Tag Archives: Chutney

Hot tomato chutney

4 Sep
Jars of goodness

Jars of goodness

I sowed a few tomato seeds this year. And miracle, of miracle, most of them grew. They grew slowly, mostly because it’s been colder than usual all year, but they grew. And now I have a LOT of tomatoes.

I get my seeds from The Real Seed Company, which you should go visit if you have any interest in growing your own vegetables. They encourage you to save your seeds year on year, which if we all did, then they’d have no business. But mostly I don’t. And anyway, they have crazy unusual varieties of things, often from far flung parts of the world, and they have new seeds each year. I grew a Russian melon one year (I figured if it could grow in Russia it might just survive our Scottish summer) and this year I chose Grushovka and Urbikany bush tomatoes. The Urbikany comes from Siberia, and the Grushovka sounds like it’s of Russian extraction too. Anyway, so far I’ve picked 7.4kg of tomatoes, so I’ve been eating quite a lot of my favourite tomato salad: panzanella. It’s got that perfect balance of flavours and textures, and also uses up 2 or 3 day old sourdough bread (if any ever gets to be that age in our house!).

I’ve been making my super tasty tomato sauce (to use on pasta) which I’ll share with you later.

But for now… Another of my favourite tomato recipes is my hot tomato chutney. It’s super-easy to make and is the perfect accompaniment to cold meats or cheese. In fact when I’ve got a jar of it in the cupboard, it gets added to almost every sandwich, or salad platter. It’s just sweet enough, and just hot enough, with that lovely tang of sharpness too.

I’ve been making it for years, so don’t really know why it’s taken so long to add the recipe here. Anyway, here we go:

Hot tomato chutney

  • 1.8kg tomatoes
  • 1 large onion
  • 6 red chillies
  • 450g caster sugar
  • 1TBsp salt
  • 300ml vinegar (malt, or it works well with a mix of red wine and cider vinegar)
  1. Peel the tomatoes. You know how to do this, right? OK, here’s how I do it. With a wee sharp knife, just nick the skin of each tomato, you don’t need to go through all the flesh, just break the skin. Now put a full kettle on to boil, and pop some of the tomatoes into a big heatproof bowl. Pour the boiling water over the tomatoes. Leave them for a wee minute, and then, using a holy willie spoon (that’s a slotted spoon), take a tomato out, and using your fingers, peel/slip the skin off the tomato. Repeat. And repeat and repeat again until all the tomatoes are peeled.
  2. After you peel each tomato, roughly chop it straight into a large pan. It’s easiest just to do this while holding the tomato in your hand, over the pan, so you catch all the juice into the pot.
  3. Now, chop your onion, into small and even sized pieces and add this to the pot.
  4. Chop the chillies into teeny wee bits, and add them to the pan. Leave out the membrane and seeds, which are the super hot bits.
  5. Add the caster sugar and salt to the pot.
  6. Bring slowly to the boil, stirring as you go.
  7. Now simmer it for an hour and a half. Yes, an hour and a half. You should stir it occasionally, so it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan, but you don’t need to hover over it all the time. Go read a book. Or water your tomato plants. Or whatever.
  8. Now add the vinegar to the pan, and stir again
  9. Bring it back to the boil and boil it, stirring occasionally, for 10 – 15 minutes. You’ll know it’s ready when you pull the spoon across the bottom of the pan, and it does a sort of “Moses Parting the Red Sea” thing, with the chutney ‘holding back’ and not immediately all slooping back into the base of the pan. You might not understand what I mean until you see your chutney doing it. But really, this is the best test I know for readiness of this chutney.
  10. And that’s it. It’s ready to pop into sterilised jars. You’ll probably fill about four 350ml jars, and it will keep for around 4 months. It might keep for longer, but I’ve never had any last that long.

And, if like me, you have a glut of tomatoes, make lots of this. And tie pretty fabric squares to the pot lids, with a ribbon, and there you have your first homemade Christmas presents of the season.

Mini oatcakes with cheese & chutney or ham & chutney. You choose.

Mini oatcakes with cheese & chutney or ham & chutney. You choose.

