You say tomato, I say tomate

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Green Tomato Chutney

On the way back from France last spring, driving north from our place in the Pyrenees, we stumbled on a village fair filled with local people and businesses proudly peddling their wares.

We had stopped off hoping to find a bakery where we could get a pastry to eat in the car but we got more than we bargained for. The place was packed with everything from wonderful produce, breads, cheeses and meats to a flea market area and and lots of farming type equipment for sale.

After a decent mooch wimg_5998ith bruv and sis in law, Slippers and Tigger, we all picked up some really healthy looking small tomato plants, of differing varieties hoping to recreate the fabulous selection we get locally when in france, from the little yellow pear shaped ones, to the meaty black fruits that are so heavy with their juicy flesh. We were excited about the prospect of getting them home and the promise of a decent crop. This done, we settled down to some tasty ham a cheese gallettes, because it would have been rude not to.

img_6756Rocket and I have tried really hard to create a haven in our small garden that encompasses both a place to sit and enjoy a meal or glass of wine and where we can have a few herbs and veg with which to augment our larder. This has been a labour of something like love (I’m not a natural gardener) and by the end of the summer, the whole thing was somewhat rampant particularly the triffid like tomato vines from which we had a lot of late fruit thanks to a really warm September. In fact the prolific foliage continued to fruit well into October but by this time the sun had lost it’s intensity and we were left with 3 kilo of green tomatoes.img_7544

Rocket dutifully picked them all, having decided that they would be made into a chutney. These left over toms have turned into a tangy and delicious pairing to some mature cheddar we had, and the img_8624flavour will develop further in the next few weeks, so something to look forward to as well…’happy days’ as Slippers would say. We find making chutney to use up a glut of fruit or veg to be very satisfying because it’s a delicious thang… with the added advantage of not wasting food – always good. img_8615

On this cold Autumn night in London, we have been reminded of that sunny spring trip, and the village fair that provided us with a summer of fruiting plants.

Here is how Rocket made the chutney…

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Ingredients

3 kilos of unripe tomatoes, washed, cored and roughly chopped ( we chose not to peel – for life is too short.

8 onions peeled and chopped to around 1 cm pieces – we used pink ones, brown will be just as well.img_8620

8 Chilli’s (4 de-seeded) and finely chopped.(Red will be fine – these are yellow ones we have growingin our garden).

3 garlic cloves, peeled and very finely chopped.

4cm ginger root, peeled and grated.

1 tbsp black mustard seeds

1 tbsp coriander seeds

1 tbsp fenugreek seeds

1 tsp turmeric

1/2 tsp asopheteda

3 tbsp cider vinegar

3 tbsp heaped of preserving sugar

3 tbsp sea salt.

2 tbsp sunflower oilimg_8622

Method:

  1. Dry toast the fenugreek and coriander seeds and grind them to a fine powder.
  2. Next, in a large pan,  fry the onions in the oil and when they are starting to soften and colour add the chilli, ginger and garlic.
  3. Stir well then add the ground spices, turmeric and asopheteda.
  4. Now add the tomatoes, sugar, salt and vinegar and bring up to a boiling temerature before turning the heat down to a very low simmer.
  5. While the tomatoes are cooking wash your jars, a large spoon and a wide necked funnel in soapy water and rinse well then sterilize by either putting them in the dishwasher or the oven on a 100 degrees until dry. Take them out being careful not to touch the inside or the inside of the lids and sit them on a tray.img_8617
  6. Simmer the chutney for around 2 hours until the veg is soft and the consistency is nice and thick.
  7. Take the chutney off the heat and spoon into jars using the funnel. Seal the jars and store for 3 to 4 weeks until mature.

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