“I have always tried to hide my efforts and wished my works to have the light joyousness of springtime, which never lets anyone suspect the labours it has cost me….”

Henri Matisse

peach chutney

Matisse’s nature morte au buffet vert – the luscious coral-orange peaches show up beautifully against the turquoise kitchen cabinet

This summer saw Matisse en son temps.exhibition at the Fondation Pierre Gianadda in Martigny, Switzerland.  Brilliant artist! You could see his eye for composition easily in the wood cuts; but his eye for colour was even more inspiring. It was the luscious orange-coloured fruit in this painting, that got me thinking about peaches.

This nearly-chutney (it’s less sugary and fresher than standard chutney) goes really well with gammon, so buy four gammon steaks and fry or grill three to four minutes on each side. Or try my recipe for gammon with gin.

If you have any leftover peaches which need eating, they will go perfectly in this.

Serve with new potatoes glazed with honey and grainy mustard.

The nearly-chutney keeps for up to a month in the fridge in a sterilised container (go here for how to sterilise a glass jar).


Recipe for saucy peach nearly-chutney


Serves about four


  • 120 ml/½ cup cider vinegar
  • 60 ml/4 tbsp/¼ cup runny honey – the bitterer the better. I use chestnut honey
  • 150g/¾ cup soft brown sugar (or leave out the honey and use 200g/1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 large red or orange pepper
  • 1 banana shallot
  • 65g/⅓ cup raisins (I use raisins soaked in Aperol)
  • 2 fat cloves of garlic crushed with a teaspoon of smoked salt
  • 2 tsp grated (or if you don’t have a knob in the freezer, ground will do) ginger
  • 1¼ lbs/560g peaches, stoned peeled and chopped very roughly
  • ½ a small lime, chopped quite small, including the skin (I make myself a Caipirinha and use some of the pieces of lime from that!)


  1. Boil the sugar and cider vinegar in a non-stick pan (or at least one which won’t react with the acid of the vinegar) for about five minutes (the more you reduce, the more un-nearly the nearly chutney will be).
  2. Bring down the heat to a simmer and add the rest of the ingredients except the fruit. Continue to simmer for about 15 minutes.
  3. Add the fruit, and continue to simmer until it has reduced down to become sticky – it should not be still liquid. This can take anything up to a couple of hours.


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