It may seem strange to describe a chilli (or any vegetable for that matter) as 'cute', but there's something about these guys that just reminds me of something out of the Muppets. They almost look like they have a nose and mouth hidden in their funny little wrinkles. And the colour! Yes, I'm a little enthusiastic about them. When I took some in to sell at our local food co-op recently (along with some luscious bunches of kale, silverbeet, chard and red mustard leaves), I must have seemed more than a little like a doting mother, showing them off. But that's kinda how I feel about our garden and its produce. A little proud.
But the fact remains that (as always) we grew way more chillies than we knew what to do with.
Sadly, chillies aren't a regular feature in our menus at home, on account of the fact that one of our kids is not at all keen on them. For this reason, the chilli condiment is in hot demand (sorry) because it can be added after cooking, according to personal taste.
The totally amazing chilli jam made by Ding has been rather a staple in our house since a very generous and kind friend sent us a whole box of it (it's not available in Bega), but that box has all but gone. So green tomato and chilli jam seemed the obvious choice of preserve. Thing is, it turns out that green tomato and chilli jam isn't really a thing. Not too many recipes made themselves available to me, so I took matters into my own hands, using just the ingredients list on the side of the last remaining Ding jar as guidance.
|Garlic, ginger, chillies and tomatoes at various stages of ripeness, ready to be blended in our special, Indonesian low-wattage blender
Here's what I did:
Chucked lots of tomatoes, chillies, garlic, ginger, little mini capicums and onions into our special low-wattage Indo blender (normal blenders would freak out our solar system) and whizzed it, adding malt vinegar as needed to make it liquid enough to blend. Then I dumped the whole lot into a big saucepan with some tamarind juice, some fresh mint, coriander and basil, a slop of sunflower oil, some sugar and some salt. Then I simmered the lot for about an hour. When it seemed to be a good jam consistency, I put it into hot, sterilised jars.
I know this recipe might seem a lot like George's Marvellous Medicine, but here's the thing: just like George's concoction, my jam really worked!! The jars all sealed! It tastes freaking delicious!
Unfortunately, the 'George' method of cooking probably means I'll never be able to recreate the glory... Or maybe I will, in infinite variations, for all the years we grow too many chillies and need a way to preserve them. Who's to know? We'll just have to wait til next Autumn to find out. Hopefully this lot will last til then.