Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Making chutney on an Autumn afternoon...

There’s something intensely satisfying about seeing a row of brightly coloured bottles filled with home-made chutney on my kitchen table, glistening in the autumn sun.

My love for chutney stems from a childhood of eating Cape Malay curries and bobotie - my mother’s specialties. She had and still has, a heavy hand with chilli and when we could barely handle the heat, she would tell us that’s she’s burning the naughtiness out of us, something we still laugh about today. She has however, gifted us with a love for all things spicey, which was probably one of my inspirations to explore beautiful India and experience the diverse food culture there.

On a recent visit to my parent’s homestead in George, we harvested a huge basket of late-ripened vegetables from the garden. Green peppers, pepperdews and red baby aubergines made for the most delicious Mediteranean chutney, with a kick of course! My father brought baby red aubergine seeds from Italy, only to discover they had rather tough skins which made them unsuitable for roasting, but perfect for a chutney.

Chutney proved to be the ideal end for the huge basket of vegetables harvested, capturing something of summer for another day and another dish. What better way to preserve summer in a bottle!

Here are two delicious, tried and tested chutney recipes, both with a unique flavour and beautiful colour.

Mediterranean Vegetable Chutney:

450g onions, chopped
900g ripe tomatoes, skinned and chopped
1 aubergine, trimmed and cut into 1cm cubes
450g sliced courgettes
1 red pepper, quartered, seeded and sliced
1 yellow pepper, quartered, seeded and sliced
3 crushed garlic cloves
1 small sprig of rosemary
1 small sprig of thyme
2 bay leaves
15ml/1tbls salt
15ml paprika
300ml red wine vinegar vinegar
400g (2cups) granulated sugar


Prepare all the vegetables.
Add all the vegetables along with the herbs, bay leaves, salt, paprika and half of the vinegar to a big pot.
Bring to the boil and simmer for 30-40 minutes without a lid.
Add the sugar and the other half of the vinegar and continue to simmer without a lid, on a low heat for 1 ½ hours to 2 hours.
When the chutney looks dark and sticky in colour and coats the back of a spoon, remove from the heat.
Bottle in sterilized bottles.

Yellow Plum Chutney:

900g yellow plums, halved and stones
1 onion, finely chopped
7.5cm piece of ginger, peeled and grated
3 whole star anise
1 ½ cups white wine vinegar
1 cup soft light brown sugar
5 celery sticks, thinly sliced
3 green chillies, seeded and finely sliced
2 crushed garlic cloves
Prepare the fruit and the onions, ginger, celery, chilli and garlic.
In a big pot, bring all the fruit and vegetables to the boil with half of the vinegar.
Simmer without a lid on the pot, for 30-40 minutes.
Add the remaining vinegar and the sugar and simmer on a low heat for a further 1 ½ to 2 hours.
Simmer until all the fruit is glossy and cooked and the chutney coats the back of a spoon.
Remove from the heat and bottle in sterilized bottles.
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  1. Very nice article....blog is looking really good - Alex

  2. Thanks so much! Enjoy, hope you are trying some recipes!