Monday, 25 November 2013

Spiced Apple Chutney

I think perhaps I forgot I had a blog, or at least I haven’t really had time to have one recently. I've been cooking easy 'go to' recipes like kedgeree or meatballs or things on toast, that I have told you about before. New things I have cooked have either been bad; apple, pancetta and sage risotto, don't go there... Or delicious, but I didn’t take any photos; celeriac and truffle dauphinoise and braised venison in red wine with orange and juniper, my god that was good. I also suffer at this time of year with the dark evenings; I just have a little automatic camera which has seen me very well for the past few years taking some beautiful pictures, but at this time of year in the low light everything just looks blurred and orange. I might just take the plunge and get the fancy pants camera I've had book marked for the past 6 months, or perhaps I should buy some Christmas presents...

I always make some Christmas presents, a few years ago I went to extreme lengths with potted duck, white chocolate and cranberry biscuits, chocolate truffles, chutneys, pickled grapes, florentines, the whole lot... I think a few jars of chutney and some chocolates might be my limit this Christmas, it's been a busy year! This Spiced Apple Chutney, which I have made a few times before, is perfect if you're thinking of making foodie presents for Christmas this year this is a winner. I've made it before in little jars with tiny parcel tags and it went down pretty well I think. Delicious with cheese, or lush Christmas ham with that sugary mustard crust, in sandwiches, with cold meats or potted game, any excuse really...

This isn't a recipe that has to be followed exactly to the letter, how sweet it is will depend on your apples, some recipes add cinnamon or nutmeg too, paprika, allspice or malt vinegar, you can play around with it, the following recipe is what I've settled on as one of my favourites...

Peel and dice 900g of cooking apples, I've used a mix of cooking and eating before too. Then combine 550g of caster sugar, 200g of brown sugar and 900ml of cider vinegar. Heat the mixture through to dissolve the sugar and add a tablespoon of ground ginger, 2 tablespoons of mustard seeds, a large pinch of salt followed by two large diced onions, 2 cloves of garlic crushed and chopped and 250g of raisins. Finally add all of the diced apples and stir it well. Then simmer for about an hour, it is difficult to say exactly as it depends on the amount of water in your apples. I have cooked it for 45 minutes before, and also 2 hours... You want it to turn quite dark and to begin to take on the consistency of warm thick jam. Then pot into warm sterile jars.

Finally leave it to sit, for it to do its stuff. Be patient, I'd say 3 weeks minimum, in a cool dark place, some people say 6 weeks. I've never managed to wait that long but it's perfect timing for Christmas presents... It is my favourite chutney I think, sweet, thick tangy and spiced, SO good with some ham, bread and butter or a piece of cheese. I was so disappointed when my last batch ran out, I'm hoping the next one will be just as good!! It keeps for ages, recipes say to eat chutneys within a month, but generally they last a lot longer, if you can manage to not eat them for some odd reason...

Monday, 4 November 2013

Christmas Supperclubs at Lindisfarne Castle

The National Trust and The Grazer Present unique Christmas dining experiences at Lindisfarne Castle 


For bookings please phone Lindisfarne Castle on 01289 389244

Earlier in the summer, some lucky folk were able to enjoy some new and unique dining experiences courtesy of a unique collaboration between myself and the National Trust. A sell-out series of unique Supperclub events were hosted at two of the region’s premier National Trust sites, Lindisfarne Castle and the Farne Islands.

After the huge success of those ventures, we are now organising three special Christmas supperclubs at Lindisfarne Castle. Our summer supper clubs at both the Castle and on the Farne Islands were a huge success. They sold out very quickly and were such unique special occasions to be part of, we have had some amazing feedback. It’s a such a special way to enjoy great food in amazing locations.

The Christmas Supperclub experience will include the luxury of Lindisfarne Castle to yourselves for the evening, with welcome drinks and canap├ęs, a tour of the castle, peeking behind the scenes of this beautiful historical building, taking in the night skies of Northumberland with hot toddies, then sitting down  to dine in the Castle's amazing Ship Room.

The specially curated four course sharing menu, with matching wines, is both seasonal and local; incorporating Northumberland game terrines, local gravadlax, braised Venison with red wine, orange and juniper, Truffle and Celeriac Dauphinoise and Smorgasbords of puddings.

There will be three events with a limited number of 20 places available at each:  

Saturday December 14th Lindisfarne Castle 6pm - SOLD OUT

Sunday December 15th Lindisfarne Castle 6pm - SOLD OUT

Monday December 16th Lindisfarne Castle 6pm - 5 PLACES AVAILABLE

Tickets for these bespoke dining events are £99 per person and can be booked by phoning Lindisfarne Castle on 01289 389244. Early booking is strongly advisable as spaces are limited. Prices include unique private access to the Lindisfarne Castle, a tour of the castle, food introductions from The Grazer, welcome aperitifs, four courses of fine food, wines to match, digestifs and coffee.

Any questions please email