Seasonal South Leigh Recipes

As the summer comes to a close, everything goes crazy in the garden and there is the inevitable glut of fruit and vegetables making me feel guilty if I let them go to waste. As there is only so much you can eat, or give away, I thought it might be useful to get together a few preserves which help use up of some of the harvest.

We have a small fig tree which produces so many figs that it is hard to know what to do with them. This fig and apple chutney has proved both easy to make and delicious to eat. If you haven't got a fig tree - find a friend who has!

When I tasted Jane's Courgette Pickle I decided that it was too good not to pass on - what's more it's a recipe that uses at least 10 courgettes! Make it now and enjoy it on Boxing Day (or sooner) with all those cold meats. Likewise, the recipe for Sweet Chilli and Tomato Jam uses up a good few tomatoes and can be used as a relish, a dip or as a glaze for barbecued meat and chicken.

A note about jars / quantities: As a self-confessed horder of jam jars, I tend to use a variety of jar sizes and shapes and so it is hard to say exactly how many jars you will end up with in each of these recipes. Gather together a good quantity of jars before you begin - small or pretty jars of preserves make great gifts.
Happy Cooking ~ E.L.
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Fig and Apple Chutney (Makes approx. 6 medium sized jars.)

2 medium sized onions, peeled and chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
3 tblsp vegetable oil
12 -14 fresh figs, stalks and rough end bit (ostiole) removed, roughly chopped
400g dried figs, stalks removed and roughly chopped
2 large tart eating apples, peeled, cored and chopped quite small
200g sultanas
a thumb-sized piece of ginger, peeled and very finely chopped
1 heaped tsp sea salt
1 heaped tsp of each of the following spices: ground coriander and allspice
½ tsp each of ground cloves and chilli flakes
200ml malt vinegar
200ml cider or wine vinegar
200ml freshly squeezed orange juice
150g soft brown sugar
150g dark brown muscovado sugar


Using a large preserving pan, heat the oil and lightly fry the onions, cooking gently for about 5 minutes until they are softened but not browned.

Add the prepared figs, apples, sultanas, ginger, salt and spices to the pan and pour over the vinegar. Simmer gently for 15-20 minutes, stirring often to make sure the mixture is not catching on the base of the pan.

Stir in the sugar and, when the sugar has dissolved, bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer gently for a further 10-15 minutes, stirring frequently, until the mixture has thickened. You should take the chutney off the heat when it is still a bit thinner than you would like your finished chutney to be as it will thicken a little bit more in the jar. Spoon into clean, warm jars, cover with waxed paper discs and allow to cool slightly before sealing each jar with a screw-top lid.

Store until Christmas – or eat now! Great with cheese.

Jane’s Courgette Pickle (Makes approx. 6-8 medium sized jars.)

10 medium sized courgettes, sliced approx. 3mm (1/8”) thickness (a food processor, the side of your grater or a mandolin will speed this up)
½ a large red onion finely sliced
1 chilli finely sliced (optional)
25g salt
225ml red wine vinegar
110g light muscovado sugar
110g caster sugar
pinch dried mustard powder
1 heaped teaspoon mustard seed
½ level teaspoon turmeric
1 heaped teaspoon celery seed


In a large bowl, combine the first three ingredients with the salt and mix thoroughly. Leave for 2 hours then rinse off the salt under cold water and drain well in a colander.

Put vinegar, sugars and spices into a large saucepan and bring to the boil. Boil 2-3 minutes, remove from heat and add the drained vegetables. Leave to steep for at least 2 hours.

Return pan to heat and bring quickly to the boil and cook for a further 5 minutes. Spoon the vegetables immediately into warmed, sterilised jars and top with the liquid. Seal and leave 2-3 days before consuming.

This pickle will keep for up to up to 2 years - but I am sure you will have eaten it all before then!

With thanks to Jane Lewis for this recipe.

Sweet Chilli and Tomato Jam (Makes approx. 6 medium sized jars.)

Versatile Sweet Chilli and Tomato Jam uses up a good few tomatoes and can be used as a relish, a dip or as a glaze for barbecued meat and chicken. There isn’t much fiddling about with this recipe, it uses the whole tomato - skin and seeds. Do not remove the tomato seeds as they contain pectin which will help the jam set. Leave in a few chilli seeds if you like it a little bit hotter!

1 kg ripe tomatoes
120g red peppers, tops and seeds removed
120g red chillies seeds removed, roughly chopped
4 cloves garlic, peeled
80g fresh ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
60ml fish sauce
600g granulated sugar
200ml red or white wine vinegar
3 star anise

Cut half the quantity of tomatoes into quarters and remove any tough central cores. Cut each quarter into 3 or four pieces and add to a large deep pan. Roughly chop the remaining tomatoes and red pepper and puree with the chillies, garlic, ginger and fish sauce in a food processor then add this mixture to the pan.

Add the sugar, vinegar and star anise and gently heat until the sugar has dissolved. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to a vigorous simmer and cook for about 30 minutes, stirring frequently. When the jam has thickened, remove the star anise and pour into clean, warm jam jars. Cover with waxed paper discs and seal. Store in a cool place.