Sweet Chilli Sauce

Photographer: Emma
Makes about 2 litres

It’s a grey old day here in Auckland.  The sky is a blanket of thick black cloud from which falls an endless stream of rain.  It’s not particularly summery weather but I don’t mind.  In fact I like it, it’s doing our garden wonders and anything that speeds up the ripening of the first of the summer crops is a good thing.

As we hurtle towards Christmas (21 days and counting!) I find myself spending far too much time thinking about a myriad of possible gifts for a myriad of people, when instead actual hands-on action would be far more fruitful.  Time to roll up the sleeves, don the pinny and sterilize the prettiest jars – edible gifts it is.  Sauces, chutneys, jams, and their many counterparts make wonderful gifts.  They are made with a whole lot more love, a whole lot less preservatives and they look so pretty tied up with a ribbon and a handmade gift tag.

If you’ve always wanted to try making preserves but have been put off by the thought of slaving for hours then this is the recipe for you.  The ingredients are simply thrown into the food processor to chop up and then into a large pot to cook slowly to perfection.  It’s great eaten the day you have made it, but even better left to age a month or two.


12 red capsicums (approx 1.8kg)
6 long red chillies
4 onions
6 cups white vinegar
8 cups white sugar
2 tsp salt
1/3 cup yellow mustard seeds


1. Roughly chop the red peppers, chillies and onions and then in batches, process them in a food processor until finely chopped. Pay attention not to puree them.
2. Place the vegetables in a large pot along with the vinegar and bring to the boil, cooking for a minute or two before adding the sugar, salt and mustard seeds.
3. Simmer gently until desired consistency is achieved. This could be 1 3/4 hours for a sauce-like consistency or 2 1/2 hours for a jam-like consistency. Stir from time-to-time.
4. Bottle into hot, sterilised jars or bottles.