Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Chilli Jelly

This is a real treat. It is normally considered a festive season recipe, but I love this in the summer with some cold Feta cheese and pita bread garnished with a couple of fresh Basil leaves. You can make it more or less spicy by varying the proportions of regular peppers and chillies and even add some green chillies if you are doing this over Christmas and want the red-and-green festive feel.
200 g of red peppers
100 g of red chillies
for an extra kick – 2 or 3 bird’s eye chillies
2 cloves of garlic, without their skin
1 kg pectinated sugar
1 small Granny Smith apple
500 ml cider vinegar

Melt the sugar with the cider vinegar in a pan on low heat with the garlic cloves. Try to resist the urge to stir: the more you stir, the more cloudy your jelly is going to be.
Blitz the peppers and the chillies together in the food processor: if you are in for a spicier taste, you can chop them thinly with a knife. Be extremely careful when chopping the chillies (especially the birds eye chillies, if you are using them): wear gloves, clean your processor/chopping board promptly and wash your hands before touching your face or eyes. Grate the apple. Add all the fruits to the syrup and take away the garlic cloves: raise up the heat until your concoction reaches a volcanic boil and let it be for 10 minutes.
Remove from heat and wait for about 40 minutes, when the chunks of pepper will start to sink into the jelly.
Ladle into sterilised jars, close and leave upside down overnight to set.

This is an incredibly pretty confection, which just screams for a festive ribbon and a card to become the perfect stocking filler. It goes wonderfully with cold meats (especially turkey!), strong cheeses and bread.
You can make it into a more complete present by setting a jar of this in a basket with a small loaf of seeded bread (you can go wild with different kinds of seeded bread, I especially like poppyseed bread with this jelly) and a small tub of posh cream cheese.
Alternatively, you can turn this into a typically Christmassy feast by giving it as a gift with a jar of caramelised oranges and one of your favourite chutneys. 

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