Show me a pub menu in the Summer and the first thing my eyes start scanning for is a Ploughman’s – I flippin’ love them. It’s got to be a good one mind you, I want all the bits and bobs that come with it and I don’t want to have to choose between whether I get ham or cheese – I want both dammit!
But the star of the show, the thing that really makes or breaks a good Ploughman’s for me is the chutney. Sweet, tangy, jammy chutney that will jazz up even the blandest of cheeses or the floppiest of ham slices. Present me with a plate adorned with a hefty dollop of good quality chutney or pickle and you’ve got one happy girl.
I was recently sent three jars of chutney/pickle from The English Provender Co. to review, as they’ve had a bit of a stylish revamp done on their packaging, which means I’ve got the perfect excuse to eat more cheese! Now, usually when I get sent stuff to review it’s for items I’ve perhaps not come across before. However, when I went to put the jars away in my cupboard I noticed that I already had a jar of The English Provender Co. Caramelised Red Onion Chutney sat in there from my shopping order the week before. Hmmmmm I told you I liked chutney!
Caramelised Red Onion Chutney
Caramelised red onion chutney is my absolutely fave and given the choice I would always opt for this. I think it’s the whole sweet sticky thing it’s got going on, plus it’s so incredibly versatile and will go with most things. Aside from a Ploughman’s (honestly I’ll stop going on about them in a mo) this chutney works wonders with cheese on toast, on top of a goats cheese pizza or salad, a dunkin’ dip for scotch eggs or I’ll let you in on a dirty little secret of mine – I love to dollop it on top of a steaming hot bowl of chilli con carne… seriously don’t knock it until you’ve tried it.
As a bit of a red onion chutney connoisseur I’ve noticed that some of them can have a bit of a funny after taste, almost a bit metallic and artificial tasting, but not this one. This is everything I ask for from a chutney – sweet, tangy, sticky, chunky and just downright delicious.
Hot Tomato & Chilli Pickle
If you like food on the spicier side then this is the chutney for you. It’s not exactly blow your head off hot, but it’s certainly got a cheeky little kick to it. It still has a sweetness, so works really well with milder cheeses like brie and it would go fab on top of some bruschetta or even as a burger relish. This one also goes particularly well with meat, think chunky gammon Ploughman’s, inside a stuffed chicken breast or stirred into gravy to go with your sausages and mash. With a smoky, intense tomato taste and fire in its belly, it’s unlikely you’ll get the kids eating it, but hey I see that as a major perk – more for ME!
Plum & Apple Chutney
Sweeter than the others, well it is made of fruit after all, this is the perfect picnic crowd pleaser. Think a big chunky sarnie, a dip for a slice of quiche or sausage roll, and dare I say it… great with a cheesy Ploughman’s! Quintessentially English, recreate your own Famous Five adventures by packing this in your hamper alongside lashings of ginger beer and a big old lump of mature cheddar. Plus like the other two products this is also suitable for vegetarians and vegans, so it’s winner winner veggie dinner.
Available from all good supermarkets (ha I’ve always wanted to say that!) these tick all the chutney boxes for me. And yeah sure you can make your own chutneys and pickles, after all it’s incredibly therapeutic standing there stirring a saucepan for hours on end. And yep we’re coming into the season to get outside foraging for bounty like apples, plums and other glorious goodies. But oh my goodness let’s be honest who has the time? I know I for one would be much happier keeping a jar in the fridge for all those Ploughman emergencies – and trust me I definitely have Ploughman emergencies… doesn’t everyone!?!
*products gifted for review