The first of December always throws me into a panic, dear Reader. I am THE worst kind of ‘last minute Lavinia’ when it comes to Christmas presents and the run up to the big day inevitably brings on the perpetual mad dash to make, buy and wrap all things festive.
With our first countryside Christmas on the horizon, I have at least managed to order a goose for Christmas Day and made a trip to the wine warehouse to stock up with necessary festive tipples! Well, Christmas simply wouldn’t be Christmas without the essentials!
Turning my attention to presents, I decided to spread a little cheer with some edible gifts from Margot’s corner of North Hampshire this year. Since I have had some success with preserving of late, I thought that I might resurrect a faithful ‘chuck it altogether’ chutney recipe – delicious with cheese, left over cold meats and perfect as a stocking filler for foodie relatives.
Margot’s Christmas Allsorts Chutney
1kg apples, plums and fresh cranberries (Be as free as you like with the mix of fruits. I generally use predominantly apple before adding a moderate amount of chopped plums and whole cranberries until they collectively weigh a kilo)
A thumb and a half sized knob of ginger
250ml of cider vinegar
300g soft brown sugar
3-4 star anise
1 tsp black peppercorns
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp cinnamon
1 tsp cumin (Do go easy with the cumin as it can be a very overpowering spice when used heavy handedly)
* Roughly chop the apples and plums. Leave the cranberries whole as they are rather pleasant red jewels in a sea of fruit.
* Using a deep, heavy bottomed pan (I have an old Le Creuset which does the job nicely), add all the fruit and onions and mix thoroughly, leaving to sweat a little before adding the remainder of the ingredients.
* Stir regularly to avoid anything catching on the bottom of the pan and leave to bubble gently away for at least 2 hours. If after two hours the mixture looks a little dry, add enough water just to loosen and leave to simmer for another half an hour.
* In the meantime, busy yourself sterilising your empty jars by washing in hot soapy water and then pop in a low oven for 10 minutes. Cut a greaseproof disc for the top of the chutney, using the lid of the jar as a template.
* Spoon the warm chutney into the jars. Place the greaseproof disc on the top and seal with the lid. It will keep almost forever but once opened, do please refrigerate.
We shall be serving ours on Boxing Day, no doubt with some leftover goose, cheese and one of Jerry’s favourite treats, a raised pork pie! Talking of Jerry, I must remember to save a jar for his stocking!