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“Two wings lift a person up from earthy concerns: simplicity and purity. Simplicity should be in intention, purity in feelings. Simplicity reaches out after God, purity catches hold and tastes. ~ Thomas A’Kempis

Thursday, 31 March 2011

Chilli Jelly and Bacon Wrapped Mussels


My Fabulous Chilli Jam
5 - 1/2 Small Jars

I first tried Chilli Jelly a couple of years ago when I was in Arkansas USA and that got me hooked. Chilli Sauce is readily available in New Zealand, but I have not yet come upon a comparable chilli jelly, that has that unique flavour. I tried making it myself last year, and while the flavour was there, the jelly didn't set.
We still used it, even though it was a bit runny (friends loved it too). I also tried everywhere to source liquid Certo, which is this fabulous pectin liquid stuff, that makes the mixture set into a jelly. Its available in America..but no-one stocks it here !!!. So this year when I go back to the States, you can be sure I am stocking up big time!!!
Anyway today I tried a slightly different recipe with no added water, and incresed the Jam Set Mix to 2 packets...and it looks as though I've cracked it (somewhat). The texture is still not 'jellyish' though..more like an apple jelly sort of texture,...runny/thick toffee perhaps? One thing about me, I will persevere until I get a recipe right !!..which reminds me of when I began baking bread. (but that's another story), for another blog lol. But watch this space..next summer, we may well see 'real set JELLY' !!! lol.
.... ok here's the recipe:


You will need:

7 Chillies (preferably home grown..I used mild banana chillies)
1 x Red & Green Capsicum
1 1/2 Cups White Vinegar
6 Cups of White Sugar
Pinch of Sea Salt
1/2 - 1 teaspoon Red Food Colouring (optional)
2 x packets of Hansells Jam Setting Mix
Disposable latex gloves
Small Preserving Jars
Lids and Seals
Tongs 
Wooden Board & Teatowel


Method

1. Put your gloves on !!!, otherwise the oils in the chillies work their way into the pores of your skin and are very hard to get rid off..believe me, even after many washes !!
2. Turn the oven on to medium. Place the cleaned jars in the centre of the oven to get them warm. Place the rings and seals in a small saucepan and cover with water. bring to the boil, hold for a few minutes, then remove from the heat.
3. Prepare the chillies and peppers. I remove and discard the seeds and pith from all and then dice everything very small. Some people put it through a food processor, but it turns to mush and mpre scum rises then as its boiled..so its up to you to choose here.
4. In a large saucepan, add the vinegar, salt and sugar. Add the finely diced peppers, chillies and 3 pkts of Jam Set. Bring this mixture to a rolling boil and hold at this point for 6 minutes.
5.  Remove the peppers and chilllies with a slotted spoon after 5 minutes and any scum that rises to the top. 6. Remove from the heat, still in 1/ 2 - 1 teaspoon of food colouring (optional)
7. Prepare to bottle - Cover the board with the teatowell. Place the warmed jars on the board and carefully pour the hot jelly/jam into the jars. I leave a 1 cm space at the top of the jar. Cover with a clean seal and a ring. Screw down firmly. Jars are sealed when the lid sucks down and makes a pop sound.

 Ways to serve: Chilli jelly is lovely on crackers, with cream cheese or a sharp cheddar. Its also nice with a slice of pizza. I also discovered its fabulous drizzled over bacon wrapped mussels..recipe follows:

Fabulous BBQ'd Bacon Wrapped Marinated Mussels



I made these last summer and took them to be cooked at a friends BBQ. All the 'mussel lovers' gobbled them up....(including me). I hope you'll try them :)

You will need:

1 x container of Marinated Mussels
Streaky Bacon Rashers (I cut one rasher in half for each mussel)
1/2 a small Lemon & 1 Lime
Toothpicks
Chilli Jelly (to serve)


Method:

1. Even if you purchase marinated mussels (as I do), in this recipe it works to still marinate them a little longer in some lemon and lime juice (gives a tang to them), just for about 5-10 minutes. Use 1/2 a small lemon and 1 lime. Place the marinated mussels in a small bowl and squeeze the juices over. Let it stand for 5 - 10 minues, stirring after 5.
2. Wrap each mussel in 1/2 a rasher of bacon and secure with a toothpick.
3. Cook on a hot grill/Barbecue..until the bacon is lovely and crispy.
4. To serve - Pile the bacony mussels in a little bowl and serve a small bowl of chilli jelly on the side, for people to help themselves.
'Moreish and Delicious'


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