If I could live off of a diet that consisted entirely of bread, cheese & jam alone then I would die a happy woman, albeit a little chunky & bunged up but happy nonetheless. It’s a little unconventional though, to eat a meal consisting of just one of these things, everything needs a partner, an accompaniment, perhaps a vegetable or two to round it off & add some balance.
Ironically, the trio paired together can work quite well (if you’ve never tried crusty bread topped with a strong mature cheddar & quality apricot jam then you ought) but a more traditional version of my curious eating habits would be cheese, crackers & chutney.
The savoury equivalent of jam, chutney is another of my preserving loves. Jars of weird & wonderful chutneys suddenly start to pile up in my pantry over the course of the summer as I scramble to use up any excess of homegrown bits. They’re quick enough to disappear around Christmas time though, when for some reason my fridge consists of 80 percent cheese & diet of dreams temporarily becomes acceptable with odd Quality Street thrown in for good measure.
One such weird & wonderful concoction was born out of an excess of homegrown chillies. Depending on how seasonable the weather has been over the course of the summer, chillies are generally ready for harvesting from July onwards. After a particularly hot & sunny season, I found myself with a bumper crop & let’s face it, as with anything from the garden, there’s only so much of one thing you can eat before it begins to lose it’s appeal.
Thus I began experimenting with thing’s like chilli jam, cornbread & chutneys. This was one of my favourite results in the chutney department. The superb combination of pineapple & chilli is reminiscent of a mango chutney in flavour but with more sweetness & spice. Pineapple & golden sultanas add bite, sweetness & a glorious golden colour whilst the chillies provide another pop of colour & a much needed kick to bite through that sweetness. This is one of those chutney jars that doesn’t stay in the pile for very long.
PINEAPPLE & CHILLI CHUTNEY
- 1, 030g tinned pineapple rings or chunks, chopped (x3 365g tins)
- 2 large onions, finely chopped
- Thumb-sized piece of fresh ginger, grated
- 5 red chillies
- 450g soft light brown sugar
- 350ml cider vinegar
- 1 tbsp mustard seeds
- 1 tbsp black onion seeds
- 150g golden sultanas
- Zest & juice x1 lime
- Heat a little oil in a maslin pan or a large heavy bottomed saucepan set over a medium heat
- Add the chopped onions to the pan & fry for 5 minutes until softened
- Add the spices to the pan & fry for another minute
- Pour in all of the remaining ingredients before giving it a good stir
- Increase to a medium high heat & bring the mixture to a simmer
- Leave the chutney to simmer for 1hr 15 -20 minutes until most of the liquid has cooked out & the chutney has thickened & become pulpy (don’t worry if there is still a little liquid left in the mixture)
- Leave the chutney in the pan to cool before potting into clean, sterilised jars