Friday, 11 November 2011

Christmas Chutney

This year, I am hoping to replicate the success off the Xmas hampers I gave to family and friends 2 years ago. I spent hours upon hours in the kitchen, with a rather large tummy bump, (7 mths pregnant!) stirring, chopping and blitzing ingredients together to make a perfect batch of Christmas treats.

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.

Chutney Cooking

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!

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