Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Cranberry Sauce 2015

Its starting to feel a lot like Christmas....with the delicious smell of oranges and cooking cranberries.  In both 2013 and 2014, I made relishes with a twist, and in contrast this year I am making a different type of preserve with a couple of 200g baskets of cranberries.

I gathered from Penny that she preferred a more sweeter cranberry accompaniment, so I hope she likes this one.  I love to make sufficient to give away two or three jars to friends.  After all a present that does not hang around for months on end, can be shared and enjoyed by many, and if not liked...well there is the bin!

Not that I cannot think of various ways to adding it to other dishes to pep them up.  Since this one has neither salt, pepper nor vinegar, I can just imagine it as a sophisticated base layer with bread and butter pudding on top, or layered with more apple for a Christmassy Crumble for those that do not like mincemeat!


Zest and Juice from a plump Orange, preferably organic and waxless
1 Large Cooking Apple, chopped, or 250g eating apple grated
400g cranberries
200g sugar
1Tbsp soft rosemary chopped very small
1 Tbsp juniper berries bruised

The Melting Pot

Grate or zest the orange straight into the pan you will use, to catch all that flavorsome orange oil.
Dissolve the sugar and orange juice in the pan over a low heat together with the finely chopped rosemary, and crushed juniper berries.  The juniper berries add a wonderful flavour, and the preserve will continue to imbibe their flavour.  So if you don't like this, omit completely, or remove before potting up.

If using the cooking apple toss it in the juice, then decant the fruit and a little of the juice to another pan, and cook until soft and fluffy.  This takes only three or four minutes over a low to medium heat, if using , remove from the heat.

Meantime add the washed and sorted cranberries, and grated eating apple if using that, to the sugar and orange mixture, and cook over a gentle heat, until the cranberries are popping and becoming pulpy.  Stir from time to time over the heat, and to make sure that there is no sticking to the bottom of the pan.

Have some pretty containers to hand, having of course washed them well and sterilised them in the oven, and when filling, make sure to use a small spoon to dispel and air pockets which may have become trapped.  Once potted up, if covered immediately, the jars should store for a month or two.  If in a dish, cover with some clingfilm, and keep in the fridge.  Once opened I would recommend keeping in the fridge and using up within two or three weeks.

This accompaniment goes beautifully with hot and cold meats, whether it be game, fowl, ham, pork, or beef..and certainly with cheese and crackers.  I love it with cold meats in sandwiches....

Friday, 4 December 2015

New Pineapple Chutney Recipe in time for Christmas

When I raided the preserve cupboard for a few jars of chutney and jam for Janice, I realised that I was getting a little low, and wanted to make a light but brightly coloured chutney, which I hope will be ready in time for Christmas.

It will just be about mature enough to have along with cold meats, salads, stirred into stir fries.  Its over two years since I made a Pineapple Chutney, and as ever I reviewed my recipes and decided to devise something different.  I have really enjoyed Nigella seeds in a lime chutney I bought, and thought this would marry well with Pineapple.  This Chutney doesn't have any apple at all, but two lovely fresh pineapples, and some interesting spices.  I've tasted it 'unmatured' and it will really be just right.  I can see me folding a spoonful or two into some mayonnaise for something akin to spicy dressing to add to cold salmon, chicken or turkey.

You need to prepare the pineapples by removing all the skin and eyes

I like to cut the central woody core out as it rarely softens sufficiently


3 tablespoons cold pressed rapeseed oil or whatever oil you wish to use
3 - 4 medium white onions, peeled and chopped small
1 tbsp yellow mustard seeds
1tbsp nigella seeds
1tbsp turmeric powder
Fresh ginger about the size of your thumb, peeled, and very finely sliced
1 tsp salt
1 red chilli, deseeded, and finely chopped
2 pineapples peeled, and prepared, and cut into the size of pieces you want in the chutney
250g white sugar
200ml organic cider vinegar
2 desertspoons cornflour

Add the oil and onions to a large jamming pan or other pan, and cook over a medium heat, stirring for about 5 minutes, without browning.  I find adding the salt after a minute or so helps to draw out some of the moisture.

Add the mustard seeds, and turmeric powder, and chopped ginger and continue stirring, for another 4 minutes or so, then add the chopped pineapple and chilli.

Stir until the whole lot is hot, and the juices are running from the pineapple, add 175g of the vinegar, and cook for a further twenty minutes over a medium heat so that it bubbles gently during which time the pineapple softens more easily without the sugar.

Add the sugar, and continue cooking until the juices are  reduced.  It needs to be a little runnier than the chutney will be when it is ready to eat.  Stirring regularly with a wooden spoon is a must to ensure nothing is 'catching' at the bottom of the pan.

Mix the cornflour with the remaining vinegar, and add it to the pan, stir it in, and continue stirring until the whole is thickened and bubbling again.  I like to do this to achieve a piccalli consistency sauce.  If you have thickened it a little too much, add a little more vinegar, and cook for a few more minutes stirring.

Pot into clean and sterilised jar...I wash mine and have them in the oven for 10 minutes before filling.
Tap the chutney down into the jars to just below the top, to remove any little gaps or air pockets.