I have to admit to not being the world’s most enthusiastic cook. Cooking for adults and children, two or three meals a day every day for decades has taken a lot of the magic out of it for me. Except that is for a few things: I love baking bread and making preserves – jam, chutney, marmalade, curd, relish, pickle, that kind of thing.
The simple act of turning a few ingredients – often straight from the land, or at a reduced price from the greengrocer – into several jars packed full of glistening flavour that will brighten up dull winter dishes never ceases to delight me. I love to see them lined up on the kitchen counter in their autumnal colours of deep red, yellows and browns, knowing that we’ll be enjoying them throughout the cold months to come.
I usually make them later in the year, but as I managed to get several bags of tomatoes at a very low price, I had to make use of them.
This recipe is based on one from the back of a label of Sarson’s pickling vinegar from about fifteen years ago. I’ve made it many times, it is subtly sweet and spicy and we love it with bread and cheese or mash potato.
Tomato and Red Pepper Chutney
2.7kg (6 lb) ripe tomatoes, skinned and chopped
675g (1½ lb) onions, chopped
3 red peppers, deseeded and chopped
1.14 Ltr (2 pt) Sarson’s pickling malt vinegar
300g (11 oz) demerara sugar
15 ml (1 tbsp) salt
15 ml (1 tbsp) chilli powder or I use chopped fresh chilli from a jar
- To skin the tomatoes: cut a small cross with a sharp knife in the bottom, then immerse small batches in boiling water for 20 to 30 seconds. Remove with a slotted spoon and the skins will peel of easily.
- Place all ingredients in a preserving pan or large saucepan and heat gently until the sugar dissolves.
- Bring to the boil and boil gently, uncovered, for approximately 2 hours, stirring from time to time, until the vegetables are soft and the mixture is thick and pulpy.
- Spoon into warm sterilised jars, seal, label and store.
- Makes about 2.3 kg (5 lb)
We started eating ours straight away, but the flavour definitely improves with time.
I may have to make another batch later in the year as we’ve already finished almost two small jars since I made it a couple of weeks ago. This is a definite favourite in our house along with piccalilli, which I’ve also recently made and will post about soon. There is an enticing selection of recipes on my Pinterest preserves board if you are looking for more inspiration. What about you, dear reader, do you have a favourite preserve recipe to share?