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Chef in the Spotlight - Gilly Perrett

We love preserves at TRJFP!

Chef in the Spotlight - Gilly Perrett

Not only are they a great way to turn surplus fruit and veg into something delicious, but for the charity they are also a really helpful way to connect with (and raise funds from!) our local communities throughout the summer months as we offer them on a ‘pay as you feel’ basis at the many Summer Fairs we attend across the borough.

There’s a very talented and dedicated preserving community at TRJFP. As we’re very much in Fair season we thought we should introduce one of our chutney-champions, Gilly Perrett, to inspire you to give it a go!


Gilly joined the TRJFP team at ETNA in June 2023 after reading an article on the Project in a local magazine and then meeting Penny at a Richmond Volunteer Services event. Gilly had been frustrated by the degree of food waste in society for a long time, and thought TRJFP was a brilliant solution to feeding bellies, not bins and has been a Friday volunteer for the last year. She loves the simple, human connection at the heart of TRJFP and how the ‘pay as you feel’ philosophy makes the Project welcoming for everyone.


When it comes to jams, Gilly made her first batch for the St Margarets fair in 2023 and hasn’t looked back! She loves making it – the smell of orange marmalade bubbling away is her personal favourite – but has now also branched out into experimenting with chutneys and relishes too. ‘The Book of Preserves’, from Pam the Jam is Gilly’s go-to recipe book. Here she shares a personal favourite ‘Runners Relish’ for you to try. This makes 5x400ml jars


Ingredients:

750g runner or French beans, 

500g onions, 

500ml malt or cider vinegar, 

2 heaped tbsp cornflour, 

1 tbsp English mustard powder, 

1 tbsp yellow mustard seeds, 

1 tbsp ground turmeric, 

1 tsp fine sea salt, 

350g demerara sugar


Method:

  1. Sterilise jars and twist-on lids.

  2. Top and tail beans and remove stringy fibres from sides. Cut diagonally into roughly 1.5cm slices, or the size you prefer.

  3. Peel and quarter onions and slice thinly. Then put onions into a heavy based pan with the vinegar and simmer for 15 mins. Remove from heat.

  4. Plunge beans into a pan of boiling water and cook until just tender (5mins for young beans, up to 15 mins for old). Drain, reserve 250ml of water.

  5. Add beans to the onions.

  6. In a different bowl, gradually mix cornflour, spices and salt with some of the reserved cooking water until you have a paste (unlikely to need all 250ml).

  7. Return pan with onion and beans to medium heat, stir in sugar until simmering then stir in spice mixture. Simmer for 5 mins more to allow cornflour to thicken then remove from heat.

  8. Spoon the relish into the jars filling to the brim then tap gently on work-surface to remove air pockets then seal immediately.

Store in a cool, dark, dry place and allow 2-3 weeks before opening. Jars can be stored for up to 1 year. Once opened, keep in a coolish cupboard tightly sealed and use within 3-4 months.

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