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Always interested in offers/projects/new ideas. Eclectic experience in fields like: numerical computing; Python web; Java enterprise; functional languages; GPGPU; SQL databases; etc. Based in Santiago, Chile; telecommute worldwide. CV; email.

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Tomato Chutney

From: andrew cooke <andrew@...>

Date: Sat, 13 Feb 2016 17:40:16 -0300

Hmmm.  I just tried making some tomato chutney.  I am not sure it's
turned out much like I expected, but hopefully I can use it as a
starting point (althogh right now it's still hot and untried).

I followed a similar approach to jam, and adapted this recipe with a little
more spice (and halved all the amounts).

So I started off by making a very basic curry base - frying 220g of
chopped onions with a 2tsp of cumin seeds and 2tbsp of yellow mustad
seed.  I didn't get the onion really brown, but hopefully it was
enough to open up the spices.  At the end I added 2-3tsp of crushed

That went in the jam pan with 1.02kg of tomatoes (crudely diced), 60g
of chopped sultanas, 150g of sugar, 150ml of cider vinegar and 1tsp
salt.  I also added two seeded, finely chopped chilies (chilies here
are yellow and very mild - I was going to add more but these seemed a
little spicier than normal, and I wasn't particularly looking for
heat, just interest).

That simmered (a little more than simmered, but not rolling boil) for
1hr40m.  It was very watery and never really turned gloopy like jam
does.  I stopped when most of the "extra" water had boiled off,
leaving a thick mush.  I didn't add the oil in the recipe linked,
apart from that used to fry the onion.

Initial impression is that it's not very red, not very thick, and not
very sweet.  I suspect I need a lot more sugar.  But it is tasty!

Produced two 500g jars and a little more.  I am now all out of jars,
so that's the end of cooking preserves for a while.


Taste + Texture

From: andrew cooke <andrew@...>

Date: Sun, 14 Feb 2016 14:31:59 -0300

So, this is a really tasty sauce.  But it's not the kind of sweet
pickle I was looking for.  It "disappears" in a sandwich because it's
"water based".  It looks, tastes and feels like tomatoes that have
been reduced to a thick consistency.  There's no hint of jamminess.

The original recipe included oil, that I didn't add.  That would have
improved the appearance, but I don't think it addresses what I want.

Instead, I think my next version should:

  * Include tomato paste for more tomoato kick
  * Double the sugar content
  * Include the juice of a lemon, for both taste and pectin
  * Half the amount of cumin, maybe?
  * Drop the garlic, maybe?

Also, there's absolutely no heat from the chilies.  So if that is
important, I need to use something else there.


Tomato Chutney v2

From: andrew cooke <andrew@...>

Date: Sat, 20 Feb 2016 17:06:18 -0300

So, a week later and trying again.  What I made last weekend is fine -
I've eaten quite a bit already - but it's not the sugary "tomato
pickle" from Sainsbury's that I was trying to reproduce.  In
particular, it seemed to lack "tomateyness" and sweetness, and didn't
have the jam-like texture.

The obvious change is to add more sugar - that will both increase the
sweetness and soak up the water, in the hope that the natural pectin
can take more of an active role.  I've also thrown in a lemon, both
for zing and pectin.  And tomato puree for the tomateyness (which is
maybe cheating a bit, but in a sense is similar to using more tomatoes
and then coooking things down).

Since the puree I found (it's not common here in Chile - I ended up
with a can imported form Italy) contained salt, I dropped that.  I
also added mroe onion (mainly a texture thing but It may have cooked
away).  And I am using a whole chili (ie with seeds).  I've also
dropped the sultaas since the sweetness is now coming from the body of
the pickle, so these won't provide the contrast they did.

  Tomato puree     200g
  Chopped tomatoes 1kg
  Onions           500g
  Brown sugar      500g
  Lemon            1
  Apple vinegar    200ml
  Cumin            2tsp
  Mustard seeds    1tbsp
  Chili            1

Fine chop the onions and fry with the spices.  Dice the tomatoes.  Put
everything in a pan and bring to the boil.  Boil until desired

I cooked for 1hr45m.  The consistency still seemed quite runny on a
cold spoon, but the bubbling was clearly more splattery and the
"mixture" was holding structure when stirred (also getting weirdly
superheated and then a bit scary to stir).

Not sure about the texture yet (as ever).  The taste is pretty good -
maybe too sweet (or maybe too much vinegar)?  A lot depends on the
texture - needs to be more that a sweet and sour sauce!  It's pretty
spicy - including the seeds really changed things.

Made 3 500g jars.


It's Good!

From: andrew cooke <andrew@...>

Date: Sat, 20 Feb 2016 20:30:59 -0300

First test now it's cool.  Texture is good - maybe slightly too runny,
but with plenty of structure.  Very dark, but a good red colour.
Sweet, spicy (my experience with the previous recipe is that the cumin
dies back over the first few days).  Not too sweet, not too much
vinegar - not the sweet and soure sauce I feared.  Happy.

Not sure what to change in future.  Maybe less chili.  I guess I need
to try more...


Later Taste

From: andrew cooke <andrew@...>

Date: Tue, 23 Feb 2016 17:46:52 -0300

A few days later and the bite from the chili has all but disappeared.
Also, the texture is borderline too thick - it has something of the
"goo" of overcooked jam (see my first batch of jam).

So next time: mre chili and less cooking (but not much less).


PS Maybe, also, white sugar?  I think the brown sugar adds a lower
register to the flavour that might not be helping.

Tomato Chutney v3

From: andrew cooke <andrew@...>

Date: Sun, 10 Apr 2016 16:56:46 -0300

As above, but with white sugar, two lemons (only because the lemons were
shitty with little juice), and two teaspoons of merken (actually, arukas
merken and oregano, but I doubt the oregano will show through).

After having lived with the recipe above (v2) I think it's pretty much perfect
(to the point that, on my last trip to the UK, I didn't bother bringing any
tomato pickle back with me).  This change is to see if the sugar reduces teh
slight "molasses" (toffee?) flavour, and whether I can get something a little

A couple of other small points.  I used a thermometer (my mum's old toffe
thermometer) but really didn't see any teribly interesting temperature changes
(I stopped at around 208F).  And when I was sterlising jars (at 230F) I
managed to burn most of the lid seals.  Guess the temp was too high and I left
them in too long :o(

The above made under 3 500g jars, with cooking time (higher heat) of around
1h25m.  I think next time I could make double amounts.


Jars Explains

From: andrew cooke <andrew@...>

Date: Sun, 10 Apr 2016 17:01:08 -0300

Ah crap.  What with the thermometer marked in F I confused F and C for the
jars and heated them WAY too high.

Aso, sorry for all the typos above.  May fix them later when less tired (3h40m
cycle this morning).


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