Now Halloween is out of the way, you’re probably starting to think seriously about Christmas gift ideas. Hopefully you’ll find plenty of inspiration from the Wares of Knutsford blog, where we try to provide lots of tips for gift ideas and wrapping all year round. We also firmly believe that home made gifts are best, particularly those with a seasonal flavour, so here are some ideas for homemade Christmas gifts.
Homemade Christmas gifts: Christmas chutney
Chutneys usually need a little time for the flavours to mature, so it’s best to get going this month. This also leaves you less to do next month, when things start to get really hectic! This tasty Christmas chutney works brilliantly with cold meats and cheese, and takes the monotony out of left over turkey sandwiches.
To make about 2.5kg:
- 900g tomatoes, skinned and chopped
- 3 red peppers, seeded and chopped
- 1 green pepper, seeded and chopped
- 1 aubergine, chopped
- 700g onion, peeled and finely chopped
- 4 large cloves of garlic, crushed
- 300ml white wine or distilled malt vinegar
- 350g granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon each of salt, crushed coriander seeds and paprika
- 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
Put the tomatoes, peppers, aubergine, onions and garlic into a large heavy based saucepan over a high heat until bubbling. Cover, reduce the heat and allow to simmer gently for about an hour, stirring regularly. Add the vinegar, sugar, salt, coriander, paprika and cayenne pepper to the pan and bring the mixture to the boil, stirring gently until the sugar completely dissolves. Keep boiling gently for about 30 minutes, until the chutney thickens and the liquid has reduced. You will need to stir the chutney regularly to prevent it catching the base of the pan.
Spoon the chutney into clean, sterilised jars while still warm and add a wax sealing disc to the top. Seal and store in a cool, dark place for a month before using.
Homemade Christmas gifts: Cranberry chutney
This is a very easy to make seasonal chutney.
- 350g fresh cranberries
- 300g caster sugar
- 250ml red wine
- 1 stick cinnamon
- 2 tablespoons orange zest, in strips
Heat the sugar with the red wine until completely dissolved and boiling. As the rest of the ingredients and return to the boil, then reduce the heat and allow to simmer for about 15 minutes, stirring regularly, until the cranberries have burst. Use the same method as above to bottle up and store in the refrigerator.