Friday, November 23, 2012

Christmas In a Pickle

Although I do love a big roast Christmas dinner with all the trimmings, my favourite meal of the holiday season is actually the traditional english boxing day spread of cold cuts of meat, cheeses and pies with all the salads, pickles and relishes that accompany them. I love pickles and chutneys and for the last couple of years I've been making this recipe by British chef Hugh Fearnley-Whitingstall both to eat at home and to give as gifts and it always goes down well.

Fig and Cranberry Chutney 

Makes 2-4 jars


  • 500g onions, chopped
  • Scrap of oil
  • 1kg diced apples, any will do but try to include some Bramleys
  • 500ml cider vinegar
  • 400g demerara sugar
  • 200g dried figs, diced
  • 125g dried cranberries
  • Zest and juice of 1 orange
  • Generous glass of port
  • 5cm piece root ginger, roughly chopped
  • 6 cloves
  • 12 cardamom pods
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 100g walnuts, roughly chopped


  1. Start by sweating the onion in a scrap of oil then add the apple. Pour over the vinegar and sugar and and stir well until the sugar has melted.
  2. Add the fruits to the pot then after that the orange zest and juice, followed by the port.
  3. Next it's time to put together your spices. Tie the ginger, cloves, cardamom pods and coriander seeds in a clean square of muslin and secure with string. Immerse the pouch deep in the simmering chutney and let it bubble away for an hour or so, making sure to stir it regularly so it doesn't catch on the bottom.
  4. Add the walnuts and cook for a final 30 minutes. If you can part your chutney and see a little bit of pan on the bottom you are done.
  5. Decant the warm chutney into sterilised jars, seal with vinegar-proof lids and allow to cool.

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  1. Do you actually weigh the ingredients? I've never cooked using weights's always liquid or dry measuring cups/spoons. And what is the definition of generous glass of port? Do you drink it while making the recipe? lol! The recipe sounds delicious, maybe I'll try it! Also, what is a vinegar proof lid?

  2. Yes Jen english recipes are usually done by weight although I think there is a conversion method to cups. 'Generous' means to the brim but i'd probably stick more in! Vinegar proof lids have are lined with plastic to avoid the acid getting to it. Now there's an idea...maybe I'll try a pickle patina! It is yum though.

  3. I never knew that about recipes!

  4. Sounds interesting (so cool seeing recipes that fall into more traditions from the UK)... Thanks for sharing!
    In step 1, what do you look for the sugar to do? :)

    1. Ha ! well spotted Marsha - that would be melted!


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