Tag Archives: chilli

Plum and Habanero Jam

Fiery Plum and Habanero Jam

We've picked just about the last of our plums today.
We’ve picked just about the last of our plums today.

We’ve had so many plums this season, despite the wind that destroyed so many in mid-December.  I’ve been making ‘Plum Everything’, including having started a batch of plum wine.  But I think there is nothing nicer than a Plum Jam, as it’s so versatile.

This year I decided to invent a spicy version – and it’s turned out extremely well.

For the spicy component I used Habanero that I’d grown last season and had frozen, as our current plant is too small to produce any fruit yet.  It’s been a slow season in the garden due to the inclement weather in December.

Four of our home-grown Habanero chilis
Four of our home-grown Habanero chilies

Habanero is my absolute favourite chili pepper.  It has such an amazing flavour – very fragrant and fruity, as well as the excellent kick it provides (it rates as 100,000 to 350,000 on the Scoville Scale).

This jam is not for the faint-hearted, but it’s definitely worth making.  It can be added to sauces or used as a condiment just as it is, or (of course) spread on your toast as a rich and spicy jam.

Our lovely yellow-fleshed, red-skinned plums.
Our lovely yellow-fleshed, red-skinned plums.

Ingredients

  • About 5.5 kilos (around 12 lbs) red-skinned plums, stones removed
  • 3 – 4.5 cups white sugar
  • 4 whole Habanero, seeds removed

Method

Chop the plums up roughly and put them in a large preserving pan.  Sprinkle the sugar on top and let them sit like this for an hour or so, stirring from time to time to help the sugar dissolve.

Second boiling of the sauce.
Second boiling of the sauce.

Bring this slowly to the boil, stirring at frequent intervals to prevent anything sticking to the base of the pan.  Once boiling steadily, maintain the boil for about 10 minutes then turn off the heat and allow to cool to room temperature.

Repeat the above process 3 times (or more if you would like a thicker jam).  The main thing to remember is that you have to stir frequently, especially while you are waiting for the fruit to come to the boil, to avoid the fruit sticking to the bottom of the pan and scorching.

If this does happen, don’t panic… transfer the jam to another container without scraping any of the ‘caught’ jam from the bottom of the pan.  Wash the pan then carry on with the process.  You can stop and start with this recipe easily.

A dollop of spicy jam.
A dollop of spicy jam.

This batch produced about 3 litres of wonderfully rich jam.  Actually, I could just eat it directly from the spoon, rather than add it to anything else. 🙂

Notes

Red Plums versus Yellow Plums
Some of the jars of jam.  You can see the lovely dark colour it becomes, from even using yellow-fleshed plums...
Some of the jars of jam. You can see the lovely dark colour it has developed.

You could use yellow-skinned plums for this recipe, or even greengages, but the red-skinned plums give the jam the most wonderfully rich colour, even using yellow-fleshed plums as I have.

Sugar

I began with 3.5 cups of sugar and then tested the flavour part way through the cooking.  It was then that I decided to add an additional .5 of a cup.  It’s a matter of personal taste and also, the sugar level in the plums themselves.  Also, I like to cut down added sugar where I can, so I tend to start out with a bit less in a recipe such as this, and then add more if I need to.

The above recipe has been adapted from a recipe I found on the Natasha’s Kitchen site.

Tangy Vegan Curry

Vegan curry with Basmati rice and roti
Tangy Vegan curry with Basmati rice and Roti

Serves 4

This curry could be adapted to use any combination of vegetables, but to my personal taste, is enhanced if potato is included.

We had a surplus of zucchini and had to dispose of some tomato plants that weren’t surviving very well in the heat and dryness of our front porch – hence the green tomatoes.   Ripe, red tomatoes would do just as well, as would using tofu in the mix.

The mix of vegetables in the curry is about 1/3 potatoes, 1/3 zucchini and 1/3 green tomatoes.

I served this curry with white Basmati rice and freshly-made Roti.

Ingredients

  • Potatoes (a good floury variety)
  • Green tomatoes
  • Zucchini (starchy Costata Romanesco is ideal)
  • 1 medium onion (finely sliced)
  • Sunflower oil
  • Freshly crushed garlic (2 or 3 cloves)
  • Fresh chili to taste (I prefer Habanero)
  • 1 tablespoon black mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Lemon juice (1/2 large or 1 smallish lemon)

Preparation

Chilli, spices, garlic and onion

Habanero chilli, spices and crushed garlic
Habanero chilli, spices and crushed garlic

Finely chop the chilli, measure the spices, crush the garlic and slice the onion evenly, ahead of time.  This will enable the curry to be cooked quickly, which is important if you wish to retain the best features of the ingredients.

Potatoes

Sauteed potatoes
Sauteed potatoes

Peel and dice about 3 medium sized potatoes and sauté them in  a little oil until they are cooked through and have started to develop a crispy golden coating.  Remove these from the pan and set aside.

Zucchini

Sautéed zucchini
Sautéed zucchini

Do the same with the zucchinis.  Slice them into chunky pieces and sauté them in a little hot oil until they are ‘just’ beginning to cook through and have developed a golden colouring.  Set these aside, also.

Green Tomatoes

Roughly chopped green tomatoes
Roughly chopped green tomatoes

Peel and roughly chop the green tomatoes.  They can be irregular in size as long as they aren’t too thick – they will soon soften once they are added to the curry.

Method

Wipe out the pan, add a couple of tablespoons of oil and raise the heat.  When it is good and hot, add about a tablespoon of black mustard seeds and heat them until they start to pop.  Then add the turmeric, cumin, coriander seeds, chilli, ginger and lemon juice to the pan and cook for 1 minute.

Turn the heat down to less than half way and add the sliced onion.  Gently cook this until it turns transparent, but don’t over-cook it – you want to still be able to see the slices in the curry.  About half way through this cooking process, stir in the crushed garlic so that it has the chance to cook through.

Add the vegetables to the onion and spices and stir through
Add the vegetables to the onion and spices and stir through

When the onion is ready, add the potato, zucchini and green tomato.  Stir these through carefully, mixing them in with the spices and onion but taking care to keep the pieces intact.  Cover the pan with a tight-fitting lid and turn the heat down to low.

Gently cook until the tomatoes have softened, and the zucchini and potatoes are well-heated, stirring from time to time.  This should take no more than 20 minutes.

When the curry is cooked through, check for seasoning and serve.