SHF nº22. A sweet and spicy chutney
José was saying just yesterday how he hates the end of August. Because it´s still hot, and nobody´s around, and you can´t get any work done, and the countryside is baked to a crust, dry and horrid.
I had just been thinking how I love the end of August. Because nobody´s around, and you don´t have to get any work done. And because that baked countryside is producing tons of my favourite foodstuffs. And since there´s not much to do, what better excuse to make preserves?
Evidently everyone seems to be thinking along the same lines, and Nicky and Oliver of Delicous Dayshave made them the subject of this month´s Sugar High Friday.
Now I am above all things lazy. And hooked on season one of The West Wing. So I have no time for candy thermometers, fruit pectin or jelly bags. I love the rush of smugness that hits when you label and put up your very own jars of fruit preserves, but I´m sloppy. And I love vinegar.
So of course it has to be chutney. I love chutney so much, I put it in practically anything that´s not breakfast cereal, and that only because I don´t have cereal for breakfast.
I use the "glutney" recipe from the River cottage cookbook, adapted to fit the two-litre capacity of a Thermomix.
It´s very accomodating, and works with any combination of fruits and vegetables you might come up with, within reason. As long as you respect the ratio of fruit to sugar and vinegar, you´re in business.
Chop one and a half kilos of fruit or veg, one onion, one apple, one fresh chili (or more),250 ml cider vinegar, 200 gr. of sugar, a handful of raisins.
The spices are negotiable, but I like 1 tbs black peppercorns, 1tsp coriander seeds, 1tsp. ground ginger, 3 cloves. You can tie them up in a teabag, but I think they look very pretty once the thing is in the jar.
You put all this in a pan, and leave it to simmer for about an hour and a half, or until thick and gloopy. It sticks. Beware.
For the Th, give it 45 minutes at 100º,speed 1, and 45 more at Varoma. Check near the end, in case it reduces too much.
Spoon into jars and give it 20 minutes in a bain marie.
Write down every batch that you make. No two are alike, but sometimes you strike a particulary wonderful one and it does well to keep a track record.
My own batch today was 4 nectarines and 4 tomatoes. It looks pretty amazing, a dark brown in which cunks of nectarine looks a paler ochre. The flecks of chili and the black peppercorns give it a pretty looking contrast. I won´t open it for a couple of months at least, but I think I´m onto a winning batch. I´ll keep you posted.
My labels are pretty pedestrian, typed on an old Hispano Olivetti, which gives them an early industrial mechanical feel that I quite like.
While it cooks, you can watch exactly two episodes of West Wing. Perfect.