"The Queen
of Condiments"
Kirstie Allsopp
"The finest jams, chutneys and pickles I have ever eaten"
Clarissa Dickson Wright
"It's just me and a slotted spoon love"
Victoria Cranfield

Commonly asked Questions about cooking Boxing Day Chutney.

Q: I have to take warfarin daily, and have been advised to avoid cranberries.  Is there an alternative to cranberries that could be used in your recipes for people like myself?

A: You can just leave out the cranberries and drop the sugar by 227g/8oz  (this is an educated guess, before potting let a little cool and taste it, if not sweet enough for you return the sugar and bring back to the boil as the sugar will create a little more liquid) You won't get pockets of pink in the jar so it won't be as pretty but the strongest flavoured component is the apricot.  If you wanted the occasional tarter pop in the jar then I suspect gooseberries could be substituted but they are out of season and I haven't tried it!

Q: Do I use dried cranberries or fresh – if fresh can you suggest where to buy them? do major supermarkets carry such a product?

A: Fresh cranberries are in season now, you can buy them from most green grocers and supermarkets in the run up to Christmas.  A packet usually weighs 340g.

Q: I  have had problems with it being too thick - or at least it is in comparison to the Kirsty's which looks almost liquid. Mine is chunky and you can clearly identify the apricots and other fruit. I couldn't get the naturally dried apricots so had to get the 'orange' ones instead. Any advice?

A: The initial photo shot was of the cooking ingredients before the soaked dried fruit was added.  Once all ingredients were added and brought to the boil (stirring to avoid sticking) it thickened quite quickly.  If it is too thick for you return to the saucepan with more orange juice and bring back to the boil before re-potting.

Q: I have had some problems with this recipe. There seems to be far too much liquid and it took a long time for the mixture to anything like resemble chutney – as I would have expected.

A: The orange juice should be totally absorbed by the dried fruit before being added to the cooked mixture of onions, apples etc. The cider vinegar should be somewhat thickened by the breakdown of the apples and reduced by the cooking of the onions. when the sugar is added it will create some additional liquid which should quite rapidly thicken to the consistancy of a pouring custard while you constantly stir (otherwise liquid comes to the top as the solids drop and catch on the bottom). Stir as you fill the jars so that the liquid is well distributed (continuing the analogy custard packed with bananas). As you are using quite dry fruit it will continue to absorb liquid and thicken as it cools.

Kirsties Boxing Day Chutney Recipe

Boxing Day Chutney as seen on Kirsties Homemade Christmas

2lb/900g onions sliced

2lb cooking apples chopped

1 pkt/340g cranberries

2pints cider vinegar

2oz/50g fresh root ginger(before pealing) finely diced

1tbsp coarse sea salt

tsp mixed spice

zest of 2 oranges

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2lb naturally dried apricots chopped

1 pkt dates (175g/60z)pitted and chopped

1lb raisins

Juice of 8 oranges/1 pint orange juice

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2lb white sugar.

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Place all the first ingredients in a saucepan gently bring to the boil.

The object is to let the onions go transparent, the cranberries start to pop and the apple break down.  You don't want to lose all texture so a 5min simmer once at boiling point should do.  Remember to stir.

In a seperate bowl mix the dried fruit and pour over the orange juice. Stir well. The mixture should absorb all the orange juice in approx 20mins

The dried fruit can be done before the ingredients for cooking to save time.

Add the marinated fruit to the saucepan with the  sugar.

Stir well and bring back to  boiling point, stirring all the time.  Don't leave the saucepan at this time or the contents will catch and taint the chutney.  The free liquid will start to thicken quite quickly and the chutney can then be bottled.  Lid immediately.

For the sizes of fruit/technique see Kirsties video .

Please add comments it you need further info and I will post with the response.

Cranfields' on Kirstie's Homemade Christmas!

Kirstie’s Homemade Christmas will be on Channel 4 from 8th-10th December at 8pm

Cranfields' Foods will feature on Kirstie's Homemade Christmas during episodes 2 & 3 airing on the 9th & 10th December 2009

Crafty Kirstie Allsopp is back for a spectacular 3-part special that will see her create the perfect homemade Christmas.

Earlier this year, Kirstie turned her dilapidated Devon cottage from a shell to a chic vision of country living.

Now, with the festive season just round the corner, Kirstie’s Homemade Christmas will see her use Meadowgate as a base to take viewers on a yuletide journey of decorating, wonderful gifts and perfect entertaining.

Kirstie will be embracing crafts from around the country and her own love of doing up and making do to create the perfect Homemade Christmas.  

Among the craftspeople taking part in this festival of craft is Victoria Cranfield of Cranfields Foods in North Devon who shows Kirstie how to make Cranfields’s Boxing Day Chutney and Cranberry and Mulled Wine Relish for Kirsties hamper and the Christmas table.

Victoria said: ‘It was fascinating to meet Kirstie and be involved in the filming both at Meadowgate and at home, the enthusiasm and warmth shown by her in previous series is genuine, which made the whole experience very enjoyable. Luckily Kirstie had bought some of my preserves at a Charity craft fair and enjoyed them, you never know where sales can lead!’

Packed with brilliant tips and information, the series will be a goldmine of great and creative ideas that the viewers can replicate at home.

Each day, Kirstie will take on a theme and offer viewers the perfect guide to transforming any home into a Christmas spectacle – from Christmas decorations and hand- and homemade presents, to perfect Christmas entertaining with plenty of food, drink and general merriment.

If you would like to buy either of the preserves featured they are available through our website or for a full list of stockists visit www.cranfieldsfoods.com or telephone Victoria on 01271 850842

Merry Christmas!