A glut of tomatoes has been sitting in the kitchen for a few days now while I gather up as many jars as I can find… I am determined to make a beautiful tomato chutney to heap on top of a strong cheddar cheese or to serve alongside cold meat.
I decided on a spicy Indian inspired recipe to get as much depth of flavour into the chutney as possible so combined these two recipes:
Both use the lovely flavour combinations of ginger and spice but due to the fact that I only had an inch of ginger and a pot of mustard in the fridge I decided to experiment. All the lights have blown in the kitchen so I am making it in a romantic semi-darkness, getting up occasionally to stir and release the heady smells of vinegar and spice into the kitchen whilst enjoying a beautiful evening in one of the hottest Octobers on record.
Spicy Tomato Chutney
1kg ripe tomatoes roughly chopped
1 inch of ginger, peeled and julienned into very thin strips
250g light brown sugar
375ml malt vinegar
1tsb Cayenne pepper
6 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 cinnamon stick
Add all ingredients to your pan, and simmer on a low heat for around 2 hours. You need this to get to a jam-like consistency but it burns easily, keep the heat low, stir every so often and watch it isn’t catching. As mentioned on the The Traveler’s Lunchbox, you can speed things up by increasing the heat, but you’ll have to keep a much closer eye on it.
Once it is ready you can either leave it for a day or overnight for the flavours to develop or preserve it immediately. I pop my jars in the oven for 20 minutes after a hot soapy wash in the sink and boil my jar lids in water for about 5 minutes on the hob. No-one ever seems to mention how to sterilise lids, I find boiling works just fine. And after all that jar hunting, my sticky delicious chutney only filled two 280g jars!
Alternatives : use 2 fresh chillies in place of the cayenne and balsamic instead of the malt vinegar and whiz the whole lot in a mixer before heating: this will make a chilli jam!!
Last week it was plums, and a sweeter more delicate chutney was born. This one was a very simple classic chutney recipe and I made it as a thank you gift for a friend and her parents… Check out my nifty home-made labels! Just wrapping paper and double sided sticky tape. I love the Obama paper “Yes we Jam!”
500 g dark red plums
2 small red onions chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
100 ml white wine vinegar
3 tbsp water
1 cinnamon stick
100 g demerara sugar
Chop plums into small chunks, add to a non-reactive preserving pan (you can buy these on ebay for minimal amounts and you really cannot beat a good old fashioned jam pan with sloping sides, a pouring lip and lovely long handle)
Add all other ingredients and simmer, stirring occasionally until chutney has a soft jam-like consistency (about 1hour). Chutney does not set like jam as you are not adding any pectin, so it has to reduce down quite far to get a good spreading consistency. This one was a little too loose (I hurried) but a couple of weeks in storage should sort that out and improve the flavour.