cherry relishcherry relish
plantation cherry cakeplantation cherry cake
sterilising cherry relishsterilising cherry relish

It is bliss to have inherited a mature cherry tree on an allotment. It may dry out the soil underneath and frustrate the vegetable grower but the brief window of  spring time blossom, ( ours is white) and the equally brief moment of perfectly ripe cherries in June,  it is a tree to cherish. One eats as many as possible just as they are, then having given away plenty it is time to think  about cooking the rest. Cherry strudel and cherry and loganberry jam were last years treats. This year I have made cherry relish, to put away for later in the year, cherry and blackcurrant jam and cherry cake to enjoy now. Cherry clafoutis , a French pudding favourite, may next be on the list today.

Sweet Cherry Cake            makes 1 x 17cm cake

 Ingredients    250g cherries, pitted,  50ml water,  100g plain flou, 50g caster sugar, 1 tsp baking powder,  ¼ tsp cinnamon, 25g butter,  50ml milk, ½ tsp vanilla essence, 1 egg. Glaze  reserved cherry liquid, 1 tsp cornflour,  2 tbs flaked almonds, toasted

Simmer the cherries in a saucepan with little water and then leave to cool. Put the flour, sugar, baking powder and cinnamon in a food processor. Add the butter and blend. When the butter has all but disappeared add the egg and milk and blend to a smooth batter. Grease a 17cm/7” (loose bottom) cake tin and pour in the batter. Smooth it over with a spatula and then spoon over the cherries, using a slotted spoon. Bake in a 175C oven for 30-35 minutes, until risen and coming away from the sides of the tin. For the glaze, mix the reserved cherry juice with the cornflour. Whisk away any lumps then heat, whisking constantly until the mixture boils and thickens. Spoon the glaze over the warm cake and sprinkle over the almond flakes. Serve warm with cream as a dessert or clod with a cup of tea.

Cherry Relish

 Ingredients   300g pitted cherries,  75g raisins,  1 tsp cinnamon, ¼ tsp ground cloves,  100ml honey, 100ml wine vinegar,  100g chopped nuts e.g. almonds, cashews, pecans

Put everything (except the nuts) in a saucepan and simmer for 30 minutes, or cook in a pressure cooker for 5 minutes, then add the nuts and cook for 3 more minutes. Ladle into Kilner jars and sterilize for 10 minutes in a pot of simmering water. Cool in the water, then and store in a cupboard.