Champions chutney

Okay, tenuous link in the title because it’s Wimbledon men’s finals day, but this chutney is seriously for winners. I made a big batch of chutney a few weeks ago that just didn’t make the grade. So I’ve spent time trying out some tweaks this week. The result is this really sunny, crowd pleasing chutney. It’s a gem, delivering an intensity of flavour and a wonderful warmth with every bite.

Champions chutney

To make around 3 x 500ml jars as shown above, you will need:

  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 5 garlic cloves
  • 1 white onion
  • 200g chopped aubergine
  • 600g chopped ripe tomato (I used big fresh tomatoes)
  • 200g runner beans chopped into 1cm pieces
  • 800g chopped courgette
  • 3 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tablespoon poppy seeds
  • 1 tsp hot chilli powder
  • 200g honey
  • 350ml cider vinegar
  • A little seasoning

To make:

  1. Fry the onion and garlic in a large heavy duty pan for a few minutes until soft and translucent.
  2. Add the spices and seeds then fry together for 2 – 3 minutes.
  3. Add the chopped vegetables. The size of the these depends on your own preference. It’s nice to have some chunkiness to a chutney, but you don’t want it too rustic. Give everything a good stir before pouring in the honey and vinegar. The liquid should just cover the vegetables.
  4. Let the chutney come to a boil, give it a good old stir and then turn down to a constant simmer, with the lid off. You need the liquid to evaporate over the next 1 1/2 to 2 hours and the vegetables gently soften. You can’t leave it to its own devices for the whole time. You need to give it the occasional thorough stir. Towards the end you’ll need to keep stirring to make sure it doesn’t dry out or start sticking.
  5. The chutney is ready when the liquid has reduced right down, leaving you with a thick sumptuous pot of sticky vegetables.
  6. Once you are happy, pop on a lid and leave to cool. Then re taste and check seasoning, before adding to jars. Make sure you stir well and distribute evenly in the jars.

I was lucky enough to pick my own vegetables for this chutney from the most idyllic working farm in Andalusia. The care and attention taken to nurture the produce is amazing. It undoubtedly makes a difference to the taste and romance of every dish made from such a wonderful place.

Spot the three of us in the sunflower field. Magical x

Sunflower_1

Courgette pickle pots

Wow. Seriously, check out the beauty of these vegetables. I’ve been lucky enough to be on the receiving end of two fantastic batches of produce from a finca in Spain. It excites me to cook with such honest fresh veg. I feel privileged to know the person that picked them and slightly embarrassed about some of the other packaged produce sat in my fridge from the supermarket.

Courgette pickle_1

So the season brings us green beans, courgettes and peppers. In abundance! I’ve been flicking through some of my old recipes as well as reading about other peoples take on courgette cake, stuffed peppers, roasted vegetables, fritters and stews.

First up this week, a wonderful warming pickle. This lively sharp pickle carries a subtle heat and makes a perfect partner for summer plates. Try with cheese and salads, or put a pot on the table when you serve up your next BBQ.

Courgette pickle_2

This recipe makes two 500ml pickle pots as shown here. If you have lots of vegetables, then double or quadruple the recipe to make more. If you use vacuum sealed kilner jars it will keep for around 4 months.

It’s really easy to make. Although I guess its fair to say that the better the vegetables, the better the taste.

To make two pickle pots you need:

  • Around 500g courgette (ribboned with a peeler or you can slice thinly with a knife)
  • 4 finely chopped shallots
  • 1 tsp tumeric
  • 2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 2 tsp dried chilli flakes
  • 1 tsp english or dijon mustard
  • 500ml cider vinegar
  • 1 cup (about 250ml) maple syrup
  • Salt

To make:

  1. Cover the courgettes with water and sprinkle with salt, leaving for an hour.
  2. Heat the maple syrup and cider vinegar on a low heat to melt the syrup in to the vinegar.
  3. Add the remaining ingredients to the liquid, stir well, remove from the heat.
  4. Drain the courgettes and dry gently with kitchen roll.
  5. Mix everything together and divide into 2 jars. Pour the liquid in as equally as you can.
  6. Tighten the jars and leave the pickle to develop its flavours in the fridge for 2-3 days.

Fresh from the field:

Courgette pickle_4

Enjoy x