Tuesday 5 November 2013

Vibrant Sweet Chilli Jelly

Here's one to keep you warm throughout the winter! A few weeks ago, had you stumbled into my kitchen you'd have found me feverishly stirring a steaming cauldron of capsaicin laden chillies. I was mixing the fiery flavour of an overly generous crop of chillies (six peppers to a plant? more like sixty!) into twenty six little pots of concentrated happiness and warmth. This jelly is both sour and sweet mixing summery chillies with tart apple cider vinegar and some mellowing sugar and pectin to make a thick jelly that goes soooooo well with strong cheese or smokey charcuterie. This recipe is loosely inspired by Nigella Lawson's own approach to chili jelly BUT made somewhat spicier, so if you like hot, you're in the right place. As well as using more chilies and not seeding them, I also used homegrown chilies and they don't tend to all ripen at once. This led me to use a mix of green and orange chilies making for a nice warm orange as opposed to scary red. While I'm at it, I recommend storing the jelly in a wee 125ml jar and accompanying it with chocolate truffles and a bottle of good red wine in some snazzy wrapping to make one nice gift (Christmas anyone?) it'll certainly be appreciated! If you're feeling particularly adventurous, don't hesitate to try the jelly on good vanilla ice cream or with those aforementioned truffles, don't kick it till ya try it!

**On sterilizing: Always make sure to sterilize all of your jars and tools, while I tend to boil everything some people heat it all in the oven at 250, look it up, do it well and right. Botulism is no joke! Also, when canning always make sure to prep more jam jars than required, better to have more ready than to be stuck with not enough!

-675 gr. long fresh red chilli peppers (do shake out some of the seeds so it isn't too overwhelming!)
-225 gr. red peppers (unseeded)
- 3 kg. sugar 
-1800 ml cider vinegar   
-168g (6 oz.) Pectin Powder

1) Prepare jars and tools.
2) Pass chillies, pepper and about half of the vinegar through a blender until if forms a thick mush, if it does not blend, don't hesitate to add some sugar or vinegar to help the machine do its jobs.
3) Empty blender into a large pot, add all ingredients except pectin, bring to a boil for 10 minutes.
4) Once the liquid has started to thicken into a syrupy mixture, reduce the temperature until no longer boiling, add pectin and whisk in vigorously to prevent clumping.
5) Let sit ten minutes or so before carefully ladling the jelly into jars, seal and store.

Most people describe canning as a way to keep a taste of summer for the cold winter months...well let's just say that with this recipe you can keep a bit of the summer heat too!

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