20 December 2009

Nigella Christmas

For me, food is fun and sensuous and entertaining and no one bathes in that ethos more than Nigella Lawson. Unlike many food presenters who seem to spend more on syrup of ipecac than on butter, Nigella cooks and eats. I'd be happy in her kitchen. Here's her favorite Christmas "jam".

Actually it is a chilli jam, so stay away from the toast soldiers and try it with cheese or as a side to a nice roasted meat.

Chilli Jam

150g long fresh red chillies, each deseeded and cut into about 4 pieces.
150g red peppers, cored, deseeded and cut into rough chunks
1kg jam sugar
600ml cider vinegar
6 x 250ml sealable jars, with vinegar-proof lid, such as Kilner jar or re-usable pickle jar

1. Sterilize your jars and leave to cool.
2. Put the cut-up chillies into a food processor and pulse until they are finely chopped. Add the chunks of red pepper and pulse again until you have a vibrantly red-flecked processor bowl.
3. Dissolve the sugar in the vinegar in a wide, medium-sized pan over a low heat without stirring.
4. Scrape the chilli-pepper mixture out of the bowl and add to the pan. Bring the pan to the boil, then leave it at a rollicking boil for 10 minutes.
5. Take the pan off the heat and allow it cool. The liquid will become more syrupy, then from syrup to viscous and from viscous to jelly-like as it cools.
6. After about 40 minutes, or once the red flecks are more or less evenly dispersed in the jelly (as the liquid firms up, the hints of chilli and pepper start being suspended in it rather than floating on it), ladle into your jars. If you want to stir gently at this stage, it will do no harm. Then seal tightly.

Remember, Nigella's British so they have a more relaxed style of canning procedures.

I love a chilli jam. I make mine with habaneros, so it is molten. And for those of you who worry about my addiction to cookbooks, take a gander at Nigella's library.

Granted she lives in London and has a billionaire husband and I live in West Virginia and have a cat, but still...

I could work there.


  1. I absolutely love that room of bookcases-yes I could be happy there.

  2. My absolutley best chocolate cake recipe is for a Chocolate Guinness Cake from Nigella's book "Feast". It's a very grown up and not-at-all-good-for-you cake. I have all her cookbooks. Sad but true.

  3. How reassuring to see another lost in stacks! I an using hot peppers as my H1N1 deterrent. Your jam should kill anything viral!


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