They really can make a simple buffet into a tasty feast and what’s best, is that Tesco has a fabulous range the family will love or if you’re planning on making your own, you can do it weeks in advance and get something ticked off your checklist early.
Chutneys and pickles also make brilliant food gifts at Christmas. A homemade label and piece of festive ribbon and you’ve got a thoughtful (and delicious!) present for someone you love.
Making your own: the basics The great thing about making your own chutney, as that most recipes are very simple. It’s a case of weighing out ingredients, chopping everything up, mixing it all together with sugar and vinegar and heating it up for a while! There are no fiddly techniques or tricking timings involved. You’ll need to get yourself some jars (you can sterilise these by popping them in a hot over, lids off, for about 15 mins), some pretty labels and some ribbon if you fancy. Other equipment you’ll need includes a large saucepan and a funnel to pour your mixture into the jars.
Easy spicy apple chutney recipe You will need: 1.5kg chopped Bramley apples, weighed after peeling and coring, 1 onion, roughly chopped, about an inch of fresh grated root ginger, 3 de-seeded, finely chopped red chillies, 1 level tbsp salt, 750ml malt vinegar, 250g raisins and 250g soft brown sugar.
Method: put all of your ingredients (apart from the sugar) into a large saucepan and heat on a low temperature for about 45 mins. Then stir in the sugar and boil for 40-50 mins until it has become sticky and there’s no liquid left. Leave to cool for 20 mins, then pour (using your funnel) into your jars. Label when your chutney is at room temperature.
Serving suggestion: best left for at least four weeks for the flavours to develop and works really well with a hard cheese, like a mature Cheddar or ham/pork.
Christmas cranberry chutney
You will need: 1.35kg cranberries, 450g raisins, 225g sultanas, 225g sugar, 2tsp ground cinnamon, 2 inches of fresh, grated ginger, 2tsp allspice, 2tsp salt and 570ml malt vinegar.
Method: put the cranberries and vinegar in a large saucepan and simmer gently until they have gone tender. Add in all the other ingredients and heat until the liquid has gone and the mixture has thickened and become sticky. Pour into sterilised jars and leave to label until cooled.
Serving suggestion: leave for about a week before eating with your cold roast turkey. Great for sandwiches.
Red onion pickle
You will need: 7 red onions, 2 shallots, 1 red (sweet) pepper, blackened under the grill, 1 red chilli (deseeded and finely chopped), 270ml balsamic vinegar, 50ml red wine vinegar, 220g dark brown sugar, stick of cinnamon, 2 bay leaves, 1tbsp fresh, chopped rosemary and a big splash of olive oil.
Method: chop and gently fry the onions, rosemary and shallots in the olive oil until very soft and browned. Add in the pepper and chilli and keep frying for 2 mins, then add the rest of your ingredients. Simmer for about an hour, or until the liquid has gone and you’re left with a thickened, sticky chutney mixture. Remove bay leaves and cinnamon stick, jar while still warm and label when cooled.
Serving suggestion: can be eaten in a few days, or left for a few weeks for the flavours to mellow. Makes a delicious accompaniment to soft cheese (Brie, and Camembert in particular) and crackers and most cold meats.
Tesco ingredients to help you make your red onion pickle
Tesco Finest Aromatica Aged Balsamic Vinegar Of Modena 250ml
Aspall Red Wine Vinegar 350ml
Our favourite Tesco pickles and chutneys
Tesco Finest Spiced Plum And Balsamic Chutney 180g Tesco Finest Red Onion Chutney Whiskey And Chilli 190g