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Well it’s about a week from the big day, and I hope you’re better prepared than I am for Christmas. Fortunately, for me, this is one time of the year that Helen takes over in the kitchen. So far, she’s made mincemeat tarts, almond fingers and pizzelles for the holidays. These are all part of the Christmas tradition at our house, along with roast turkey & dressing and homemade cranberry chutney. Pizzelles, by the way, are those flat Italian wafer-like cookies that you make with a pizzelle baker, a machine akin to a waffle maker. They go really well with a glass of red wine.

If you’re making turkey dressing, this year, let me suggest you try fresh sage as your flavouring. Helen used it in the stuffing of our Thanksgiving turkey, and it was excellent. We’ll use it again for Christmas.

Here’s the recipe Helen uses to make her own cranberry sauce. This recipe makes five cups, which works well at our house. If you won’t be feeding a large number of people over the holidays, you may want to cut the recipe in half. Now, let’s get cooking!

Cranberry Chutney

2 cups water

2 cups fresh orange juice

3 ounces Port wine

3 cups sugar

4 cups cranberries

1 cup seedless raisins

grated rind from 2 oranges

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp grated nutmeg

1/2 tsp ground allspice

1/4 tsp ground ginger

1/4 tsp crushed black pepper

In a medium saucepan, combine water, orange juice, Port and sugar and bring to a boil. Add three cups of the cranberries, 1/2 cup of raisins and the grated orange rind; simmer, stirring, on medium heat until fibres in fruit have broken down and sauce thickens, about 15-20 minutes. Stir frequently to avoid scorching on bottom of pan.

Fold in remaining cranberries and raisins. Add spices a little at a time, tasting as you go, until you reach desired seasoning. The chutney should have the consistency of apple sauce; add water if too thick. Remove from heat.

You can make this recipe a few days in advance, spoon the hot chutney into sterilized Mason jars, cool to room temperature and refrigerate for use within 10 days.

Now, here’s a special Christmas recipe for you. It works very well at our house. I hope it works for you. Merry Christmas.

Christmas Recipe

Take one home full of love,

Many hearts full of joy,

A house full of children,

Ten boxes of decorations,

And yards of red ribbon.

Stir all into a frenzy,

And serve at Christmastime!

Now, let’s get cooking!

tombutkovich@cogeco.ca

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