'Yes', there's a tear in my eye, but 'No', it's not because I'm sad. It is the direct result of inhaling a powerful mix of garlic, chilli and ginger. I tossed up which of my blogs to do this on but I thought that cooking is a craft in it's own right, so I decided to go with this one. It makes a change from Christmas cards doesn't it?
Now I am a visual learner and I have really enjoyed following some of my friends' photographic recipes so I thought I'd have a go at doing one too. Those of you who follow my other blog will know that earlier this week I found myself with a supply of beautiful fresh ripe tomatoes, (see here if you missed it), so that was the cue for me to make some 'Hot Chilli and Ginger Jam'. Although this is sweet enough to deserve the name 'jam', it is really more of a pickle, and it does something quite amazing for a humble cheese sandwich, (especially if you are going to toast it), and it also goes well with cold meats etc. I should add that the original recipe came from the internet a very long time ago, and I cannot attribute it to anyone. I have changed it a little to suit what I have readily available here.
So here is what you need: 2Kg ripe tomatoes. 1Kg sugar.
100g garlic cloves. 400g fresh root ginger.
5g dried chillies. 100ml malt vinegar.
In these photos I am using 1½ times these quantities.
Start by peeling the tomatoes. (Stand them in a bowl of boiling water for a few minutes and then rinse under the cold tap and they will skin easily).
Halve the tomatoes and rinse under running water to remove the pips. I am not too fussy about this as I use the chillies whole, pips and all, so a few stray tomato ones are not a disaster.
Place in a large pan with the sugar (no added water) and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. I use my preserving pan because it is less likely to burn, or to spit and burn my hands!While they are cooking, peel and chop the garlic, (this is four smallish bulbs),
and the ginger, (a potato peeler can be helpful if the ginger is fresh enough to still be firm),
and chop the chillies. (The large ones are some I dried myself and the tiny ones were bought in the market). Fresh ones work just as well but you will have to guess the quantity!
Measure the vinegar. Add a little of each to blender and blend to form a fairly smooth paste, adding more of each until they are all used. I have a powerful hand-held 'blitzer' which is perfect for this, but any blender or liquidiser would do. This is the point at which the tears start to flow. It is pretty powerful stuff!
Add the paste to the cooked tomatoes, stir well, and simmer for a further 30 minutes.Blend the mixture until there are no large peices of tomato left. Again my hand-held mixer means I can do this in the pan which makes it easier.
Simmer for a further 60 minutes on a low heat, stirring occasionally. The resulting jam should be fairly thick so it is spreadable when cold. I had to boil mine a little longer this time as the tomatoes were so juicy.
The original recipe used 4 x 500g cans of peeled plum tomatoes. Surprisongly enough, seeing as fresh ones are so readily available, or maybe because of that, canned tomatoes are quite expensive out here, and though I keep a tin at the back of the cupboard for emergencies, I rarely use them, but they work just as well. Strain them and discard the juice, and proceed as above.
The last lot I made was quite brown but this batch is a lovely bright red. It can only be down to the freshness of the tomatoes.
A word of warning; The first time I made this I used only my own dried chillies and we loved it. Last time I used only locally bought dried ones and it nearly blew our heads off! I mixed the two this time so we shall see ... I suggest you err on the side of caution, taste after you have blended them into the tomatoes and adjust the strength then. You can always add more, but you can't take them out again!
Throughout this process my fruit eating cat, Baggins, sat at my feet meowing, literally begging for some tomato. I eventually gave in and offered him this tiny titbit which he wolfed down. He then stayed there until I had finished, so when I went on to prepare chicken livers for our lunch I gave him some of them as a reward for his patience and he turned his nose up at them and walked away!
I am going to link this post to Inspire me Fridays, where Anything goes, but it will have to wait until next week as this week's collection has just closed.