I am already thinking ahead to after Christmas, and days of eating left over cold meats. To make it into something to look forward to rather than dread, I have made something to perk it up. Some sticky and sweet onion marmalade to go with the turkey on boxing day will liven it up a bit!
The key to this is the long cooking of the onions. This gives them that great caramalised colour and taste. It also removes a lot of the water in them, which helps to make the finished marmalade nice and thick. This other addition which makes this great is the use of balsamic vinegar, which helps to sweeten the onions.
Red Onion Marmalade
2kg red onions, peeled and sliced
8 tbsp olive oil
200g brown sugar
150ml red wine vinegar
150ml balsamic vinegar
Salt and black pepper
Heat the oil in a pan and add the onions. Cover the pan and turn the heat down. Cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Remove the lid and stir in the sugar. Increase to a medium heat, and cook for about another 30 minutes, stirring more often to prevent it from catching. The onions should now be browned and greatly reduced in volume.
Add both the vinegars, and stand for a few minutes, as there will be some steam coming off the onions. Cook for about 10 more minutes until the marmalade is a nice treacly consistancy.
Seal in sterilised jars.
This marmalade is great with cold meats, but equally at home with your favourite cheeses.
If you are anything like me, then you are putting off thinking about Christmas for as long as possible. I have been trying to do this, but I had already written my Christmas menus months ago, and my little sis informs me that I am booked to go on a train ride in a fairy grotto with my niece. (And no, there will NOT be pictures). With the news of that, I thought I could not put it off any longer, and had better get some mincemeat made.
It is best to get it prepared about one month before you want to get your mince pies made, as it gives the flavours time to develop and it is one last thing to worry about during that crazy Christmas month. Mincemeat is a very easy to adapt recipe, leaving out the thing you don’t like and adding those you do, or just substituting the spirit for your preferred tipple. This year, I wanted mine to have some crunch to it, so I thought I would add a selection of nuts – what could be more festive than chestnuts?
100g mixed peel
100g chopped dried dates
100g chopped dried figs
300g bramley apples peeled and grated
150g soft brown sugar
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
200g chopped nuts
150g stem ginger chopped
If using chestnuts, cut a cross into the top of each to make peeling easier later, then load into your trusty Victorian brass chestnut roaster. Place onto an open fire to roast. If for some reason you consider this to be a bit of a faff, vacuum packed chestnuts are available, or a substituted nut of your choice.
Place all the ingredients in a very large bowl and get your hands in to give a good mix. Cover and leave overnight. The next day pack into sterilized jars and leave to mature.