Tis heading in to the festive season, apparently it is only six weeks to Christmas Eve but I am not going to check my calendar because I don’t need the truth to send me in to a panic. There are so many things to organise, mincemeat, puddings , the Christmas Cake that is definitely time to sit down and make a plan of action.
I do love cooking for Christmas, for me it is less about getting everything ready for the main event, ie. Christmas Dinner but more about the little celebrations leading up to the day, mulled wine and mince pie parties, festive cocktails with pate, cheese and crackers and the lazy breakfasts when it is perfectly permissible to have left over venison terrine on toast slathered with a good chutney at 9am.
This time of year is pickle and chutney time. Every year my Mum makes her own Piccalilli and my sister experiments with a variety of fruits and vegetable, anything from beetroot to plum to fig. One of my favourite relishes to make and to eat is this Tomato and Chilli jam, this is gluten free, really simple to make and doesn’t contain too much vinegar so the simmering process will not sear the eyes from your head. This jam is good with most cheese but especially with a nice soft goat’s cheese. A jar of this would be a happy addition to any gift hamper you might be planning.
If you sterilise your jars and seal them properly this jam should keep, unopened, in the fridge for a few months. To sterilise your jars wash them thoroughly in hot sudsy water, rinse them in hot water and then place them in your oven at a very low heat, Gas 1 or the equivalent and leave until they are completely dry. To create a good seal go out and invest in the waxed jam pot covers, they are cheap as chips and with the lid will proved a good seal for your jam.
500 grams of ripe tomatoes: I halved and cored them before weighing to get the full 500 grams. Dice 205 grams and leave other 250grams intact. Do not discard the seeds you will need the pectin from the seeds to help the jam to set
4 cloves of garlic, mine were a little puny so I used 6
4 red chillies, I deseeded mine but if you like a good kick of heat leave the seeds in
2 teaspoons of grated or finely chopped ginger
30 ml of fish sauce
300 grams of caster sugar
100 ml of red wine vinegar
- Set the diced tomatoes aside and place the intact ones in a blender or food mixer, add the chillies, fish sauce, ginger and garlic and blitz until you get a lovely pink puree. I used a jug and immersion blender for this and it worked perfectly.
- Pour the puree in to a heavy bottomed, high-sided pot and add the sugar and the vinegar.
- Bring the mix to the boil and stir, once the mixture has come to the boil reduce the heat down until the mix is at a gentle simmer and then add the diced tomatoes.
- While the mix is simmering skim off any scum that forms on the surface.
5. Cook the jam, at a simmer for 1 ¼ to 1 ½ hours, stirring from time to time to prevent the jam from sticking to the base of the pot.
6. After 1 ¼ hours cooking test the jam by placing a little bit on a cold plate and leaving it set for a minute, test it by pushing it with your finger and seeing if it has started to set.
7. While the jam is still warm carefully pour it in to your warmed, sterilised jars, cover with the wax disc and close the lid tightly. Allow the jam to cool completely before putting it in the fridge.