local country side.
It’s a great place to unwind and get inspiration for new dishes for our menu, along with getting a little exercise and some fresh air.
On these long walks in beautiful Hampshire I have come to appreciate the farming community and the great produce they supply to us all.
The green pastures are home to cattle, sheep and goats giving not only great meat but also milk which is turned into some fantastic award-winning cheese in varying styles and tastes.
Tunsworth is a firm favourite, a bloomy rinded camembert that puts the French to shame and has won supreme cheese of the year.
Just over the border into Sussex, Lord of The Hundreds is handmade – a hard nutty sheep’s cheese and there is a soft creamy moulded blue made from Guernsey cows’ milk that comes from the Isle of Wight.
There are many more established cheesemakers and some new ones popping up such as Thimble Cheese Makers at Alton who produce the fantastically pure Little Anne. It’s good news for we foodies to know that the artisan cheese makers are growing in number.
Our cheese board comes with home-made chutney and walnut bread bringing out the flavours of the cheese. Here is a good butternut squash, pear and apple chutney recipe for you to try out when it’s too wet and windy to be wandering in the countryside.
BUTTERNUT SQUASH, PEAR AND APPLE CHUTNEY
500g Butternut squash
400g Bramley apple
300g Conference pear
2 sticks celery
2 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon coriander seed
1 teaspoon mustard seed
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon sea salt
400g soft brown sugar.
300ml white wine vineger
1. Finely chop the onions and crush the garlic.
2. Spend some time peeling and cutting the butternut squash, pear, celery and apple into 1cm cubes because this will have an overall effect on the texture of the chutney.
3. Put all of the ingredients into a large pan over a low heat.
4. Cook for 45 minute to an hour stirring occasionally until the mixture is syrupy.
5. Spoon the chutney into sterilised Jars.
You can eat the chutney straight away, but it will improve with age.