A very summery spiced tomato & red pepper chutney

Afternoon tea just wouldn’t be complete without a nice array of finger sandwiches. I make mine using bread from my local baker (Donaldsons on Mill Road), I make sure I’m not stingy with the salted butter and I most definitely cut off the crusts :). I like to keep the fillings simple and classic…ham & wholegrain mustard, cucumber & cream cheese, egg mayonnaise & cress and cheese & homemade chutney.

My next afternoon tea guests have requested cheese & chutney as one of their fillings and what with it also being the start of the British tomato season, I thought there was no better time to get chutney making!

I felt quite refined this morning as I hopped on my faithful old bicycle (Sally the Raleigh) and pedalled across town to peruse and select the perfect ingredients for my chutney from the market. I was spoilt for choice and came back with this bountiful crop of tomatoes still on the vine and huge red peppers…

I’d found this recipe for spiced tomato and red pepper chutney a while ago in an ancient copy of the Sainsburys magazine. It was very popular with my family and friends when I made it before so I thought I’d give it another go. I love how it retains the vibrant colours of the fresh ingredients…

and…it’s amazingly easy to make. As with most chutneys all you need is time and patience 🙂

To make about 1.5 litres (approx 5 jars) you’ll need…

1 tsp cumin seeds

2 tsp coriander seeds

4 tbsp olive oil

2 large onions, diced finely

4 red peppers, cut into approx 1 cm dice (I like my chutney chunky but if you like yours finer feel free to use a food processor to do the chopping)

1.4kg ripe tomatoes, cut into approx 1 cm dice

8 cloves garlic, crushed

4 tbsp ginger (a chunk of ginger the size of about 4 wine corks), grated

8 tbsp soft brown sugar or demerara sugar

8 tbsp red wine vinegar or cider vinegar

Grated zest and juice of 4 oranges

1 tsp dried crushed red chilli flakes (optional if you like your chutney with a kick)

Lightly crush the cumin and coriander seeds in a pestle and mortar and toast them in a dry frying pan until they start to release a gorgeous aroma, then remove them from the heat and set aside.

Pour the oil into a large pan and add the diced onions and toasted spices. Cook for a few minutes but try not to brown the onions, just soften them slightly.

Now add all of the remaining ingredients…

and bring to the boil. Once it’s bubbling away, turn it down and simmer until it thickens. Make sure you stir it frequently so that it doesn’t stick to the bottom. The test to see if your chutney is thick enough is to drag your spoon down the centre of the pan, if the divide in the chutney remains, you’re done! The recipe I was following said that it would take 30-45 minutes for it to reach this stage but mine took considerably longer, hence the need for time and patience 🙂

But eventually it’ll look a little something like this…

at which point it’s ready to decant into sterilised jars (Find out how to sterilise your jars here)…

Finally, pour a tablespoonful of olive oil on top of the chutney and screw the lids on tight. Once sealed, your chutney will keep for months. Once you crack into a jar just make sure you keep it in the fridge.

Here’s my motley batch of summery spiced tomato and red pepper chutney…

The perfect addition to a delicious mature cheddar sandwich!

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