A long weekend is with us as the island prepares for the feast of St Paul’s Shipwreck on Monday.
You may think I exaggerate when i say that we have glorious weather at the beginning of February but it is true that today we have another marvelous day, clear cloudless skies and we are already starting to enjoy longer days, glorious bright days in the heart of the Mediterranean.
And with a fridge stocked with vegetables that need to be used, I am making a chutney today. Something to take to mum in a jar when I visit this weekend… not a very spicy chutney but it is laced with finely chopped fresh red chilis as I like both the visual effect and the delicately spicy flavor with the sweetness.
The base is zucchini, onions and apple and it is pectin free with no artificial additives. I also add fresh ginger and it is really lovely served with a cheese plate, as an accompaniment to a curry or simply with cold meats. Because of the fresh chili, this chutney needs to be stored in the fridge. If you prefer to store it in your cupboard, omit the fresh chilis and simply add some flaked chilies to suit your taste. I would allow 1 level tablespoon per 500g of fruit and vegetable content but adjust according to your preference.
You will need :
600g apple, peels and soaked in lemon juice and water
1/4 cup cider vinegar
5 lemons, squeezed
1 kg sugar
4 tablespoons fresh minced ginger
2 cloves garlic
2 Tablespoons fresh chopped chili
2 teaspoons Sea Salt
Pulse all the ingredients in a blender with the exception of the salt, sugar, fresh chili, cider vinegar and lemons. Do not liquidizer or purée, you simply want a pulp worth a lot of texture (as if the fruit and vegetables have been grated coarsely)
Place into a huge saucepan and pour half the lemon juice and all the cider vinegar and stir.
Place on high heat and stir constantly. Cook until the fruit and vegetables are soft with a bite.
Strain through a colander and keep the liquid. Return to a saucepan with the rest of the lemon juice. Add the salt and bring to boil again. Add all the sugar all at once. Stir until it starts to boil and keep at rolling boil for 20 minutes. Do the saucer test and if it is the right consistency turn off the heat. I like to cool jams and chutneys rapidly otherwise the will keep cooking and loose the color.
I add the chili at the end before storing the chutney in sterilized jars. Remember that if you are using fresh chilis you will need to store it in the fridge.
If you decide to add flaked chili instead of fresh, bottle it while it is still hot. You may want to check out this new method that I was shown a few months ago for sterilizing jars …