This year I did not feel at all like diving headfirst into the commerciality of Christmas shopping. I love to give gifts, but I hate buying for the sake of it and the madness surrounding Christmas giving and receiving. I am firm believer in it being the thought that counts and I decided to spend hours making presents rather than traipsing around shops.
Working for a charity so involved in food has its downsides (8lb weight gain since getting back to the UK) and its upsides (free samples and recipes). So I sought out a suitable chutney recipe and set of on a mission to fill the jars I had been collecting for about 6 months.
SPICED APPLE CHUTNEY
• 1 white onion – peeled and diced
• 225-250g Bramley apples – peeled, cored and diced
• 30g sultanas
• ½ teaspoon each of ground coriander, paprika and mixed spice
• 100g granulated sugar
• 180ml malt vinegar
HOW TO MAKE IT
1. Place all the ingredients in the pan and heat slowly, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Bring the pan to the boil. Reduce the heat immediately.
2. Allow the chutney to cook, barely simmering, for 1 ½ -2 hours. (Remember to stir if from time to time to prevent it from sticking to the base of the pan). Heat the oven to 110ºC/Gas ¼ (low). Lay the clean jars on the oven shelf to heat and sterilize.
3. When the chutney is thick (i.e. when a ‘channel’ is left behind – which does not immediately close – when a wooden spoon is drawn across the base of the pan), it is ready.
4. Spoon the chutney into the hot jars. Allow to cool. Either place the lids on the jars or cover in a double layer of greaseproof paper. Store in the refrigerator. Eat the chutney within 3 months of making.
You do need to put up with the smell of vingear in your kitchen after making it – but I can safely say that it is worth it. Not only is the chutney yummy, but everyone loved it!
I also made spice mixes (Moroccan, Jerk and Cajun) and sewed small pouches to fill with mulled wine spices. I stupidly did not photograph the fab packaging that I made – but here is a jar of the chutney with my label and lid.
Next year…. fudge maybe?