Charlton Christmas Chutney

As promised here is a second installment to my Christmas themed entries. Today is a recipe of an old classic but with my own personalised packaging, much like my Chocolate Truffle Gift Jars post which were also presented in recycled baby food jars. A perfect little gift of…

Charlton Christmas Chutney

large jar

(Incase you didn’t know already, my surname is Charlton, hence the name of the post).

I will admit that I am a novice chutney maker so I have cheated slightly by getting some inspiration from various books. But then again, I don’t believe you can be completely unique when it comes to this kind of chutney as its so simple and to be Christmassy you have to stick to traditional spicing. I do think I’ve played around enough with flavours to brand the family name!

The recipe fills about 8 x 250ml baby jars or 4 x Ikea’s smallest rubber sealed jars.

Make sure that the jars and lids are thoroughly cleaned in hot soapy water, rinsed and left to dry in a oven of 150c for at least 15 mins. Making sure that they do not touch in the oven. As this is a hot recipe you need your jars to be hot from the oven to stop the glass shattering. So have your jars in the oven 15 mins before you chutney is finished. Also, if you can have a small extra jar for any extra chutney you make as it will be too late to sterilise anything when you begin to transfer things.

**I wasn’t quite sure about putting the rubber bands from the Ikea jars in the oven, so I washed these in soapy water and then left them in a bowl of boiling water for 5 mins**



For the chutney:

  • 800g of cooking apples, peeled, cored and chopped
  • 1 medium red onion, chopped
  • 500g fresh cranberries
  • 250g pitted dates, chopped in three
  • 2 satsumas/clementines
  • 400g caster sugar
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 250ml white wine vinegar
  • 250ml cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp table salt
  • Wax paper for sealing

You can mix you the recipe as much as you want depending on what you have in the house. I made two batches and one had plums in it that I needed to use up, it also didn’t have the cayenne pepper as my father in law is allergic. So make sure to think about that sort of thing when giving any food as a gift!

I didn’t have a large enough pot for this recipe so I split mine into two. So to begin with I combined my apples, onion, cranberries, dates, sugar, spices, vinegar and salt into a bowl and gave it a thorough stir. Take your 2 satsumas and zest them over your bowl. Cut in half, squeeze in the juices and then scrape the pulp in also. Give everything another stir and than transfer into your two large pans, or one if you have it!

Bring to a boil and then turn down to the a very low heat and leave for about a hour, stirring occasionally to check it doesn’t stick to the bottom. It’s done when the fruit is no longer recognisable.


Carefully take your jars out of the oven and fill with your chutney. Seal with a piece of wax paper and leave for 1 minute then seal your lid on too. And thats your chutney done! Happy to sit unopened for 1 year!

Now for my little bit of crafting!

Before anything else, I painted my small jar lids with specialist metal and glass paint in a shimmer teal colour to cover up any old text from the baby food.



I’ve decided to make some personalised labels and Christmas Pom poms to go on my jars to make my gifts look that bit more special than supermarket conserves. You can find printable labels in lots of places online, especiallyPinterest. I’ve done a combination of bought paper and printed labels. There are so many beautiful papers out there at this time of year, with colours that you’d never get with printing. Mine is from Paperchase and has a vivid magenta, violet and gold pattern.

Depending on the size of my lid, I cut a circle of the special paper to cover top of the lid and then a smaller printed circle with my chutney name to stick on top. If you want to keep things simple though, the paper on its own looked great with the teal edge of the lid.

Still looks good with no label

Still looks good with no label

Then for my finishing touch, my teeny tiny pompoms! The easiest cutest thing you will ever make. They can then be reused by the recipient as a Christmas tree decoration. So hopefully a little part of you will be around long after the chutney is gobble up. Aw!

Pom pom supplies

Pom pom supplies

You will need.

  • Some wool that compliments your label.
  • Ribbon that’s contrasts or matches your wool.
  • Small scissors
  • A fork
  • Crimping scissors for you ribbon (optional)

4 steps

Pom pom!

Pom pom!

Take your wool and wrap and over lap it approximately 20 times around the centre of your fork prong. Cut a length of ribbon, long enough to wrap around your small jar or shorter to dangle from you large one. Thread you ribbon through the centre prong of your fork and tie the ribbon as tight as possible into a double knot. Slip the wool off the fork and snip down the tow edges to get your fluffy Pompom.

Enjoy with a cheese platter or as we have been doing in our house, with a teatime cheese toasty! Yum!

Festively fabulous!

all jars


Chocolate Truffle Gift Jars.

When I was budgeting to leave my job and calculating all the expenditures I would have with a new baby, I pretty much had everything covered.  I even managed to budget an allowance for things for myself too.  What I didn’t however take into account was the spending on others.  I’m mostly talking about gifts here.  There are Birthdays, Christmas, Anniversaries, new jobs, new babies, Valentines Day and dinner parties that I can’t bear to turn up empty handed to.  So my next venture is for a homemade luxury present of…

Chocolate Truffle Gift Jars.


This recipe is for 3 different flavours of Mint, Coffee & Cardamom and Plain chocolate.  The chocolates are extremely rich with very subtle flavourings so you need only give 4/5 truffle per gift.  The recipe makes 36 truffles in total though, which can be eaten yourself, given as gifts and frozen for whenever you need them.

