Sunday, May 31, 2009

Balance & Harmony & Chilli Jam

At Christmas this year I was given Neil Perry's latest book, "Balance & Harmony" by Michael's gorgeous parents, Anne and Alan. Apart from looking absolutely beautiful in the crysanthemum linen box it is a treasure trove of great recipies and ideas.

The photos are of a really high quality and in terms of content and presentation, this really is a class act. The release of the book coincided with the January 2009 opening of Perry's latest restaurant venture, Spice Temple (which I hope to review at some point) So far, I have heard really good things about it so I am eager to find out for myself.

Check out the website for more info

But back to Balance & Harmony - as well as lots of stunning dishes, the book gives you the lowdown on a whole lot of basics as well as some more complex dishes. In the last 18 months I have studied and cooked a lot of Asian food - as some of you know I headed off to Singapore and Indonesia to do cooking classes on 3 occasions recently and felt like I was pretty across how to handle a lot Asian ingredients and techniques. I still got a lot from Neil Perry's take on things. Whilst this book sticks to the principles I learned in Asia, it gives them quite a slick, modern presentation which really works. At around $95, the book isn't cheap, but I think it has been released in glossy paperback so look for it in your bookshop. Highly recommended.

I was inspired by the book to make my own chilli jam - something I hadn't attempted before. I love chilli jam as a stirfry ingredient, as a condiment on grilled chicken or fish, or as part of a spicy mayonnaise. I wanted something super rich and spicy, that would make your tastebuds sit up and take notice. I wanted heat as well as flavour. I was really happy with the result and Michael (my barometer and consultant for all things chilli related) agreed that it packs a punch. It turned out super dense and caramelised and the flavour is quite complex - very rich at first but with a hot, slightly acid, clean finish. It was so easy to make and the recipie makes enough to last any chilli addict a few months. Here is what I did:

Gourmet Goddess Chilli Jam

You will need:

About 500g sliced Red Chillies (I used the longer hot ones, not the small birdseye chillis, and I kept the seeds in because I wanted a lot of heat)

4 large red onions sliced into thin rings

About 2-3 cups brown sugar

Fish Sauce (Nam Pla) - Omit if you are vego.

Rice Vinegar

Splash of vegetable or peanut oil.

* Feel free to adjust these amounts to taste. As with any kind of jam making, you will need to taste and monitor the flavours and consistency until it is to your own taste.


In a heavy based pan, put a splash of oil and add the onions. Cook gently until they start to become translucent. Add the chillis and cook for about 5 mins.

Add the brown sugar, a generous splash each of the rice vinegar and fish sauce.

Cook on a low to medium heat until the jam is the consistency you want it (I cooked mine until it was quite thick) Make sure you give it a loving stir from time to time and don't let it burn.

Allow to cool and pour into sterilised jars with a tight fitting lid. Store in the fridge.


No comments:

Post a Comment