I’m no domestic goddess but I certainly feel like the culinary queen of my own little kitchen when I follow a recipe and it actually works without my messing it up! I was thrilled, yes, thrilled i tell you, when I achieved success using Delia’s recipe for Christmas Chutney/Dried Fruit Chutney.
This chutney can, of course, be eaten throughout the year, but because of the high quantity of dried fruits it contains, it makes an excellent rich Christmas chutney with some cold meats and cheese and home made/crusty bread. This chutney is so good that it makes a wonderful home-made gift too..especially if you dress it up with a nice little jar top of material and bows etc.
At this time of year there are lots of sales and offers on dried fruits in supermarkets and in health stores, so take advantage of them before the prices hike up again, stock up now and then make this delicious chutney throughout the year whenever the whim takes you.
Ingredients (this makes a 1 litre jar – i tripled the quantity to make more to be given as gifts)
- 10 oz (275 g) ready-to-eat dried apricots
- 12 oz (350 g) pitted ready-to-eat prunes
- 10 oz (275 g) pitted dates
- 1 lb (450 g) onions, peeled
- 1 pint (570 ml) cider vinegar
- 2 oz (50 g) sea salt
- 1 level dessertspoon grated fresh root ginger or 1 heaped teaspoon ground ginger
- 3 oz (75 g) allspice berries
- 1 lb (450 g) demerara sugar
” The dried fruits and the onions need to be chopped very small, and this can be done in a food processor, or with an old-fashioned mincer, or else with a sharp knife and lots of patience!
When they’re all dealt with, put the vinegar in a large saucepan with the salt and the ginger, then tie the allspice berries up in a small piece of muslin, or gauze, very securely so they can’t escape and add these to the pan. Bring everything up to the boil, then stir in the chopped dried fruits and onions together with thesugar.
Leave it all to simmer very gently without a lid for about 1½ hours, or until the chutney has thickened. Stir it from time to time during the cooking period. When it’s ready, you will be able to draw a spoon across the surface of the chutney and make a trail that doesn’t immediately fill up with surplus vinegar.
In the meantime, the jar should be washed thoroughly in warm soapywater, rinsed, dried and heated in a moderate oven for 5 minutes. Spoon the cooked chutney into the warmed jar, seal well with waxed discs and tight lids, and label as soon as it’s cold.
Keep this chutney for 1 month to mature before eating”
I know the recipe says leave for one month, but we ate some with cheese and crusty bread the same day and it was delicious, so don’t be put off by that. You still have time to make some for Christmas.