With Christmas only a month away (yippee!), it’s defiantly time to start stocking the larder for the big day. I started shopping for Christmas food while I was home in England, taking full advantage of the epic variety of Christmas treats the UK lays on every year. I sorted out chocolates, biscuits, marzipan, crackers and that all important tin of quality streets. I would have loved to have brought back so much more, real sausages, bacon and blocks and blocks of cheese mostly, but luggage limitations and pesky customs laws wouldn’t allow it.
I also made several jars of this Christmas chutney while I was back. Unfortunately none of it made its way back to Hong Kong with us, the jar I had ear marked for our Christmas table sadly wouldn’t squeeze into my already over weight case. It’s all been left in England, distributed around family and friends so they can enjoy it instead. I love edible presents, homemade ones are even better.
Make the chuntney now, dress up the jars festively (how cute would they look topped with Christmas fabric, or with holly tied on around the lid with ribbon?) and give them a good month to mature so the flavours are deep and rich for the cheese boards of those you love the most.
Oh, and if you like the cute as a button paper covers, you can find them at Lakeland as part of Kirsty Allsopp’s range.
Mary Berry’s Christmas Chutney
(From BBC Good Food)
(Makes approximately 5 jars)
3 red peppers, 1 large aubergine and 1 green pepper (total weight of about 900g/2lb)
700g onions, peeled and fairly finely chopped
4 fat cloves garlic, crushed or finely chopped
350g granulated sugar
300ml/½pint white wine vinegar or distilled malt vinegar
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon coriander seeds, crushed
1 tablespoon paprika
2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
First, you will need to peel the tomatoes. Prick the skins, then place them in a large bowl. Pour boiling water over them, and leave them covered for about two minutes. Drain away the hot water, and then cover with cold water. Peel away the tomato skins.
Chop the tomatoes and aubergine. Deseed and chop the peppers. Put into a large pan with chopped onions and crushed garlic. Bring to the boil. Don’t worry about the lack of liquid. As the vegetables heat the water they release will stop everything sticking to the pan. Lower the heat, cover and simmer for about an hour, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender.
Add the vinegar, sugar, salt, coriander, paprika and cayenne pepper. Bring to the boil and bubble away, stirring as you go, until the sugar has all dissolved. Boil for about another 30 minutes until you have a thick, sticky, chutney like consistency, and all the excess liquid has boiled away.
Pour into sterilized jars while hot, cover with paper tops, and seal. To sterlize your jars, sit them, and their lids, in boiling water for 5 minutes or so, then dry out in an oven at about 100C. Leave to mature until Christmas! Open it up and enjoy with your Christmas day cheese board, and your cold meat leftovers.