Fall, I mean autumn (you Americans are getting to me), has certainly… descended and what will follow in its footsteps is a plethora of autumnal delights. As mentioned before, our apple tree has been full of life this year and has stayed true to its promise, even though other horticultural members of our usually bountiful garden haven’t. This is more than made up for, however, as the delightfully tasty, yet devilishly spicy chutney you see before you will demonstrate. The chutney is utterly scrumptious and can be enjoyed in all manner of ways, though with cheese and crackers is certainly my favourite. Don’t let the amount of chilli in this recipe put you off; if that much heat isn’t to your taste, simply alter the recipe to suit – it’ll still retain all of its flavour. Enjoy!
Chutney is one of the most enjoyable culinary experiences one can have; it’s risk free, very simple and produces an extremely versatile and delicious food. My mango chutney, for instance, wasn’t at all difficult, yet people were still asking me to produce it by the barrel-full. No doubt, some of you will enquire as to whether one should use cooking apples or eating apples in this chutney. The educated guess would probably be ‘cooking apples’, but it would be wrong… at least a little wrong. It doesn’t really matter what type of apples one uses in this chutney, as long as the apple has enough body not to turn to mush completely. I think a sturdy eating apple, like a Braeburn, works particularly well since it’s not too sweet, but it definitely doesn’t require the addition of extra sugar. Similarly, one could use any vinegar, even malt, but I think red wine vinegar gives this chutney a more powerful flavour and colour – there’s nothing like a bit of intrigue.
Everyone I know seems to adore chutney, so whenever I mention that some chutney is in the offing my ears become inundated with requests for a pot or two. However, I don’t like to make massive batches, so I shall try to make it more frequently instead. Do you have a favourite type of chutney, or an interesting combination you’d wish me to explore? Mention it in the comments and I might give it a whirl!
Apple and Cinnamon Chutney
Makes 4-5 jars
• 5-6 firm eating apples, peeled, cored and chopped up
• 2 onions, finely chopped
• 2 red chillies, finely chopped with seeds
• 1 tsp chilli flakes
• 1 cinnamon stick
• 2 bay leaves
• 500ml red wine vinegar
• 250g golden caster sugar
• 50g dark brown sugar
1. Tip the apples, onions, chillies, flakes, cinnamon stick, bay leaves and vinegar into a large, thick bottom saucepan. Bring to the boil and once the apples have softened add the sugar, a pinch of salt and twist of pepper. Bring to the boil and simmer until thick.
2. As the chutney is approaching the end of its cooking sterilise some jam jars by putting them in the oven at 100C. Tip the chutney into the jars and allow to cool completely before sealing. This chutney should last a number of months before it is unfit to eat.
Cost: The only expense in making this chutney is the apples. However, if like me you have access to free apples, then there is no issue at all. Still, even if you are paying for your apples this chutney should set you back around £4 – not bad since it makes 4-5 jars which would set you back at least £2.50 each if bought individually.