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.

 

Enjoy!

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Mango Chutney

I love Indian food. I used to be very suspicious of it (I have an intolerance to garlic, and have therefore had some very bad experiences) but got turned back on to it via the delicious fare at a friend’s wedding last year.

‘Indian’ food has long been a staple favourite in Britain, since the days of Empire, and today this persists in our love of the take away curry, as well as the homemade option. However, this neon food is a long way from the traditional flavours it was inspired by, and this is perhaps truest for the tango-orange gel that is called Mango Chutney.

My father loves a good Indian, and since it was his birthday last month, I whipped him up a batch of curry-changing sweet goodness in the form of a more traditional Mango Chutney. And, spoiler alert: it’s not bright orange.

 

Proper Mango Chutney

  •  145ml Cider vinegar
  • 250g Caster sugar
  • 180g Dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1 tsp Ground ginger
  • 1 1/2 tsp Ground allspice
  • scant 1/4 tsp Ground cloves
  • 1 tsp Ground nutmeg
  • 1 red chilli
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 onion
  • 70g sultanas
  • 10g Root ginger
  • 500g mango flesh

First things first, get prepped. Wash up 4-6 jars to make sure they are super clean, then pop them in the oven at 100-130c to dry and sterilise. You can also put them through the dishwasher, but I recommend sticking them in the oven anyway, as hot food needs to go in hot jars, or the jar could shatter.

You also need a decent sized saucepan, and ideally to prep your fruit and veg in advance. The chilli needs to be deseeded and chopped finely. The onion needs to be chopped fairly finely. The ginger needs to be grated or very finely chopped. I bought my mango frozen because I am incredibly lazy, so all I had to do was defrost it, but if you are using fresh you need to chop your mango into 1cm cubes. You can do this as you go, but it’s much easier to get ahead.

Right, now to the cooking part- heat the vinegar and sugars to combine, and add the spices, chilli and salt. Bring up to the boil, and boil for 10 minutes.

Add everything else except the mango and boil for further 10-15 minutes.

Finally, add your mango and reduce the heat to a simmer for a further 15 minutes. Depending on how chunky you want the finished product, you can use a potato masher or your spoon to crush the mango into the mixture as it cooks.

Remove your jars from the oven and take the chutney off of the heat. Spoon the mixture into the jars and, ensuring the screw top is clean of drips, screw on the lids until closed, but not sealed. Allow to cool fully before tightening the top of the jar up.

 

The finished product is dark, spicy and sweet. You can play with the chilli content and spice balance if you know you like things hot, and add a clove of garlic or more onion if you want more punch, but this chutney is sweet and complex, and goes well not only with curries, but with meats and cheeses.

Enjoy!

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Boxing Day Pie : Recipe Advent Calendar 24th

To round off the calendar, here is probably my tastiest creation yet. It is based off of a meal served to me by a friend, which was in turn based on his mother’s Turkey and Ham pie. Hi Davi! Hi Davi’s mum!

Not only is the recipe delicious, it is also fairly simple, and probably most excitingly, uses up a whole heap of leftovers you could have from Christmas Dinner. Cooked turkey, the fresh sage that escaped the stuffing, double cream that missed the pudding, a glug of white wine forgotten in the bottle, leftover crisps that might have staled overnight, a scrap of cheese left from the cheese board and some bread, made into crumbs.

Boxing Day Pie

Serves 2

  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 leek
  • A good handful of fresh sage
  • 1/3 vegetable stock cube (just pinch a bit off)
  • A healthy glass of white wine
  • 100ml double cream
  • 2 portions of cooked turkey
  • Approx a slice’s worth of breadcrumbs
  • A large handful of crisps, preferably cheese and onion
  • 35g grated cheese

Chop your onion and leek finely and brown in a glug of oil. Roughly chop the sage and add it when the vegetables are just about done.

Pour in your liquid ingredients, plus the turkey, and stir to combine. Season with a pinch of salt, pepper and the stock cube crumbled in to the mix. Simmer for 10 minutes or so until the sauce is reduced.

Meanwhile, make your crust. Make your bread crumbs in a food processor, then add the crisps. Blend until they are roughly crumbed too, then give it a couple of pulses with the cheese added, to mix.

When the filling is ready, add to your pie dish. Cover with a generous coating of the crust mixture.

Bake for 20 minutes in a preheated over at 190 c until the top is golden and crisp.

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This pie can be eaten with pretty much any side, or on its own, scoffed out of the dish (don’t judge me- all this baking is hungry work!). I love that this method uses up so many leftovers, many of which might get thrown away. And whilst I love a good short crust pastry pie, the crumb crust is a lovely addition to this recipe.

This recipe also works with chicken, of course, or even leftover vegetables if you want to make a veggie version. And a splash of leftover gravy is only going to make the sauce tastier!

I hope your Christmas Day is merry and bright, and your Boxing Day delicious.

All my love,

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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.

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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 she-who-bakes.com

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!

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Monday Night Gnocchi

Every monday night I have a dinner date with the lovely Miss Jo. We catch up, watch our stories and nosh on some pretty good grub, seeing as Jo is quite a cook. A couple of weeks ago she made this delicious gnocchi dish that hit all my sweet spots, and I’ve been itching to have a go ever since. This is my version; a no fuss, super quick, super easy yet satisfying and wholesome after work meal.

Monday Night Gnocchi

Serves 2

Photoset can be found here

250g Gnocchi

½ white onion

1 small courgette

4-5 chestnut mushrooms

½ tsp chilli powder

a couple of handfuls of spinach

1 tub cream cheese (I used one with herbs)

lemon juice

Parmesan

  • Season your pan with olive oil, cracked black pepper and sea salt.
  • Chop your vegetables fairly finely and fry off.
  • Meanwhile, pop your gnocchi into a pan of boiling water. When they float to the surface, they’re done! Drain most of the cooking water and set aside.
  • Once the vegetables are fried, add your chilli powder and spinach to the pan. Stir gently until the spinach has wilted down. Turn off the heat.
  • Add the gnocchi to the pan and stir through, before pouring the whole lot into an overproof dish.
  • Thin the cheese in a bowl by beating with the lemon juice and reserved cooking water. Add to the ovenproof dish and stir through until mix is combined.
  • Grate Parmesan over the dish and pop under a hot grill for 10-20 minutes until golden.
  • Serve with a rocket salad, and gleefully stuff your chops.

Monday Night Gnocchi

Hubba hubba, I spy supper!