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Spice up your life: Q&A with Mama Leoni’s chutney stall owner

When it comes to cupboard condiments, chutney is surely king. An ingenious Indian invention, it graces every cheese-inclined, cracker-laced plate west of the Punjab. And as any pickled spice enthusiast knows, there’s a jolly good reason the fruit, vegetable, spice and sugar blend is named after the tantalising Sanskrit derived verb; to lick. And if that’s not a motive to expand your seasoned variety of pickled potted shelf adornments, we’re stumped to find what is.

That is, we were stumped until we found the just-opened chutney stall at the Portobello Penny Market last Friday. It sells not  just any chutney, but mum’s passed-down-the-family recipes. Expect to find potted recipes that give an extra kick and a refreshing difference to the run-of-the-mill caramelised onion, mint yoghurt and mango staples. This brilliant new local stall, run by the lovely Jacqueline, will have you packing your pocketful of pots.main image 5

We couldn’t resist a chat with Jacqueline, a Notting Hillbillie with home-grown charm and a damn good knowledge of what it takes to make a banging chutney.

What made you want to start selling chutney?

My mum always made chutney in the house, so we used to serve it at our family café, where it was in gradual high demand. So I decided to carry that on and make a stall on the Penny Market just two weeks ago.

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How many chutneys do you have in your range?

I have three staple chutneys and I’m looking to expand as my inspiration grows. I have the mild St Lucian fruit chutney, the medium fruit chutney and the hot St Lucian chilli chutney, which packs quite a punch. These chutneys are all my mum’s homemade recipes, and after she passed away I decided to do them justice by creating a line, Mama Leoni’s. Each is priced at £4.

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How do you eat yours?

They are ideal for dipping and seasoning primarily, but they can also be used as a salad dressing and marinade.

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Any new pots of goodness you’re thinking of bringing out in the coming months?

Yes, I’m going to be releasing a new fish rub. I’m just perfecting it now!

What is the bestseller?

Definitely the chilli. Quite often you get the kick without any taste of the ingredients, so I made sure that with this one you have plenty of heat whilst retaining the flavour…

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She’s not wrong. We bought the chilli chutney – Jacqueline wasn’t joking when she said it packed a punch… but with flavours like that, we’d be willing to take a full on K.O…

Jacqueline’s Mama Leoni’s chutney stall; £4; Penny Market; Portobello Road,
W10 5TA; General opening hours: Mon-Wed 9:00-18:00, Thurs 9:00-13:00, Fri-Sat 7:00-19:00; thepennymarket.co.uk

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