July 14, 2020

Green Tomato Chutney for the Tough Days. {Recipe}

I’ve had enough of redundancy, angst, and anger.

I’m done with unsuccessful job applications, or worse, cringe-worthy interviews with hiring managers half my age, and then the brutal rejections that are so hard not to take personally.

Usually these are some of the many (often complicated, always convoluted) reasons that drive me to reach for a drink. And there is no such thing as one drink—there are always several and they always lead to that altered sense of reality that is essentially the driving force behind my initial decision to drink.

But in trying to stop this damaging cycle, I find myself redirecting my energies toward distraction techniques. And cooking is one that works really well for me.

I am not a chef. Let’s just get that clear right from the start. Nor am I a photographer. I am an amateur food critic and have dedicated much money, and my waistline, to the cause.

After another fairly disastrous interview for yet another job that I will not get, I came home and found a bag of produce left on my doorstep from a neighbour. I rolled my sleeves up rather than open the drinks cabinet.

I live in New Zealand, although I am not a Kiwi, and my neighbour had left me a bag or tamarillos. These are also called “tree tomatoes,” at least that’s what my husband told me and apparently he knows everything, so…

Tamarillos can be eaten raw with some sugar. The red variety is quite sour, but the more yellow varieties are a bit sweeter. They can also be used as a secondary fermentation for kombucha tea, which I might try next time.

But today, I decided to dig out an old green tomato chutney recipe, reimagine it with tamarillos, and make some to accompany my love of all things cheese. I made half of the quantity here due to the number of tamarillos I had, so just remember to adjust accordingly.


750 grams of tamarillos (about 12) or green tomatoes

1 onion, preferably red but brown is okay

2 cloves of garlic, crushed

1 fresh or dried red chilli, seeds removed, finely chopped (soak for 15 mins if dried prior to removing seeds)

1 cup raisins

Black pepper

1 tsp mustard seeds

Sea salt

1 ½ cups brown sugar or sweetener (use less if using sweetener)

1 cup malt vinegar

1 tsp allspice

1 cinnamon stick


Make a cross through the bottom of the tamarillos and soak in very hot water for about 5 minutes in order to soften the skin and peel easily. When peeled chop coarsely.

Add all of the ingredients into a preserving pot or similar and bring to a boil.

Reduce the heat and simmer gently for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. It will turn a deep purple colour and become sticky like jam.

Sterilise glass jars with boiling water and, when cool, keep in the fridge. Use within 3 months.



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