Last month, English Provender Co. ran a Jar Amnesty, along with Foodies100. The campaign was to raise awareness of those long-forgotten, half-eaten jars of chutneys and sauces, relegated to the very depths of the fridge once the Christmas Cheeseboard has been devoured and the turkey leftovers have finally disappeared.
I thought the idea was a bit of fun and I immediately undertook my own jar offensive. Now, I’ve mentioned before that we have a cheeseboard fit for the gods on Mount Olympus, so we get through jars of chutney like nobody’s business, but there were plenty of jars of half-finished spreads and sauces from unsuccessful baking products, and I brainstormed countless recipes to use up these unloved leftovers.
English Provender Co. were also sending out jars of their products to encourage food bloggers to take part in the Jar Amnesty and come up with recipes to use up their leftover chutneys and condiments, but unfortunately, mine turned up after the Jar Amnesty deadline, so I didn’t get to submit a recipe!
Undeterred, I still decided to give it a go, mainly because it sounded fun and I was feeling inspired. I was sent a jar of the apple, pear, and fig chutney. I’ve tried English Provender Co. chutneys before, when I saw them at The Good Food Show a couple of years ago and ate almost half a pot of the caramelised red onion chutney they were offering as tasters. We bought several jars there and then, and gave them out as Christmas gifts. This apple, pear, and fig chutney is quite a sweet and vinegary chutney and whilst it was nice, it still doesn’t overtake the Caramelised Onion chutney as my number one favourite, but it’s a close second.
I was also sent a jar of the wholegrain mustard with fig and honey and I hadn’t tried this before but I am now a big fan! The honey makes it much sweeter than regular wholegrain mustard, it isn’t quite as sharp, and doesn’t make your eyes water like some mustard can which to me, is always a good thing!
I tried this cheese straws recipe with both the chutney and the mustard, but my favourite was the cheese and mustard mix. My problem with cheese straws (and other cheese-pastry based products) is that the cheese flavour is lost beneath layers of buttery pastry, but in this recipe, I’ve found that cooking them for a little bit longer really brings out the cheesy, caramelised flavour (that’s the Maillard reaction right there. See, I did pay attention in food science class), and the mustard adds a sweetness that still gives a bit of a kick. For double the excitement, I even dipped the straws into the apple, pear, and fig chutney (I’m a monster, I know) but it was TRANSFORMED. Amazing. Seriously, where was this recipe back when we had that mammoth cheeseboard?!
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MAKES 18 straws
PREP 15 mins
COOK 25 mins
▪ Will keep for 2 days in airtight container
1 block puff pastry
100g grated cheese
4 tsp English Provender wholegrain mustard with fig and honey
Salt and pepper, to season
1 beaten egg
1 Preheat the oven to 200°c/375°f/gas mark 5. Line a large baking tray with a sheet of greaseproof paper, and remove the puff pastry from the fridge about 20 minutes before to bring to room temperature.
2 Lightly flour a work surface and roll out the pastry to a large rectangle, to the thickness of about a £1 coin, turning after every few rolls to prevent the pastry from sticking. Trim off the edges to create neat, straight sides.
3 Mix the cheese and mustard together and add a little salt and pepper to season. Brush the pastry all over with the beaten egg, then spread the cheese and mustard mix evenly over the pastry. Run the rolling pin over it a few times to press the cheese into the pastry.
4 Cut the pastry into vertical strips about 2.5cm thick. Holding one end, twist the pastry over and continue carefully to the end of the strip of pastry to create a spiralled twist. Lay onto the lined tray and brush with beaten egg.
5 Bake the twists in the preheated oven for about 20-25 minutes, or until the pastry is crispy and a dark golden colour. Carefully remove from the tray and cool on a wire rack. For a really tasty treat, dip the twists into some English Provender Co. Chutneys. ▪