So it we’re nearly on the home run now! Getting the house decorated with the best tableware and lighting that twinkly Christmas tree. With presents adorning the tree and a Christmas feast fit for a king.
Christmas lunch is undoubtedly the centrepiece of every household getting into the spirit of celebrations. What I love about the meal itself; apart from the turkey (or goose; which is what we will be having this year) and the trimmings for lunch are also the accompaniments that make up our sumptuous feast. Cheese, piccalilli, savoury crackers, mulled wine and of course chutneys are all my favourites in the run up to the festive season.
It’s almost a done thing now that a lot of our family and friends expect that I will be making homemade jars of chutney. There is a variety I make and some have been hugely popular over the years. Nothing gives me more pleasure than cooking, baking and preserving gifts that I make knowing they are enjoyed and utterly relished.
It’s a busy time with work and an instant reminder how quickly another year has passed us by. But also a chance to cherish time with family and friends and appreciate what we have.
So through the chaos and amidst all that Christmas shopping what makes it all the more worthwhile is spending some quiet time and putting your feet up. For me an evening sipping some warm mulled wine with a platter of cheese, chutney and biscuits, sitting by the roaring fire watching the lights glisten on my Christmas tree tells me I’m home; celebrating with those around me and soaking in the atmosphere of this joyful time of the year.
Spiced Apple & Ginger Chutney – Seb ki chutney
850gms cooking apples, peeled, core & cut to cubes
2 tsp cumin seeds
2 tsp fennel seeds
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 medium onion thinly sliced
3 tsp grated ginger
1 tsp kashmiri chilli powder (or a mild chilli powder)
190gms soft brown sugar
4 tbsp white vinegar
Pinch of salt
In a small frying pan add the cumin & fennel seeds and dry roast on a low heat for 3-4 minutes. The seeds will start to release their aroma. Make sure to stir every few minutes. Turn the heat off & cool the mix. Grind to a coarse powder in a pestle and mortar and set aside.
Heat oil in a heavy bottomed sauce pan on medium heat. Add the coarsely ground cumin and fennel seeds and sizzle for a minute. Add the sliced onion and fry for 5-7 mins until they begin to soften and change colour. At this stage add the ginger, chilli powder, sugar, vinegar, chopped apple and salt. Mix well and stir making sure all the spices coat the apple. Simmer the mix over a low heat for an hour making sure to stir half way through. The chutney will thicken, go syrupy and caramelize.
Cool completely and tip in sterilised jars. Seal and store. Once opened, refrigerate and use within 2 weeks.