It has been a while, last year in fact, since I last made chutney. Once a year, normally around this time I start to feel the need to produce bottles and jars filled with goodies for Christmas. Some are given as presents but lots I like to keep in the house for me and the family to indulge in throughout the year too.
Also, chutney seemed like the perfect recipe to submit into Violet Posy’s “Thrifty Christmas “. The timing could not be better. I wanted to add something that is both Christmassy but can also be a useful store cupboard standby that I love to eat with some strong Cheddar and oatcakes.
This wonderfully aromatic, delicately spiced chutney is one that I have been using for years. It came into it’s own during my years of cooking at The Open Air Theatre, Regent’s Park. I would make vat loads of the stuff to serve with the ever popular Honey Glazed Ham that could not be taken off the menu due to continual customer demand!
What I like about this chutney is you can eat it straight away as opposed to waiting for a month, which so many chutney recipes require. This would not have worked for me at the Park and actually, if I go to the trouble of making something, I want to be able to eat it right away if I so choose!
The recipe originates from one of my all time favourite cookbooks and cookery writers. “The Almost Vegetarian Cookbook” written by Josceline Dimbleby. I was introduced to it whilst cooking at a very smart tennis club by the chef (who was in one of the first ever Masterchef finals with Lloyd Grossman as the host) as he used it in particular for the dessert section.
I have adapted the recipe slightly. Instead of chilli powder, I use dried bird’s eye chillies and also added yellow mustard seeds to the list of ingredients. I am always on the hunt for Josceline’s cookbooks and have tracked down quite a few over the years in charity shops or book fairs. I hope you give this recipe a try………Here’s to a Thrifty Christmas……..
Spice Aubergine, Apricot & Tomato Chutney
Ingredients :~ Makes 6 Jam Jars
125g dried apricots chopped
450ml orange juice
2 aubergines chopped into small cubes
3inch piece ginger finely chopped
8 garlic cloves finely chopped
8 cardamom pods de-seeded & crushed
2tsp cumin seeds
- 1tsp yellow mustard seeds
300ml cider vinegar
3tbsp sherry vinegar
375g light muscovado sugar
2 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes
5 dried bird’s eye chillies crushed
Wash your jam jars and place them in the oven at 100 degrees to sterilize them
Soak the chopped apricots in the orange juice for 1 hour.
Bring a large pan of water to the boil.
Boil the aubergines for 5 minutes.Drain the aubergines and set aside.
Place the soaked apricots, orange juice, aubergines, garlic, ginger, cardamom, cumin seeds into a large heavy weight saucepan.
Add both vinegars, sugar, chopped tomatoes , salt and dried chillies.
Bring the mixture to the boil then simmer gently for betweem 1 & 1/2 to 2 hours.
Stir the chutney regularly to prevent it catching on the bottom of the pan.
Once the chutney is cooked and cooled check the seasoning before de-canting in to the sterilized jars.
Make sure the lids are tightened fully to prevent any bacteria forming.
This chutney is best served with cheese, cold cuts or sausages.