Tuesday, 13 November 2012


Chilli  'Basket of Fire'

This year, I am pleased to report, was a very successful year for growing chillies in the greenhouse!  The two main varieties I grew from seed were 'Ring of Fire' and 'Basket of Fire' and as the names suggest - should be handled with caution!

The plants survived one frost recently and although under glass,  I am taking no chances now and have brought them inside.  The better looking ones shall stay as 'houseplants' for now in the kitchen and bootroom and used as and when a fresh chilli is required, and the others shall be picked and dried and should last right through until this time next year. A favourite here at home for cooking in curries and pastas, I also like to make a good winter's stock of  Chilli Jam with them to enjoy over the coming months - delicious with cold meats and cheese, roasts and especially good with sausages.

Below is a favourite recipe from the 'Nigella Christmas' book, which she describes more as a 'chelly', as  it is a combination between jam and jelly, without all the fuss of traditional jelly making with all that straining etc.  Equal quantities of chillies and sweet red pepper are used, but you can increase the ratio of chilli if you like a little more heat!

(makes about 1.5 litres)

150g fresh chillies, deseeded and cut into about 4 pieces
150g red pepper, cored, deseeded and cut into rough chunks
1kg jam sugar
600g cider vinegar

6 x 250ml sealable jars 

  • Sterilize your jars and leave to cool.
  • Put the cut up chillies into a food processor and pulse until they are finely chopped.  Add the chunks of red pepper and pulse again.
  • Dissolve the sugar in the vinegar in a wide, medium sized pan over a low heat without stirring.
  • Scrape the chilli pepper mixture out of the bowl and add to the pan.  Bring the pan to the boil, then continue to boil at high heat for 10 minutes.
  • Take the pan off the heat and allow it to cool.  The liquid will become more syrupy and gradually more jelly like as it cools.
  • After about 40 minutes, ladle in to jars and stir gently to disperse the flecks of chilli through the jelly. 

 Voila!  The jam can be stored in a cool, dark place for up to 1 year, although here at home it vanishes rather quickly!  Once opened, store in the fridge and use within 1 month.

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