This week I became a domestic goddess – I made chutney for the very first time! This was prompted by a WhatsApp from Victoria – could I do anything with her green home grown tomatoes?
I couldn’t help a twinge of jealousy – at least she had what could be described as a crop of tomatoes – I had only managed to produce the grand total of two this year – I blame the compost I used.
A Google threw up a celebrity chef recipe that required a number of fancy sounding ingredients – namely “spiced pickling vinegar” and “light muscovado sugar”. This put me off a bit – in these Covid times I am minimising my trips to the supermarket and had a feeling I may need to try a few to get what was needed. I mentioned this to Victoria and in the blink of an eye my phone pinged – a list of ingredients and a photo of Victoria’s Grandma’s chutney recipe. I realised I had everything to hand – no need to don my mask and go supermarket foraging!
I set to – the tomato chopping was a bit tedious (this did include my two), but eventually I had everything bubbling away. The pan was possibly a tad small for stirring the contents without spillages. I persevered and after a while the mixture started to reduce in volume, making stirring less messy, but there didn’t seem to be any sign of it resembling jam, as per Grandma’s instructions. I was starting to regret not having chopped the tomatoes into smaller pieces. Maybe it was the sugar – now that’s a story in itself. I used some of the small amount of demerara sugar I have left in my store cupboard – it is almost 40 years old (I don’t pay much attention to sell by dates when it comes to something like sugar). My other half went on exercise to Guyana in 1981 and arrived home with a huge sack of demerara sugar. Since then the sugar has travelled with us all over the world – there is only about half a kilo left now. Anyway I digress – after what seemed like hours, all of a sudden the mixture began to resemble jam and it tasted delicious. But what to do now – Grandma’s instructions refer to jars without metal lids – I don’t even have any jars with metal lids – too efficient with the recycling. I managed to source one by decanting our coffee into a different container. Another WhatsApp exchange and Victoria came to the rescue, fishing an array of jars out of her recycling box.
Sterilising complete, I spooned in the chutney and felt even more domestic goddess like as I cut greaseproof paper circles to place on the top of the chutney. Finally I proudly labelled up the jars- 3 in total.
I really dislike wasting food (cue sugar) so I feel extremely satisfied with the results!