Monday, April 30, 2012

Chilli Jam - Take 2


Mmm...Now isn't that just a fantastic picture to greet you with?
Thought I would give you something good to start off with, because this is a loooong post with quite a bit of writing.

Now this really is a recipe that is all my own, because I had a bit of this, a bit of that, chucked this in, and added a bit more of that!!

So if you read my first post about chilli jam, you would know that I found a jar of chilli jam in Cheltenham, fell absolutely in love with it and was craving it for weeks, so I tried to recreate it. It was a pretty good attempt, seeing as I had no idea what was in it. My boyfriend then bought the jar from his house to show me what was in it. In the original recipe, they used red wine vinegar, and in the recipe that I had, I used cider vinegar. I had some cider vinegar left over from the last batch, so I used that and mixed it with a bottle of red wine vinegar. I think that they used less chilli than me, they had roasted the red peppers and they had added tomatoes. I  didn't realise that they had roasted the peppers and used tomatoes until I had already made this batch of chilli jam. 
So this is my new variation of the chilli jam, I don't think it was as good as my first recipe, but it was still yummy!

Recipe:
- 350ml red wine vinegar
- 100ml cider vinegar
- 750g jam sugar
- 100g long red chillies, chopped (see here)
- 200g red peppers, chopped (see here)
- 1 apple, chopped (I can't remember exactly what type of apple I used, but it was something like a gala apple, a red and green one, that is soft and doesn't have much flavour)

1. Sterilise the jars. I washed up the jars and left them to air dry while the oven was heating up to 180 degrees. Lay all of the jars and lids on a baking tray or roasting tray, and put them in the oven for 20 minutes, but try to make sure none of the jars are touching! Be really careful not to move the jars as you take them out, because they can break really easily when hot!
Sterilised Jars

2. Core, de-seed and roughly chop the peppers, chillies and the apple. Check out the tutorials for the peppers and the chillies.
Roughly chopped red pepper
3. Put them into a food processor and blitz them - you might want to do this in 2 parts. If you don't have a food processor, you will just have to chop them really finely!
Chillies, red pepper and apple, blended
4. In a saucepan (a big one), heat the vinegars and dissolve the sugar into it.
Dissolving the sugar in the vinegar
5. When all the sugar has dissolved, add the chilli, pepper and apple. 
Just added the blended chilli, red pepper and apple
6. Bring to a fierce boil, for 10 minutes. 
Last time I did this, it bubbled up LOADS and I spilled a lot of it all over the cooker! It wasn't fun to clean up!
Boiling away
7. Leave it to cool in the pan for 40 minutes. It will thicken up as it cools. 
Finished!
8. While its still warm, put the jam into the jars. I poured it into a jug, then into the jars. Put the lids on, then leave them to cool in a cupboard (not the fridge!)
WARNING!! Only pour hot/warm jam into warm jars or cool jam into cool jars! The temperature change may make them crack!
Into the jars!

One of the main differences in the jams are the vinegars that is their base.
The first chilli jam was all cider vinegar. Cooking that made the house absolutely stink of vinegar for days (my housemates LOVED that - not!), and it was also a very distinct smell in the jam - a smell that goes right up your nose. However, it tastes absolutely perfect in a sandwich or with cheese and biscuits. The taste really holds it's own, even when paired with a very strong and mature cheddar. After tasting the original one, we have decided that this one is better!! 

The second chilli jam (this one) is mainly red wine vinegar with a bit of cider vinegar, the taste of this was a lot more mellow and sweet. The smell wasn't as sharp as the first, but there is still a distinct vinegar smell there. I put an apple in this, but I don't think I will use the same type of apple again because it didn't add much to the flavour. Also, only found out today that there are actually no apples in it!! No wonder it didn't go well. Its not as good as the original one for cheese, it's taste hides behind strong cheeses. I have been putting it in some pasta sauces, for a bit of a chilli kick and it makes the tomato sauce really sweet. If you add vegetables like sweetcorn, peas and carrots, the jam compliments the sweetness of the vegetables.

The original chilli jam from Cheltenham is only red wine vinegar, and it doesn't have a sharp smell that goes right up your nose, but still smelt very vinegary. They roasted their peppers, which definitely adds an extra *something* to the flavour. Also, the colour was quite a solid and opaque red in the jar, which they probably got from tomatoes, where as mine is fairly clear.

Yum!

I think I need to do some more experimenting with my first recipe, seeing as its the best one!! I will definitely miss out on the apple, but try to roast the red peppers and add tomatoes!!

If you guys make anything, send me a picture (you can upload it to my facebook page) and I might put some of them up on here!!

Zoe x

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