Etna Sauce

Yesterday I made three jars of what I lovingly call Etna Sauce. It’s a chilli sauce that’s sweet like Thai chilli sauce but as hot as the lava from Mount Etna. Because it’s so hot I only make it in small batches because not many people like the intense heat – I do.

I posted an image on Instagram and Facebook and Alexandra asked me for the recipe, so here it is:

52401124_10155852612142187_3375319071695306752_n

Ingredients: 400 ml white wine vinegar. 650 g white granulated sugar. 60 g dried chillies. 150 g red pepper (de-seeded) 120 g fresh red chilli (de-seeded) I use the small hot red chillies rather than the larger sweeter ones. I also think it’s the addition of the dried chilli that gives the sauce it’s intense heat, but if you can handle it do feel free to add an extra 10g of them. (If you can’t get fresh chilli use 160 g of dried ones).

Put the vinegar and sugar into a large saucepan over a medium heat and let the sugar dissolve. Meanwhile add the chillies to a blender/processor and blitz until fine. Once the sugar has dissolved add the chilli and pepper mixture to the saucepan and bring to the boil. Let the liquid boil for 12 minutes then turn it off and take off the heat and let it stand for 25 minutes.

Sterilise your jars in hot water and let them air dry before filling with the sauce.

The sauce has a consistency between jam and sauce and can be spread on cheese sandwiches, bacon or sausages and goes great if warmed in a pan to make it more liquid and added to chicken or ribs.

For my apple and chilli jam click here NB: most people who’ve tried this say it’s a tad hot so reduce the chilli down to 150g.

Barry’s Apple and Chilli Jam

Twice this week my apple and chilli jam/sauce has been praised so I thought for the friends who asked me how to make it and for any other interested parties I’d share the recipe with you. One day I had some spare apples and as we were having pork that lunchtime I thought about making an apple sauce, but as I don’t really like cooked apples decided to spice it up with some fresh chillies from the orto.

Look on the internet and you’ll find a plethora of recipes for chilli jams and sauces and many use a mix of pepper and chillies whilst others call for garlic or ginger to be added. I guess it’s a matter of taste. My favourite recipe for a chilli dipping sauce rather than a set jam is by Nigella Lawson and I’ve made this many times as it’s as easy to make as lacing a shoe.

DSCF1261

My apple chilli jam is the paler sauce in the right of the picture 

To make 4 – 5 medium sized jars you need: 1kg white sugar, 1 litre of white wine or cider vinegar, 150 – 200 g fresh chillies, 3 fresh green apples (granny smiths are good).

Before you begin sterilise your jars and lids, this can be done in the dishwasher or wash in very hot water. Once cleaned, pop them into preheated oven 140C – 275F (gas mark 1) for 15 minutes to dry out. Once dry handle carefully as they’ll be hot and don’t touch the inside of the jars.

Trim and deseed half of your chillies then chop them.  If you don’t fancy chopping by hand, add the whole lot into a food processor and blitz them. (The seeds from the whole chillies add an attractive look to the finished product). Peel and core the apples but don’t throw any bits away, chop the apple into 2 cm cubes and with the chillies add them into a heavy saucepan with the sugar and vinegar.

As jam makers know to get it to set you need pectin, this is added to pre-packaged jam sugar but in Italy it’s difficult to find it so I used granulated white sugar. As apples have plenty of pectin naturally you shouldn’t have a problem with the setting consistency. I put the peel, pips and cores of the apples to a muslin bag and add this to the mix for added pectin.

Bring to a simmer but don’t stir until all the sugar has dissolved otherwise it can look stringy and won’t cool clear. When the mixture starts to boil, stir it and keep it on a rolling boil for 20 minutes with the occasional stir with a wooden spoon. (Metal spoons can taint the jam).

Test the consistency by dropping a dollop onto a cold saucer out of the fridge. After a minute it should be thick but not set like a jam, if you’d prefer a set jam, bring back to the boil for a few minutes and test again as before. The beauty of this sauce is you can have it as runny like a dipping sauce or hard set like marmalade it’s all about choice.

Remove the bag containing the core and peel and fill the hot jars. Once the lids are on and after a few minutes as the chilli flakes will be at the top of the jars, turn them over onto their lids for 15 minutes and as the mixture cools they’ll redistribute themselves.

That’s it, easy as lacing a shoe.

DSCF1263

The red chilli jam in the picture on the left was made with red wine vinegar, red chillies and to get it to set I added a sachet of shop bought pectin, which can be found in most UK supermarkets and online.