I’m inherently British, I was born there and my family like to upkeep many British traditions, a big turkey roast at Christmas (despite the 40c heat), tea is drunk whenever anyone moves and chutney and pickles are the traditional condiments at the table.
With the view that we all should make more of our food from scratch, every year I make a years supply of Chutney.
There is a fleeting moment in summer where tomatoes and cherries are at their height, the best quality for the best price and it is the time when I make my chutney.
It’s all about balance. Not too sweet, too sour or too spiced and fruity. It’s a balance that evolves and shifts with age, melds and settles. It sounds like a witches brew, bubbling and toiling away and funnily enough, in my house chutney is made in a big saucepan that is shaped just like a witches cauldron.
The results are a little less eye of newt and more a shiny, rough textured, rosewood tinged spiced concoction worthy of any roasted meat, gourmet Sausage, ploughmens lunch or simply atop a humble savoury muffin.
This chutney makes me happy and I love it a little more every year.
Spiced tomato and Cherry Chutney
1kg ripe truss tomato
250 red apple peeled and grated
1/2 cup Apple cider vinegar (or 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar and 1/4 cup kombucha)
1 cup Brown sugar
1 Star anise
1 tsp curry powder
Juice and fine zest of 1 lemon
1 tsp finely grated ginger
2 cloves ginger crushed
1 cinnamon quill
150 g pitted and chopped fresh cherries
7 Turkish dried fig chopped
1/2 cup currants
1/2 cup sultanas
100g pitted prunes chopped
Salt and Pepper
Skin and roughly chop the tomatoes.
In a heavy based saucepan over medium heat combine sugar, vinegar (or vinegar and kombucha) and spices and heat until the sugar has dissolved and the mix has just come to a simmer.
Add the tomatoes and apple and give a quick stir.
Add the remaining ingredients and stir until thoroughly mixed and combined.
Reduce the heat to low and place on the lid.
Cook for 2 hrs stirring occasionally to make sure it doesn’t stick to the bottom.
Once cooked fill sterilized jars whilst still hot. The chutney will continue to develop and will only taste better with age.
To skin tomatoes quickly and easily, with a sharp knife score the top and the bottom of the tomato in a Chris cross pattern. Place all the scored tomatoes in a bowl and cover with boiling water from the kettle. Leave for 30 seconds to 1 minute then lift out of the water. Cool sightly for a few seconds, the skin should now just peel away.
To sterilize your jars, either 1. place jars and lids on the top rack of dishwasher and wash on hottest cycle. 2. Place jars and lids in a big stock pot of water, making sure they are all covered and bring to the boil. Continue to simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from water and air dry. 3. Place jars and lids in a hot oven and heat for 20 minutes, remove and fill.
You can double or triple the recipe, but you have to allow for extra cooking time, about an extra hour for double and between 1 1/2 and 2 hours extra for a triple batch.