This is the first recipe I’ve posted on this blog that doesn’t contain cheese but I can pretty much assure you that it may not have cheese in it but it will certainly have cheese on it, under it and with it! The tartness of the green tomatoes combines with the sweetness of the apples and red onions and the spices to make a delicious, almost sweet and sour, flavour that goes perfectly with a tangy farmhouse cheddar.
It’s been a good year for tomatoes in our garden but, alas, they’re just not ripening much anymore and if any do struggle through, they are immediately set upon by a legion of slugs and snails. So rather than surrender them to the slimy army, when a relative presented me with a big bag full of windfall apples, it seemed the perfect opportunity to stock up on chutney for the winter ahead.
Our tomatoes are an heirloom variety called Tigerella, named so because of the beautiful stripes they have. This doesn’t affect the flavour of the chutney at all but I’m showing you a lovely picture anyway:
I’ve called it ‘spiky’ rather than ‘spicy’ as it’s the flavour rather than the heat of the spices that comes through. This quantity will fill about six standard jam jars.
1 inch ginger, roughly chopped
2 red chillies, deseeded and roughly chopped
2 star anise
2kg green tomatoes, roughly chopped
500g apples, cored and roughly chopped (I used eating apples but cookers would also be good)
2 red onions, chopped
225g raisins, chopped or you can leave them whole if you like big raisins in your chutney
570ml vinegar (I used red wine vinegar but you could also use white wine vinegar or malt vinegar)
400g dark brown sugar
1 crushed tsp allspice berries
Place the ginger, chillies and star anise in a piece of muslin and tie it up tightly.
Put all of the other ingredients into a large, heavy-based pan and stir to combine well. Put the muslin bag of spices into the mixture.
Bring to the boil and then simmer gently, stirring every now and then.
Meanwhile, sterilise your jars. I put mine in the dishwasher for a good clean and then pop them in a low oven (the lids too). Alternatively you could wash them in boiling water and then put them in the oven.
The chutney is ready when it’s a dark brown colour and most of the liquid has boiled away so that it has a thick, sticky consistency; when you drag a spoon across the bottom of the pan, it will take a while for the chutney to re-cover the bottom. This can take two hours or more, particularly as there is so much liquid in the tomatoes.
When it’s ready, fill the hot jars and seal tightly, label and date. Then go and find yourselves the nicest cheddar you can lay your hands on.