Thursday, 27 October 2005

Fruity Chutney

Fruity Chutney
Now that I'm sure that my EBBP2 partner, Farid, has received my box I guess I can blog about the chutney I made. I was scrambling to find something to make to for Farid since Andrew said the theme was 'something fruity'. I didn't want to make another cookie, fortunately I found this recipe from the September 2004 issue of the BBC Good Food Magazine. This chutney was great and so appropriate since it uses mostly in-season autumn fruits. I was naturally apprehensive since I've never made chutney before nor sterilise jars. I was meant to leave it to simmer for a long period but I couldn't help peeking and stirring it afraid that my very first chutney will burn. After more than an hour, finally the mixture started to really thicken and jell and I'm ready to load it in sterilised jars. Mind you, I tasted the chutney and it was so soury-sweet-slightly spicy good! Actually the taste reminds me of my favourite champoy (Chinese fruit preserve). Hehehe.

Days before I went out looking for preserving jars in cookshops. The smallest I can find are these half-a-liter capacity ones. I was thinking they're kinda big but since I didn't have any other alternative I bought them. So with that done, time to find out how to sterilise. I didn't know there were several ways of doing these and decided to follow Delia Smith's How to Cook that says to put the jars in a 350F/180C preheated oven for *at least* 10 minutes. The rubber seal was not included of course otherwise it will cook in the heat. So I washed and cleaned and dried the jars then baked them and separately scalded the rubber seals with very hot water. As soon as I took out the jars from the oven I poured in the chutney. It was actually sizzling as I did it, then quickly put a waxed paper disc on top (the book said this is to prevent mold from forming). The hardest part for me is fitting the not-so-elastic hot rubber seal onto the very hot glass lid. This is necessary coz it has to be sealed while everything is still hot. So there - I've got my very first chutney preserve. Time will tell if my sterilising and sealing were any good. Both Delia and the magazine recommended that chutneys be consumed at least 3 months from the time it was made to allow the flavours to mature. Well, it's already 1 month and I'm definitely counting 'til I can slather it on cheese, roasts or cold cuts.

Fruity Chutney

900 g  plums - washed, stoned, and chopped
2 Bramley apples (about 550 g) - peeled, cored, and chopped
450 g  pears - peeled, cored, and chopped
1 large mango - peeled, stoned, and chopped
900 g  light or dark muscovado sugar
500 ml [2 cups] cider vinegar
2 medium onions - chopped
85 g  chopped stem ginger (from a jar of ginger in syrup, or crystallised)
3 garlic cloves - finely chopped
1 Tbsp mustard seeds
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp crushed dried chillies
1 tsp salt
1 cinnamon stick
  1. Put all the fruits in a wide-mouthed pan.
  2. Add in sugar, vinegar, onions, ginger, garlic, mustard seeds, coriander, crushed chillies and salt, then drop the cinnamon stick on top.
  3. Heat the pan slowly for about 20 mins, while occasionally stirring, until the sugar has dissolved.
  4. Let it simmer at a steady pace without the cover. Stir occasionally until reduced and thickened but still with a nice balance of syrupy juice. This will take about 1 hour and 30 mins. Don't cook it until all the liquid has gone, as it will thicken once it cools.
  5. Discard the cinnamon stick.
  6. Using a heatproof jug or funnel, pour the chutney while still hot into sterilised jars. It will keep for about a year in a cool, dry place.

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