Every year for the last few years, around July, I get a bit excited about Christmas. This might seem early to most people, but for me, it's the perfect time for a few reasons. Firstly, it means I can budget properly for everyone's presents, and secondly, it gives me plenty of time to plan homemade gifts, especially if I need to sew anything.
By September/October I'm really in the swing of things, thanks largely due to the October/November issue of BBC Good Food Magazine coming out with Christmassy things, usually including some homemade gift style goodies. 2011 was no exception, and I used the three issues in October, November and December to make some lovely gifts. Soemtimes, if I'm lucky, there'll be enough of the gifts for me to have one of my own, or I'll try and wangle a try of some of one of the gifts. This is exactly what happened with last year's chutney, the pineapple chutney from the November issue.
I took some to my Mum and Dad's as part of their Christmas presents and we had some lovely cold ham with this chutney, and although there were only four of us, we ate the whole jar! (To be fair it was a smallish jar, but even so!). I've been planning ever since to make some more, and so this Sunday, with an hour and a half to spare, I got going.
I usually get in a terrible mess if I don't plan ahead, so I started by measuring out all the dry and liquid ingredients, and chopping the ginger.
Then I prepared the pineapple by cutting of the hard skin and then cutting out the little eyes. Thankfully, there was an article in the May 2012 BBC Good Food Magazine about how to prepare a pineapple, and this included the tip of cutting the eyes out in a diagonal. Not only does this look pretty, it's SO much easier! Thank you BBC Good Food!
Finally I sliced and cored the pineapple and chopped the flesh into small chunks. This was followed by chopping up three onions (meant to be three red, but one of the red onions was mushy inside, so I used a white one instead).
Preparation is the hardest bit; the rest is super easy and anyone could do it. To make the chutney, you firstly fry the onion and the spices in some sunflower oil for about five minutes. Then throw in the rest of the ingredients and leave to simmer for an hour.
Whist this was happening, I sterilised three jars from my (frankly too large) collection of empty jam and chutney jars I hoard for jam and chutney making. I did this by washing in hot soapy water, then popping in the oven on Gas 1/4 for the last half hour of cooking. Then when the chutney's cooking time is up, I spooned the hot chutney into the hot jars and left to cool before popping the lids on.
I cannot tell you just how yummy this chutney is. It works fabulously with ham as I said at the beginning of this post, and I reckon it'd be equally gorgeous with some sharp cheese like Wensleydale or mature Cheddar on some crackers. I can't wait to eat it...