Recipe: Spicy apple chutney

Recipe: Spicy Apple Chutney

I love autumn in London. There’s the beauty of all the leaves changing colour, atmospheric misty mornings and still warmth in the sun when it pops out. September is often the best month, especially after we’ve had a particularly lacklustre summer like we’ve had this year.

And it’s apple time – particularly good when your neighbours have an extremely fruitful apple tree in their garden. Always love a bit of free food and they are positively begging me to come and help myself before all the fruit goes sadly to waste.

So I popped over for some pickings and it was time for some apple cooking. First up, this really easy spicy apple chutney. It goes beautifully with cheese and cold meats, spicing up sandwiches and to serve with curries. Well, it kind of goes with most things. I made quite a big batch and shared it out with my neighbours. Spreading a bit of tasty autumn cheer.

Recipe: apple chutney

Apple chutney for the neighbourhood

Apple Chutney

The ingredients

12 apples, peeled, cored and finely chopped

1 red pepper, chopped

1 medium onion, chopped

2 dried red chillies

3 tbsps fresh ginger, chopped

2 cloves of garlic

300ml cider vinegar

200g brown sugar

100g caster sugar

Half a tsp ground cardamom

Half a tsp ground cloves

The process

Put  all ingredients in a saucepan. Bring to the boil, reduce heat, and cover.

Simmer for about an hour, stirring frequently, check that the apples are tender and the chutney is thickened. Keep an eye on it to make sure it’s not getting too dry and mix in some water if you need to keep it moist.

Remove from the heat and allow to cool.

Ladle it into vacuum sealed jars and keep in the fridge until it is ready to serve.

What’s your favourite recipe using apples? These versatile fruits can be used in so many different ways. There’ll be more apple cooking coming soon so watch this space. And do let me have some of your favourites to try out for myself.

Cooking with South African apples and pears

So today’s the last day of my South African sojourn for this year, tonight I head back to London. And what more appropriate blog than this? Award winning South African chef has come up with some delicious recipes using South African apples and pears. They are now widely available in UK supermarkets and will be throughout the summer. The perfect bridge across the continents. Enjoy!

And then it’s time to start re-exploring London’s Restaurantland. A lot has been happening since I’ve been away, so watch this space.

South African minted apple chutney

Minted apple Chutney

Makes 2 jars

1 medium red onion, finely chopped

3 garlic cloves, crushed

11⁄2-inch piece (approx 60g) fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced into rounds

80g currants

250g granulated sugar

75g honey

200ml cider vinegar

Juice of 11⁄2 lemons

Juice of 1 orange

1 chilli, deseeded and finely sliced

1⁄3 tsp ground cloves 1⁄3 tsp ground allspice

1⁄3 tsp green cardamom pods, bashed

1 cinnamon stick

4 South African apples, peeled, cored and coarsely chopped

1⁄2 bunch fresh mint leaves, finely chopped

In a large saucepan set over medium heat, combine the onion, garlic, ginger, currants, sugar, honey, cider vinegar, lemon juice, orange juice, chili, cloves, allspice, cardamom pods and cinnamon stick.

Cook until reduced by two-thirds, about 15 minutes. Add the apples and cook until they are tender and the liquid has almost evaporated, about 20 to 25 minutes. Cool to room temperature, remove and discard the cinnamon stick.

Stir in the mint just before serving. Serve at room temperature or store in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

South African Apple Cake

APPLE CAKE-1

Serves 8

110g plain flour

3/4 tsp baking powder

Pinch of salt

4 large South African apples

2 large eggs, at room temperature

150g caster sugar

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

115g butter, melted and cooled to room temperature

Whipped cream or crème fraiche, to serve

Preheat the oven to 180°C, fan oven 160°C, Gas Mark 4. Adjust the oven shelf to the centre of the oven. Grease and line a 20cm round loose-based cake tin.

In a small bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder and salt.

Peel and core the apples, then dice them into 3cm pieces.
In a large bowl, beat the eggs until foamy then whisk in the sugar, then add the vanilla. Whisk in half of the flour mixture, and then gently stir in half of the melted butter. Stir in the remaining flour mixture, then the rest of the butter.

Fold in the apple cubes until they’re well-coated with the batter. Transfer the mixture to the
prepared tin and smooth the top a little.

Bake the cake for 50-55 minutes, or until a fine skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.

Let the cake cool for 10 minutes, then remove from the tin and cool on a wire rack. Remove the lining paper, then serve with whipped cream or creme fraiche.

Cook’s tip: This recipe also works beautifully with South African pears.

Prosciutto-Wrapped South African Pears with Maple Syrup and Cracked Peppercorns

Prosciotto pears

Serves 4

3 tbsp maple syrup

2 tsp cracked black peppercorns

8 slices prosciutto or Parma ham, halved lengthwise

2 South African pears, halved, cored and each half cut into 4 equal pieces (16 slices in total)

Rocket and balsamic vinegar, to serve

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C, fan oven 160°C, Gas Mark 4. Line a baking sheet with baking parchment and set aside.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the maple syrup and black pepper. Add the pears and toss to coat.

3. Remove the pear slices from the maple syrup mixture and wrap each one with a slice of prosciutto or Parma ham. Place the wrapped pears on the lined baking sheet.

4. Bake until the ham is crisp and beginning to brown, about 10 to 12 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes, then serve warm with rocket and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar.

For more information and recipes visit www.beautifulcountrybeautifulfruit.co.uk