At our meeting in April not only did we welcome our guest speaker Melanie from ‘Chutney and Cheer’, but we also had the pleasurable company of our good friend Pat Scott all the way from Ripon. Pat periodically pops back to Tottington to see her friends.

Melanie brought with her a wonderful selection of homemade chutney and jam that were for sale at the very reasonable price of £2.50 per jar and an amazingly cheerful selection of hilarious anecdotal stories and jokes to keep us all entertained for the duration. Taking the name of her grandmother’s home in Sandbach ‘Holly Cottage’ for the name her business Melanie has been making preserves from an early age. Melanie’s grandma taught her how to make these wonderful preserves during her holidays whilst studying criminology at Lancaster University.

Melanie gave away a few of her trade secrets, for example to use cider vinegar instead of malt as there is no smell and means that anyone who suffers with coeliac disease can partake of these wonderful chutneys. She also puts very little sugar into her preserves due to her mother suffering with diabetes and instead uses naturally sweet ingredients such as red onions and garlic.

Melanie’s demonstration produced a Spiced Plum Chutney and a little advice when making one’s own is to taste, taste, taste. Her maxim for a good demonstration was acquired while listening to a speaker on radio 4 to keep the topic interesting, entertaining and to keep the audience interested while getting your point across. Melanie certainly managed this producing an informative and productive demonstration in her comedic style.

Isobel x

She’d been hoping for a Royal Warrant, but realised that Her Majesty probably only bought her son’s chutney!