Julie’s famous Microwave Chilli Jam

Great with BBQ, cheese, seafood, skewers, meat & sausages.
Makes 2 to 3 small jars


6 red chillies (short or long)
2 capsicums (red or green)
1 medium red onion, finely chopped
1 can chopped tomatoes or 250 gms fresh tomatoes
3 cm piece fresh ginger, peeled & finely grated
1 ½ cups caster sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
½ cup white wine vinegar
½ teaspoon salt


  1. Thinly slice the chillies.  Remove & discard seeds for a milder jam.  Include the seeds of half the chillies for a hotter version.  Combine chilli, tinned tomatoes, onion, ginger, sugar, lemon juice, vinegar & salt in a microwave-safe bowl.

  1. Microwave, uncovered, on high for 1 ½ minutes. Stir.  Microwave for 1 ½ minutes or until sugar has dissolved.

  1. Microwave, uncovered, on high for 25 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes, or until mixture has thickened.  Set aside for 2 minutes for bubbles to subside.  Carefully spoon into hot sterilized jars (see note).  Seal, cool, refrigerate.

Notes:  To sterilise jars, preheat oven to 900C.  Wash jar & lid in hot water & then place jars in oven to dry while cooking jam.

Two Favourite Dips

Beetroot Dip and Spicy Pumpkin Dip

It seemed these two frequently asked for recipes haven't yet made the blog, so here they are at last

Beetroot Dip
1 bunch beetroot
1 head garlic
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup Greek style yoghurt
2 tablespoons dill, finely chopped
1/4 cup coriander leaves, roughly chopped

Preheat oven to 200°C. Line a baking tray with non-stick baking paper. Trim beetroot, leaving 1cm stalks attached. Cut 5mm off the top of the head of garlic. Place beetroot and garlic onto prepared baking tray and drizzle with oil. Roast for 45 to 50 minutes or until tender when tested with a skewer. Set aside for 15 minutes to cool. Gently peel and discard skin from beetroot. Squeeze garlic flesh from head. Roughly chop beetroot. Place into a food processor with garlic flesh and process until smooth. Transfer to a glass bowl. Stir in yoghurt, dill, coriander and salt and pepper. Cover. Refrigerate for 3 hours to allow flavours to develop. Transfer to a serving bowl. Garnish with dill. Serve with fresh carrot and cucumber sticks, or celery spread with organic goats cheese.

Spicy Pumpkin Dip
2 cups cooked & roughly chopped pumpkin (pre-baked with garlic, salt and cumin)
440g can chickpeas, drained
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1 small teaspoon Arabic 7 spice
2 Tablespoons yoghurt
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
Juice of half a lemon
¼ cup fresh basil, chopped
2 spring onions chopped
¼ cup parsley, chopped
1 ½  teaspoons chilli paste
1 teaspoon crushed garlic
Salt and cracked pepper, to taste

Simply combine all ingredients in food processor and blend.

Feel free to vary ingredients to suit your own desired quantities.

Kohl - what?  


We've got some beautiful Kohlrabi ready at the garden this week and here are some ideas for cooking with it. 
The first recipe comes from Pia who prepared the following delicious salad from today's harvest.

Simple salad with treats from the garden (recipe by Pia)


Fresh kohlrabi peeled and julienned
Young kohlrabi leaves
Broccolini and young leaves
Snow peas

Juice of an orange
Cold pressed olive oil (about a tsp)
Raw honey (about a tsp)
Gomasio (a tblsp)

(make your own gomasio with raw sesame seeds and himalayan crystal salt toasted in the pan then crushed with mortar and pestle- this macrobiotic staple is a powerful anti acid and high in calcium)

And these recipes that follow are just a few of those found on the net:


2 lg. kohlrabis (peeled, julienned)

1 egg, slightly beaten

1 green onion, coarsely chopped

1/2 tsp. chopped coriander

1/2 tsp. sugar

1/4 tsp. salt

1 tbsp. cooking oil

Heat a frying pan with oil. Add kohlrabis and stir evenly for 4-5 minutes. Add salt and sugar; stir. Add the egg and coat the vegetables evenly. Add chopped green onions and coriander after turning off the stove. Yield: 4 servings.
This recipe also goes well with zucchini/banana squash.

