Mid-September in the orchard and the potager makes for a busy few weeks of harvesting, sharing with our guests and preserving the taste of late summer and early autumn at Rue Vincent.
Crisp, crimson apples are abundant; bending the boughs of their trees and simply begging to be eaten. A bumper crop of Bramleys promises apple pies, crumbles and chutneys for the coming season, while our fig trees are laden with purple treasures, ready to burst!
A ten minute harvest of the first ripe fruits this week produced over 4 kilos of figs, requiring a mammoth preserving session. The larder here at Rue Vincent is now well stocked with fig conserve (delicious with Greek yoghurt or on toasted brioche for breakfast), and a wonderfully simple spiced fig chutney - dark, rich and perfect with cheese or cold chicken.
SPICED FIG CHUTNEY
1.5kg ripe figs cut into quarters
1 kg sugar ( I used a 50:50 mix of white and dark soft brown sugar)
3 onions, roughly chopped
500g raisins or sultanas
1 litre red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons each of cayenne pepper, paprika, ground ginger & allspice
2 tablespoons sweet chilli sauce
6 garlic cloves crushed
salt and pepper
Place all ingredients in a preserving pan together and bring slowly to the boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Reduce the heat and simmer gently for around 2 hours, or until most of the liquid has evaporated and the mixture has thickened to a good chutney consistency.
Pour into sterilised jars and seal with lids or cellophane.
This chutney is good to eat immediately but will improve further if you can keep it for a few months before opening. Perfect for the festive season!
While there is plenty in the orchard alone to keep us busy, there is much to be harvested over in the potager, too. Scarlet chillis hang daintily from their stems, ready to be collected, threaded onto lengths of raffia and hung to dry in the barn before being used to flavour winter stews and curries. Cheerful clusters of juicy cherry tomatoes demand immediate consumption, while their bigger cousins, sweet peppers, aubergines and courgettes will become culinary reminders of warmth and sunshine in the form of ratatouille, antipasti and vegetable lasagne among other things.
Thank goodness we have lots of late summer guests to help us pick and eat the fruits of our labours!
Fancy joining them?
We are now taking bookings for 2016. Why not check out our availability and book your stay with us here at Rue Vincent today.
A warm Charentais welcome awaits you!