So with horror I heard the words “It’s only 6 pay days until Christmas” the other day at work..
The hobbits (my 21, 17 & 13 year old kids) and I truly adore Christmas. We don’t spend much, we just make do but we always enjoy nice food and have lots of family time together not doing much but just hanging out together and laughing a lot. I like that…
Last year we successfully managed to bring our Christmas in at just over $200 and this year will be pretty much the same. But to implement a frugal Christmas does take planning so I’ll share with you some of the recipes and hints and tips I have used in previous years, to have a Christmas within our means..
Christmas Cranberry Chutney
Frugal Tip: place chutney in small pretty jars and decorate to give away as Christmas pressies!
A festive chutney with sweet, savoury and tart undertones all in one! Best served with cold meats, cold meat sandwiches or strong cheeses on crackers….great with Stilton cheese!
2 or 3 tart apples, peeled, cored & chopped
2 1/4 pounds cranberries whole
2 medium onions finely chopped
2 cups (500ml) light brown sugar
1 1/4 cups (310ml) cider vinegar (you can replace some with balsamic vinegar)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt (or more to taste)
1/2 tsp ground ginger
3/4 teaspoon pepper flakes (or 1/2 tsp black pepper)
1/2 pound dark raisins
8 x 250ml jars (sterilised)
8 x lids
jam making accessories
There are two ways to process the chutney- the British way or the North American way. I use the North American way to ensure the best seal possible…here is the method.
Clean jars and rinse in warm water. Place jars without lids, with mouths up and place on baking sheet. put into cold oven. Turn oven up to 150 centigrade.
Put all ingredients into large saucepan and bring to simmer and stir regularly. The mixture will get thicker and after around 10 to 20 mins you will notice that when you drag your mixing spoon through the mixture the bottom of the pot will be visible for a couple of seconds…when it does this and the cranberries have popped and look cooked then its ready!
Remove hot jars out of oven and immediately place hot mixture into the jars. Seal jars with clean and warm lids (thats the British way)…leave undisturbed overnight and lids should self seal as the mixture cools down.
The North American way- once the mixture is in the jars place jars in hot water bath for 10 minutes to a rolling boil. Remove and leave undisturbed overnight.
Mixture takes about two weeks to mature however if using some balsamic vinegar in the mixture its usually fine to taste after 24 hours!