Preserving Chili peppers – 3 ways

chilis

Actually “4 ways” !  One of my favourite things to do with my garden Chili peppers is to make Chili Butter.  My Chili Butter is a sound favourite in this house, especially when spread on toast and topped with a boiled egg for breakfast.

Rural France = no fresh chili peppers for sale !  This has led me to grow them myself and to be creative and find ways to preserve that addictive heat to get me through until the next Chili season . . .   This years harvest includes Jalapeños and Calabrese peppers.

chili

In chili season I pick a few and finely chop them (followed by thorough washing of my hands) to have them freshly chopped, ready to use in the fridge.  Next step is to preserve the bounty !

ChilisaucesI have added 3 new additions to my “preserved chili pepper” larder this year.  Chili Jam which is sweet with a fairly mild heat, a Caribbean Chili & Herb sauce  which tastes like Jamaica to me and makes me want to make Jerk Chicken with Rice & Beans !  The third sauce, and the fiercest, is a Trinidadian Hot Sauce which is not for the faint hearted !

All three sauces should keep many months in the fridge . . .   My first batch of Chili Jam was made 3 months ago and has not moved a muscle in the direction of going “off”.  It is gorgeous served alongside these “Thai” Green Bean Fritters !

Et voila !  Here are the recipes (in order of FIRE power) :

Chili Jam

Makes approx. 1 jam jar

  • 300g ripe tomatoes
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 large red chilies (or more if small), seeds in if you want the heat
  • 3 cm chunk of ginger, peeled and sliced
  • 150g organic sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons Thai fish sauce
  • 5 Tablespoons cider vinegar

Blend half the tomatoes with the garlic, chilies and ginger in a food processor or with a stick blender.  Pour into a heavy based saucepan.  Add the sugar, fish sauce and vinegar, bring to the boil, stirring slowly then reduce to a simmer.

Dice the remaining tomatoes (to leave some texture in the finished sauce) and add them to the pan.  Simmer for 30-40 minutes, stirring from time to time.  The mixture with go darker and sticky.

Pour into a hot sterilized jar and seal !  Once cool, store in the fridge and enjoy 🙂

**adapted from Sarah Raven’s Food for friends and family

Caribbean Seasoning Sauce

This is a delicious RAW sauce that oooozes flavours of the Caribbean.  The amount of FRESH herbs here sound pretty immense but that is where the flavour comes from !  Don’t worry about using “exact” amounts.

  • 4 cups basil leaves
  • 1 cup oregano leaves
  • 1/2 cup thyme leaves
  • 1/2 cup chives
  • 1/2 cup cider vinegar
  • 1 large onion
  • 12 garlic cloves
  • 3 Jalapeños (seeds in if you want the heat)
  • 1 celery rib
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon organic sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon salt

All ingredients in the blender and whizz until smooth.  Pour into clean jars and store in the fridge for at least 3 months.

**adapted from Madhur Jaffrey’s World Vegetarian Cookbook 

Trinidadian Chili Sauce

This sauce is pretty HOT HOT for my taste so beware 😉

Makes about 250ml

  • 115g fresh hot chilis (with or without seeds to taste)
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh coriander (cilantro)
  • 5 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon dried mustard powder
  • 1 rounded teaspoon organic sugar (or palm sugar)

Place all ingredients into a blender and whizz until nice and smooth.  Pour into a saucepan and bring to a boil then turn down and simmer very gently, stirring for 3 – 4 minutes.  Take of heat and allow to cool before pouring into clean jars.  Stored in the fridge this sauce should last for months.

**adapted from Madhur Jaffrey’s World Vegetarian Cookbook

Bon Appetît !

Moms fresh fruit cake

figcake30k

Easiest cake in the world !  This is my dearly departed mum’s recipe, so full of sentimental memories for me.  You know how the taste or smell of some foods will bring you right back in time?  This one does it for me . . .

Simple does NOT mean boring, give this a try !

prunes

My favourite version of this cake is with plums but my latest version is with fresh FIGS.  Beautiful but totally different as you don’t have the “sour” aspect that you would with plums.  The fig version is sweeter but I counteracted that with nice salty butter. . . In my opinion, there are not many places that salty butter is not welcome 😉

figs

Don’t hesitate to play around with the fruit, to have your own version for every season.  I’ve tried:

  • pears
  • apples
  • blueberries
  • peaches (makes a softer cake, more like a dessert to serve warm with cream)
  • fresh figs
  • raspberries
  • rhubarb

figgat

This is not your usual cake recipe as the butter goes “only” on top of the batter.  Some fruits will sink to the bottom, and some will partially sink and partially poke through the batter and become nice and gooey during baking.

figcakeok

With fruit that is a bit on the sour side (especially rhubarb) a little sprinkle of brown sugar before it goes in the oven will give a nice caramel finish.

plumcakeraw

Mom's fresh fruit cake

  • Servings: 8ish
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

  • 2 medium eggs
  • 142g sugar (organic granulated is nice)
  • 86g plain flour (I use partially whole wheat)
  • Sliced fruit (about 1 cm thick)
  • Chilled salted butter

Preheat oven to 200°C (400°F) and butter a square 23 cm glass baking dish. Beat eggs until very light and fluffy; gradually beat in sugar.  Beat in flour.  Pour into prepared dish.  Arrange a single layer of fruit over the top.  Cover with thin slices of cold butter and if using very sour fruit sprinkle with a bit of brown sugar.  Bake for 20 to 25 minutes (careful not to burn the bottom).  Remove from oven and leave to cool in the pan.  Either eat warm as a dessert with crème fraiche or in squares as a lovely cake with a cuppa tea.

Bon appetît !