This post has already been read 951 times!

Very often it is the ancillaries which really make life special. Sure it’s nice to wear a quality suit, but the effect is ruined if you don’t top it off with a fine pair of leather shoes and a matching belt. Ditto ties, pocket squares and sunglasses. 

When it comes to food, it’s the same thing. A solid foundation is grand, and good quality ingredients are a must, but very often the ancillaries are neglected, and the overall effect is diminished. We buy premium small batch gin and mix it with supermarket own tonic and a wedge of old lemon when it really needed fever tree tonic and a slice of cucumber.

We spend 30 grand on a trick performance car, and decide to economise by fitting remoulds. We buy fish and chips and accompany them with the cheapest quality tartare sauce, when we could have whipped our own up in 30 seconds with some ingredients from the fridge.

And so we come to the subject of chutneys. Most of us first encountered mango chutney in our local Indian restaurant. Being a native fruit of the Indian subcontinent, the mango has been preserved in chutneys and pickles for hundreds of years, and is a staple of any UK Indian starter, accompanied by poppadums, lime pickle and mint sauce.

I’m betting many of you will not have had the pleasure of sampling a home-made mango chutney, and if so you’re in for a treat. The mass produced jars of chutney available in the shops are overly gloopy with thickeners added to basic mostly tasteless ingredients. What makes the home version so much better is down to the simple abundance of fruit. This mango chutney is essentially stewed and spiced mango, with a little Apple thrown in for good measure. Sound good? Great. Let me explain how you make it.

Prep time 8 hours, cooking time 1-2 hours

You will need:

  • 4 large very ripe mangos, peeled and sliced
  • 2 dessert apples peeled, cored and diced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 1 tbsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tbsp chilli powder (use 2 tsp if you want less kick)
  • 3cm fresh root ginger peeled and grated
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 4 cloves
  • 400g of sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 250ml cider vinegar

Take a large bowl and combine all of the ingredients apart from the vinegar. Stir well, cover and leave to macerate for 8 hours (ideally overnight)

Transfer the mix to a large casserole, add the vinegar. Bring to the boil and simmer for 45mins – 1hr, stirring frequently, until the mixture has thickened.

Remove the cinammon and cloves and transfer to hot sterilised jars (see below), covering with lids immediately. Allow to cool.

Leave to mature for a couple of weeks before opening. Unopened it will keep for a couple of years in a cool dry place.

If you are making for others, it’s worth considering making a double batch, as you will find a jar doesn’t last very long in a big group. Goes great with curries, and with a good strong British cheddar cheese.

This recipe and others like it can be found in Simon Cave’s excellent book Manly Food, available on Amazon and in other good bookshops.

How to Sterilise Jam Jars

Save your jam jars! I like the Bonne Maman jars as they look nice with their “tablecloth” lids, but any quality glass jars will do the trick, you could even splash out for Kilner Jars.

Set your oven to a low temperature. Wash the jars in very hot soapy water and rinse, transferring the jars and their lids to the oven to dry.

When handling the jars, use a clean tea towel and don’t in any instance touch the inside of the jars or the lids.

This post has already been read 951 times!