Monday, 3 December 2012

Christmas Cranberry Chutney

In her book Nigella Christmas, Nigella Lawson writes that " the cornerstone of my Christmas pantry." I wouldn't go quite as far as that (and I don't have a pantry, just a small kitchen with dangerously overflowing cupboards) but I do love to make chutney at Christmas. It is one of the kitchen rituals that are comforting, reassuring and enjoyable. Really, you should make this at least one month before eating so that the flavours can mature but I made it yesterday and ate some today and can report that it was very, very good.

The recipe is originally from Nigella Christmas but I have adapted it quite a bit over the two or three years that I have been making it, and I feel that it is now sufficiently different from the original for me to give you my own version here without getting into copyright trickiness. The original recipe calls for fresh or frozen cranberries which I often find hard to get hold of round these parts and also very expensive. So I use dried cranberries. They swell up beautifully during cooking and absorb more liquid so that you have a richly thick and sticky chutney, rather than a more liquid version.

You need:

  • 700 g cooking apples, peeled, cored and chopped small
  • I large onion, peeled and chopped.
  • 400 g dried cranberries
  • 200 g dates, roughly chopped
  • the zest, juice and pulp of two clementines or one orange
  • 400 g sugar
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 and 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon 
  • 500 ml white wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp salt

To make

  • Sterilise your jars. I wash mine thouroughy with hot, soapy water then dry them in a cool oven.
  • Put the apples, onion, cranberries dates and clementine/orange into a large pan.
  • Add the sugar, spices, vinegar and salt and stir well.
  • Bring it to a boil then turn it down and let it bubble gently for an hour of so. 
  • Decant it into your jars and seal.

This batch will yeild around 6 x 250 ml jars. If you use fresh or frozen cranberries you will get more like 8 or 9 jars due to the higher liquid content of the chutney.

Then have some fun with labels and presentation. I found some vintage-style Christmas ribbon that I bought a few years ago and had just enough to go around three jars - joy! Then, the best bit - eating it. The spices come through so well and while is it very good with any cold meats or cheeses, it really is AMAZING with brie. There is something magical about the combination of cranberry and brie. It makes for a well-received (and thrifty) gift too, so it's win-win! 


  1. Ooh Gillian it looks delicious! I too love chutney with brie, but I have discovered that this combo tastes even more amazing with the addition of a slice of salami. One of my favourite sandwich fillings with a few rocket leaves chucked in to make it feel a bit healthier! I bet it'll taste even more amazing at Christmas. x

  2. That sounds lovely! I do love Chutney!

  3. Hello Gillian,
    I am laughing as I have the dried cranberries out in the kitchen table, with a note on them saying 'please make me into chutney!!' (as I said I would on my blog). So am even more happier I have your actual recipe - I shall be making some later today!! Thank you and yes, I am so with you on the Brie!!!
    Have a good day...
    Ivan x

  4. That chutney looks absolutely delicious and with the Brie I suspect it is a magical combination. Must see if I can squeeze in a chutney-making session in the next while in time for it to mature. Love the ribbon by the way and the strategically placed polar bear - he looks as though when your back is turned he might sample the contents of your jars so you'd better keep an eye on him! E x

  5. We love chutney - especially at Christmas. You have done a beautiful job of presenting the jars and the title 'Cranberry Chutney' is so inviting. Yummy homemade gifts xo

  6. It sounds lovely but I have never seen cranberries here execpt from time to time in lidl! You make it look very appetizing :) x

  7. Mmmmm, you may have tempted me into having a go at making chutney. Sounds delicious.

  8. Hi Gillian , just discovered your blog and this looks wonderful. I love your gingerbread house too. Adding you to my blog list :0)
    Jacquie x

  9. Lovely. You always make your jars look so pretty too.

  10. i never knew that chutney was a big deal at xmas for some people! for me, chutney is an indian side. although i have it with sandwiches and such. i loves me almost any chutney. this one sounds delish, never had cranberry chutney.

  11. I love cranberries and this chutney looks delicious! It especially sounds yummy with brie. Your jars are decorated so pretty. What a wonderful gift idea!

  12. Looks lovely and sounds so yummy. What lovely gifts!

  13. I am not a chutney fan at all. But love all your christmas crafting. It is fab

  14. Yum yum - that looks so rich and delicious - perfect with a hunk of cheese or in a turkey sandwich. Boxing day lunch with cold cuts, cheese, a pork pie and assorted pickles and chutneys is one of my fav festive meals

  15. Oh and aldi of all places had fresh cranberries very reasonably - I bought several and stashed in the freezer as I can normally only get them for megabucks in Waitrose!

  16. I can't say I'm a big cranberry fan but I do like chutney and this looks delicious!

    Chutney making is on my to do list this month, but in keeping with our frenzy free Christmas, if it happens it happens, and if it doesn't we'll live!

  17. Oh wowzers! That looks soooo good. I love that ribbon too. So glad you enjoyed looking at Rifle Design, it's a bit dreamy isn't it? Xx

  18. Oh yes, Christmas recipes, the ones that people love and make their own are the best things about this time of year! Thanks for sharing this one and with such beautiful images as well, Jo xx

  19. This sounds great and oh how I love your packaging!

  20. I always find it so hard to wait on the little jars that taste better with age. I guess that's why it's always in my favor to make a big batch. Adding chutney to my to-do list this week..

  21. I wanted to let you know that I have nominated you for the Liebster Award... You can get details here...

  22. I think I may HAVE to make a batch; it looks lush!! x

  23. So glad that you've posted your recipe for Cranberry Chutney,will have to give it a go too,me thinks,Hope you're well
    Best Wishes
    Sue xxx

  24. That looks so delicious! I have to stop myself from licking the computer screen :-) x

  25. Oh yummy ... I can almost smell it .. does that make me a bit weird ... a recipe I will be filing away ... thank you lovely ... Bee xx

  26. I came across your chutney recipe via Liz at Love those Cupcakes and I've just dropped back to thank you for the recipe which I made a couple of weeks ago. We are now enjoying it with cold meats and cheese. Yum!

  27. Nice recipe. I took the advice from others and added some red pepper flakes for heat. Otherwise followed the recipe and now have to stop "testing" it!


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