I am not sure where I first came across Ousback’s recipe — he was very popular with Vogue Entertainment Magazine around the mid 1990, so perhaps it was there. Anders Ousback was well known as a lover of food and wine, and this relish of his was also well known and loved. He was influential in the Sydney food scene, and influenced many chefs and restaurant owners. This recipe of his has stood the test of time, and is as wonderful today as it was back then.
There were several variations of it. This is the one that I loved because of the wonderful spices it includes. Check out this version too – a variation on the spices and amounts, but still maintaining the slurp of port and another of vinegar.
I am sure the recipe that Anders used has provenance. You can see the origins in Elizabeth David’s Red Pepper Relish. And there are infinite purees and pastes of roasted red peppers, such as Serbian Ajvar, an Eggplant and Roasted Red Pepper Relish.
This is such a great chutney, even if you don’t usually eat relishes/chutneys. The mix of mustard, cinnamon, star anise makes it quite unusual. Spread it on a rustic loaf of bread. It goes well with cheese. Eat it with cheese and a salad for a light lunch. Pile it over BBQ’d vegetables. Have it on toast for breakfast.
Similar recipes include Harissa, Roasted Red Pepper Sauces, and Red Pepper, Eggplant and Tomato Pasta Sauce. Or try Fennel and Lemon Chutney, and Char Grilled Banana Chillies Stuffed with Tomatoes and Spices.
This recipe is one of the vegetarian recipes from our first blog which was in existence from 1995 – 2006. You can find other recipes from that blog in our Retro Recipes series.
Ousback’s Grilled Pepper and Apple Relish / Chutney
2 large red capsicums, grilled, skinned, seeded and cut into strips
1 onion, diced
1 cooking apple, peeled and diced
1 knob ginger, peeled and chopped
2 small hot red chillies, chopped
1 Tblspn yellow or brown mustard seeds
1 stick cinnamon bark
1 piece star anise
2 Tblspns (heaped) brown sugar
1 or 2 bay leaves
2 Tblspn dried currants
Good slurp of Port
Good slurp white wine vinegar
Heat oil in a pan over low heat. Cook the onions until limp. Add the apple and spices and cook until some colour develops.
Add the currants, brown sugar, port and vinegar and cook for a further 5 – 10 minutes on higher heat until you reach low tide.
Add the grilled capsicums and any of their cooking liquid. Cook for another 10 minutes or so.
While hot from the stove, pile into jars that have been filled with boiling water and emptied just prior to filling with relish. Put the lids on and cool and store in the fridge. It lasts a couple of months, unless you eat it all in a weekend.
recipe notes and alternatives
You could also add cracked peppercorns, cracked coriander seeds, crushed garlic, and some peeled, seeded and/or chopped tomatoes (or home made tomato paste/puree).
Use a mix of yellow and brown mustard seeds.
This produces a “fresh” tasting relish. If you prefer a relish that will last far longer and has a “longer cooked” taste, add a little more port and vinegar, and cook very slowly for an hour before placing into jars. If you wish to do this, it is best to double or triple the recipe.