Chutney mentors

In Permaculture, as in life, it is important to have a vision.  When it comes to preserving, the vision of what I would like to achieve is represented by this pantry which belongs to my friends Edward and Romola Ackland.  They are, if you like, my chutney mentors…



They live in a wonderful old mill in Cumbria right beside the river Sprint (rather appropriately it’s called Sprint Mill…).  They have a kitchen garden of about an eighth of an acre and they make chutney like there is no tomorrow.  I would kill for a condiment selection like this…  They make wine too, and of course bread and keep goats and chickens and pretty much most of what they eat comes from their smallholding.  It’s the vision of this store room that I keep in mind every time my jam doesn’t set or my wine turns to vinegar.

So yes, I’ve already taken a few steps down the long road to my perfect pantry…

Will and I have started brewing beer.  We’ve had a few successes, and a few failures (I’m not sure which one this was).  We discovered that it was pretty much impossible to brew beer in the summer without a temperature controlled environment.  One extra hot day and it turns to vinegar.  The brews that we didn’t lose were absolutely not bad though.  It’s hugely satisfying to get drunk on beer you have made yourself!  We’re in the process of setting up ‘Brighton Brewing Circle’ and getting together a group of people interesting in booze making.



Here’s a prototype of Brighton Brewing Circle.  Hedvig, Will, Chris and I made elderflower champagne in spring.  It’s Andy Hamilton’s recipe and – at this point in the proceedings, after it had been fermenting for a week in a bucket – it tasted brilliant.  Like slightly alcoholic elderflower cordial.



I went on a preserving course with a wonderful lady called Carol Downie (not pictured – this is just the course participants scoffing some of Carol’s produce).  We made strawberry jam and rhubarb chutney.  And we ate strawberries and mozzerella.  It was a fabulous course, but then I am a greedy pig.


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One thought on “Chutney mentors

  1. […] have come across my desire for a pantry in this blog before, but this time it is tunnel vision.  A working pantry has become the whole goal of this particular […]

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