Christmas Chutney

I have a great affection for edible gifts, and home-made ones are simply a bonus. In the days preceding Christmas I barely have enough time for wrapping presents, never mind making them, so I’m always delighted when I've had the foresight to make a supply of preserves or puddings a few weeks previous. With this in mind when I was planning my columns, a few weeks back, I made sure to include some edible goodies that can be used as Christmas presents. As the saying goes.."two birds, one stone".
Chutneys are so easy to make, and as preserve-making has become more popular there are many jars and pretty labels available to buy in shops. However, I generally wash and sterilize any jars, attractive or plain, once they are empty. This is a favourite chutney of mine and it is particularly suited for festive dining. When the chutney is simmering away the smell of cloves and ginger fill the air. While in the pan the dried cranberries plump up to form red jewel-like speckles. This truly is a chutney that perfectly echoes Christmas. It is ideally served with some nice cheese and crackers, as an after dinner treat, but is also well placed as part of a tasty turkey sandwich.

Christmas Chutney
makes about 3kg/6lbs

1.5 kg Bramley apples, peel, cored and roughly diced
2 onions, finely diced
150g dried cranberries
125g dried apricots
900mls white wine vinegar
750g caster sugar
10 whole cloves
2 tsp salt
1 tsp freshly ground pepper
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp mustard powder
½ tsp cayenne chilli powder

1. Place all of the ingredients into a large, wide saucepan. Simmer gently over a low heat, stirring regularly. Cook uncovered for 1 ½ hours until the apples have completely broken down and the chutney has thickened and turned a dark brown colour.
2. Remove from the heat and leave to cool completely before transferring into sterilised jars. Store in a cool, dry cupboard. This chutney can be used immediately but it is nicer when it has had a few weeks to mature. Refrigerate once opened.

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Donna OShaughnessy said...

Absolutely beautiful Nessa! I can almost taste the chutney all the way over here. Your photography is stunning as well. PS I just bought the last three of your cookbooks available at Kennys. My 3 sisters will get them for Christmas. Thanks for all your hard work!

Nessa Robins said...

Thank you so much Donna! You've always given me such wonderful support. I really hope that your sisters enjoy the book. Happy Christmas to you & yours!

Magda said...

Chutneys are not very popular in Poland, so I've only learnt to love them in Ireland and I don't have enough of them. I think it's about time to actually to make one myself :) This one sounds lovely

Nessa Robins said...

It's really delicious, Magda. I absolutely love cheese so any accompaniment is always welcome in my house :)

Jennifer King said...

This chutney looks wonderful, going to make this week! Thanks!!

Nessa Robins said...

Thanks Jennifer. I made a batch of it 5 weeks ago and the taste really improves with time. However it will still be perfect if you want to use it straight away. Happy Christmas!