There are times in your life when you need validation. Believe me, even the best and most confident of us need it sometimes. Whether it is with work, or with your passion, even in relationships. Especially when it is with something you put your heart and soul into. You may not say it out loud, because you may sound childish, needy or whiny. Self validation definitely trumps someone else’s that’s a given, and it is important that you learn to validate yourself. I think I do fine in that category, but once in a while, a little external validation, goes a long way.
In relation to jam, my validation, the cherry on top came last Friday from a Cordon Bleu trained Chef. I was looking through BN Cuisine last Friday and Gbugbemi a.k.a Chef Fregz’s (whom I have mad respect for) words that leaped off the page for me.Click HERE
“The other day whilst doing the usual scrolling through Instagram, Sister Dooney dropped a chilli jam recipe and I almost took a spoon to scoop my share from my screen”.
For anyone else, it would just have read normal and they would have scrolled by, but for me, I stopped, read those words, over and over again and smiled, internally dancing a jig, I think I must have danced a little on my chair. Yes, people, 30 words made my day (oh, yes, I counted, lol). Validation!!!! My recipe, my Rodo Jam, it got noticed, noticed enough to be mentioned, noticed enough to inspire Chef Fregz’s Thai Chilli Sweet Sauce, which I am definitely going to try. On my next trip home, I am going with jars and jars of my Rodo Jam. Extra, extra, read all about it, you can place your orders now. Lol
Today, I am writing about Jam again, this time Onion Jam. It has been on the list to try for months now. When I made Rodo Jam (recipe HERE) it bumped up to the top of the list, I still forgot, then a series of events brought it all home. After attending the Walkers Chips launch event (read HERE), I wrote to The English Provender Company telling them how much I loved their Caramelised Red Onion Chutney. I introduced myself as a Nigerian food blogger and asked if I could get samples sent to me for a Product Review to introduce their products to a possibly relatively unknown market, Nigerians and West Africans in the UK and beyond, who read this blog. They replied almost immediately, got their PR company in London to contact me, and products were shipped. They could just have ignored my email, but from on High, He just sent me the validation I needed. Two days after, a reader Oyinlola wrote to me and said Dunni’ can you please try Onion and Bacon Jam. Twice in one week, okay, okay, I have to make this jam now, and so I did the last weekend with my friend A, with a little of this and that, some extra special hush hush ingredients. There is no bacon/alcohol in this recipe for the benefit of my Muslim readers. The next batch of this jam would be made with Bacon. I already have other possible add-ons, but for now, Let’s Cook:
You will need
1/2 tsp of Nutmeg
1/2 – 1 tsp of Cayenne Pepper – dry pepper
2 pieces of red onions
1 knob of butter
1 clove of garlic – try the smoked variety
A pinch of salt
60 – 70g of Brown Sugar – you can try white
60 – 80ml Balsamic vinegar
Dooney’s Kitchen Tip: make sure you have your jar sterilised and ready, so you can store immediately and retain moisture. This is especially important if you live in temperate regions. If you have no restrictions with alcohol, red wine or sherry works beautifully with this jam
1. Chop red onions. Let me tell you a little story. A, told me about the supposed myth about chewing gum while chopping onions. I snickered saying, old wives tale. She said, put it to the test. With my reputation at stake here, I can authoritatively tell you guys now that IT WORKS. I would have used a chopper bowl for this, but I chopped two large red onions while chewing gum and my eyes did not sting one bit. Until (yes, there is an until), I stopped concentrating on chewing and the sting came back. Apparently there is a scientific explanation as to why this works. Please don’t ask. Looool.
2. In a heavy based or non stick pan, melt a knob of butter
3. Add the chopped onions and garlic to the pan and stir. Lower the heat to medium. Now it is time to let the onions sweat down and caramelise. This recipe will teach you patience, but the results are so worth it.
first stage – sweating down the onions
keep going, ensure you stir regularly, otherwise it will burn. If it starts to show signs of burning, further lower the heat
you are finally on your way there
4. Notice how the onions have started to come together, and have reduced in size. This would take you at least 25 minutes.
5. Add the sugar. I used Demerara, you can use caster sugar. If you have no caster sugar at home, just blitz granulated sugar in a mill till it becomes fine
stir and watch the sugar crystals combine and start to dissolve.
5. Once almost dissolved, add the Balsamic Vinegar. Balsamic vinegar and onions are a match made in food heaven. The dark, caramelised colour of onion jam comes mostly from balsamic vinegar, and I am cooking with one of the best.
now it is time to play another round of the waiting game. You need to allow the balsamic to slowly reduce with the sugar and onions.
6. Before the balsamic vinegar totally reduces, add a teaspoon of nutmeg, a pinch of salt and dry pepper.
and keep allowing the contents of the pan to reduce
7. You know you are there when the balsamic has totally taken over in terms of colour and the contents of the pan doesn’t come off easily from the spoon i.e. the consistency of jam
I needed to thin it out a bit, with water, because I didn’t get a sterilised jar immediately, and it congealed more than I liked. If you find that you don’t need to, don’t. Otherwise add water or red wine vinegar.
Serve immediately, with unusual bits of food, like this piece of grilled Sausage. It is still summer in many parts of the world, try this at your next barbecue, and watch your guests’s face light up at an unusual item on your menu. Especially with burgers or grilled meat. Yum!!!!
Put some jazz into your breakfast, by serving some sweet and savoury Onion Jam.
Or Go Food Fusion by serving it as a dip with Plantain Chips or Gurudi (coconut chips). I made another batch with much smaller sized onions, to make the jam less chunky.
I don’t have a preference. Chunky or smoother, both very delicious.