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A hot, sweet plum chutney. [Photograph: Jonathan Lovekin]

Not much is better on a leisurely weekend afternoon than a snack of sharp cheese, good bread, and a homemade preserve or two (and maybe a glass of wine). Nigel Slater's Hot, Sweet Plum chutney from Ripe is just the thing to round out a few slices of cheddar.

Made with plums, raisins, cider and malt vinegars, and just enough muscovado sugar to sweeten and thicken the preserve, this chutney puts all of those jars languishing in fridge doors to shame. At once spicy, sweet, and tangy it plays well not only on a cheese board, but also piled on leftover roast pork and smeared on a turkey sandwich.

Why I picked this recipe: I love a good cheese platter, and this chutney seemed the perfect accompaniment to my overflowing cheese drawer.

What worked: Each ingredient in this chutney worked in perfect harmony; it's a great preserve for those tired of syrupy sweet jams and jellies.

What didn't: No complaints here.

Suggested Tweaks: As is the case with many chutneys and jams, the fruit of choice is flexible. If you're planning on processing, be sure to choose another high acid fruit.

As always with our Cook the Book feature, we have five (5) copies of Ripe: A Cook in the Orchard to give away.

About the author: Kate Williams is a freelance writer out of Berkeley, CA. She is a contributor to The Oxford American and blogs at cookingwolves.wordpress.com.

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