And making sure to continue my frugality throughout my blog, I will be reusing baby food containers for the gift jars!



Makes 12 truffles of each flavour

  • 300ml Double Cream
  • 250g Good Quality Dark Chocolate cut into chunks
  • 125g Good quality Milk Chocolate cut into chunks
  • Medium Knob of Unsalted Butter (separated into three)
  • Salt
  • ¼ tsp Peppermint Extract
  • 1tbsp instant Coffee
  • Crushed seeds of 1 cardamom pod
  • 50g Caster Sugar
  • 1 drop blue food colouring
  • 1 drop green food colouring
  • 1 drop of peppermint extract
  • 50g chocolate vermicelli
  • 125g White Chocolate cut into chunks

Place the following ingredients in three separate bowls for each flavour:

  • Coffee
    • 100g dark chocolate
    • Small knob of butter
    • Pinch of salt
    • Finely crushed seeds of 1 cardamom pod
  • Plain
    • 100g dark chocolate
    • Small knob of butter
    • Pinch of salt
  • Mint
    • 50g dark
    • 50 gmilk
    • Pinch of salt
    • ¼ tsp Peppermint Extract

Heat up your cream 100ml at a time (for each flavour)until hot but careful not to boil. For the Plain and Mint truffle, pour directly over your ingredients and leave to sit for a few minutes.  For the coffee add you tbsp of instant coffee to the cream in the pan until dissolved.  Then cover your ingredients and leave to stand for a few minutes also.  After a few minutes the chocolate should have slowly melted, now stir each bowl until fully mixed.  Leave to cool a little then cover with cling film and place in the fridge to set for at least 3hrs.


To Coat the Truffles:

For the mint truffles.  Put the caster sugar into a pan along with 1tsp of water, 1 drop of Peppermint essence and a small drop each of blue and green food colouring.  Let this bubble of a high heat for 4-5 minutes watching so it doesn’t burn.  Get some greaseproof paper ready in a small bowl and pour your hot sugar mixture into this.  Put in the fridge to allow it to cool completely (approx 30mins) *WARNING hot sugar mixture is like molten lava, so be extremely careful when handling it*

Once cooled and set you will have a hard boiled sweet like consistency.  Wrap this up in another layer of greaseproof paper and a clean tea towel.  Then smash up into small crystal dust pieces and place into a separate bowl and then back into the fridge until ready to be used.

When the truffle mixtures have set completely get the following ready for the coatings.

  • 1 large baking tray or plate covered with greaseproof paper
  • 1 bowl filled with Chocolate vermicelli
  • 1 bowl of your green mint crystal dust
  • 1 bowl of melted white chocolate
  • 1 wooden skewer/metal fork

To make you basic truffle ball…

Boil water in a kettle and pour into a mug.  Put a teaspoon into the mug to heat up.  Scoop up the chocolate and roll into your hands to make a wall nut size shape.  Dip your teaspoon back into the hot mug between each stage to keep it warm.  Moulding the chocolates by hand gets really messy as the chocolate melt but its perfect for coating the chocolates.

For your mint truffle mixture, roll each moulded slightly melted ball in the green mint coating.  Then place on the prepared baking tray.  Do the same for your Plain chocolates and Vermicelli.

For your coffee truffle.  Make sure the white chocolate has cooled slightly.  Then skewer (or fork) each moulded ball and dip into the melted chocolate.  Using a separate fork, slowly remove the skewered chocolate and transfer to the baking sheet.

Put you tray with all of the chocolates into the fridge to cool and set again for 20mins.

Once the white chocolate has set, melt the remaining milk chocolate from earlier.

We now want to decorate the white chocolate with milk chocolate strokes.  You can do this by flicking the melted chocolate from a teaspoon over the truffles.  However for more precision you can make a small piping bag and pipe the lines on.  You can find out how to make one from my friend Graces blog HERE (very wonderful cupcake decorator).

Again return the chocolates to the fridge for one final cool and set.

Once set, your truffles are now ready to be devoured!

Enjoy with some coffee

For the gift wrap…

  • Pretty patterned paper
  • Glue
  • Scissors
  • White card
  • White string
  • Clean, peeled and sterilised baby jars (or similar).

These jars are really easy to make.  Soak your leftover baby jars in boiling water for an hour.  This should loosen the paper wrapping so it’s easily peeled off.  Scrub off any details on the jar lids with a metal scourer.  You can then sterilise your jars and lids through sterilising fluid, baking in the oven, putting through a steamer or running through a baby bottle sterilise.

Once dry and sterilised you can decorate.  Cut circles of the paper to fit the lid and stick on with glue.  Make little gift tags with small bits of card with a strip of your matching paper along the bottom.  Then make a hole in the top and thread through your string and tie around your jar.  I also made a truffle key which I printed and stuck to the back of my tags.  The graphic for this is available to print HERE.

Gift Tag with Chocolate Key

Depending what size jar and truffles you made, fill your jars then cover with the lid and keep refrigerated until you give them for a gift or eat yourself. These can be stored for 4 days or one month in the freezer.

Happy Gifting!