As the festive season approaches, early preparation sees the shelves of the larder filled with tasty accompaniments, including fruit-filled chutney in anticipation of the Christmas feast, or given as a welcome edible gift.
400g whole dried figs, halved
1 Bramley apple, cored and chopped into small pieces
1 onion, peeled and chopped into chunks
200g dried apricots, chopped
5cm piece fresh root ginger, peeled and grated
300g soft brown sugar
zest and juice of 2 oranges
2 tsp ground cloves
300ml distilling vinegar
salt and pepper
4 x 200g sterilised jars and lids
Place the fig and apple pieces in a large saucepan, then add the onion. Add the raisins, apricots, ginger, sugar, orange zest and juice, cloves, whisky and vinegar. Season with salt and pepper. Stir thoroughly to combine, then bring to a simmer. Simmer for 5 mins, then bring to the boil. Hold on a rolling boil, stirring, for 40 mins until the chutney is thick and glossy.
Fill the jars with the chutney, then secure the lids tightly. Keep in a cool, dry place and open after 1 month. Store in the fridge after opening and discard after 3 months if not finished.
More recipes for delicious Christmas edible gifts in the November 2019 issue of LandScape magazine...
Cranberry and pine gin
Chilli and spice jelly
The bounty of the hedgerow is transformed into intensely flavoured jams, which can be used to make delicious berry-filled bakes.
140g unsalted butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
140g light brown sugar
200g ground almonds
2 tsp baking powder
200g plain flour
9 tsp blackcurrant jam
10 tsp strawberry jam
9 tsp apricot jam
Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4 and grease a large, flat oven tin. In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar together for 2-3 mins with the back of a wooden spoon until creamy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, until fully combined. Mix in the ground almonds, baking powder and flour until a stiff, sticky dough forms.
Roll the mixture into balls approximately a heaped teaspoon in size and place them on the tray, spaced out approximately 3cm from each other. Press down each ball in the middle with the thumb and fill each with approximately 1 tsp of jam. Bake for 10-12 mins until golden. Allow to cool for 5 mins on the tray, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Serve or keep in a lidded container for up to 3 days.
More recipes for berry-filled desserts in the September 2019 issue of LandScape magazine...
500g fresh apricots
100g gingernut biscuits
finely grated zest and juice of 1 orange
125g golden caster sugar
3 tbsp orange flavoured liqueur (optional)
450ml double cream
150ml full-fat natural yogurt
Halve the apricots, remove the stones and discard. Place in a saucepan with the orange zest and juice and the sugar. Cook gently for 10-15 mins until the apricots are soft and tender, stirring occasionally.
Allow to cool. Remove one or two halves and set aside. Add the orange liqueur if using and blitz in a food processor or with a stick blender until it forms a smooth purée.
Whisk the cream until standing in soft peaks. Fold in the yogurt until combined then gently fold in the apricot purée. Crush the biscuits into small chunks. Set 2 tbsp of the crumbs aside to decorate. Spoon some of the apricot mixture into serving jars and sprinkle with a layer of the broken biscuits. Continue layering, finishing with a layer of the apricot mixture. Chill for a minimum of 2 hrs. Slice the reserved apricot halves into slices. Use to decorate the tops of the fools along with a sprinkling of the reserved biscuit crumb.
Other apricot recipes in our Jul/Aug 2015 issue:
• Apricot and saffron Chelsea buns
• Apricot and ricotta tart
• Apricot buttermilk cake
• Grilled apricots with ginger and cream