Wednesday, 28 November 2012

...making Christmas chutney

This year I am trying to make as many of my Christmas gifts as possible. I love to receive something home-made; I think that personal touch is really special.
My step mum and me have been trying to find a time to make some chutney. It's been a busy few weeks, but finally we managed to squeeze in some cooking at the weekend. My step mum has been making chutneys and giving them as little Christmas gifts for some years now, and I have been desperate to get in on the action. Now that we are safely back in town it means that we get to spend more time together doing these sorts of things. It's just lovely.
Making chutney is surprisingly easy. We followed a recipe from this very '80s 'The Book of Preserves, Jams, Chutneys and Jellies', and added a few bits of our own (namely chillies-we are big fans of chillies).

Mixed Fruit Chutney 
Makes about 10 jars

You will need
450g plums-halbed, stoned, roughly chopped
1kg tomatoes-peeled, coarsely chopped
1.8kg cooking apples-peeled, cored, finely chopped
1kg ripe pears-peeled, cored, finely chopped
18kg dark brown sugar
450g raisins
2 pints of malt vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons table salt
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground mace
1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
(chillies optional)

Chuck all into a large saucepan and bring to the boil, stirring well. Reduce heat and simmer for 1 1/2 hours until dark and golden brown. Stir often.

Wash your jars in dishwasher or in hot, soapy water. Rinse, and keep hot.
Ladle hot chutney into 1 jar at a time. Wipe the rim of the jar with a clean damp cloth and cover.
Let mature for at least 1 month before using (so we did them just in time!)

Now all we need to do is cover the lids with fabric and tie with a nice festive bow! We are thinking of giving them as gifts along with a good block of cheese, and a loaf of bread freshly baked by my dad (he makes the most delicious bread-I'll do a post on his recipe soon).
I love Christmas making! Hurrah!
Maria x

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