Guest Spot: Steve Catchpole’s Cucumber, Tomato and Onion Chutney RecipePosted by Fiona Nevile in Chutney and Pickles | 13 comments
This is the launch of the brand new ** Guest Spot ** on the Cottage Smallholder Blog.
Lots of visitors email us. We love this and always respond. These emails have loads of great stories about others’ attempts at self-sufficieny. Some are hilarious. Others are full of new ideas. A few include recipes that sound really promising. We thought it would be good to include some of these contributions in our blog and invite a guest article from time to time.
Seve Catchpole, from Helmingham, Suffolk, has the singular honour of being the first Guest Spot contributor. He has been kind enough to allow the Cottage Smallholder to publish one of his all-time favourites.
Steve’s recipe below sounds so good that I was in our greenhouse early this morning checking the final cucumber harvest, as I want to try his recipe tomorrow. I was amazed to find a few good sized cucumbers and the promise of more.
Steve couldn’t find a recipe to use his glut of cucumbers so invented his own. He says that he tasted his chutney right away and it was good, although he notes that it might benefit from being put away for a few weeks. Almost all chutney matures to reach giddier heights.
Steve Catchpole’s Cucumber, Tomato and Onion Chutney Recipe
- 6 large ridge cucumbers (the ones that grow outside) or 4 long cucumbers from the greenhouse
- 6 medium onions (chopped, see method below)
- 6 – 8 medium tomatoes (beefsteak or large plum tomatoes are ideal). These can be skinned or not as you prefer (how do I skin tomatoes? See tricks and tips below)
- 1 – 2 inch piece of fresh root ginger (depending on taste). Peeled, bruised and diced fine
- 12 – 16 ozs fair-trade Demerara sugar (or soft brown sugar)
- 1-1 ½ pints of malt or cider vinegar
- Spices ground in a pestle and mortar (or coffee grinder):
1 tsp mustard seed
- ½ -1 tsp cayenne pepper (to taste)
- 1 tsp ground allspice
- ½-1 tsp mace (to taste)
- ¼ – ½ tsp ground cloves (to taste)
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
Salt (see method)
- Jars and lids
- Wash cucumbers and cut into four lengthways. De-seed and then cut each quarter section in half lengthways and chop each of the eight lengths into 1/8 inch slices.
- Place the slices in a bowl in 1 inch deep layers and sprinkle a couple of teaspoons of salt on each layer. Set aside whilst –
- Slicing the onions. Use the traditional chef’s method. Slice off the tops and skin leaving the root intact. Cut in half from top to root and place the cut side down on the chopping board. Make 4 or 5 cuts from the top to a quarter inch from the root end (so that the onion holds together) and then slice across 4 or 5 times.
- Take the tomatos (skinned if you wish) and slice into 1/8 inch pieces.
- Put the salted cucumbers into a colander and rinse away the salt under cold running water, twice.
- Place all ingredients, except sugar, into a large saucepan or stock pot.
- Add vinegar to cover the vegetables.
- Bring to the boil for 10 minutes and then add the sugar. Stir well until the mixture reaches boiling point. Reduce the heat immediately and simmer, stirring often to prevent it burning on the bottom of the pan.
- The chutney should be ready after one and a half hours (give or take a half an hour either way).
- Whilst the chutney is turning into something wonderful deal with your jars. Wash and sterilise them (how do I sterilise jars and lids? See Tricks and Tips below). When the chutney is ready it has thickened.The wooden spoon should leave a definite mark on the surface as you draw it slowly across your brew. The main thing is to keep a beedy eye on it, with all that chopping it would be a shame if it spoilt. Remember, the juice will continue to be absorbed as it cools (tip from Steve).
Tricks and tips:
- How do I skin tomatoes?
Make a small cut on the side off each tomato (top to base) and place in a bowl. Pour boiling water over the tomatoes and leave for five minutes. Pour off the water. The skins should easily slip off the tomatoes. If they are holding on tight, repeat the process.
- How do I sterilise the jars and lids?
We collect jars all year round for our chutney making sessions. I try to soak off labels and store the clean jars and metal plastic coated screw-top lids in an accessible place. The sterilising method that we use is simple. Just before making the chutney, I quickly wash and rinse the jars and place them upside down in a cold oven. Set the temperature to 160c (140c for fan assisted). When the oven has reached the right temperature I turn off the heat. The jars will stay warm for quite a while. I only use plastic lined lids for preserves as the all-metal lids can go rusty. I boil these for two minutes in water to sterilise them. If I use Le Parfait jars, I do the same with the rubber rings.
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