Monday, 16 January 2012

Balsamic goodness...

Pumpkin, Tomato and Balsamic Chutney
Modelled here by Mama Warthog and her son-made from reclaimed material (but not by me of course)from Africa.

I must admit from the outset, that I am not a fan of most vinegars except for Balsamic, finding them too acidic and overpowering and thus most shop bought chutney is not to my taste. I was thus, truly delighted to be introduced to this recipe from that doyen of early British cookery, Elisabeth David.

A friend of mine passed on this recipe to me but as I cannot be sure which actual book of hers it is from, I can just assume it is from one from the 1950’s. I have adapted it and changed it just a little over the years... 

Given my predilection with vinegar, I have substituted what she originally suggested for my favourite Balsamic. And when I say Balsamic, I mean a good authentic Balsamic, not one that is ‘balsamic flavoured’ which seems to mean any caramelised cheap vinegar condiment. Nor do I mean an outstanding aged Balsamic vinegar of 8 years plus which should be saved and savoured to dip some crusty bread into or drizzle on a salad or strawberries.

If you, like me, like Balsamic Vinegar, then get to know the different brands, appreciate the fine ones, and know which ones to use in your dishes. I once had the ultimate experience of having some 30 year old Balsamic on some strawberries...I thought I had died and gone to heaven...given that it had cost about £50, I had probably had!!

This recipe is in old imperial-thank goodness my scales can still convert this. I am assuming readers are familiar with making chutney so will not dwell on the basics. Sterilised jars to make approximately 3 and a half pounds will be needed. Don’t be tempted to double the mixture as it is much better to make in small quantities. Finally you can mix all the ingredients and leave for several hours or overnight in a covered bowl before starting the cooking process. 
This is my version of Elizabeth David’s original recipe.
2 and a half pounds of pumpkin (gross weight)
1 lb ripe tomatoes
½ pound onions-sliced and chopped
2oz sultanas
¾ lb soft brown sugar
¾ unrefined white sugar
2 tbsp ground Maldon salt
2tsp ground ginger
2 tsp black peppercorns
2 tsp allspice berries
2 gloves garlic-crushed
1 and a half pints of balsamic vinegar
Peel the pumpkin, discard the cottony centre and seeds for this recipe (although I would perhaps save the seeds now to toast latter with British extra virgin rapeseed oil, some Malden salt and cumin for a treat)
Chop the pumpkin into small pieces depending on how chunky you like your chutney-personally I like it quite fine.
Meanwhile prepare the tomatoes by pouring hot water on them and de-skinning them. Then slice and chunk.
Crush the peppercorns and allspice berries finely with a pestle and mortar.
Place all the ingredients in a large preserving bowl. Now, this is the stage you can leave them all to introduce themselves to each other for a few hours or overnight...
Bring gently to the boil and cook steadily but not at a gallop until the mixture is jammy. Skim from time to time towards the end of the cooking which will take about 50 minutes. You will need to watch it and stir frequently otherwise it will stick!
It will be ready when it is still a little runny-if too solid it will quickly dry up when stored. Ladle into the prepared jars-don’t worry if it still appears rather runny. Seal and label and place in a cool dark place for at least 8 weeks to mature.
This is a truly wonderful chutney which is delicious with a tasty cheese. Even after a year, the flavour is fantastic. Once a jar is opened then I do keep it in the fridge-not that it lasts very long!

As an alternative to having with cheese, try adding a spoon or two to some root vegetables to roast in the oven with a little oil-really, really scrumptious!

Or finely chopping and adding to some mayonnaise as a dip for some vegetable samosas or alternatively with chunky chips-which goes delightfully with perhaps some griddled tuna!

Please, just enjoy this chutney. Don’t be seduced by shop-bought ones but have a go at making your own-you will not regret it!!

And finally...a photo of our new additions born last week-many thanks to all those who asked for an update. Mum and babies are doing very well!


  1. One and a half pints of Balsamic vinegar!? I can see why you wouldn't want to use the £50 a bottle one... Sounds like a nice chutney though. Nice with that Lincolnshire Poacher, eh?

    1. It sure was!!
      And BTW I tried the Smoked Dorset Red Cheese biscuits you mentioned on your Blog-my local Waitrose has them fortunately. Very tasty though for some reason I was expecting them to be bigger!

  2. Thank you very much for dropping by my blog... was trying to visualize the blue corn tortilla concoction you mentioned... with so much ingredients, it must have tasted superb...

    1. Hi Lrong,
      Thank you so much for stopping by here too! Yes the blue tortillas were delicious though I seem to remember very, very messy to eat!!

  3. Sounds yummy! I don't think I have ever used balsamic vinegar before. You have gotten my interest. I'll have to check it out.


    1. Hi Lynn,
      Thanks for leaving a comment. I do love Balsamic vinegar so would urge you to give it a go. I’ll post my recipe for making Balsamic Pickled Onions up soon!

  4. Do love the sound of this - sounds better than Branston Pickle. I like Balsamic more than ordinary vinegar too.

  5. Yes there is something rather wonderfully unctuous about balsamic!


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