And so it begins

Now that Halloween and Bonfire Night are out of the way, it’s time, at last to start planning and prepping, and baking and crafting for Christmas.

Yay.

I like to inflict home baked goods on my nearest and dearest, and this time last year I stumbled upon a recipe for something which had the gloriously red tinged tones to make it look scrumptiously Christmassy, but with a hit of heat to give it a touch of the exotic.

Chilli Jam.

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But before you venture, dancing, into the kitchen, to make up a batch in a whirl of domestic goddessness, let me stop you with

A Cautionary Tale

Last year I was , as I have said, delighted to find the recipe for chilli jam. So delighted in fact that I thought I would make a lot of the stuff so I would have plenty of jars to give away to friends and family.

And so I tripled the quantities.

Now I have used chillies before. I have experienced the unpleasantness that comes with distractedly scratching your nose or eyes after chopping a chilli. I know.. But, I sort of forgot. And I sort of had no idea of the effect chopping 400g of chillies would have. So I chopped them. No problem. I washed my hands, made the chilli jam, got on with my life.

Then 2 hours later it began.

First a bit of a tingling in the fingertips. Then a burning.

I washed my hands again. Vigorously.

It didn’t get any better, so I thought I would go to bed and sleep it off.

At 2am I woke with the feeling that someone had plunged both hands in boiling water and then whipped the fingertips with a bunch of nettles.
At 2.05 I was googling “chilli burn” in the hope that someone out there had an amazing antidote
At 2.15 I was sat with one hand in a bowl of mayonnaise, the other in a bowl of yoghurt and with another bowl filled with sloe gin (the only alcohol we had in the house at the time) to alternate with. The idea is that the alcohol breaks down the chilli oil, the yoghurt/mayonnaise is an emollient to neutralise the oil.

I’m not sure that drinking the sloe gin wouldn’t have been more effective

By 2.30 I was ready to drive to A & E and beg the doctors to inject local anaesthetic into my fingertips.

I think it finally began to wear off at about 5am, but not before I’d convinced myself I’d got irreparable nerve damage and third degree chemical burn

But don’t let this put you off. It really is a very good preserve.

Ingredients

240g chillies
1.5kg jam sugar
900ml cider vinegar
1 red pepper
3 cloves garlic
3cm piece of ginger

Deseed the chillies,

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put in a processor with the garlic, ginger and the pepper (chop the pepper a bit first if you like). Whizz in the processor until its all finely chopped.

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Put the sugar and vinegar in a large pan or jam pan. Heat gently until the sugar is dissolved then add the chilli/pepper mix. Bring the mixture to a rolling boil and keep boiling for about 10 minutes. Decant into sterilised jars.

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Leave to mature for at least a month then enjoy with meat, cheese, burgers. Whatever you fancy.

Only Don’t forget the rubber gloves.

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