Donal Skehan

Apple & Ginger Chutney

IMAGE Apple & Ginger Chutney
Apple and Ginger are a match made in heaven and go wonderfully together in this chutney. Transfer the chutney into jars, label them and they make wonderful homemade gifts.  The chutney is great with leftover Christmas ham.

Makes approx 4 jars of chutney
1kg of cooking apples, peeled, cored and chopped
40g of fresh ginger, peeled and minced
3 medium onions, peeled and finely chopped
350g dark brown sugar
250ml of cider vinegar
250g raisins

Place all the ingredients into a large stainless steel pot, cook at a steady simmer over a medium high heat for about 45 minutes, stirring every now and then so it doesn’t catch on the bottom of the pot. Transfer the chutney into sterilised jars and seal while still hot. Stored like this in a cold dark place, they should last for at least one year.

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Irish Atlantic Sea Salt Caramels

IMAGE Salted Caramel
Homemade caramels are the ideal edible gift at Christmas time. These ones have a sprinkle of Irish Atlantic Sea Salt which balances and intensifies the caramel flavour. They set to a soft chewy consistency making them fairly irresistible.

Makes 30 caramels
175ml double cream
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
60g butter
2 teaspoons of Irish Atlantic Sea Salt
250g granulated sugar
160g golden syrup

Grease a baking tin (22cm x 15cm) with a little butter and line with parchment paper. Place the cream, vanilla extract and half the butter in a small sauce pan over a medium high heat. Bring to a steady boil and then remove from the heat and set aside. In a medium-sized sauce pan, heat the sugar and golden syrup over a medium high heat. Mix together with a wooden spoon until the sugar is completely dissolved. Continue to cook until the mixture reaches 155°C on a sugar thermometer. Remove the pan from the heat and stir through the cream mixture. Place the pan back on the heat and continue to cook until the mixture reaches 127°C. Stir through the remaining butter until completely incorporated. Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking tin and sprinkle evenly all over the top with sea salt. Allow to cool completely before slicing into individual caramels with a knife dipped in boiling water (this allows it to slice without sticking). Wrap each one with parchment paper and they will keep in an airtight container for up to one month.

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Edible Christmas Gift Basket!

Baking and Christmas always went hand in hand when I was growing up and I used to love spending the weekends before the big day baking cookies and sweet treats!  They always made great little presents for anyone who called to the house.  There are a few recipes which I make every year without fail and they make great edible gifts.  Cookies, Jam, Paté, Muffins, Truffles and Biscotti all keep well and are perfect to package up as pressies.  You channel your inner Blue Peter and make up tags, ribbons, and personalised stickers to make your gifts look really unique.

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