1 lb. lean pork, beef or chicken pieces, cut in 1/2 inch cubes or 1/4 inch slices
6 c. vegetable pieces: any or all of the following:
Sliced carrots
Sliced kohlrabi
Sugar peas

1/2 inch slice ginger, grated 2 tbsp. oil 1 c. broth (fresh or bouillon) 2 tbsp. soy sauce 2 tbsp. wine (optional) 1 tbsp. oyster sauce 1 tsp. five spice powder (optional) OR 1 tbsp. black beans (optional-- must be soaked in water, drained and mashed with a fork) 1 heaping tsp. corn flour mixed in 1/2 c. water
Over medium high heat, fry garlic and ginger in oil; add meat and fry until cooked through. (If using 5-spice powder or black beans, add with the meat.) Remove meat. In additional oil, fry vegetables 4-6 minutes. Add meat, broth and sauces and bring to a boil. Add corn flour mixture to thicken. Serve over rice.

1 c. finely chopped onions
1 lb. peeled kohlrabi, cut into stick pieces about 1 1/4 inches long and 1/4 inch thick
4 tbsp. butter
1/2 tsp. salt
About 1/4 tsp. black pepper
1 tbsp. flour
1 c. milk
1/3 c. finely chopped fresh parsley

In a heavy frying pan over medium heat saute onions and kohlrabi in butter until well coated with the butter. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cover tightly and cook, stirring occasionally until kohlrabi is tender, about 25 minutes.
Sprinkle with flour and turn to mix. Gradually add milk and cook and gently stir mixture until milk thickens to a smooth sauce. Correct seasoning, adding salt and pepper generously. Stir in parsley. Makes 4 servings.

2 c. cubed kohlrabi
2 c. sliced carrots
1/4 c. chopped onion
2 tbsp. butter
2 tbsp. flour
1/2 tsp. salt
Dash of pepper
1 1/2 c. milk
1/4 c. parsley, snipped
1 tbsp. lemon juice
3/4 c. soft bread crumbs
1 tbsp. butter, melted
Cook kohlrabi and carrots until tender. Drain. In saucepan cook onion in butter until tender but not browned. Blend in flour, salt and pepper. Gradually add milk. Cook and stir until thick and bubbly. Stir in vegetables, parsley and lemon juice. Put in 1 quart casserole. Sprinkle moistened bread crumbs around edge. Bake 20 to 25 minutes in 350 degree oven.

Our newest staple - Pizza Dough

Here you are, just as the recipe emerged on Saturday - one to memorise!

Choko Champions 

Some vegetarian and non-vegetarian recipes  

Tip:  Peel large chokos under running water or wear gloves as their sap might irritate hands.
The smaller ones don't usually have this problem and can be cooked and eaten with skin on.

    Lime and Choko marmalade – recipe by Jackie French

Makes one want to eat chokos!
12 Chokos
Juice of 6 limes (or lemons)
1.75 kilos sugar
1 cup water
1 dessertspoon preserved ginger (optional)
Grated rind of 2 limes or 1 lemon

Peel and chop the chokos, sprinkle with the lime juice and one cup of sugar and leave overnight.
Next day, place in a pan with the water, ginger and rind, then heat, stirring, until the sugar on the chokos has dissolved.
Boil gently for an hour and a half then add the rest of the sugar.
Stir until the sugar dissolves, then boil rapidly for between an hour and an hour and half – until a little sets in cold water.

Transfer to hot sterilized jars and seal when cool.             

Choko Soup

3 chokoes, sliced
1 litre water
1 onion, diced
3 rashers bacon, chopped
2-3 garlic cloves
olive oil
1 can peeled tomatoes
1 tablespoon tomato paste
3 chicken stock cubes
juice 1/2 lemon
1 teaspoon sugar

·        In a large pot boil sliced chokos in 1 litre of water.
·        While the chokos are cooking, heat some olive oil in a large pan and add the diced onion, chopped bacon and garlic. Fry until the bacon is cooked and put to one side.
·        When the chokos are tender, retain cooking water and chokos in pot and add the cooked onion, bacon and garlic along with the remainder of the ingredients. Simmer for a further 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and mash or blend the chokos to a thick puree.
·        Serve garnished with chopped olives, parmesan cheese and ground pepper and salt to taste.

