The last time I made preserves I made chilli jam and I had major issues. My workmate Junior kindly gave me bags of streetlight coloured chillies which were growing wildly at his mother’s house and I couldn’t wait to get home and transform them into jam. Here is my issue: I should have worn gloves.
After slicing and dicing the chillies my hands began to burn and went on to burn for the following 2 days. I tried iced water baths and towel wraps from the freezer, I slept with my burning hands above my head, resting on the windowsill with the window open. The jam was super hot and deliciously sweet and eating it was not for the faint hearted.
It’s not as if this was my first run in with chillies either. For my 13th birthday my parents gave me a gas barbeque (I must add that this is what I had asked for) and I began experimenting with spicy rubs and marinades. After chopping chillies I rubbed my eyes – I can still remember the intense the burning sensation that followed. I locked myself in the bathroom for hours thinking about how I was going to tell my family how I had gone blind.
This recipe is so simple; there are only two chillies although you are free to add more – just don’t rub your eyes.
My method of sterilising jars is not perfect but it is fine if you are keeping the relish for just a couple of months; I recommend keeping it in the refrigerator.
As well as being a relish to have with cheese and crackers or on the side of an omelette or frittata, it can also be a beautiful glaze for your Christmas ham or a side accompaniment for your roast turkey or chicken. I will be serving it as a sauce with barbequed meat at the beach on Christmas Day.