Feeling festive yet? We're fast approaching the beginning of December, so soon they'll be no denying Christmas is on it's way. If you're beginning to think about gifts, this guest recipe from our friend Jonathan Taylor may inspire you to a touch of foodie DIY...

I’m a big foodie and also quite indecisive, so when The Weekend Collective asked me to write a festive blog post, it took me quite a while to select my favourite recipe!  When it comes to this time of year, my mind turns to the forgotten winter recipes which are too heavy for the hot summer months. 

Before it gets too cold, it's a good time to do some preserving. I have really got into the pickling mode recently, I made piccalilli a few weeks back and have plans for pickled cucumber, herring and sauerkraut in the coming weeks. I’ve also read an interesting recipe for pickled hotdogs (you never know… apparently they’re really addictive!) and a beetroot gravadlax (cured salmon) – I have made this before, curing it with vodka, and it was amazing! But this time I’m thinking gin may be a better option (any excuse!).

So this leads me nicely into this great recipe for a Festive Chutney. I have been making this for the past few years and it has fast become my family’s favourite accompaniment to pretty much anything over the Christmas period. It goes really well with cheese and meats, or as my family does in a "leftovers" sandwich on Boxing Day. Hope you enjoy it!

What you need:

  • 100g dried cranberries
  • 100g fresh cranberries
  • 100g dried sour cherries
  • 100g raisins
  • 100g sultanas
  • 100g dates (de-stone & chop, I used Medjool dates)
  • 175g no soak prunes (chop)
  • 450g dessert apples (peel,core & chop)
  • 275g shallots (roughly chop)
  • 475ml cider vinegar
  • 500g soft light brown sugar
  • ½ tsp mixed spice
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground ginger

The Recipe:

This recipe makes 3 x 500g jars. Personally I would use smaller jars, as they fit better in the fridge once opened and they also make great Christmas gifts.

  1.  Prepare the fruit and shallots
  2.  Put all the ingredients into a large heavy based pan and bring to the boil (stir to help dissolve the sugar).
  3. Once boiling, reduce the heat to a very low simmer and cook for a further two hours.
  4. To check its ready, scrape a wooden spoon across the bottom of the pan, it will be ready if the line from the wooden spoon doesn’t fill up with liquid. (Keep an eye on the mixture, as you don’t want it to dry out.)
  5. Pour the warm mixture directly into dry sterilised jars*. Cover with a disc of waxed paper and seal with the lid. You can use the chutney once it's completely cooled and it will keep unopened for a year (although if you’re like me, it won’t last till the New Year!)

 *To sterilise a jar, preheat an oven to 120C, wash the jar in hot soapy water and rinse well, place the jar in the oven to dry completely.  If using Kilner jars don't put the rubber seals in the oven, just wash them in hot water.


Thanks to JT for his festive chutney! Let us know in the comment box if you try it out - or if you have any favourite festive food recipes of your own...!