The Perfectly Balanced Summer Condiment

As summer  sizzles its way through  Sydney (Australia), so does the abundance of produce that is available at the local markets. I am impressed and sometimes over whelmed by the beauty and splendor that is on offer at local  markets and especially LOVE summer for its colourful and juicy bounty.

On one such market expedition with my tongue protruding and my tastebuds salivating,  I thought all my christmases had come at once when I came across a box full of scarlet red plum tomatoes for $6.99.

How could I  turn down such a bargain ?

My head was reeling with all the wonderful recipe possibilites that tempted and taunted me when deciding what to do with this ripe summer harvest. Fresh homemade tomato sauce? chunky tomato chutney? or perhaps, delightful jars of olive oil packed semi dried tomatoes?

My heart though eventually went with a recipe I started making a few years ago whilst working for the lovely Bill Granger. His dear friend Skye Gyngell from Petersham Nurseries in London had given him a recipe for Tomato chilli jam which I have adjusted slightly making this recipe literally worth breaking the law for.

It’s sweet and sour, salty and spicy and perfectly balanced. It is versatile in its applications where you can have it as a dip, try it with some pungent cheese, devour it as a pasta sauce or crave it on a side of toasted sourdough bread with fresh ricotta and mint leaves.

Either way, it’s a must try when tomatoes and summer are ripe for the picking.


Makes enough for 6 large jars

4kg of plum tomatoes

4 Tbs yellow mustard seeds

350mls red wine vinegar

150gms of fresh ginger ~peeled and grated

14 cloves of garlic ~peeled and crushed

10 red chillies ~ deseeded and finely chopped. Choose your chillies by order of heat – the hotter you like them the smaller the chillies

300gms of palm sugar

8 Tbs of fish sauce

6 tsp cumin powder

6 tsp garam masala

6 tsp cumin seeds

6 Tbs brown sugar

1/4 cup olive oil

Sea salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper


Preheat the oven to 200C on Bake

Remove the edible core from all the tomatoes using a sharp knife and discard the unwanted cores.

Slice the tomatoes in half length-ways and lay them into a couple of roasting trays, flesh side facing towards you.

Drizzle with olive oil, cumin powder and garam masala. Sprinkle over the brown sugar and cumin seeds and seasonwell with salt and pepper.

Roast in the oven for 30-40 minutes or until the tomatoes begin to caramelise and brown  nicely.

Toast the mustard seeds in a dry pan until they go ‘POP’, then grind to a fine powder with a mortar and pestle.

Into a large pot add all the ingredients including the roasted tomatoes and cook on the lowset heat possible for 2-3 hours until the mixture is sticky and jam like in consistency.

Make sure you stir frequently to prevent the JAM from sticking to the base of the pot.

Spoon while hot into sterilised jars and and seal and store in the fridge for up to 1 month.



One Comment

  1. Celeste3000 said…

    This looks great and I am going to try. However i would have thought that due to the amount of sugar and absence of onion if put hot into hot sterilized jars it should be capable of being stored for up to 6 months in a cool dark place and only need to be refrigerated once opened? Do you have any thoughts on this?

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