Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Cranberry Relish with juniper and honey

As soon as we got back from our hols, the guys on the fruit and veg stall run by Stodds of Leicester at Kenilworth Market called me to point out the new season cranberries.  I still had my sea legs and was more in the mood for being outside, but last week, I came home with the supplies....

This year I wanted a very grown up flavour and mused on Christmas flavours which would go with various meats from Turkey, through to Duck or even venison.  You can see that I haven't yet settled on the Christmas menu.

I also like to have memories and links with friends blended into my relishes.  Nicki recently brought me a jar of honey from her husband Mike's hives in Warwick.  Usually I have been delighted to receive little pieces of honeycomb, but this is the first batch of honey extracted from the comb.  I've been enjoying spoonfuls on my breakfast each morning with Sheep's Yogurt fruit and nuts.  Since one jar is to go to Nicki, I thought it would be lovely for them to have their own honey in their Cranberry Relish for Christmas.  I also had half a boiled whole orange in the freezer left over from the gluten free almond cake I made when Janice last visited for tea, and yes another jar has already gone to Janice.  Quite honestly this boiled orange is not really necessary if you are going to replicate this relish

Cranberry Relish 2014

500g Jumbo Cranberries
500g prepared cooking apples, I used Granny Smiths
1 Orange Grated zest and juice
1/2 boiled whole orange pulverised, optional
275 g organic cider vinegar
1 tsp juniper berries well crushed
1 tsp roasted fennel seeds
250g local honey
1/2 tsp salt

Wash a few jars and place them in the oven at gas mark 2 to sterilize whilst the relish is being prepared.  Put the lids in a pot of boiling water and also put these in the oven.  Dry the lids well with clean tissue before using.

In a large pan, put the cooking apples, peeled, cored and chopped into smallish pieces, and three quarters of the cranberries, together with the orange juice and zest into a pan, and cook gently, stirring to avoid catching on the bottom, until the fruit is very soft.  This takes about 10 minutes.

Add the cider vinegar, blitzed orange, juniper berries and feel seeds, and remaining berries and continue cooking until a thick consistency, stirring from time to time.  I wanted to have some of the berries cooked but suspended in the relish.  About another 10 minutes

 Add the honey and taste for sweetness, heat through.  I decided to keep it quite tart.    Pot up whilst very hot, trying to make sure not to trap any bubbles, and fill to just below the lid.  Put the vinegar proof lids on whilst very hot.

I tried some from the little pot with my Sunday Roast Chicken, yes very good and it will get even better with three weeks of maturation.  This relish is to be kept in the fridge and once opened, I would say use within two weeks or so.  I reckon it would be perfect added to a sauce for pan seared duck breast or venison.