A Veggie Chutney?

marrow_plantThe humble marrow. Small it's a zucchini, and one of my favourite veggies to play around with in salads, soups, parmigiana's and just lightly toasted. Let it grow and you get a monster marrow. And what a versatile veggie!

This holiday I made the most delectable marrow and ginger jam and today, the most incredible marrow chutney.

It's so good that even though I bottled it to sell, I will keep at least a few large jars for us. It can be used as a simple chutney, a relish, sambals for curries or even on some cheese for tapas. As I said, versatile DELUXE!

I read up on marrow chutney, and all the recipes seemed to be classifying a marrow in the same file as an eggplant (or melanzane if you prefer). Which means that they want you to salt it and leave it overnight to extract the juices, then rinse it and use it. As I just finished using marrow in jam, I chose to ignore this approach.

So, the ingredients: 

1. 1kg marrow. peeled and de-seeded. (save those seeds for next season!). Whizz it in the food processor.

2. 150g onions, whizzed in the food processor.

3. 150g Granny Smith apples (if you like tart), or red apples to add some colour. Slice and dice into small cubes, or, as usual, whizz in food processor. (Who cares, really? You cook it all to softness, so the texture is not too important at this stage).

4. 150g sultanas, the seedless variety. Don't whizz these, you want those golden orbs in your bottles!

5. 2cm peeled fresh ginger – whizz with the marrow to infuse the flavour.

6. 600ml vinegar. Malt is the best, it's subtle and adds a nice flavour. Brown is good, as it adds colour, but white spirit vinegar is OK as well.

7. a teaspoon ground black pepper. Add salt to taste. I use little salt, just a habit, not a rule.

8. a teaspoon turmeric. (love the colour it gives)

9. a teaspoon paprika. (colour and smokey flavour)

10. a teaspoon fenugreek. (This just takes it to another level)

11. 150g brown, demerara or simple white sugar. The brown and demerara adds lovely colour.


I recently sat next to a masterchef at a school do and he told me that cooking is more about technique than recipes, so I will always talk technique as well.

This is so simple, but there is a trick or two that just adds so much.

1. Take the marrow and ginger and sugar and add it to a water-less cooking pot (best results, no burning). The better your pots, the better your results.

2. Simmer at a medium heat until the marrow starts to go translucent and jammifies.

3. Add the apple and sultanas and the spices. Simmer to infuse those flavours into the jammy stew.

4. When the apples are soft, add the vinegar and bring to the boil.

Now this is where I do something different.

Have you ever found that the curry tastes better the second day when it was reheated?

That's because the flavours infuse and mature.

I do the same with the chutney. I let it cool and the next day cook it again. I even do this for a third day. I typically find that the brownish chutney colours also develop better with this approach. When I bottle immediately, I find the result to be a little pale and bland.

Remember to sterilise your bottles and tops well. Boil them for at least 10 minutes and, if you want to be doubly thorough, bake them dry in the oven.

Bottle your chutney, keep in a dark cabinet (won't keep long, once you've tasted it) for up to a year.



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