As promised, here is the recipe for ‘Looney’s Lovely Minty Nispero Chutney’
If you are fortunate enough to have great weather and a nice place to sit while you work, collect together all your ingredients, and take them outside. Otherwise, just work as you normally would, in the kitchen…
2lb chopped onion
6lb roughly chopped nisperos
4 cloves garlic, crushed
4oz flaked or chopped almonds
2 tsp slightly squashed yellow mustard seeds
8 cardamom pods
1lb soft brown sugar
1lb granulated white sugar (I like to use some white sugar so the chutney keeps its pretty colour from the fruit)
2 pints white wine vinegar
Sprigs of mint to taste
Chop the onions fairly fine, but don’t worry about uniformity – a few bigger bits won’t matter
Boil the onion in a large pan, using a little water, until it is soft. Meanwhile, you can prepare the nisperos, but don’t forget to keep an eye on the onion.
Chop the stalk off each nispero, make a cut down one side, prise the fruit apart and scoop out the seeds. I find that using a thumb works better than a spoon, and you can break off the remains of the flower part easily while you are at it. Some of the skin will probably come off, but you don’t need to peel the fruit, as the skin softens as it cooks. Chop the nispero roughly, to leave you with some nice size lumps in the finished chutney.
Once the onion is soft, drain off any remaining water and add all the rest of the ingredients to the pan. Bring the mixture to the boil and then simmer it until it thickens, stirring it frequently. You can tell when it is ready, because there is enough liquid to almost cover the fruit, but not enough for it to be submerged – much like chutney, in fact!
While your chutney is simmering, you can throw the nispero and onion trimmings on the compost heap. I like to work with an obras bucket by my side, so I can just chuck all the rubbish in as I go…
Bottle the chutney in warm, clean jars. Take the lump of cinnamon and any cardammom or cloves you happen to notice as you go.
Allow a little space in the top of each jar, so that the vinegar does not corrode the metal lid.
Label your chutney, so that you don’t assume it is jam and get a shock when you spread it on your Victoria sponge!
This recipe is adapted from a recipe I had for a mixed fruit chutney, so if you are unfortunate enough not to be able to get hold of nisperos, you could swap them for a mixture of other fruit, and experiment with spices and other ingredients to come up with your own unique chutney. Just make a note of what you use, so that if it’s fab, you can make some more. (Take my word for it; the frustration of having created something wondrous but being unable to remember how you did it is almost unbearable!)