Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Apple cranberry chutney

There is something about apple cranberry chutney that instantly makes Christmas. Chutney is great on the Christmas table, but its real time for glory is in the days immediately after Christmas, when you get to crawl to the fridge and make yourself a sandwich of cold turkey and chutney. So these is always a jar of this caramelised deliciousness in my house in December, and a couple of them make a fantastic and inexpensive stocking filler.
2 large apples – Granny Smith are tradition but I quite like Pink Lady    2 cups dried cranberries
1 cup brandy plus 2 teaspoons for the chutney
2 onions   
2 cups brown sugar
1 cup white cider vinegar
1 teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon cinnamon
2 peeled cloves of garlic

Wash the cranberries and soak them in the brandy (slightly diluted in warm water if you need to) for at least half an hour. Chop up the apples. I like my chutney to be crunchy, so I choose fairly large chunks, but you can grate them for a smoother consistency. Put the onions though the food processor until they are creamed, then toss them in a large saucepan with the apples and the cranberries. Add the sugar, the garlic, the ginger, the cinnamon, the 2 teaspoons of brandy and the vinegar and let it simmer, uncovered, for about an hour. By the end all the fruit should be soft and mixed together in a caramelised softness that is more Christmassy that a Christmas tree.

Pour into sterilised jars and let the Festive Spirit begin. I like to keep my jars of this chutney outside in the kitchen, they add such a festive note to the environment!

When I have to put together a stocking (especially for a girl), I take a jar of this , top it with a thick red ribbon and add a little tag that also works as a Christmas card if you’re out of proper ones. I then get some other little favour (my favourites are the Christmas scented bath bombs from Lush that look like little fat Christmas puddings, but a handful of good quality honeycomb is also good), put it in a cellophane bag, tie it with a little ribbon that I then tie around the lid of my jar. The effect is plentiful and festive, without actually taking up much time, money or effort!!

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