Jammin’ with chillies: A reprise

Chop.  Chop. Chop.

It’s a Sunday and it’s day two, no three, of South Africa’s 21 day lock down.  We’re all obliged to stay at home so that we neither share or acquire the now not-so-novel virus that virus that’s causing Covid-19.

Then I have a brainwave:  certain folk have been suggesting that I have the odd (probably because they’d be very odd) video with me doing cooking stuff.  Why not?

First challenge:  no videographer.  The Husband, to whom this has been mentioned, is ultra reluctant.  Necessity is the mother of invention, right?

Phone suitably propped (I thought) and turned on.

Take 1

Chop.  Chop. Chop.

Check the footage.  I clearly have a lot to learn about angles.  Besides getting just about the whole of me in, for any gal, is shot from under the jowls is less than flattering.


Take 2

Rearrange camera position.  Not just a prop but also a stay to stop it from falling on its face.  Although, if this doesn’t work, it’ll be I who’s on my face…

Chop.  Chop. Chop. Chop.

Footage not too bad.  The sound, well, I thought I’d leave it.  That’s the usual Sunday sound – the local independent talk station.  Doing music.  Because, of course, it’s the weekend.  Truth be told, I’ve not learned yet how to mute the sound.  Next time.  Assuming there is one.


Because it was a  Sunday, and I’ve got time to kill (who hasn’t when one is in lock down and there’s no dinner guests a-comin’?) I thought I’d post it on Facebook.  My personal page.  Not Instagram.  Then I get a message from a school friend.  I’m not saying old;  just that we left school forty years ago.

Would you mind sharing the recipe?  If you don’t want to, I’ll understand.

Of course, it’s on the blog.  I think.  I’m not sure because of the snafu with my site.

Cutting a long story short, it wasn’t on my blog.  As of now, it is.  Again.

With a story, of course.

Like a few things I make, my chilli jam is based on a recipe that I’ve had for years, courtesy of Jenny Morris’s newsletter, printed out, filed and consequently spared the devastation of a crashed hard drive.  It’s worked hard.

As you can see, I’ve ramped up (and ramped up again) the quantities (with help from The Husband).  I’ve used our own chillies and those Farmer Judy grows in her organic farm garden around the corner.  I’ve bought chillies to make the jam.  I’ve used chillies with a range of hues;  fresh and semi dried.


The recipe still works.  I’ve been making it for more years than I’ve had a stall at the McGregor market.  However, it’s from making it to sell that I’ve made significant adaptations to the recipe and my approach.

What I’ve adapted/learned

  • I use the quantity of chillies that is available as the basis of working out the other quantities:
    sugar: the same quantity as the chillies and onions + 1/8 (by weight)
    water:  none
  • Because I am allergic (really!) to chillies, I will work with a maximum of 500g of chillies.  That’s about 1 kg of chopping.  Including the onions.
  • The original recipe calls for lemon juice;  use commercial juice.  That way I know exactly how much juice I am adding.  Although I love and would prefer to use fresh lemons, the juice yield is a little too hit and miss.

    The “heat” varies depending on the type of chilli that one uses.  Some are relatively mild while other are really hot.  The Husband prefers the jam made with the “Hot F*ckers” and each year, trawls the local nursery for seedlings of said chillies.  He doesn’t mind showering upside down.

Homegrown hot f*ckers


I first shared this recipe in May 2016.  At the time I said that it was

… because I’m a bit gobsmacked at the demand and lastly, because without even tasting it, I’m getting requests for this chilli jam – from people not even in South Africa, let alone McGregor.  I can’t export it – that’s a mission on which I don’t plan embarking.  As for licencing, suggested, tongue in cheek by boarding school and varsity pal from years ago, well, I’d rather share the recipe.

It’s still a surprise when I get requests via locals, for this product.  One, last year, happened on a Friday evening.  He wasn’t returning to Sweden without two jars of chilli jam.

Some people tell me they use this chilli jam as an accompaniment with everything, from Camembert, cottage cheese to chaceuterie.

I add it to a Spanish/Mexican omelettes.  Add to yoghurt with lime juice, salt & pepper with a little olive oil to make a drizzle for flatbreads or a brinjal and rocket salad.

If you’d like the recipe, it’s available  here and consider buying me a coffee?

Until next time, be well
The Sandbag House
McGregor, South Africa

Photo: Selma

Post script

  • I’m participating in blogpal @tracyork’s April challenge of sharing a post every day during April – on the Hive blockchain.  I succeeded last year – on Steemit from which the new blockchain “hived off”…I’m playing catch-up.  Today, two posts.  Let’s see what tomorrow holds.
  • Seems a good way to constructively use the time during a compulsory lock down, right?  For more about this initiative, please check out Traci’s post.

  • If you’d also like to both join the challenge and post from the WordPress platform to the Hive blockchain, sign up here.