The original title of this recipe was ‘Bea Turner’s Tomato Relish’. I never knew Bea Turner, a long gone member of one of our churches, or where she got the original recipe. However she passed on her recipe to a friend who regularly makes jams and chutneys, who passed it to another friend when she moved away, when it was passed to me. (Some of the best recipes come like this, I think, as hand-me-downs!) There are a couple of occasions recently when I have promised this recipe to readers who have left comments: here it is … enjoy!
I have made tomato chutney recipes in the past (I know this is called relish, but what’s the difference – very little actually) however this is by far the best I have come across. I think it is the addition of the tomato purée which adds a sweet richness to the mix. Rather conveniently, it does not use a large quantity of tomatoes so, though it is worth making several batches when tomatoes are cheap, is also handy for the winter months when tomatoes are more expensive. The pepper, onion and apples should be chopped according to the size that they will be in the finished relish. I find it better to chop them finely, so small pieces are visible but do not be tempted to use a food processor unless you want a uniform coloured relish. You must use clear vinegar though using a brown one would mean dulling down the lovely rich red colouring. The spices below are as the original recipe, which is a little on the hot side for some (but not all) members of our family. The second time I made it I halved the chilli, cayenne and mustard, but then it was not spicy enough for some (but not all). You can’t please everyone … I now usually make it half way in between. I have put both these adaptations in brackets after the recipe. There are so many uses for this wonderful chutney, apart from simply serving it on the side with meats or cheeses: a mildly spiced topping for Welsh Rarebit, Pizza or Pitta Pizzas, as an ingredient in Mexican Style Chicken & Pepper Salad or Cheese & Tomato Tortilla Bake and many more …
Warning: Do not try to make a double batch in one pan. Reducing the extra liquid will be difficult and leaving it to cook down for a long time could lead to the sugars burning. I speak from experience! I apply this rule to all home made jams and chutneys: nothing worse than a bitter burnt flavour lurking in the background. I find using the widest saucepan I have gives the biggest surface area for the quick evaporation of liquid.
(Makes about 5 x 1lb jars)
1 green pepper (I like to use a large one)
1lb/500g apples (cooking or eating)
3 cloves garlic
½pint/10 fl ozs/300ml white malt vinegar
¾lb/375g white sugar
6ozs/170g tomato purée
1 level tbsp salt
1 level tbsp paprika
1 tsp cayenne pepper (medium=¾tsp – mild=½tsp)
½tsp mixed spice
½tbsp mustard powder (medium=scant 1tsp – mild=¼tbsp)
1tbsp mixed English mustard (reduce for medium or mild strength)
1. Skin the tomatoes by making cross cuts in the skins, pouring over boiling water and after 30 seconds plunging them into cold water. This helps the skin to come off easier. Prepare frozen tomatoes in the same way. (If using very small tomatoes then add an extra one or two depending on size to compensate for the extra skins that are removed.) .
2. Chop the tomatoes, pepper, onions, apples and garlic.
3. Put them all in a large pan with the vinegar and simmer until tender and thick, stirring regularly to check it does not stick and burn.
4. When a spoon run across the mixture leaves a channel that does not fill up with liquid.
5. Add the sugar and spices and stir well.
6. Boil for 3 minutes.
7. Wash the jars well and sterilise. I usually do this by filling the jars with boiling water and putting the lids in a bowl of boiling water. I pour away the water just before filling each jar and immediately take the lid from the bowl and screw it on.
8. Pot while still hot into pre-prepared sterilised jars. Cool and label. This can be eaten immediately but also keeps well.