making christmas chutney
The inclusion of Gluhwein in Matron’s Spiced Christmas Chutney sounded wonderfully festive. Seeing that the recipe would also lighten my apple load and use up a pumpkin my mind was made up (although using a whole pumpkin was overly optimistic – 1lb of flesh doesn’t leave much of a mark on a pumpkin the size of a basket ball!). I began using some of Henley’s small bright orange pumpkin but found it really hard to cut without nearly losing my fingers. The skin on my Jack o’Lantern pumpkins wasn’t nearly as tough but the flesh was much paler, more like marrow that pumpkin. I roasted the remainder of both varieties of pumpkin while making this chutney and the difference in taste and texture was quite marked. Henley’s pumpkin was really dense and soft like a sweet potato while mine was less so and didn’t dissolve. I preferred the taste of Henley’s so I’ve saved some seeds for next year. To make Spiced Christmas Chutney
4lbs cooking apples, peeled, cored and chopped
1lb pumpkin cut into half inch cubes
1lb red onion, chopped
3oz grated root ginger
10oz brown sugar
rind and juice of an orange
4oz dried cranberries
4oz dried mixed fruit
1/2 pint gluhwein (mulled wine)
3/4 pint spiced vinegar
(prepared in advance by infusing malt vinegar with your favourite christmas spices – cinnamon , clove, nutmeg, star anise etc)
- Put all the ingredients, except the sugar, in a large saucepan and simmer for at least 30 minutes. The amount of liquid in this recipe seems small but once the apples start to soften the chutney becomes more runny.
- Add the sugar and continue to simmer until the mixture has reduced. The degree to which the pumpkin dissolves depends on what variety you use. Spoon into sterilised jars when it’s reached desired consistency (note: this chutney is not as brown as recipes that use darker vegetables/fruit)
- This recipe makes a vast amount of chutney so you may wish to halve it if you don’t have lots of appreciative friends to gift it to. I filled nine 500g honey jars.
I must admit I’m feeling quite chuffed that my Christmas preparations are so advanced and leisurely this year. Pressies for little ones in Australia, Bolivia and Germany are ready to be posted. The garden is starting to slumber for winter and it’s that time of year when cold wet weekends just shout ‘curl up with a book’.
Which I am going to do as of tomorrow night when I start reading ‘The Christmas Mystery‘ by Jostein Gaarder, author of Sophie’s World. Since enjoying it for the first time in 1998 I’ve been wanting to re-read it in December because each chapter is numbered like an advent calendar leading up to the last chapter: ”the twenty fourth of December”. If you fancy reading along with me there are plenty of second hand copies and reader reviews on Amazon. Limiting myself to one chapter per night will be a challenge!