Nigella Lawson's Chilli Jam

Submitted - Ben
Views - 1323
Serves - 1.5 litres


150g long fresh red chillies, each deseeded and cut into about 4 pieces.
150g red peppers, cored, deseeded and cut into rough chunks
1kg jam sugar
600ml cider vinegar
6 x 250ml sealable jars, with vinegar-proof lid, such as Kilner jar or re-usable pickle jar


Sterilize your jars and leave to cool.

Put the cut-up chillies into a food processor and pulse until they are finely chopped. Add the chunks of red pepper and pulse again until you have a vibrantly red-flecked processor bowl.

Dissolve the sugar in the vinegar in a wide, medium-sized pan over a low heat without stirring.

Scrape the chilli-pepper mixture out of the bowl and add to the pan. Bring the pan to the boil, then leave it at a rollicking boil for 10 minutes.

Take the pan off the heat and allow it cool. The liquid will become more syrupy, then from syrup to viscous and from viscous to jelly-like as it cools.

After about 40 minutes, or once the red flecks are more or less evenly dispersed in the jelly (as the liquid firms up, the hints of chilli and pepper start being suspended in it rather than floating on it), ladle into your jars. If you want to stir gently at this stage, it will do no harm. Then seal tightly.


Although I call this chilli jam, I don't mean by this that it's the sort of thing you'd spread on your toast at breakfast (though smeared inside a bacon sandwich, it could be a real help one hungover morning) but rather a chilli jelly - chelly? - that glows a fiery, flecked red and is fabulous with cold meats or a cheese plate. And just a small pot of it makes a gorgeous present. In the traditional run of things, jellies are incredibly hard work to make, or at least I find them so. If I tell you that jelly-making tends to involve tying jelly bags or pieces of muslin to the leg of an upended stool and straining stuff through the fine cloth into a bowl sitting in the underside of the stool's seat for at least 12 hours, you'll get the picture. But don't worry. I don't strain - in either sense of the word - myself, but leave the orange-glowing red jelly cheerfully freckled with the bits of chilli and sweet pepper, and instead of getting my jellied set from preparing, cooking and sieving bucketloads of high pectin fruit, I simply cook the chillies in vinegar and pectin-added sugar, an essential ingredient I buy from the supermarket where it is labelled "jam sugar". It could scarcely be easier. I make the "chelly" with equal weights of hot and sweet peppers, but if you wanted a bit more fire in your jelly, you could up the amount of chilli peppers and reduce the amount of bell pepper. But this proportion provides enough tingle for those who like it hot, but without burning out more sensitive palates.