Tag Archives: chutney

A New Kind Of Chutney — Yum, Yum!

There are other things that I do besides writing and photography and one of them (occasionally!) is cooking something special. What’s wonderful about making chutney is that you can enjoy those brightly coloured jars of goodness all year long.

We have loquat trees in our back garden here in Australia that are simply groaning with fruit right now. I had never even heard of a loquat tree until we moved to this part of Victoria, so I had to do some research into them. They’re a stone fruit, originally from China. And since ours are 65 years old, they are HUGE and full of fruit!

The birds have been circling the trees, so I decided that I’d better get cracking and use some of that gorgeous orange-yellow fruit before they ate all of it. So I spent hours today chopping and prepping what turned out to be a very spicy chutney. It smells and tastes like it will be worth it!


Bowl of loquats fresh off the tree.



Cut up loquats prior to cooking.



Chutney Simmering



Completed jars of loquat chutney.



Now — back to work on some photos. More soon.

©Deborah Harmes and ©A Wanderful Life
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Emerging From The Twilight Zone With Chutney

Seriously, when I realised that it had been a month (and a very odd month indeed!) since my last post, I felt like I had stepped inside an episode of The Twilight Zone and time and space had eaten me. There have been rather a lot of ups and downs with medical issues, but I am hopeful that things are on the upswing now. (fingers crossed!)

We did our very-few-blocks walk across the river to the Saturday market here in St. Girons yesterday and came back with a new digital kitchen scale and all of the ingredients for something wonderful — tomato chutney!

9 completed jars of tomato chutney

I laughed at the online instructions that said that the chutney took half an hour to prepare and one and a half hour of simmering before it was time to jar it. Perhaps if someone works a lot faster than I do they could do the prep in half an hour, but it took me an hour of peeling, chopping, and stirring. And Mark, the darling man, had to step in right at the end because I was gasping from chopping the onions.

This simmered for over 2 hours before it became the colour and texture that made me happy, but here is the recipe for anyone who’d like to try it. And it made 9 jars of recycled-marmelade-jar size final product. I tweaked the basic recipe with lots of spices after reading several versions of tomato chutney recipes online and deciding that just tomatoes, sugar, and onions was going to be a bit too bland for our taste.

Spicy and fragrant tomato chutney simmering atop the stove as it thickens

This totally fits in with our ethos of trying to live in an eco-conscious manner. We didn’t spend a penny on fuel since we walked to the market, we bought local produce with very low food miles, and we used recycled glass jars. The total cost for the ingredients was just about €7, I got 9 jars, and frankly that’s a much more sensible economic idea if you enjoy cooking than spending €3-4 or more per jar for quality chutney.

Glass jars simmering in boiling water to sterilise them

Here’s the recipe below. The amount of seasoning can be adjusted up or down according your own idea of what is spicy enough. Enjoy!


2 kilos of ripe tomatoes
500 grams of sliced and slightly chopped onions
8 fat cloves of garlic
8 cm piece of ginger peeled and chopped
375 grams of brown sugar
325 ml of cider vinegar
Juice of one lime
1 large or 2 medium apples — peeled and chopped
1-1/2 to 2 cups of raisins
10 cardamom seeds
1/2 tsp sweet paprika
1/2 tsp smoky paprika
1/2 tsp chili powder
4 tsp cumin
4 rounded tsp allspice
3/4 tsp cinammon

Bring all ingredients to a full boil in a large kettle-style pan with a heavy bottom. Once boiling, reduce the heat and allow the mixture to simmer for at least 2 hours, perhaps longer, until you see the liquid significantly reduced, the mixture thickened, and the colour of the chutney change from bright red to a brown-red.

Jars of hot chutney turned upside down as they cool to give a tight seal

Spoon mixture into hot, sterilised glass jars making sure to wipe the rims clean before sealing the lid tightly. Turn the jar upside down whilst cooling to allow for a tight seal.


Cooled jars of tomato chutney


©Deborah Harmes and ©A Wanderful Life
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Cheerful Chutney in Normandy, France

Several of you have written and asked for the recipe for the apple chutney after seeing the photos of the organic apples yesterday and watching the video that I took of Mark operating the mechanical apple peeler.

Organic apples in Normandy, France


Book of Preserves from the Women's Institute in the UK

I got this recipe from The Book of Preserves by the Women’s Institute in the UK.

Recipe for apple chutney

I won’t exaggerate, but it takes a lot of apples, raisins and/or dates, and chopped onions along with a hefty amount of spices to make a mere 3-4 fat jam sized jars of the finished product. So if you have plenty of large pans or kettles for simmering, you could double or triple the recipe and make a lot more of this in one go. As it was, we only had two large pans to work with. So we were doing one large pan of apple compote (simply chopped apples, no sugar, no spices, simmered for 4 hours until it looks like applesauce and is all natural!) and one pan of chutney.

This recipe produces 2 500 ml (18 fluid ounce) jars of chutney and it goes really well with cheese and meat and sandwiches. We ate some the other night with a chicken quiche. Yum!

Here’s the recipe.

250 g (9 oz) onions, chopped
1 kg (2 lb & 4 oz) cooking apples, cored and chopped
125 g (4-1/2 oz) sultanas, raisins, or chopped dates
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon mixed spice
1 tablespoon salt
350 g (12 oz) granulated sugar
700 ml (1-1/4 pints) malt vinegar

1. Put all ingredients into a large pan. Slowly bring to the boil, stirring often, until the sugar has completely dissolved.

2. Simmer for 1-1/2 to 2 hours, stirring from time to time to stop the chutney sticking to the pan.

3. After the shortest cooking time, start checking if the chutney is ready by dragging a channel through the mixture with a wooden spoon so that the bottom of the pan is visible. If the channel immediately fills with liquid, the chutney is not ready. Cook for a further 15 minutes and then check again. The chutney is ready when the channel does not fill and the mixture is very thick.

4. Remove the pan from the heat and leave to stand briefly. Carefully pour the chutney into hot sterilised jars and seal. Allow the chutney to cool completely before labelling and storing in a cool, dark cupboard. Store for at least 2 months before eating.


©Deborah Harmes and ©A Wanderful Life
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Abundantly Awash In Normandy Apples

Apples — we have an abundance of organic apples here at the house in Normandy where we are house sitting and child sitting for friends while they are in England at a conference.

It’s been remarkable to see how the apple processing in our mini production line has sped up each day as we got into the groove of peeling (with Mark’s expert assistance!), coring, chopping, and stirring-stirring-stirring.

Peeling and chopping apples in Normandy, France

Yesterday we did all of the peeling by hand since I was having problems with the mechanical peeler. And Mark certainly did come in handy when he saw how slowly I was going!

Peeling apples for chutney and compote in Normandy, France

But the most successful (and speedy!) method has been to use the small red metal mechanical peeler as seen in the video below.

Memories of canning and bottling and bread baking when my children were small have come drifting to the surface and the juggling of hot sterilised jars is now back to being second nature.

But I’d honestly forgotten how much fruit it takes to simmer down into a comparably tiny amount of final product. So I moaned a bit when I saw how few jars were created after the first on-my-feet-all-day of kitchen work. An entire afternoon and evening and only SEVEN jars???

Finished jars of apple chutney and compote

But oh my — the fragrance of apple chutney and apple compote bubbling away for hours!

Off to a new part of Normandy in a few days. Keep coming back to read about new adventures in living on the road!

©Deborah Harmes and ©A Wanderful Life
Please respect the words and images on this page.
All rights reserved.