Sunday, 11 October 2009

Christmas Cookery...

When i say "i love Christmas" i don't mean i love all the consummerism and commercialism - i think it is really the 'preparations' of Christmas i love. It isn't really about a build up to 'the big day' even... it is just about cooking and baking and sewing and 'being' in the Christmas colours. This Christmas Cranberry Chutney (of sorts) was made a few weeks ago, at the end of the warm Summery days, when the wasps were still menacing my apple store.... and i thought it only right and proper that i play my Christmas Music CD (see picture above, which is the cute CD sleeve) whilst merrily at work.
Of course, the puddings to hang from my ears were a little un-neccesary and, for some, a step too far?
250g Red Onions
250g fresh or frozen Cranberries (red currants would be a suitable substitute)
125g light brown sugar
120ml red wine vinegar
120ml red wine
1tsp ground ginger
1tblsp mustard seeds
Port or Orange Liquer
recipe is from my all time favourite book below.... this makes about 1lb of relish so, if you have a larger family you could double this quantity. It isn't a 'cheap' recipe but that is why it's for a special occasion in my mind.
Thinly slice and chop the onions - into a size you are happy with for a chutney / relish. I like my pieces quite small. Use a smaller sweating pan for this = NOT your bigger chutney pot.
Sweat them through slowly in 2 tblspoons of olive oil - about 15mins with the occasional stir.
Add 2 large spoons of the brown sugar and stir to caramelize the onions, maybe takes 5 mins. Then keep off the heat till needed.
Step outside the back door and cry whilst the onions are stinging your eyes (my eyes are watering at the mere memory)
Then find the bigger chutney pan: add CRANBERRIES into the pan with - remaining brown sugar - Red wine - Red wine vinegar - mustard seeds - ginger.
Heat that lot of mulchy fruit SLOWly until all the sugar has dissolved. Then cover the pan and bring it up to the boil. Once at the boil, turn down and simmer for about 15mins. You want the berries to burst and become very tender... this is why you need the LID on the pan,,,, the hot cranberries have been known to fly out of the pan when bursting and these are HOT wee devils!

ADD ONIONS: you can now stir in the caramelised onions. Take the lid off and keep off whilst you cook for a further 12mins. Season with salt and pepper as it brings out the flavours of the fruit and spices.
JARS: i always sterilize mine fully. Wash them in hot soapy water and leave to drain. Pop them in a hot-ish oven (120-ish) for about 20mins till they are hot.
I also sterilize more than i need as you never really know what yield you might get, even if a recipe tells you "this makes 1lb" you never know...
When your relish is cooled off a bit - spoon it into the warm jars - careful not to touch the inside of the jars or the rims. This is why i use one of those JAM FUNNELS / jar filling thingys (see past posts) to avoid any mess or touching the jars at all. It is quick and clean.

Then, pour yourself and nice glass of the red you opened for this recipe... and DESPAIR as you realise one of those pesky wasps has had the cheek to take a dip in the wine bottle!!
Not content with my apples, they're after the rouge nectar.... luckily he came out as i poured.
OH for sniff-a-vision (as a friend said) this smells superb and it is 'oh so christmassy'. Glossy, shiny, fruity red. It looks so good and bright.
Stirring into the rich gravy for Christmas Dinner.
As an additional table sauce for your Christmas dinner - with Turkey, Duck, Goose or Beef.
As a chutney / relish for meaty meals after the day. Sandwiches and salads.
Also easy with cheese but it needs a good strong cheese to make a match for this tart and fruity relish.
Any good relish or chutney, vinegar or vodka, makes a lovely gift for someone. Just label the jar with the date made and 'use by' and what the relish is for. This was made 02/09/09 and it stores for 6 months before use, but this is coming out on Christmas day.
You can keep it in the fridge once opened, for up to 3 weeks.
To serve: ideally plonked on the table, as it is, in the attractive Kilner Jar with a Chutney Spoon inside... the relish keeps better if diners are encouraged NOT to to pop their own cutlery into the jar. Saliva and other foods can contaminate the relish so it goes off before it would naturally.

Any Christmas Cookery to share yet MrsB?? xxx


LissyLou said...

mmmmmm cranberry and onion chutney!!

KL said...

Do you also sterilize the sealing rings in the oven??! I always imagined they would melt, or otherwise be damaged by 20 minutes of roasting, so I put mine into a dishwashed bowl and then pour boiling water over. Chutney looks great!

That Crafty Fish! said...

yes - i do! i haven't had a problem yet. I would dishwasher them and be happy with that level of sterile BUT i have no dishwasher! i was worried the first time but they all did ok x

Cyberman said...

Have you ever seen somebody lick the chutney spoon in an Indian Restaurant and put it back? This would never have happened under the Tories.

Suzie said...

Oh yum! I am definately going to have to give this a go. Would be a good gift to bring round to my boyfriends parents on Christmas day!
I'd love to see a close up of your little labels too, they look very sweet.