 

Apple chutney

5 Nov

Several years ago a friend off-loaded bags of apples on me. I put them in everything, but the favourite by far was the Apple Chutney from Judith Wills’ brilliant New Home Larder. It’s now my go-to chutney recipe and I think I’ve made it every year since. It’s a long long time since I had Branston Pickle, but I think this chutney might be similar to it, with a deep, dark colour and prefect balance of sharp and sweet.

Apple chutney

Apple chutney

Apple Chutney

  • 1.5kg apples
  • 750g onions
  • 1l malt vinegar
  • 500g sultanas
  • 1kg soft brown sugar
  • 1 dsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  •  1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 tsp dry English mustard
  1. Pour the vinegar into a large heavy based pan
  2. Peel and core the apples, cut them into chunks and pop them into the pan with the vinegar.
  3. Peel and chop the onions and add them into the pan too.
  4. Bring the apple, onion, vinegar mix to the boil and simmer for an hour.
  5. Add the remaining ingredients and stir thoroughly to dissolve the sugar – it will go runny and glossy.
  6. Bring back to the boil and simmer again for around 30 mins, stirring from time to time to prevent it burning and sticking tot he bottom of the pan.
  7. Pour into sterilised jars and cover with wax discs, then teh lids when cool.
  8. Store in a cool, dark place. Eat with cheese. Or cold meat.

You can adapt this recipe by adding some fresh or crystallised ginger, using different spices, or adding some chilli, but I think it’s pretty near perfect and doesn’t need any messing about.

If you want to see other recipes you’ll find them all listed here.

 

 

Rhubarb chutney

8 Jun

So, it’s been a bit of a rubbish year for the rhubarb harvest this year I’ve heard. Something to do with late frosts, which decimated some of my early sowings too.

However, I saw some British rhubarb in the shop the other day and couldn’t resist. But since I’m trying to eat less pudding and G doesn’t really like rhubarb anyway, it clearly wasn’t a well thought through purchase. I thought about a rhubarb tart, rhubarb crumble, a rhubarb cake, or just stewed rhubarb. Surely we would call that a compote these days? I love the astringent sharpness you get with rhubarb … perhaps the answer was to just stew some with some honey and vanilla and then have it with plain yoghurt. I’m a bit addicted to plain yoghurt (preferably greek style, fat free) and think I might have to try my hand again at making my own yoghurt. Mum used to do it when I was wee, but I suspect that it was helped by the fact we always had the rayburn on, so it had a good warm place to ferment. Ah well, that will be next week’s mission.

Anyway, after all that deliberating, I decided that rhubarb chutney was today’s cooking challenge. Not much of a challenge really, chutney is an easy peasy thing to make. The tricky bit is getting the mix of spices and flavours right – so only make a wee bit the first time you make a recipe, so you can try it for flavour and then tweak the next batch.

Rhubarb chutney

  • 1 onion, chopped finely
  • 1cm ginger, chopped finely
  • 150g soft brown sugar
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 100ml white wine vinegar, or elderflower vinegar if you have any
  • 1/2 tsp Maldon sea salt
  • 1″ cinnamon stick
  • a couple of star anise
  • 500g rhubarb, chopped into fairly thin slices
  1. Put the star anise and cinnamon stick into a spice cage if you have one. Alternatively, put them in a wee square of muslin tied up with string. Or you could just chuck the whole spices into the pan, if you don’t mind having bits in your final product.
  2. Place all the ingredients, except the rhubarb in a heavy duty pan and bring to the boil. Boil on a rolling boil for 5 minutes.
  3. Add the rhubarb to the pan and bring to the boil again. Turn down, and simmer for about 15 minutes when the chutney should be slightly thickened.
  4. Pour into sterilised jars while still hot. Use a 500ml jar, or a 340ml jar plus one of those wee pesto jars. But make sure they have been properly sterilised before you pour the chutney in, or it won’t keep properly.
  5. Remember to label the jar – I’d say it should keep for 12 months, but should be eaten within 8 weeks of opening and kept in a fridge, or other cool place once opened.

My verdict is that it is slightly too sweet on first tasting, but the flavours will develop and it will taste better in a week or two. I hope.

As ever it will be delicious with a good farmhouse cheddar but will probably also be good with cold pork, or with mackerel.

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