Tomato and Chilli Chutney

I am psyching myself up for Christmas so brace yourselves for a deluge of edible gift ideas that will be headed this way….. A few years ago I was really strapped for cash right before Christmas so I had to get creative with cheap homemade presents. Everyone was delighted with their homemade biscuits, mincemeat and chutneys so I have been making them every year ever since and will share some of them with you over the coming weeks.

You can make this chutney as mild or hot as you like by adjusting the amount of chillies to suit your taste.

For those who have never ventured into chutney making territory before, cheap preserving jars are available on eBay, at Hobbicraft shops and online and a great UK website for supplies is http://www.nutleyskitchengardens.co.uk/jam-preserve-making/ Size wise I tend to use jars of roughly 180-225ml capacity.

I have a 5lt casserole pot with a heavy copper base which I use for chutney making so if you don’t have a preserving pan a good quaility 4-5lt saucepan/casserole pan will do the trick. Also, be aware your home will smell of vinegar for days afterwards so I suggest opening windows, whacking up the extractor fan to max and not having any washing drying indoors whilst embarking on chutney making! It really is worth all this prep so I hope I have forewarned you rather than put you off!

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Chilli Con Carne with a Spicy Cinnamon Twist

My old housemate Rob used to make this chilli all the time. It’s the best chilli I have tasted but in an unusual no tomato or peppers kind of way and can imagine it’s not everyones cup of tea. With the addition of red wine and cinnamon, this to me feels like a more authentic, spicier chilli con carne with its depth of flavours. Its quite fiery so I serve it with soured cream to take the edge off some of the heat. This recipe is from Jo Pratt’s The Nation’s Favourite Food

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