|An extra large jar of Spiced Cranberry Chutney
ready for some cheese!
This is my second venture into the Christmas kitchen this year and yet again it involves a couple of jars!
I’ve been thinking about “dabbling” in preserves since the summer. In the past we’ve ended up with a huge glut of fruit and I was looking forward to attempting to make jam for the first time. But, summer came and went, and in true British style the weather was disappointing. We had hardly any raspberries on our canes this year so my new jam thermometer never got a look in.
But, as we get ever closer to Christmas, I’ve begun to find festive uses for the jam jars I have collected.
First I attempted my own mincemeat perfect for mince pies and other festive favourites. The recipe was super simple, and I managed to get an airtight seal! Woo hoo! Not too bad for a first attempt.
This time I thought I’d try something a little bit different.
At Christmas my family gets through an UNHOLY amount of Cheese; cheeses of all kinds, from soft to smelly, sheep to goat. Last year my Dad’s present from my sister and I was actually a Cheese hamper complete with 5 types of cheese 2 chutneys and a plumb bread. You can buy these hampers from farmers markets and supermarkets alike but I started to think…how hard can it REALLY be to make chutney?! As it turns out, it’s not very hard at all.
When coming up for the flavour combination, I wanted something that didn’t just go well with cheese, but something that well and truly said CHRISTMAS! So my starting point was cranberries. As I searched the internet for basic cranberry chutney I was a bit concerned about how I would actually find fresh cranberries. Turns out…that’s also pretty damn easy! Who would’ve thought they can found in the fresh fruit isle of Sainsbury’s in a plastic bag by the nuts.
Well that was the first hurdle overcome. Next I had to decide what else I would but in the chutney. For a truly festive flavour it had to be cinnamon, nutmeg and a touch of ginger. This combined with the basic chutney mix (the fruit, red wine vinegar, a little onion) seemed like a good place to start, but I didn’t want to play it too safe. So, to give the chutney an extra kick, you can also find a red chilli in the ingredients list. This works really well to give the chutney a bit of excitement without drowning out the mellow Christmas spices.
Fortunately for me this recipe creates a sizeable amount of chutney! I had a spoonful or two as I cooked…and then kept another spoonful or two aside to taste it as it cooled. It is truly a festive chutney that will work well with all whole range of cheeses. The recipe will make about 3 average size jars of chutney which means you can keep one for yourselves and give the other two as gifts! Or, like me, save it all for yourselves and pop it into an extra large jar! Had I not eaten half the mixture straight out of the pan I’m sure I would’ve been able to fill it to the top.
If you can resist this chutney and are lovely enough to give it to your friends and family, do let me know!!! And I will give you a medal! Here’s the recipe:
- 1-2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 300g fresh cranberries
- 100g dried cranberries
- 1 red chilli
- 1 red onion
- 150ml red wine vinegar
- 1 ½ tbsp cinnamon
- 1 tbsp nutmeg
- 1 tsp ginger
- 100g Demerara sugar
- Fry off the onion and chilli in the vegetable oil. Avoid using any flavoured oil as this will taint the taste of the chutney.
- Once the onion has begun to soften add the cranberries and spices.
- Let the flavours develop and then add the vinegar and sugar. Bring this to a simmer and allow to bubble for 20-25mins. The chutney is ready when it sticks to the back of your spoon.
- Once reduced down spoon straight into your sterilised jar(s), place on the lids and allow to cool. When the seal has become airtight you will hear it “pop” as it gets sucked in.
- Once opened consume within 3 weeks (if you can keep yourself from eating it all in one go!)