Fried chokos with mint pesto - vegetarian

410g (about 2 large chokos) peeled, seeded and diced into 1-2cm pieces
3 tbsp olive oil
40g hazelnuts
2 cups picked mint leaves
2 cloves garlic
40g green olives pitted or (30g pitted green olives in brine)
1 cup olive oil
1 cup verjuice
Cracked pepper

·        Peel the chokos under cold running water and remove the seed. Dice and fry in olive oil over a moderate heat for 5-8 minutes until golden.
·        Preheat the oven to 200 C and roast the hazelnuts for 10 minutes until golden, allow to cool slightly and place into a clean tea towel, rubbing them together to remove the outer shell.
·        Place the picked mint, hazelnuts, garlic, green olives and olive oil into a food processor and blend until combined but not paste-like. Remove and place into a bowl, stir through the verjuice and the pepper to taste. Toss the pesto with the warm chokos to cover. Let the chokos sit for about 10 minutes before serving to let the flavours come together.

Choko – Greek Style - vegetarian
This is really yum, don't be tempted to throw out the seeds, they are very nice.
Heat some olive oil in a pan and add 1 med onion, finely sliced and 2 cloves garlic, minced.
Cook gently until tender, stirring frequently.

Then add:
1 can chopped tomatoes
½ cup water or chicken stock
1 tablespoon lemon juice
½ teaspoon sugar
Salt and pepper to taste

Bring to boil for 2 minutes then add:
4 small chokos, scrubbed and quartered (seeds and all)
Cover, simmer gently till chokos are tender. Add
2 tablespoons minced parsley and ¼ cup sliced ripe olives.
Serve hot or cold

Creamy Basil Chokos
This is a lovely, old microwave recipe. The times are for a 600 watt microwave but most are now more like 1000W so adjust the times to suit:
3 chokos, peeled
3 rashers bacon, finely chopped
1 onion, finelychopped
Half cup thickened cream
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
Slice chokos into eighths. Place bacon and onion in shallow dish, cook on High 5 minutes. Add chokos, cover, cook on High 5 minutes or until chokos are tender. Top with combined cream, basil and cheese, cook on high 2 minutes.

Stir-fried choko with beef and garlic recipe
Created by Luke Nguyen

200g lean beef, finely sliced
2 chokos, peeled, sliced into batons
2 tbsp vegetable oil
4 spring onions, cut into 5cm lengths
1 tbsp finely diced garlic
1 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp fish sauce
1 tbsp water
½ tsp freshly ground pepper
3 coriander sprigs for garnish
1 chilli
2 tbsp light soy sauce
·        In a mixing bowl, combine 1/2 tablespoon sugar, pepper and 1 tablespoon of fish sauce. Mix well then add beef and marinate for 10 minutes.

·        In a hot fry pan, add vegetable oil and fry the garlic until fragrant. Add the beef and stir fry for 1 minute then remove the beef and set aside.

·        Add the choko to the same hot pan then add remaining fish sauce, sugar and 1 tablespoon of water. Stir then cover with lid and cook on medium heat for 5 minutes.

·        Remove the lid, add spring onions, cooked beef and toss well for a further minute.

·        Transfer to a plate, garnish with coriander and serve with jasmine rice and chilli soy dipping sauce.

Choko Bread - vegetarian

2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
3 cups self raising flour
1½ cups sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
3 teaspoons cinnamon
2 cups choko, peeled and grated
1 cup chopped walnuts

1. Beat together eggs, milk, oil and vanilla.
2. Add sugar and chokos, mix well.
3. Sift together flour, salt and cinnamon
4. Fold egg and choko mixture into dry ingredients.
5. Add chopped walnuts and mix through.
6. Transfer mixture to a lined or greased loaf tin.
7. Bake at 180°C for 80 minutes or until cooked through.

Have Beans, Now its on with Tomatoes
Time for some serious thinking about tomato preserves. Here's a selection I searched up today. Should be something here to suit your taste ... if not you must pass on your ideal recipe to us.

MIXED TOMATO CHUTNEY     Yields 2 jars approx.
It is essential to make sure your jars are spotlessly clean. One way is to pour boiling water into them and let them sit for a few minutes before carefully pouring them out and allowing them to dry. Or put them into a warm oven for 10 minutes.

900g tomatoes, mixed green and red
350g onions
90g raisins
250g raw sugar
1 medium sized, hot red chilli
1 tsp salt
2 tsp yellow mustard seeds
300ml white wine vinegar

Halve the tomatoes. Put the green fruit together with the peeled and roughly chopped onions, into a large stainless steel or enamelled pan with the raisins, sugar, chilli, salt, mustard seeds and vinegar. Bring to the boil, turn down the heat and leave to simmer for an hour, giving the occasional stir to reduce the risk of the chutney sticking. After about 25 minutes cooking, add the ripe tomatoes and continue to simmer. Then spoon into sterilized jars and seal.

