The contents of this year's hampers are still 'work in progress' but ideas so far are:
- Christmas Chutney; perfect accompaniment to cheeses and cold cuts. Done, dusted. Jarred.
- Basil pesto; delicious stirred into pasta or smothered on warm ciabatta. A sure cert especially with all our Italian family.
- Fudge; testing out different flavour combinations at the moment...
- Shortbread; cut into festive shapes. A great way to get my 5yo involved
- Something involving stem ginger...there's alot of love for ginger among my family & friends!
Back to the chutney. As of yesterday, these are cooked, jarred and maturing away so they are perfect to eat at Christmas. I've always made a Christmas chutney with apples and cranberries. The first recipe I ever used was from my highly trusted BBC Good Food. I then made other versions which included plums, then figs. This year the base for my chutney was taken from Hugh's River Cottage on Channel 4. I made a few changes to suit my own taste, which include adding fresh cranberries & cinnamon. I also omitted cardamom pods as I'm not a fan. My exact recipe is detailed here.
My batch made some 18 jars! Feel free to halve the quantities or play around with what suits you.
|Weighing out apples|
- 1kg onions, chopped
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1kg bramley apples, peeled and chopped into large-ish chunks
- 1kg eating apples (Cox's, Braeburns, Pink Lady etc),peeled and chopped into small-ish chunks
- 1 litre cider vinegar
- 800g demerera sugar
- 250g dried figs
- 250g walnuts, roughly chopped
- 250g dried cranberries
- 200 fresh cranberries (or use frozen, defrost first)
- Zest & juice of 2 large oranges
- 200ml port
- 25g root ginger, grated
- 12 cloves
- 2 tsp coriander seeds
- 1 tsp salt
- 3 tsp ground cinnamon
In a very large saucepan, heat the oil and sweat the onions for a few minutes.
Add the apples, sugar and vinegar and stir to dissolve. Bring to the boil and add the dried fruit, herbs & spices. Add the orange zest and juice and the port.
Cook for a good hour on a simmer until the liquid has reduced significantly, stirring occasionally. Add the fresh cranberries and the walnuts and continue to cook for another 30-45 minutes.
Pour into washed, sterilised jars whilst hot and place lids on.
Leave to mature for a few weeks so it is perfect for Christmas! I'm already dreaming about tucking into the chutney on Christmas day along with my favourite cheeses...
|The finished chutney!|