Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Chilli Jam


I have always loved the idea of having a larder stocked with home-made jams, preserves and chutneys but in reality, the demands of a full-time job don't leave me much time for this type of cooking. However, since moving into our new house a few years ago, I have managed to make at least a few jars of chutney each year, spurred on by a reluctance to waste the windfalls from my apple and pear trees if I didn't. The whole operation of chutney-making was so much simpler than I had imagined (apart from my almost OCD obsessiveness about sterilising the jars) that I was encouraged to try my hand at some other preserves.

Although marmellata di peperoncino originally comes from Calabria, famous for its powerful chillies, I first tried this chilli jam in a trattoria in Tuscany. It was one of those rustic places, without pretension, all wooden tables and brown paper mats, serving plain but delicious local food. We had platters of Tuscan meats and cheeses - cinta senese (a rare breed of pig from the Siena area) salami, wafer thin slices of finocchiona, a wonderfully scented salami flavoured with fennel seeds, silky slices of lardo di Colonnata produced from pigs that dine on acorns and chestnuts served on chunks of warm toasted bread, ash-covered wedges of pecorino from Pienza ... The chilli jam accompanied the cheeses and it was perfect, not only, as I had expected, with the more mature ones but also combining wonderfully with the young, fresh pecorino.

My version comes from Nigella's Christmas book. I have tried others but this is my favourite - it's so simple yet yielding fabulous results. I love the clear, vibrant red jelly, with its fragments of chilli floating inside. Don't save it just for the cheese board though - it goes wonderfully with bacon sandwiches, burgers cooked on the barbecue, grilled chicken, cold meats...

You can find Nigella's recipe here (http://www.nigella.com/recipes/view/chilli-jam-2692).


Tea Time Treats Blogging Challenge

I'm sending this over to the amazingly alliterative monthly blogging challenge Tea Time Treats hosted by Karen (of the inspirational Lavender and Lovage) and Kate (from mouth-watering What Kate Baked)  - the theme is Jam, Chutneys, Curds and Conserves. Kate is this month's host and having seen both her entry and Karen's, I'm sure it's going to be a fantastic round-up!


8 comments:

  1. Your chilli jam looks amazing! I completely forgot this recipe from her Christmas book. Am loving your pictures too x

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    1. Thanks - I love the way it looks too. I made some jars of this last year and gave them as Christmas presents and they were very well received!

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  2. It looks like you had an amazing selection of the best Tuscany Charcuterie, all these good salami/cheeses combine perfectly with chilli jam.

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    1. Thanks Rita - yes, we really miss those kinds of places!

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  3. Oh that jam looks so vibrant and I bet it tastes fairly lively too. I've not made chilli jam, but I have made apple jelly with chillies and although it didn't have the wonderful colour of yours, it worked really well.

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    1. Ooh yes, I like the sound of your apple jelly - another thing I'll have to try with my apple glut!

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  4. What bright, vibrant colour- certain to cheer up any dismal Autumnal day- thank you very much for entering TTT!

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    1. Thanks Kate - it really does brighten up a grey day, especially slapped on a bacon sandwich for breakfast!

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