Friday, 26 October 2012

Christmas Chutney Recipe

My last blog post contained mutterings of Christmas chutney! And I know some of you wanted the recipe! I promise this will not disappoint. I had such a lovely evening; music playing, jigging around the kitchen with my wooden spoon as no one was home, the room filling with an undoubtedly Christmas scent, how can you feel anything other than joy and happiness? And the feeling of being prepared rather than a last minute Christmas dash and 'I wish I had......' was fantastic!


Makes approx 2.2 litres.
750g cooking apples, peeled, cored and chopped small
1 medium onion, peeled and roughly chopped
500g fresh or frozen cranberries, thawed if frozen
250g soft pitted dates, each cut into 3 pieces
Zest, pulp and juice of 3 clementines
400g caster sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 and 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
500mm white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon salt

* Sterilise your jars
* Put the apples, onions, cranberries and dates into a large pan (if you keep to the above quantities, you really will need a large pan!)
* Zest the clementines over the top, then squeeze in the juice and scrape in the pulp
* Add the sugar, ground cloves, ginger, cinnamon and cayenne pepper, then pour the vinegar over and sprinkle in the salt
* Now all you have to do is give it a good stir, turn on the heat, bring to a boil, once boiling turn down the heat and let it bubble cheerfully, uncovered, for about an hour or until you have a pulpy mass

To Finish;
* Take a deep breath of the beautiful, christmassy aroma!
* Spoon into your jars and seal.
This chutney would make a perfect gift and stocking filler for friends and family, just add ribbon and a gift tag (more ideas for gift wrap another time! Keep your eyes pealed).

Make Ahead Tip;
Make the chutney up to 2 months before using or giving as a gift (the longer it has to 'mature' the better). Store in a cool, dark place for up to 1 year. Once opened, store in the fridge and use within one month.

Thank you Nigella!

Monday, 22 October 2012

No place like home......... In Autumn!

Evening, remember me? I can hardly believe the last time I posted was August and it was about my garden and summer and now - Autumn has arrived.

I LOVE this time of year. The colours are amazing, red, yellow and orange leaves surfing the wind, tumbling down to the ground creating a path into magical gardens and forests! Coming home into the warm, curling up with a good book, hot chocolate and marshmallows......... by the fire!

The fire and kitchen for me are the heart of the home, where everyone wants to be, even when you're cooking and there's not enough room! And having just renovated our own living room and uncovered an old, beautiful, original red brick fireplace I now have the luxury of being part of my cosy, autumn fantasy rather than just gazing at magazines and websites, wishing it were me cocooned in the blankets. (This also goes some way to explaining my absence on my sad, neglected blog recently, but more of that another time).

As I type I have a batch of Christmas chutney bubbling away, I cannot tell you how thankful I am that I brought an extra large, actually, HUGE pan last Christmas! If nothing helps get you in the mood for the cold weather this will. The house is filled with the festive aroma of clementines and cloves, thank you Nigella and I cannot wait until Christmas to try. My mind wonders to home cooked casseroles, rich with red wine and baking! Is it any wonder I gain weight every Autumn/Winter (I've made a pact, not this year! I'm feeding everyone else instead!).

Yes, it may be cold and wet outside but this time of year is beautiful for so many other reasons and I hope to have inspired you tonight............ But right now I have to go and check on my chutney.

Images: Pinterest