Tomato Chutney, Take 2

I posted a recipe for a spicy tomato chutney a couple of weeks ago. Here now is a variation on it that is less hot but has a more complex flavour. The major things that are in this that were not in the previous are habanero chillies, ginger, Sichuan peppercorn and—wait for it, wait for it—raisins. The latter—I fully admit—were put in there mostly to troll my friend Aparna—a renowned hater of dried fruits being added to anything savoury—but they work really well here. Speaking of haters, when I posted the recipe of the first chutney on a food forum a gent there got very wound up about the fact that the recipe did not follow the convention of listing the ingredients in the exact order in which they appear in the preparation. He was apparently so confused by this that he had to stop reading. This is one of the most hilarious things I’ve come across in a while. You’d have to work really hard, I think, to be confused by that recipe. As for the convention itself, I suppose it may be a useful one. My own recipes rarely follow it, and when I cook from any recipe I set all the ingredients out and then follow the cooking steps—it hardly matters whether I set the ingredients out in the order of the cooking steps. My position, in any case,—as I noted on Twitter—is that you fuckers should be happy I list quantities and cooking times at all, having been “trained” by my mother on a steady diet of “a little” and “some” and “cook till it smells good”. If it really does bother you so much you should apply to management for a refund. Continue reading

Peach-Habanero-Ginger Chutney

Before I became a pickling fool I used to be a jam-making fool. My jam making has slowed to a trickle in recent years with one exception: peach chutney/jam. I make one version or the other of it every year. Ginger always goes into it (as in this jam with bourbon from five years ago) but the rest usually depends on what’s at hand. This year what was at hand was a lot of habanero peppers from my community garden plot and so I decided to throw them in. To cut the heat I added apple cider vinegar and then at the end I randomly decided to roast and powder some cumin seeds and toss them in too. One of the reasons my peach chutney varies from year to year is that I never write down whatever seat of the pants improvization I come up with. This year, however, some of the friends I gave a lot of the chutney to liked it so much that I wrote it down the next day. I don’t know if I’ll make it the exact same way again next year—I probably won’t—but there’s no reason why you shouldn’t make it like I did, is there? Continue reading

Pineapple Chutney

Pineapple Chutney
I bought a pineapple for a fruit salad for the younger brat’s birthday party. In the chaos of preparing for the party—which included an extended wrestling session with an inflated and partially filled kiddie pool that could have been the showstopper in a Buster Keaton film—I forgot to cut up said pineapple for the fruit salad. I then forgot about the pineapple until the day before we were to leave for Los Angeles. Admittedly, this is a hard thing to do; not forgetting in general: any fool can forget all kinds of things and I often do. But it is difficult to forget a pineapple because, unless you actively hide it, a pineapple is a very visible thing, almost flagrantly so; tends to catch the eye—there’s a reason Carmen Miranda didn’t put a pineapple on her head (didn’t want the competition, you see); and if she did, it also proves my point. So unless you hid a pineapple—and who could forget hiding a pineapple?—it would be hard to forget a pineapple. But I did. And then I saw it and I had to do something with it that didn’t include eating it as we had lots of other fruit to finish before leaving and when it comes to the frantic overeating of fruit it is mangoes and not pineapples I am partial to. The effort of making jam from one pineapple—not to mention the uncertainty about canning said jam given that pineapple is a high pH fruit—did not appeal. Chutney then. Continue reading