South Indian Tomato Chutney
1 tbsp oil
1 tsp mustard seeds
3/4 tsp cumin seeds
10-12 fresh curry leaves
3 large ripe juicy tomatoes (skinned)
1 tsp grated ginger
2-3 green chillis (slit length wise)
Pinch of turmeric
1 ½  cups of water
½  tsp brown sugar
Chilli powder – to taste,  optional
Salt to taste
Coriander leaves for garnish

• Heat oil, Add mustard seeds and let them splutter. Add and brown the cumin seeds, don’t burn them. Add the curry leaves and fry for a few seconds.
• Stir in the grated ginger, green chillis and turmeric. Add tomato puree and cook on medium for 3-4 mins. Stir at regular intervals. 
• Add water and bring to the boil. Reduce heat, simmer for 4-5 mins.
• Mix in the sugar, salt and red chilli powder. Turn off heat and garnish with chopped coriander leaves.
• Serve with Indian breads, as a dip, or as a curry accompaniment.

Ripe Tomato Chutney            Yield: 2 cups
4 cups coarsely chopped tomatoes (5 to 6 medium / large)
2 medium / large ripe peppers, diced
1-2 medium apples, or pears, peeled and diced
1 jalapeno or other hot pepper, diced (optional)
1 medium onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tablespoons fresh ginger root, minced
¾ cup (180 ml) raisins, currants, or dried cranberries
½ cup (120 ml) cider or red wine vinegar
¼ cup (60 ml) sugar
¼ cup (60 ml) brown sugar
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon each cinnamon, cumin, and allspice

Place all ingredients in a heavy saucepan over medium high heat. Stir until the mixture boils, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 45 minutes to an hour, until the chutney is thick. Stir often to prevent sticking, especially as the chutney thickens. Spoon into hot, sterilized jars, Will keep for 2 weeks in the refrigerator, 
Stores 2 years or more when properly sealed.

Tomato Chilli jam
This recipe is delicious but it may need more cooking time - or pectin, to get it to setting point.
2kg ripe tomatoes, peeled, coarsely chopped, juices reserved
1kg white sugar
2 small (260g) apples, peeled, grated coarsely
3 (or more) fresh long red chillies, sliced thinly 
4cm piece fresh ginger, shredded finely
2 cloves garlic, shredded finely
2/3 cup (160ml) lemon juice
50 ml fish sauce
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
4 cardamom pods, bruised
½ teaspoon fennel seeds

• Combine tomatoes and reserved juice, sugar, apple, chilli, ginger, garlic, fish sauce and lemon juice in a large, heavy-based saucepan. Stir over medium heat until sugar dissolves.
• Wrap the spices in a small piece of muslin and tie with kitchen string to form a bundle. Add to the tomato mixture. Boil gently, stirring frequently, for 1 hour 15 minutes or until the jam gels (105°C on sugar thermometer). To test if jam is ready, remove pan from the heat. Drop a spoonful of jam onto cold saucer; place in the freezer for 1 min. Push gently with finger - if it wrinkles, it's ready.
• Ladle the hot jam into hot, sterilised jars. Seal while hot and invert jars on to their lids until cool.
Note: The jam will keep, unopened, for six months in a cool, dry place out of direct sunlight. Once opened, keep in fridge 3 months.

Easy Tomato Relish
This recipe is one that has been handed down for generations.
Taste, and adjust mustard and curry powder to your liking.
Good with hot and cold meats, and great with cheese.

2lb (1kg) skinned, diced tomatoes
2lb (1kg) sliced or diced onions
- For chunky relish cut onions and tomatoes into larger pieces.
3 cups (660g) sugar
600ml.  malt vinegar
1 T salt
3 T mustard powder
3 T curry powder
3 T cornflour and water to mix it

1. Core tomatoes and cut a cross on top. Cover with boiling water for 50 secs then remove and cool them before skinning and dicing.
2. Boil all ingredients together for approx.  1 hour or until tender.
3. Then thicken with 3 T cornflour mixed with a little water to a thin paste. Pour paste in slowly whilst stirring continuously then cook, stirring, a further 5 mins  .
4. Put into hot clean jars and seal. 

