As requested via my facebook stream - here's my recipe for a spiced pear chutney. It goes brilliantly with Christmas foods including cheeses, ham and pates and makes a great gift too!
Makes about 8 250g Jars
1 Onion finely diced
600g Caster sugar
600ml White wine vinegar
1 Orange - zest and juice
1 Nutmeg (about 1/2, finely grated)
1/4 tsp Cayenne pepper
1tsp Ground cinnamon
4 Star anise (tie in a bit of muslin cloth to enable you to pick it out easily at the end)
1 pinch Saffron
60g fresh ginger peeled and finely grated (ideally on a microplane)
14 Plum tomatoes
2 Cooking apples
2kg Pears (ripe but firm)
Add your sugar and vinegar to a heavy based pan and place on a low heat. Stir until sugar is dissolved before adding the diced onion, orange juice and zest, grated nutmeg, cayenne pepper, cinnamon, star anise and saffron. Meanwhile peel and chop the cooking apples and add to the mixture along with the sultanas and ginger. Next, peel, de-seed and finely chop the tomatoes. Tip: to peel your tomatoes, mark an X at the base of the bottom of the tomato and place in boiling water, I'd do this in batches of 4 to make sure the water stays hot enough. Leave in for 30 seconds before removing and placing in to iced water immediately. Take the tomatoes from the iced water and using a small knife peel the skin back from the X you cut.
Add the tomatoes to the mix and then peel, core and chop the pears in to small chunks (1cm sq). Stir well and make a cartouche (a piece of greaseproof paper that fits the exact size of the pan and rests directly on top of the mixture) and leave to cook for 30mins. After which time, remove the cartouche and check colour and consistency. You're looking for a colour that's deeper and richer than when you first started cooking the mixture and a luxuriously thick texture (not watery). If the mixture's not ready, leave uncovered, return to the heat and check every 5mins.
Once you're happy with the colour and consistency, remove from the heat, fish out the star anise and throw away and jar immediately.