If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen

Ever since I returned from the UK I’ve been craving cheese and relish or chutney sandwiches.  I had some Branston pickle left and kept making Le Montagnard cheese and Branston pickle sandwiches.  Then I discovered a treasure in the back of my cupboard – a jar of green tomato chutney that I made last summer.  Once that jar was empty, I couldn’t wait to make some more.

Due to this year’s non-spring, the tomatoes in my parents’ garden aren’t green yet, so I keep pestering them as to when I can have some.  This weekend I decided I couldn’t wait any longer.  I’d make red tomato chutney instead, with shop-bought tomatoes.  With 29°C inside the house, it probably wasn’t the best idea to stand in the kitchen making chutney.  But such was my craving that I just had to.

This Red Tomato Chutney is adapted from the Green Tomato Chutney recipe out of “Preserve” published by Hamlyn.

Red Tomato Chutney

1 kg tomatoes, finely chopped
500 g onions, finely chopped
500 g cooking apples, finely chopped
2 fresh green chillies, halved, deseeded and finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tsp ground ginger
generous pinch of ground cloves
generous pinch of ground turmeric
50 g raisins
250 g soft dark brown sugar
300 ml white wine vinegar

Makes 2 kg

Just mix everything together in a large pan, bring to the boil, reduce heat and cover pan.  Stir frequently while letting the mixture simmer for 1½ hours.  The chutney will have thickened by then.

Transfer to clean, warm, dry jars, top with airtight lids, and let mature in a cool, dark place for at least 3 weeks before using.  Unopened, this chutney can be stored for 6 – 12 months.

Two things regarding the original recipe:  I left out the raisins because I don’t like them in food.  The other is that it says preparation time is 15 minutes.  I didn’t exactly hurry because I had all the time in the world today, and this heat wave certainly didn’t encourage me to do anything fast, but finely chopping the tomatoes, apples and onions – I used the mini shredder for the onions, but they still had to be peeled – no way can that happen in 15 minutes.  All in all, I spent about 1½  hours preparing everything.  I’m sure it can be done faster, but still not in 15 minutes.

As for the end result – same as last year – I could not resist opening the first jar before the 3 weeks are over, although the chutney really is best when it’s matured.  Should you try this, bear in mind that this first taster will have a slightly vinegary taste which will be much less pronounced after the chutney has matured.  Also, the colour will fade and it will look more brownish.

So tonight when the chutney had cooled down – unfortunately, the air inside and outside still hasn’t – I had my first taste of it in a sandwich together with L’amour rouge d’Antoine cheese.  Aaaah yes, definitely worth a few hours in the kitchen at 29°C!