Tangy Tomato Relish   -  makes about 1 ½ cups
This sweet tangy relish can be made milder or hotter to your liking.
Serve a dollop of relish with rissoles, pies, or quiches, or add to sandwiches or hamburgers.
400g ripe tomatoes (about 3 medium tomatoes)
1 tablespoon (20ml) oil
100g very finely diced red onion (about 1/2 large, or 1 small onion)
1 medium red chilli, very finely diced (adjust chilli to taste)
2 large garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
60g (1/4 cup, very firmly packed) brown sugar
62ml (1/4 cup) malt vinegar (brown vinegar)
Salt and pepper, to taste

1. Cut a shallow cross, about 3cm long, through the skin on the base of each tomato.
2. Cover tomatoes with boiling water. Leave for 40 seconds then remove tomatoes. Lift the edges of the tomato skin and peel it off.
3.  Finely dice the peeled tomatoes.
4.  Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and chilli.
5.  Cook onion and chilli, stirring occasionally, until onion softens (about 8 mins). Add garlic. Cook onion mixture for another minute, stirring constantly.
6.  Add chopped tomato, brown sugar, vinegar, salt and pepper to the saucepan and stir to combine.
7.  Increase heat to high until the mixture boils, and then reduce heat to low so the mixture is simmering. Simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is thick (about one hour).
8.  Store relish in a covered container in the refrigerator. If stored for a day or so before using the flavours will develop fully. 

It must be Summer ...Beans, Zucchinis everywhere!
So we had to be creative. The first of these recipes was inspired by the zucchini patties at our recent brunch but then the green beans got out of control and the following recipes resulted from an internet search for overgrown bean recipes.
(We found these waiting for us after our holiday break!)

Halloumi, Zucchini and Green Bean fritters.
350g Zucchini
350g Green beans
250g finely diced Halloumi Cheese
1 Tablespoon chopped sage
1 tablespoon chopped lemon thyme
1 egg
Salt and pepper to taste
Plain Flour to bind.
Top and tail beans, then microwave for 2 minutes. Slice very finely.
Finely dice zucchini then microwave for 2 minutes and discard juice.
Beat egg.
Combine Vegetables, Herbs, Cheese, Seasonings and egg. Mix well.
Add flour gradually until mixture can be formed into damp patties.
Fry patties in a lightly oiled frypan until golden on both sides.

Yummy beans, Overgrown .. not Overlooked.

Green Beans and Bacon Braised Three Hours
500g green beans, trimmed and washed
1 medium onion, peeled and cut into thin strips
400g diced tomatoes with juice
1 teaspoon freshly ground fennel seed
½ teaspoon salt
freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 tablespoons bacon fat (or canola oil)
2 thick slices bacon, cut into bite-size pieces
In a heavy pot or Dutch oven with a tight-fitting lid, heat the fat or oil then cook onion gently about eight minutes on medium heat. Add remaining ingredients, toss together and bring to a simmer. Cover pot, reduce the heat to very low and simmer for about three hours, stirring and tasting the beans occasionally. When the beans are very tender and flavourful, adjust seasoning and serve with bread.

Or: Vegetarian Beans Braised Three Hours
This is a Lebanese version of long cooked flat green beans with tomatoes. It’s very similar to the above version, except it uses olive oil and no bacon, ground cinnamon instead of fennel seed, and some chopped garlic gets thrown in with the onion at the beginning. At the end of cooking add lashings of chopped parsley and dig in.

Or: You can shell and cook them like any other peas/beans. They don’t have to be dried first, but if already starting to dry out, soak them first. If already dried out, dry them further in the pod until they rattle, Shell them, Store them and use as dry beans.
Or: Green Bean Pate
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 c minced onion
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 c chopped green beans
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1-2 tbsp white wine or 2 tsp lemon juice
1-2 tbsp mayonnaise
2 hardboiled eggs (with or without yolks)
1/4 c chopped parsley (optional)
black pepper to taste

Heat the oil in a medium skillet. Add onion and salt, and sauté over medium heat until onion begins to brown. Add beans and sauté until they are tender (6-8 minutes).
Put onions and beans in a food processor with the remaining ingredients, and process until it is a uniform paste. Adjust wine (or lemon juice) and mayonnaise until it is a good, spreadable consistency. Serve with crackers, vegetables, bread, or in sandwiches.

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