So just as we all reach the depths of financial despair and can’t afford to feed ourselves, here at English Towers we’ll be okay as our self sufficiency knows no bounds. Okay, so it wouldn’t be particularly pleasant to live on underripe tomatoes, parsley, carrots and erm… two courgettes, but hey, at least I’m trying. Anyhoo, I finally gave up hope of any of the tomatoes going red in the greenhouse, picked them all and dug up the plants. This left me with two huge bowls of green tomatoes. Here’s the result of my chutney experiments, which left my kitchen looking like somebody had spontaneously combusted in there, but is pleasantly sweet, satisfyingly sour and has a kick like a seriously unhappy mule:
1.4kg green tomatoes (I know, but I had a lot of tomato plants)
450g bramley apples (3 or 4 apples)
1 large red onion
450ml malt vinegar
225g demerara sugar (use a bit more if you like a more jammy result)
125g dried apricots
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp chilli flakes
2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp crushed black pepper
Can I just say that if you don’t have a really sharp knife, don’t even think about making this chutney. Chopping a mountain of green tomatoes with a blunt knife will only lead to rude words and missing fingers. You have been warned. So dice up all your tomatoes, peel and dice the apple and onion and chop the apricots. Add them, along with all the rest of the ingredients, to a very large saucepan.
Bring it all to the boil, then reduce and let it bubble away (hence the kitchen redecoration) stirring occasionally for about two hours or until there’s no excess liquid on the top.
Try and be slightly less Frank Spencer-like in your jar filling than I was – actually getting some of the chutney IN the jars would be preferable, I could really do with a funnel. Oh and remember you need to wash them thoroughly and sterilise them first – a hot dishwasher cycle or 15 minutes in a cool oven should do it. Shove the lid on and keep in a cool, dark cupboard to enjoy at Christmas with your coca cola baked ham and your Wexford cheddar… Savage, as #1 would say.