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I love to cook, I've always loved to cook.

As a young girl, my time was spent reading the cookbooks that mum kept in the bottom kitchen drawer. Always looking for a new recipe to try, a new food idea. Many weekends were spent making rainbow cakes with as many colours as possible – have you seen my Instagram, not much has changed, and looking for recipes that I could cook using what was available in the cupboard or from the vegetable garden.

At the aged of about 16, I remember stating that I wanted to leave the farm and travel the world. This would be followed by retiring by about 30 and moving back to South Gippsland to grow vegetables and cook. From 16 fast forward 20 years and I returned, starting Jacican Food Studio in Mirboo North, Gippsland where I grow vegetables and cook. This blog is where I share my food adventure.

Jaci

A recipe for Tomato Chutney from Jacican

One of the advantages of having a big garden is the ability to grow more than I need. Every year I plant about 150 tomato plants. That sounds like a lot, doesn't it? Why do I grow so many? I like to cook with the freshest produce I can, food that is bursting with flavour, and one of the best ways to achieve this is to grow fruit and vegetables myself. If you're picturing a vegetable garden full of stock standard red tomatoes though (not that there's anything wrong with that), then nothing could be further than the truth.

Tomato plant seedlings

Yes, there are a lot of tomatoes, but diversity is the name of the game, and I have 29 varieties in this year. Colour, shape, size, texture, flavour - they're all different, and all delicious.

Varieties of tomatoes at Jacican

 

As they ripen, you will often find me in the kitchen cooking and preserving the harvest for the coming year. There are a huge array of tomato recipes to choose from, but here's one that easy and delicious, no matter what tomatoes you use.

Tomato Chutney

Ingredients

The ingredients for tomato chutney

  • 1 kg red tomatoes - peeled and chopped
  • 1 brown onion - peeled and diced
  • 1 clove garlic - peeled and chopped
  • 330 ml vinegar
  • 160 gram sultanas
  • 4 cloves
  • pinch (small) cayenne
  • 1/2 tablespoon salt
  • 250 grams sugar

Method

  1. Put all ingredients - EXCEPT THE SUGAR - in a large saucepan.  Heat, stirring until boiling.  Cook until the mixture thickens - it should take about 1 1/2 hours.

    Cut tomatoes ready to cook

  2. Remove from heat.  Add sugar and return to the heat, stirring until boiling.  Cook a further 1 1/2 hours, until mixture does not separate.  Stir frequently.Adding the sugar to tomato chutney
  3. Pour the finished chutney into a metal jug to make pouring into the jar easier.  You can keep warm on the hot plate until you need it on a very low heat (I use 2 on the inducted cooktop). Cooked tomato chutney ready to be bottled at Jacican
  4. Bottle and seal in hot sterilized jars. It makes around 8 x 250ml jars.Finished chutney

Enjoy your chutney - now, and all over the cooler months. If you'd like to learn more about preserving your own garden produce, I'm holding a preserving class at Jacican Food Studio, where you'll not only learn my tips and tricks for preserving produce, but leave with your very own fresh jars of preserves.

 Jaci

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