St Milburga’s Sweet, Sour & Spicy South Shropshire Sauce
This recipe was the result of an afternoon of experimentation with damsons, which, other than for jam, are pretty difficult to find a use for. The idea was based upon Worcestershire sauce, and I was expecting it to be revolting, but it's actually rather lovely. The recipe should make a little over 1 litre.
Named in honour of St Milburga, after whom our village Stoke St Milborough takes its name. Milburga, ironically, was anything but saucy, but she did purportedly have something of a way with geese.
Put the two types of vinegar and damsons into a saucepan to heat to boiling point. Then simmer gently for 20 minutes or so to soften up the damsons.
In the meantime, whizz all of the other ingredients in a blender until it produces a fine paste.
Add the paste to the vinegar and damsons and bring back to the boil. Simmer for a further 10 minutes.
Take off the heat and allow to cool for 10 minutes, then pour it into a sterilised jar with a tight lid. (To sterilise the jar, either run it through the dishwasher at the hottest setting or thoroughly clean it before heating it in the oven.)
Let the jar sit in the fridge or a cool place for a couple of days. Shake it periodically to encourage the fermentation process. (For a stronger sauce, let it ferment for up to a week.)
When you are happy with the strength, rub the sauce through a fine sieve to remove the larger pieces and the damson stones.
Reheat to boiling point and simmer for five minutes. Let it cool for ten minutes and then pour into bottles that have been sterilised in the same way as the jar was.
Seal and keep in the fridge or somewhere cool until needed. Always shake before use to revitalise the flavour. Keep in the fridge once opened.
Serve with a good fried breakfast, beans on toast, cheese dishes or as a flavour enhancer in meat dishes.