Chilli jam and the quesadilla of dreams

ImageGreetings chaps! Here’s your ticket to chilli jam heaven:

  • 10 mixed peppers, diced
  • 10 chillies, diced
  • 8 tomatoes, skinned & diced
  • 6 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 thumb-sized piece of ginger, chopped

So, mix together in a saucepan one cup of caster sugar and three cups of white wine vinegar. Add all the chopped ingredients and boil to a jammy consistency. This can take a reasonably long time – maybe 45 minutes. Keep an eye on it. Don’t over-reduce it or it will be too thick and will taste burnt.

This makes about 3 jars worth – it will keep for months if you pour it into hot, sterilised jars. If you keep it in the fridge once opened it’s still fine for a good month.

This is great on burgers and in sandwiches – particularly with chicken and cheese. My personal favourite use for it is to make the following quesadilla:

  • 1 tbsp chilli jam
  • Couple of slices of smoked cheese
  • Red onion
  • Olives
  • Cubed chorizo

^ Spread the jam over half of a flour tortilla, sprinkle the other ingredients on top then fold over & toast in a hot pan (no need to even oil the pan) til golden brown and oozing with melted cheese…  Something about the sweet kick of the chilli jam with the smokey cheese taste and the occasional morsel of olive makes this quesadilla stand head and shoulders above its peers. I’ve eaten one of these for lunch for something like the last 8 shifts running, and I’m really not a creature of habit when it comes to food.

Air Meal from the past – lemon & mustard seed chutney

Last night I was reading Food For Free again, and found a few tantalising recipes to try out. The finest was Alexis Sawyer’s 1857 Universal Devil’s Mixture (“…rub each piece over with the following mixture, having made a deep incision in any article of food that may be subjected to this Mephistophelian process…”) but due to the absence of a number of key ingredients (fresh horseradish, Durham mustard) I decided to first go for this mustard seed chutney. Richard Mabey makes some gentle suggestions that one could be out in the hedgerows picking wild mustard seeds, and while I’m all for foraging in principle I draw the line at feckin’ mustard seeds. The hour’s simmering time drew some complaints from other members of the household but it was well worth a slight tear in the eye to have such a tangy and delicious condiment at the end of the process. Something of the marmalade about it…

Lemon & Mustard Seed Chutney

Peel & slice 4 medium onions. Slice 5 lemons thickly & discard the pips. Mix, sprinkle with salt and leave for 12 hours. Add 1oz mustard seed, 1 tsp allspice, 1lb sugar, 1/4lb raisins and 1pt cider vinegar. Bring to the boil and simmer for about an hour. Makes 3-4 jars.

Incidentally, while looking into Durham mustard for future production of the Universal Devil’s Mixture I found this extremely interesting article about said mustard. I never knew that “keen as mustard” comes from the name of a mustard-making firm, Messrs Keen and Sons. Or that it’s been around these Northerly parts since the 15th Century under the spelling “mwstert”.