Iggie’s Kitchen - chutneys and preserves made in Lancashire
PUBLISHED: 11:24 12 October 2020
It’s plum season at Iggie’s Kitchen, and her chutney is just the thing for the autumn pantry
Rain isn’t usually welcome news, but for Treales grower Angela Carrdus, it’s not something to complain about.
‘The weather here is terrible, but it’s good in a way because it makes juicy plums.’
Juicy plums are just one of the ingredients that make up the Iggie’s Kitchen chutneys and preserves, and it’s just the season for them. Owner Angela grows the Victoria plums in her own orchard in one of her three back gardens, alongside pears and three varieties of apples.
‘We have three apple trees, one pear tree and a huge plum tree,’ she says. ‘We have normal trees, too. If it was a car lot, parked bumper to bumper, you would probably be able to put 10 Ford Focuses in here. It is fabulous.’
Angela has been making chutneys, jams and fudge as a one-women business since July 17th, 2017 – a date she chose for all its sevens, to give her ‘a bit of luck’. It was her marriage to husband Peter six years ago that she says freed her up from the full-time office job, and her self-employed life began with making and selling fudge at a local car boot sale.
‘The first time I sold fudge, my husband was trying to get rid of some junk at a car boot sale,’ Angela says. ‘I was always into my cooking, baking; my favourite place is the kitchen. I’d just started making fudge at that point and my family (the guinea pigs) were actually really liking it.
‘So I thought, I’ll go with him and take some fudge and put it on a separate table next to him, take my scales and some little bags, and I sold out almost immediately.’
Angela did the same the next Sunday, and the next – and Sundays suddenly became the most exciting day of the week.
‘On one occasion there were two women arguing over the last bag of fudge,’ she says. ‘My brother said to me: ‘You’ve got something here’. You know how it is, he’s a typical brother, never usually compliments me, and I really took it seriously.’
Fast forward a couple of months and Angela quit her office job to be a full-time market trader selling fudge, and it wasn’t long after that before she tapped into Peter’s plum and ginger chutney recipe, persuading him to teach her the ways.
‘My husband looked at the tree one day and decided to make some plum and ginger chutney for the house; a great big jar of it,’ she says. ‘I was thinking, ‘This seems too easy’. He loves cooking and has made up his own recipes over the years and kept them in a scrap book. I thought, he’s got the recipe, the skill – if he can advise me then I can inherit the recipe and he can coach me. I was never really a chutney eater until then.’
The name Iggie – for Iggie’s Kitchen – came from a nickname at school, which Angela says ‘just stuck’. ‘When I started my business, I really racked my brains,’ she says. ‘I didn’t know what to call myself. People were saying Farmhouse Fudge, or my address is Orchard Cottage, so Orchard Cottage Fudge, but to me, it had all been done. I wanted my brand to have a modern yet traditional sort of feel, and for it to be as original and clean-looking as possible. Iggie’s Kitchen seemed perfect.’
Angela also makes jams, each one with her own twist. She’s currently making jars of plum and mulled wine, a flavour regularly requested by return customers when it hits this time of year.
She has 18 different types of preserves – jumping to about 20 depending on seasonal varieties – 25 different fudge recipes and three types of piccalilli (including the ‘pic-ca-chilli’); so good that people have confessed to eating it straight out of the jar.
Her best-sellers include the creamy vanilla fudge, salted caramel and her take on the scotch tablet, which in Angela’s words is ‘a similar type of fudge but with a different texture’. It’s unusual for a fudge maker this far south to be making and selling tablet, she says.
And in the preserves, the best-selling chutney is the hot and spicy (although the piccalilli is a higher seller); forest fruits is a hit for the jam-lovers and in the marmalade, it’s the pineapple.
‘The pineapple marmalade is a really good seller,’ Angela says. ‘People like something different. They are paying for an artisan product, so they don’t want what they can buy in the supermarkets.’
As well as selling at local farmers markets (regular ones include Ashton, Penwortham, Vicarage Park Community Centre in Poulton-le-Fylde, Marsh Mill at Thornton and Cuerden Valley Park), Angela also sells at agricultural shows and has a stall at various Christmas fairs.
She’s recently introduced an honesty stall at the gate of her countryside home, filled with fruit from the trees and more recently her chutneys, jams and fudge, too.
‘We don’t want the fruit to go to waste,’ Angela says. ‘We do occasionally get bulk orders from people like myself who make their own chutneys and jams, but it’s nice to have an honesty stall; I’ve got bunting on there and it looks lovely.
‘It’s a cracking little business. I don’t feel as though I’ve worked for four years, I’ve just had fun.’
‘We love cheese, and tend to chop and change our chutneys to suit the cheese.’
Angela recommends the carrot chutney with Wensleydale; the plum and ginger chutney to complement Lancashire crumbly; and the hot banana chutney goes well with any cheese or cold meat.
‘It’s great for curry nights – put it on the table in a nice little pot and dip poppadoms in it,’ Angela says. ‘It has curry powder and turmeric in it. A lot of people say it’s similar to mango chutney – but it’s better.’
The one for the barbecue is the sweetcorn relish (it’s delicious on burgers); the squash chutney works with a nice cream cheese; and the whisky-infused tipsy marmalade is fabulous on Christmas cake to help the marzipan stick.
‘I also do a tangy one, with ingredients like lemon and lime which give you a real kick,’ Angela says. ‘It wakes you up, put it that way.’