I remember the first time I ever had chilli jam, I was sitting in a wine bar with a French man who was very knowledgeable about food and he ordered a selection of cheese with all sorts of condiments and fruits on the side. Then he proceeded to order various wines before staring at me with a look of mischief on his face. My eyes lit up excited by the variety of cheese on the white plate presented to us, some of which I was familiar with and few that were new to me; I loved cheese and good quality bread. At this point I had never experienced any fruit other than grapes paired with cheese let alone juicy slices of mango, I hadn’t spread anything on my bread before eating it with cheese other than butter and I certainly had never spent an entire evening paying attention to the effect changing either a wine, cheese, fruit or condiment in a pairing could have on the palette. I was in absolute foodie heaven, being guided by someone who possessed far more expertise than I and he was willing to channel my passion in order to expand my possibilities.
I am a sucker for spicy food but the great thing about chilli jam is that it makes spicy approachable for everyone, or at least this one does because it has a fragrant heat from the scotch bonnet peppers but the reduced sticky sweetness that is an important characteristic for any jam. Scotch bonnet peppers are used in a lot of Jamaican food, it is my favourite pepper because the heat is not nasal like wasabi, or hot for the sake of being hot; the smell is full of layered notes of spice, savoury and even a particular type of sweetness that only a pepper could have. The scotch bonnet pepper when used properly doesn’t burn your mouth, it adds a unique flavour to your food that happens to accompany its friend called heat that often lingers. In case you are not familiar with a scotch bonnet pepper you may know his cousin called habanero.
All of these vibrant coloured veggies make for a rich looking jam.
It bubbles gently to perfection.
Live, Love, Eat!
- 4 red peppers, deseeded and roughly chopped
- 3 scotch bonnet chilies, roughly chopped
- 1” of fresh root ginger, peeled and roughly chopped (or minced)
- 4 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped roughly
- 400 g fresh cherry tomatoes
- 375 g golden caster sugar
- Teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
- 250 ml apple cider vinegar (can use red wine vinegar
- Take all of your vegetable and herbs and blend in a food processor until finely chopped.
- Pour the mix into a heavy non-stick saucepan and add vinegar and sugar, mix well and bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 45-50 minutes stirring frequently or until thick and syrupy like lava. Then simmer for another 10 minutes stirring constantly to ensure it doesn’t burn.
- Allow to cool and spoon into sterilised jam jars and refrigerate. Will keep for three months.
- This scotch bonnet chilli jam works well with hard cheeses, cold cuts and meats.