chilli jam

I read something somewhere written by Viv Groskop which described homemade preserves as “bottled affection” and I can’t imagine a better description. During my sabbatical in September I bottled a lot of affection in the form of this chilli jam and I’ve carried on making a batch every week to give as christmas presents.

This is a recipe from Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall which is failsafe, with one proviso – Hugh says it cooks in 30 minutes. Hah! What is he cooking with, the hadron collider perhaps, because it takes about an hour and 15 minutes to become properly thick.

To make four small jars:

1 kg of tomatoes – buy big ones because you have to peel, then chop them
1 thumb of ginger
2 red chillies, seeds removed
4 cloves garlic
2 star anise
600g of granulated sugar (I know, this is a diabetic inducing amount)
200ml of cider vinegar

Put the chillies, garlic and ginger in a food processor and chop until fine. Put in a large pan with the rest of the ingredients. Simmer for around an hour until it is as thick as you want it to be. Leave it to cool and then decant into four small jars and put a circle of wax or greaseproof paper on the top before sealing. Store or eat straight away.

It’s fantastic on cheese on toast and with breakfast eggs. Also good smeared on sheets of nori, wrapped around salmon and baked in the oven for 20 minutes.

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