Eating it, cooking it, thinking about it

Either eating it, cooking it or plotting it

Sunday, 12 September 2010

Condiments to the chef

The bbq last week was pretty near perfection. A ponderous afternoon of eating and talking, course following course from the bbq, stretched over the afternoon ( and stomach). The Kind Friends, lets call them Tom & Barbara, have a heavenly little dell of a garden from which beautiful and good things are grown. Apples, tomato, peppers, courgette, chilli and even, we discovered, after a bit of internettery, hops ! The chilli plant they've grown is one of the lovliest things I've seen - bright tight shiny red & green chillis, jewel bright through the sage shaped leaves. Honestly, I thought it was stunning, a little bit of Christmas potted in their green house ( aw c'mon, we're in early September, the Christmas word is bound to pop over the parapet...I love summer, I really love spring, autumn is breathtakingly awesome, but Christmas really is my pick of the seasonal bunch. Obviously I will join in the wailing and gnashing of teeth at summers end, and be sure to eye roll against the long dark nights but, ignore me. I'm playing to the gallery.I'm lying. I love winter. I'll take a plum pudding over a strawberry sorbet, and a goulash over a caesar salad. I have my Christmas cake already baked, tucked away and regularly soused with sherry). We found out the strength of the chillis via the traditional method of just taking a bite. Some excitement later, we found that they are officially called Apache chillis, which apparently "...once they've matured to red chillies they can be very hot". Quite. Apaches. Not noted for their amenable insouciance. Anyway, I'm a game girl and was very happy to be gifted some of the little pocket rockets and today I've made a sweet chilli and tomato sauce from them. Hellzapoppin', my fingers knew about it when I chopped them, and its sure is a perky little condiment.* I went the de-seeding route. It was for the best.

Sweet chilli & fresh tomato sauce

500g fresh tomato
8 red chillis, deseeded
knob of fresh ginger, peeled
6 cloves garlic
50ml thai fish sauce ( optional)
300g caster sugar ( I used golden)
100ml red or white wine vinegar

Blend the tomato, garlic, chilli & ginger in a processor ( or finely handchop).
Place the puree with the sugar and vinegar in a pan, bring to the boil and then simmer for 40 mins or so.
Thats it !

Pour into kilner jar that snaps satisfyingly shut like an angry turtles mouth.

*I am obsessed with condiments. I currently have 21 jars of different condiments in my fridge. I am not exaggerating for comic effect. Sometimes, I talk to them. Kidding. A bit.

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