But before we get to the chutney, how about a tour of the kitchen garden? Admittedly, I use the word kitchen garden very loosely. I have this fantasy of a garden filled with lush herbs spilling over the edges of paths. Verdant salad greens peeping over the tops of beautiful terracotta containers. Row upon row of feathery carrot tops and bright, flashy beetroot leaves jostling for space. And a tall bamboo teepee standing majestically in the centre of this plot, covered with climbers unfurling their curly little tendrils towards the sun.
The reality is a very tiny courtyard garden crammed higgeldy-piggeldy with plants. A teensy area starved for sunlight, in the path of occasionally ferocious winds. And to top it all off, my arch nemesis Mr. Possum attempts to foil my every gardening move.
The tiny garden has been accidentally taken over by a pumpkin plant I optimistically planted.
Possible pumpkin (if possum doesn't get to it first)
But, no matter how meager my harvest, or how often I stand out there in the early morning railing against the *%$#@!!! hungry creatures who visited during the night, I continue to soldier on. There’s just something about
This is what Mr. Possum does
Enough of my sob gardening story though, let’s return to the food. I’d found myself with a glut of green tomatoes because we’d returned home from our Christmas holidays to a couple of dying tomato plants (yes, this isn’t exactly the freshest post). The poor plants were beyond redemption, so I pulled them out, and carefully stripped each salvageable tomato off the vine.
A lot of the tomatoes were too small to really use for anything else, so I thought about preserving them. After looking up a couple of recipes (from Stephanie Alexander and Madhur Jaffery), I couldn’t quite find exactly what I wanted, so I cobbled together my own version of chutney.
I was hoping for a more vibrant green colour but I think the vinegar bleached the tomatoes somewhat. However, it tastes pretty much how I hoped it would. Sweet but tangy, with a little kick from the dried chillies.
Not a great looker but something I’m quite proud off. A bit like my garden really :).
Have a great weekend and happy gardening (if you’re that way inclined).
Green tomato chutney
approx 8 cups/ 950g (1 cup=250ml) green tomatoes, chopped, deseeded if possible. I left most of the seeds in, the tomatoes were too green and little.
6 cloves garlic - finely minced
chunk of ginger (length of my thumb) finely grated
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 tsp fennel seeds toasted
grated rind of 1 lime
juice of half lime
1/2 tsp ground coriander
2/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar (120g)
2/3 cup vinegar (150ml)
pinch of cayenne pepper
3 small dried chillies (I shook the seeds out first).
Prepare some jars. I do this by washing jars (and lids) in hot soapy water, then rinsing with boiling hot water, then laying them on their sides to dry in a low oven (about 120˚C). I try not to handle the jars if possible, instead I use a pair of metal tongs that have been washed in boiling water first. I leave the jars in the warm oven until needed. The lids I leave to air-dry.
This is probably not the most fool-proof method but I only ever make small quantities and store the finished jars in the fridge anyway.
To cook the chutney, place everything in a large saucepan, cook gently and stir until the sugar dissolves. Then turn up the heat a little and simmer until the chutney is thick (took about 45mins to an hour). Spoon hot chutney into jars and seal. Leave to cool before storing in fridge.
If you want to keep the chutney for a long time, it’s best to process them in a hot water bath.
This quantity filled 2 and a half odd sized jars.
I had 5 of these tiny dwarf eggplants in a pot. Mr. Possum ate 4 of them one night when I forgot to cover it.
This is a very welcome and quite rare garden visitor. A blue banded bee :)