Apple chutney

    An essential, this goes with almost anything. We use Braeburn apples, which have a good balance of acidity and sweetness, but feel free to experiment with different varieties such as Cox’s, Bramley or russet, which will each lend their particular character to your chutney. Using the microwave to make the chutney saves a lot of pan scraping and time as well; an Italian chef who worked with us showed us this little trick.

    MAKES 1.1KG
    1.5kg (about 7) Braeburn apples, peeled, cored and roughly chopped
    8 tbsp (60ml) cider vinegar
    2 tbsp sea salt, plus more if needed
    200g granulated sugar, plus more if needed
    Place the apples, vinegar and salt in a large, microwavable bowl or container, covering loosely with a plate or lid. Microwave at full power (800W) for 10–15 minutes, stirring every 5, until the apples are soft and plump.
    Add the sugar. Pulse with a hand-held blender to a chunky consistency, then return the chutney to the microwave, uncovered, for a further 5 to 10 minutes, mixing every 5, or until thick and a spoonful put on a cold surface doesn’t run.
    Taste and add more salt or sugar if necessary. Allow to cool.
    (If you haven’t got a microwave, put all the ingredients in a heavy-based pan and bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to a fast simmer. When the fruit is pulpy, use a balloon whisk to smash up the fruit, but leave some for texture. Allow another 20 minutes’ cooking time, then test by putting a little on a chilled plate; allow to cool, then check for consistency.)
    Sterilise four 227ml jam jars (see here). Divide the chutney between them while both it and the jars are still warm. This will keep for up to a month in the fridge.