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Pickles, ketchup and chutney: David Atherton’s recipes for Christmas gift jars


Pickled roast beets (pictured above)

We all have our own traditional dishes at Christmas, but each one can have a new dimension with condiments. These pickled roast beets go amazingly with roast potatoes and turkey; chopped up finely, they can also be added to braised cabbage; and they’ll make your cheese board sing on Boxing Day (or any other day).

Prep 15 min
Cook 1 hr 40 min
Makes 4 x 200ml jars

800g small beetroot, unpeeled
190ml red-wine vinegar
40ml balsamic vinegar
125ml water
125g soft brown sugar
1 tsp peppercorns
¼ tsp ground allspice
½ tsp whole cloves
3g salt

Heat the oven to 200C (180C fan)/390F/gas 6. Roast the beetroot on a baking tray for an hour and 20 minutes, until the skins are blistered. Once cooled, peel (the skins should easily slough off) and cut into ½cm batons.

Put all the other ingredients in a small saucepan, bring to a boil and simmer for three minutes.

Put the beetroot batons in sterilised jars, then pour over the pickling liquor and seal. The beets will keep for three months in a cupboard and, once opened, four weeks in the fridge.

Carrot and parsnip chutney

David Atherton’s carrot and parsnip chutney
David Atherton’s carrot and parsnip chutney

My sister-in-law created the base of this chutney when attempting to recreate one in an iconic Wensleydale sandwich. It’s so simple and versatile; the addition of nigella seeds would make it perfect for curries, while lime zest and chilli would give your nachos another layer of flavour. Here, the carrot is matched with parsnip, barberries and star anise to give a fragrant, festive twist. This chutney is more candied than sticky, so don’t worry if it seems dry in texture.

Prep 15 min
Cook 1 hr
Makes 4 x 200ml jars

250g carrots, peeled and coarsely grated
150g parsnip, peeled and finely grated
1 small onion, peeled and finely chopped
2 garlic cloves
, peeled and minced
50g barberries
200ml cider vinegar
250ml water
150g caster sugar
2 star anise
3 bay leaves
1 tsp crushed black peppercorns
3g salt

Put everything in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Immediately turn down the heat and simmer gently, uncovered, for 50-60 minutes, until thickened – you’ll need to stir periodically to stop it sticking.

Transfer to sterilised jars (any excess liquid will thicken while cooling), then seal. Keep for three months in a cupboard and, once opened, for four weeks in the fridge.

Christmas ketchup

David Atherton’s Christmas ketchup: great with leftovers from the Christmas roast.
David Atherton’s Christmas ketchup: great with leftovers from the Christmas roast.

There is almost nothing I won’t dip into ketchup, and there is nothing better than a rich, spicy homemade one. This is a perfect gift, not only because it goes so well slathered on Christmas dinner leftovers, but because the winter months call out for chips, fritters and patties, and they will not be the same without this ketchup. Once opened, keep in the fridge and use within a month.

Prep 10 min
Cook 1 hr 15 min
Makes 4 x 200ml jars

2 medium onions, peeled
100g celery
3 glugs
vegetable oil
¼ tsp
ground allspice
¼ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp ground cumin
½ tsp ground coriander
Red chilli
, chopped – you decide how much depending on how hot you want to go
2 x 400g tins good-quality chopped tomatoes
3 garlic cloves
, peeled and minced
2 tsp salt
100ml cider vinegar
70g soft brown sugar
30ml maple syrup

Finely chop the onions and celery, put in a medium saucepan with the oil and fry gently, stirring, for about 10 minutes, until soft and golden.

Add the spices, fry for another minute, then stir in all the other ingredients and bring to a boil. Simmer uncovered, giving it a good stir every 10 minutes, for an hour, until the sauce thickens and reduces.

Blend until really, really smooth, then pass twice through a fine sieve into a jug. Pour into sterilised jars, seal and store.

Festive marinated feta

David Atherton’s marinated feta
David Atherton’s marinated feta

Feta (or Bulgarian serene, which is similar, but usually creamier) is a tangy, crumbly, salty cheese that marries well with an earthy, sweet, fragrant marinade. It can take big aromatics, so experiment with your favourite flavours. Each jar will keep unopened for two months, but in my experience it rarely lasts that long. Once opened, keep in the fridge and use within three weeks. And once you’ve eaten the cheese, keep the oil and use it for frying eggs or in dressings.

Prep 20 min
Makes 4 x 200ml jars

½ orange
400g feta-type cheese
3 garlic cloves

1 small bunch thyme
30g dried cranberries
500ml olive oil

Cut the orange into thin slicesPat dry the feta using a clean tea towel, then cut it into 1cm cubes. Peel and finely slice the garlic cloves, then rub the thyme between your hands to bruise the leaves.

In sterilised jars, layer the cheese, orange, garlic, thyme and cranberries, then pour over the oil to cover (top up with more oil if needed), seal and store.



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