Aubergine, Apple and Tomato Chutney
There's nothing too surprising or unusual about this chutney, but it's proved to be a huge favourite in my house and is rapidly hoovered up with curries or other spicy dishes. So I thought I'd better write the recipe down in case I forget it and have to leave home under a dark cloud of ignominy.
You can't go far wrong with this chutney, it's very forgiving and open to substitutions and variations depending on what's in season and what's in your cupboard. I used standard, dessert apples this time but sharper, cooking apples will work too, though you may need to increase the amount of sugar a little. I used small plum tomatoes to make this version of the chutney but it's OK to use whatever you have. You could even use any unripe, green tomatoes at the end of the growing season but, once again, you may need to increase the amount of sugar a little.
The amount produced by this recipe will obviously depend somewhat on the size of the aubergines and apples used, but it should typically produce around 1.4 - 1.5 litres.
4 tbsp rapeseed oil
2 onions, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, very finely chopped
2 tsp grated or pureed ginger
2 tsp yellow mustard seeds
1 tsp fenugreek seeds, lightly crushed
2 tsp ground cumin
½ tsp ground black pepper
2 tsp ground coriander
2 medium apples, peeled, cored and chopped into small dice
2 decent-sized aubergines, roughly chopped into small dice (don't bother peeling them)
500g tomatoes, chopped
2 red chillies, sliced thinly (I usually remove the seeds)
2 tsp salt
2 tbsp tomato puree
2 tbsp tamarind paste
220g soft light brown sugar
220ml red wine vinegar
30 ml sherry vinegar
juice of half a lime
In a large preserving or non-reactive saucepan, soften the onion, garlic and ginger gently in the oil for around 15 minutes.
Stir in the mustard and fenugreek seeds, the cumin, black pepper and coriander. Continue cooking for another 5 minutes.
Add the apples, aubergines, tomatoes, sultanas, chillies and salt. Continue cooking for a further 5 minutes.
Stir in the tomato puree, tamarind paste, sugar and vinegars. Bring to a simmer and let the chutney bubble away quite gently for around 1 hour, stirring regularly, until thickened to your liking and a wooden spoon briefly leaves a clear trail when dragged across the base of the pan.
Stir in the lime juice as you take the chutney off the heat. Leave to cool for a few minutes, then decant into warm, sterilised jars and seal tightly.
The flavour does seem to develop a little over time, but it's perfectly possible to start using the chutney as soon as you like. And that's quite soon around here.