Sunday, 25 August 2013

Spicy plum and apple chutney

I love having a nice chutney around the house for burgers, pies and sandwiches.  So I was surprised to find that I hadn't blogged about a chutney since 2010.  I was also a little sad that when I finally got around to making chutney for the first time in ages I wasn't bowled over by it.  It was a little too sweet, too much star anise and not enough bite.  But it is growing on me.  By the end of the last jar I might even be sad to finish it.

Before my mum and dad left for holiday some months ago, my mum noticed ripe apples on her apple tree.  She gave me a bagful.  When I think of my mum and apples, I have an image of her taking an apple off the tree, polishing it on her trousers until it shines (sort of like a cricketer polishes the cricket ball) and giving it to us for a bite.

The apples were a bit manky for eating so I decided to make chutney.  Since then Sylvia and I have discovered a love of stewed apples.  We eat them on porridge or just by the spoonful.  I have been buying cheap manky apples to stew.  But at the time, I felt the need for chutney.

I reduced the sugar by about a quarter.  It was still too sweet.  I resisted the urge to include mustard seeds but after trying the tomato chutney my mum brought home from Ireland, I regret that.  I have enjoyed star anise in a few meals but I am not so keen on it in this chutney.  I also boiled it longer than the recipe said because it just didn't look right.  Unfortunately I boiled it a little fast at the end and burnt the saucepan.

At least I got the sterilisation of the jars right.  I found it quite helpful to put them in a large roasting dish when I put them in the oven because it made them so easy to take out and fill while hot.

It was very satisfying to hear the lids popping as the cooling air drew the seals inwards.  It reassured me that they would be fine to sit in the cupboard for a few months as directed by the recipe.  Often I am too impatient and/or nervous to wait that long.

After all the waiting, I was excited about tasting the chutney.  It was ok but didn't grab me.  I made some chia bread and vegan cheddar cheese to celebrate.  It didn't quite work.  The cheese needed a more robust chutney.  More spice, less sugar.

Then I bought a bitey blue cheese and the chutney still didn't work.  To be fair, I wasn't so keen on the blue cheese much either.  I have had more success using it with vegie sausages and with a vintage cheddar cheese.

It is nice to have homemade chutney in the cupboard again.  Yet when I finish it, I think I will revert to some favourite flavours.

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Spicy plum and apple chutney
Adapted from BBC Good Food
made about 8 smallish jars

1 garlic bulb
thumb-size piece fresh root ginger
2 large onions
1kg granny smith apples
3 star anise (or less)
1 tsp cumin seeds
2 tsp fennel seeds
1 cinnamon stick
500ml cider vinegar
1 tbsp sea salt
1kg plums
350g raw sugar (or less)
[Some black pepper or cayenne pepper would be good]

Peel and finely chop onions, garlic and ginger.  Chop apples and plums.  Place onions, garlic, ginger, apples, spices, vinegar and salt into a stockpot.  Cover, bring to the boil and simmer gently for 30 minutes on low heat.  Add plums and sugar.  Simmer another 40 minutes until thickened.  (Mine seemed more sauce than chutney at this stage so I boiled it for another 15 minutes until it looked like chutney.)

While chutney is boiling, prepare jars.  If you have a dishwasher you can put them through a cycle.  I don't have a dishwasher so I put mine into a big roasting tin (for ease of handling) and baked them for 30 minutes at 150 C.  I boiled the lids on the stovetop for 10 minutes.

Remove and discard star anise and cinnamon sticks.  Ladle the hot chutney into hot jars.  Put on lids while hot and they should depress as they cool.  I could heat the pop of the lids as they depressed.  This is a sign that they are sealed.  Cool.  Label (I used glue to stick on labels) and leave in a dark cool cupboard for at least 2 months.

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25 comments:

  1. oh my - I love a good chutney - and this looks simply divine!

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    1. Thanks Lisa - it is growing on me

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  2. Well done for trying to find a chutney to suit! Must admit I'm not a chutney girl either, though I did once enjoy mango chutney over a roast chicken salad at a friend's BBQ. But that wouldn't help you! :P

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    1. Thanks Hannah - I've always avoided mango chutney because I don't like mangoes but then I had one this year I quite liked so maybe one day I will make one - though unlikely to eat it over chicken!

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  3. Oh I've always wanted to try make my own chutney, but most recipes I come across seem to contain ridiculous amount of sugar! My dad has a plum tree at his house, so I'll try score some off him when they come into season. This sounds delicious!

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    1. Thanks Reanna - this one had too much sugar for my liking - I like to taste a bit of the vinegar and couldn't in this one but with less sugar would probably taste much better. Home grown plums are amazing - lucky you!

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  4. I always have a jar of chutney in the fridge (or two or three-oops!). And totally agree that the sealing of the jar is such a happy moment when preserving :)

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    1. Thanks Lorraine - I stopped making chutney for a while because we seemed to have too much - but it is either fast or famine - so once I found myself buying it again I felt it was time to make more!

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  5. I love stewed apples too. If I ever get to stewing them, it is tough to progress further to do something else with them afterwards! I have never made chutney though so I really need to give it a try - and this sounds perfect to my tastes.

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    1. Thanks Kari - I really disliked stewed apples when I was younger but I think it was because my mum made them all the time and never stewed stone fruit - I have learnt that stone fruit is best fresh and some apples are good for nothing but stewing (or chutney)

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  6. Looks delicious. I used to make jars and jars of chutney but ended up with too many so didn't make any for a while. I may have to re-start. This looks so good and perfect for using your fruit.

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    1. Thanks Katie - a jar of chutney lasts us a while (unless E stirs it through pasta but let's not go there!) We didn't have any for a while and now this lot seems quite overwhelming and not quite good enough for gifts

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  7. I adore chutney and these Spicy plum and apple chutney sound really yummy. Love the wonderful spices you use here.

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    1. Thanks Amy - plum and apple is a great chutney combination - I think the spices are right for these fruits but I do love mustard in chutney

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  8. The apple chutney sounds wonderful!

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  9. There are some flavors of chutney that I LOVE and some that I find just eh...so I think it really is hit or miss. I love five spice though...I'd probably gobble up this whole jar!

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    1. Thanks Joanne - indeed all chutneys are not equal - my mum had chutneys that I find too spicy. I haven't really got into five spice though I read a lot of recipes with it in blogs and think I probably should try some

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  10. OMG YUM! I looooove pickles and chutney with cheese. Especially on yummy sour dough. Is there anything better? I eat it until my tummy hurts though.. no self control! Printing this puppy for my weekend cooking. x

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    1. Thanks Cass - oh yes - chutney and cheese is one of my favourite things to have with good fresh bread

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  11. How lovely to be given homegrown apples. I've made apple chutney before but it was a very long time ago. You've inspired me to make chutney again xx

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    1. thanks Charlie - nothing like home grown apples to inspire a batch of chutney - hope you make some chutney soon

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  12. yummmmmmy,plum and apple chutney with a spicy twist,we are so going to make this today,thanks for the inspiration...we would love this spread over nut bread with cheese,awesome recipe :-)

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    1. Thanks Kumars Kitchen - this chutney spread over nut bread and cheese sounds delicious - enjoy!

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  13. This looks like something I want to try! Lately I've been making a lot of jam, but no chutney yet. I like the idea of combining plums, apples, and star anise. Right now I miss some of the spices, but since I've recently discovered a wonderful Asian food store in the neighborhood, I know where to get them. :)

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