Advent Calendar 6 and 7: Christmas Chutney and Cranberry-Red Onion Marmalade

It doesn’t get much more festive than Cranberries. They’re in season over the festive period, they’re santa-suit red and they taste phenomenal with meats and cheeses- staples in many a Christmas feast. They also have a very high pectin count, meaning they make excellent additions to preserves, helping them to set beautifully.

Cranberry sauce is great and all, but we can do better at SWB this year. Plus, a good chutney or savoury marmalade is a fabulous addition to any cheeseboard or buffet. Here are two of my Christmastime favourites I’m making up for my own Christmas dinner, plus extra for gifts.

Christmas Chutney

This recipe is childsplay to throw together and packs a great flavour punch. It goes great with sharp cheeses or meats in sandwiches, and can be made, start to finish, in under 45 minutes., including any chopping.

  • 400g cranberries
  • 400g cherry tomatoes (you can use regular tomatoes, just chop them up first)
  • 1 medium red onion
  • 1/2tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/2tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2tsp ground allspice
  • Pinch of salt
  • 200g light muscovado sugar
  • 100ml cider vinegar

Chop the onion into rough slices.

Pop the cranberries, onion and tomatoes into a saucepan over a low heat, and heat for 10 minutes, until the berries start to pop.

Add all the remaining ingredients and stir to combine and dissolve the sugar.

Simmer the chutney for 15-25 minutes until the chutney is combined and pulpy.

Pot into sterilised jars, or store in the fridge.

IMG_6848Next up is a delicious red onion marmalade with the festive twist. If you don’t want to use the cranberries, use an extra 400g of onions instead for a true red onion marmalade.

Cranberry and Red Onion Marmalade

  • 500g red onions
  • Juice of an orange
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp ground gunger
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground allspice
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp ground coriander
  • 200g dark muscovado sugar
  • 150ml ruby port
  • 100ml cider vinegar
  • 400g cranberries

In a glug of oil, fry the onions off until translucent.

Add the orange juice, port, vinegar, sugar and all the spices. Stir through to combine and dissolve the sugar.

Simmer the mixture gently for 35-40 minutes. The mixture should be nice and syrupy by this point.

Chuck in the cranberries and turn up the heat a little. Cook for a further 15-20 minutes, until all the berries have popped and the mixture is nice and thick.

Pot into sterilised jars and store in the fridge.





Happy December!

It doesn’t matter how much of a bah humbugging, grinchy, festiveness resistor you are, you can’t deny it any longer.

Christmas is coming, and Christmastime is here.

As I sit here, tree up and decorated, Christmas cookbooks littering my countertops and a glass of Bucks Fizz in hand, I know I’m a Christmas lover. I often joke with friends that I’m a quarter German, a quarter Polish and a quarter Christmas Elf. I think a lot of my life’s problems would be solved by baking cookies in a magic tree for a living.


In my spare time I’m an artist among other things, and in the past I have created artwork Advent Calendars to celebrate my love of the season, and challenge myself. Since this year I’m enjoying food writing so much, and I haven’t got an easy and convenient way to put my artwork on the internet (my scanner died), I thought to myself; why not do a recipe Advent Calendar here on

Ok, so it’s the third, so I’m already behind, but worry not, I shall catch up swiftly I’m sure. My recipe book is heaving with festive goodies, plus I have dozens of treats I want to try.

To start off with, I want to share a recipe that might actually be most useful from Boxing Day onwards: Christmas Dinner Soup. This recipe is useful year round for using up roast dinner leftovers and stretching a meal further. It might not be the healthiest soup out there, but it’s delicious, adaptable and kind to your pocket. And if you are anything like me when it comes to spending around Christmas, any way to save a few pennies is a godsend.

This recipe is more a method, and as mentioned above it is adaptable to whichever meat you’ve roasted, and whatever you’ve got left over. I will of course be writing out a recipe based on Christmas Dinner, or turkey roast leftovers.

Christmas Dinner Soup

Serves 3-4, depending on how much of a glutton you are.

  • 1 onion
  • 2 portions roasted/accompanying vegetables (e.g. 2 medium carrots, half a sweet potato, a cob of corn and 4 tablespoons of peas)
  • 6-8 roast potatoes
  • 3-4 portions bread-based stuffing
  • Some cooked turkey, at least 4 slices
  • 2 tbsp gravy granules
  • 2 tbsp cranberry sauce
  • extra water to loosen mix as required
  • Salt and pepper.

If you want a chunky soup, make sure to chop everything before hand in to bite size pieces, and finely chop up your stuffing. If you want a smoother soup, you needn’t chop, but you’ll need an immersion or jug blender.

In a large sauce pan, cook off the onion. Next, add your vegetables and potatoes to warm through and begin to break down as required.

Unless you have your own homemade stock, make up one cube of stock with a generous litre of water and add the gravy granules. If you have leftover gravy, just add this to the pot instead and omit the granules. Add the stock mix to the pot and stir through.

Chop up your stuffing and add to the soup. Break it down as the all the ingredients reheat. Season to taste.

If you want a smooth, thick soup, then blend to your desired consistency. If you are using a jug style blender, leave the lid off and cover with a tea towel, as the mixture is hot and it is dangerous to blend a hot mix with the lid on. Add back to the pan and loosen with hot water if required. Add chopped turkey and heat through for at least five minutes.

If you like a chunky soup, then when you are happy with the thickness and texture, chop up and add your turkey and heat through in the soup for at least 5 minutes.

Just before serving, add your cranberry sauce and stir vigorously to combine. Serve with fresh bread.

This is a great ‘monday night meal’ after a sunday roast to use up your leftovers. You can tweak the measurements to how much stuff you have left, and you can bulk out the soup with fresh veg if required. I think the real crucial ingredient is the stuffing, as this thickens the soup and adds so much good flavour. If you are light on stuffing leftovers, however, you can use extra potatoes instead.

In terms of adaptability, you just use up whatever vegetables you had to accompany the meat. If you’ve had beef, why not use mustard or horseradish in the place of cranberry sauce. For lamb, why not mint or redcurrant? And of course, pork’s best friend is apple. This mix also freezes, so if like me you live alone, but cook too much, you can store the odd portion to crack out when you can’t face the stove.

The soup is super tasty and filling, and essentially free as you’re just using up the leftovers from another meal. This recipe is super for boxing day or the 27th, when you really want some fridge space back and can’t stomach another turkey sandwich.

I hope you’ll try it, and more importantly enjoy it!