I think this might actually be the first properly savoury-item post I’ve made on here – as you can tell, most of my bloggable baking is of the sweet variety. Sure, I’ve made biscuits for cheese and the occasional loaf, but today’s post goes into new and exciting territory – spice! And plenty of it.
I’ve been a fan of The Spicery for quite a while now – Mike treated me and Jef to a three-month subscription to their curry kit service the other Christmas and I had great fun cooking up some lovely vegetarian delights. When he emailed to share their latest crop of spice kits, I found myself adding all sorts of things to my basket. The chilli apple chutney caught my eye first: I knew I was due to spend a chunk of the weekend on my annual onion-pickling activities and the idea of having a batch of chutney puttering away at the same time really appealed. I make the onions for my immediate and extended family, taking over a role that my grandma used to have every year – producing a jar of crisp and eye-watering onions to enjoy with only Christmas proper breakfast: that fine old Leicester tradition of pork pie and pickled onions! (A veggie one for me, of course.)
It was a cold and rainy Saturday so perfect for these activities. Of course, being me I was also putting the finishing touches to the Phase One introduction, so my notes are now dotted with little bits of apple peel and the odd splash of vinegar. I finished writing at about the same time as this delightful vat of aromatic apples completed cooking. I’m hoping that I’ll enjoy it through the year, and share it with the same people who I gift the onions to. A new tradition – and one I expect I’ll return to in future.
The scent this made as it was cooking was delightful: rich and appley and very, very spicy. I’ve not yet taste-tested any of the jars so this is going to be a tantalising treat for later in the year…
Here’s the recipe from the Spicery website reproduced without permission but they’ve been so lovely on Twitter, I hope they won’t mind. (NB A handful of sultanas were also suggested in the recipe but I completely forgot about adding them!)
Chilli Apple Chutney
Makes 5 small jars, see photo at the top!
- 1 kg cooking apples
- 400g sugar – I used demerera
- 1 onion
- 300 ml of red wine vinegar
- 1 x spice pack as above
- Peel and core the apples, chop roughly and pile into a very large saucepan.
- Add the chopped onion.
- Sprinkle over the spice powder and sugar, and pour in the red wine vinegar
- Bubble for an hour, until a spoon drawn through the mixture leaves a channel that the vinegar rushes to fill.
- Sterilise the jars by washing in warm soapy water before rinsing and baking in a 100 degree oven for half an hour. Don’t bake the lids, just wash them really, really well.
- Pour, dollop and splosh the chutney into each jar.
- Make some appealing labels and plaster them slightly unevenly onto the still-warm jars.
- Keep the jars in a dark place until Christmas – perhaps!