Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Courgette Chutney

Two weeks ago I left for France and our house that is the Labour of Love and now I am back. I am pleased to report that both Project Kitchen UK and France are now partially complete - we are still awaiting the fitting of the oven in France ; and the fitting of the flooring and the installing of the folding, sliding doors in the UK. We're in no rush to complete these, I've waited about five years already, what's another couple ??

So, what does that have to do with Courgette Chutney ?? Well, the night before leaving for France I went and picked a whole load of courgettes out of the garden and thought.. What on earth am I going to do with these before I leave? With hindsight, that was the least of my problems, as I returned to at least three times that amount of courgettes, but what I end up doing with them is for another day.. as I haven't yet decided...

Anyway, with this particular batch I decided to make Courgette Chutney. Not that I am a particularly major chutney lover (odd sentence, no ?), in fact I have never made chutney before... In fact, that made it all the more tempting as I love a recipe challege. I was totally amazed too that I happened to have all of the ingredients that I needed to make this in my store cupboard (which is never knowingly understocked) and you will see what I mean when I give you the ingredients list. Actually,not all of the ingredients, but near enough alternatives.. In the meantime, here' s a pretty photo of some of those ingredients. (I'm really getting into taking photos as I go at the moment, Cupcake and Biscuit Boy are getting used to it - slowly, eg me shouting 'Stop! I need to take a photo for my blog!', just as they're about to eat something.)


2kg Courgettes (yellow, in my case)
2 Granny Smith (tart or sour) apples (which needed using up anyway, as I was going away..)
2 medium onions (I used one white and one red)
1 yellow pepper (again, these needed using up - happy days !)
1 orange pepper (but you could use any colour for the peppers..)
2 garlic cloves, grated using a plane grater or minced
250gr dark brown sugar (now I didn't have any of this... so what to use instead ? Well, dark brown sugar is only sugar with extra molasses right ?? So, I used 200gr of demerara sugar and 3tbsp of black treacle instead and prayed it would do the trick. :o)
500ml white wine vinegar
2 tbsp fresh root ginger (I used 2tbsp from a jar of ready grated ginger, great stuff this is, for stir fries and I now realize - chutney making !)
2 tbsp English mustard (good old Colman's - is there any other?)
1/4 tsp crushed chilli flakes - I didn't have any chilli flakes so I used a few good dashes of chilli sauce .....
1tsp salt


1. Chop all the veg into dice - yes the onions, apples, the peppers, the courgettes. When you're supposed to be packing this actually takes a very, very, very long time. Hang in there and chop, chop, chop! Perhaps this would make a good 'angry' recipe that you could make when you feel like chopping wildly... not that I ever want to do that, of course.

2. Put all of the veg into a VERY large pot. Add all of the other ingredients.

3. Bring the pot to the boil. Do NOT, I repeat DO NOT put a lid on the pot.

4. Once boiling, reduce to a simmer and simmer over a medium heat. Give the chutney a stir every so often so that none of it sticks to the bottom of the saucepan.

5. Ok, bear in mind that I am stil supposed to be packing. I had to just go off and leave this simmering and go and hunt out jars and lids and put them in the dishwasher to sterilize for later when the chutney is done. (Did I mention that I was actually supposed to be packing at this point ????)

6. Fast-forward about three hours and this chutney is still looking watery. The bags are now happily packed and ready to load into the boot of the car and I am looking to be in my bed, and soon! Chutney's just not looking at all, well, like chutney....

7. I wearily searched the Internet for other's woes of chutney-making, and there found forums mentioning 'the evaporation of the vinegar' and the 'jam-like' texture of the chutney, that leaves a 'rivet' through the mixture when a spoon is drawn through it. Were they having a laugh ??? It's now 11pm and when a spoon is drawn through my 'chutney' it pulls together like a fast-running stream in a hurricane - if you get my drift and the whole thing smells really, very strongly of vinegar...

8. The chutney has now taken about six hours in total to cook. Wow! Guess what ? I need a holiday.

9. Finally, after about another hour, I was content that the chutney was sufficiently jam-like and that most of the vinegar had evaporated and that it could now be potted.

10. Siz small jars potted, and so to bed..

A couple of morals or hints to this recipe -

Don't cook it the night before you go on holiday
Don't start cooking it at 5pm unless you want to stay up til past midnight - stirring like a loon.
Don't put a lid on the pot, or the vinegar will never evaporate off, and you'll be stood there waiting all night.

11. Once potted, leave for 2 weeks or longer to let the flavours meld together.

12. Two weeks later, the holiday is over and the chutney is ready. See the photo below. It is, I have to say, delicious. I will make more as I have such a glut of courgettes at the moment, and this time, I will be following my own advice.

Update: December 2010 - here's a jar of courgette chutney, labelled and ready to present as a gift. Cute huh ?



  1. Thank you so much for the important wisdom and advice :)

  2. great blog but i don't like courgette that much

    love CUPCAKE

  3. I was the very lucky recipient of a jar of this wonderful chutney for Christmas! I have to say, it was absolutely delicious, goes wonderfully with cheese and cold meats. I can't say that I will be making any myself - as I rely on my beautiful friend "Kooky Girl". I am however, definitely in hope that I may get another gift offering!!!


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