Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Christmas Hampers

Several years ago I worked as a food stylist for a photographer. One of my jobs was to prepare the food from a Christmas Hamper to make it look very appetising. However, in almost every hamper I have seen advertised, from the least expensive to the costly, there are always some foods that probably wouldn't get used. Time now to make up your own Hamper by adding one or two cans of favourite foods to your shopping list then squirreling them away out of family viewing until the festive season. This way you can always take advantage of any that are coming to the end of their 'best-before-dates' and therefore reduced in price.

Blackberry Chutney - makes just under 3 lb.
3 lb (1.4 kg) blackberries
8 oz (225g( onions, chopped
1 lb (500g) soft dark brown sugar
1 lb (500g) cooking apples (after peeling, coreing etc)
1 oz (25g) ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground mace
1 tsp salt
1 pint (400ml) distilled white vinegar
Put the blackberries into a preserving pan with the onions, sugar and the apples. In a small bowl blend the spices and salt to a paste with a little of the vinegar and stir this into the fruit. Add the rest of the vinegar, and stir over a low heat until the sugar has dissolved then bring to the boil. Simmer for about one hour or until the fruits are very soft and most of the moisture has evaporated.
Pour into hot sterilized jars, cover the chutney with a wax disc (wax side down) and then seal with vinegar-proof screw top lids.