PUBLISHED : Sunday, 23 June, 1996, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 23 June, 1996, 12:00am

Chutneys bought off the shelf are a mere shadow of home-made ones. Not surprising really when you check the ingredients on the label. They include things I certainly wouldn't put in my chutney.

Chutney seems so quintessentially rural England but in fact is an enduring legacy of the Raj, the word coming from the Hindi chatni and were originally derived from Indian recipes.

SPICY PEAR AND GINGER CHUTNEY * 6 large pears * 1 large onion, finely chopped * 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped * Little corn oil * 1 red capsicum, finely chopped * Generous 1/4 cup rice vinegar * 100g light brown sugar * Juice and rind of a lemon * 100g Chinese pickled root ginger * 3 cloves * Generous pinch cinnamon * Chilli powder to taste * Salt Peel, core and dice the pears; use the Western varieties. In a large saucepan, slowly saute the onions and garlic in the oil until soft and pale brown. Finely shred the pickled ginger - you can buy jars of it in supermarkets. It is made from the young root and isn't too hot. Ask for suen geung. Add all the remaining ingredients, except the salt, to the saucepan. Simmer very slowly, with the lid off, for about 11/2-2 hours. Adjust the salt. If the mixture is a little runny, increase the heat to boil away the liquid. But don't forget the chutney thickens when it is cold.