We’re getting married on Saturday but we are still on the high seas. There is one thing, though, that immediately calms me down. When we moved our bedroom in the attic and Tommaso’s office (along with Noa’s bedroom) down where we slept for 3 years, next to the living room and the kitchen, we managed to clear half of our closet, an empty space that we would use just for the wedding necessities.
In these weeks we stashed there everything that was ready: first the wedding invitations, then our Italian confetti – sugared almonds – and part of the wedding favours. I hid there my shoes, too, so they can be a surprise for Tommaso. I placed there my bouquet and the flowers for my hair, too, as I bought them well in advance on Etsy.
There is also a shelf dedicated to liqueurs: limoncello, lemon verbena liqueur, bergamot liqueur and nocino, as we’ve been working on our home-made open bar in the past months. There are a few jars of local raw honey that Marta and Conrado, two of our dearest friends, gave us. It is so precious for us as we’re sure their bees reached also our blooming acacia trees. We will serve their honey with pecorino cheese from Paugnano for the appetiser buffet, along with onion jam, now a classic during our cooking classes, and spicy tomato jam, something I made for the first time this summer.
Every now and then I walk by the closet, I open it, I inhale the smell of dried flowers and enjoy the twinkle of the jam jars in the dark. I tell myself that everything will be fine, that we will manage to close our to-do list, that everyone will enjoy the wedding and the food. Then I close it and I face my to-do list with a more relaxed smile.
Spicy tomato jam
Recipe developed for SapienStone
This spicy tomato jam holds the memory of the summer sun in its bright colour and its rich flavour of ripe tomatoes, slightly warmed by a hint of chili. It marries beautifully a wedge of aged cheese – a Tuscan pecorino or a spicy provolone, for example -, but you can also use it in a sandwich with roast beef, melted cheese and caramelized onions.
I made this spicy tomato jam directly on the SapienStone worktop, in the Brown Earth texture, natural finish. I could put the very hot pot of boiling water directly on the top to peel the tomatoes and I could do the same with the sticky pot filled with the scorching jam to fill up the jars. The surface is stain-resistant, scratch-resistant and heat-resistant, a perfect surface for cooking and to take a thousand step-by-step photos.
Peel, deseed and drain your tomatoes, then weigh them: that weight will tell you how much of the other ingredients to use. Use half the amount of sugar and 10 ml of apple cider vinegar for every 100 g of tomato pulp. As for the cumin and chili, follow your taste, and especially the spiciness of your chillies!
Prefer fresh chilli peppers to dried ones, as they will also add a sweeter note of bell pepper.
- 2 kg of tomatoes I obtained 600 g of pulp
- 300 g of sugar
- 60 ml of apple cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon of cumin powder
- 1 fresh hot chili pepper
Rinse the tomatoes and cut a cross on the bottom with a small knife, so as to skin them easily after.
Bring a pot of water to a boil and, as soon as it boils, remove from the heat and plunge the tomatoes in the water. Leave the tomatoes in the hot water for five minutes, then drain them and immediately plunge them in a bowl of iced water.
Peel the tomatoes, remove the seeds and collect them in a colander. Let them drain for at least half an hour, so that they lose most of their water.
Now weigh the tomato pulp and collect it in a pot. I got 600 g of tomato pulp. From here you can calculate the amount of sugar needed, which will be half of the tomato pulp weight.
Cook the tomato pulp for about 10 minutes over medium heat, then add the sugar, the apple cider vinegar, the cumin powder and the chili pepper, without seeds, cut into strips.
Stir and cook for about 20 minutes, or until the jam is firm and shiny.
Purée the jam with an immersion blender and test with a saucer that you had previously held in the freezer for a few hours. If the jam is thick and slides slowly, it is ready, otherwise bring it back on the stove for a few more minutes.
Pour the jam into two sterilized jars and close them well with a lid.
If you are not using the jam straight away, put the jars in a large pot, cover with water and bring the pot to a boil. Simmer the water for 20 minutes, then turn off the heat and let the jars cool down there. You can keep the jars for several months in the pantry.
We’ve been silent in these past days, but we’ve been working on old recipes to test them again and take new photos, to make them even more appetising and reliable. So for the next weeks – while we’ll be busy getting married and honeymooning – we’ll leave you with a refurbished version of apple and blackberry jam, eggplant parmigiana, grape focaccia, tub gurnard fillets with herb dressing and stuffed round courgettes.