It is December so I am now officially allowed to talk about one of my favourite times of the year… Christmas! One of the many things I love about Christmas is the range of flavours and aromas of all the beautiful food. Cinnamon, gingerbread, orange, cloves, cranberry, nutmeg, spices… the list goes on.
Boddington’s Berries is a wonderful company who produce delicious high fruit conserves and savoury chutneys from their farm base in Cornwall. They have recently launched 2 new products for the festive period, Christmas Conserve and Christmas Chutney, and they very kindly sent me some to use in recipes.
The Christmas Chutney is packed in a glass jar with a lovely Christmassy label. It put me in a festive mood as soon as I saw it! The label says
“Our tangy Christmas Chutney warms the soul. Made with cranberries, chilli, orange and spices that work together to ensure this chutney packs a punch. Best served with festive meats and cheeses.”
I tried a bit on a piece of extra mature Cheddar and it was wonderful. If you have a cheese board at Christmas, you definitely need to try this chutney! In fact, whatever you are having at Christmas, you need to try this chutney!!!
On Christmas Day in my house I only prepare 2 meals. My son is usually very excited to get on with opening presents when he wakes up, so we have a hot breakfast late. So late that we could call it brunch. Christmas dinner is ready for around 4pm. That means we don’t have a Christmas tea of turkey sandwiches, cold meats etc like many people do. We have that type of meal on Boxing Day instead. One of the things I love to make for that buffet-style feast is a sausage meat plait. It is so easy yet so satisfying. Like a giant sausage roll but prettier. When I say it is easy, that’s because I use ready-made puff pastry. You can of course make your own from scratch, but when I’ve heard enough top chefs and bakers say they often use ready made, then that’s good enough for me! Obviously though this only applies to puff pastry. I make other types from scratch.
I decided to make a trial one with a thin layer of Christmas Chutney inside. The speed at which it disappeared after we had tried a bit tells me that I’ll definitely be making this version again for Boxing day! The red onion, chilli and cranberries go so well with the sausage meat. You can add chopped fresh herbs to the sausage meat if you want but to be honest, you really don’t need to add anything with the amount of flavour that the chutney gives.
Make sure you take your pastry out of the fridge 10 minutes before you plan to start the recipe, as it will crack if you unroll it straight away. Stupidly I forgot to take photos of how to plait the pastry but if you Google it you’ll see plenty of videos and pictures showing you step by step. I’ll explain it as best as I can in the recipe. So here it is:
SAUSAGE MEAT AND CHUTNEY PLAIT
1 sheet ready rolled puff pastry (around 320 g)
3 tablespoons Boddington’s Berries Christmas Chutney
450 g sausage meat
small handful of fresh herbs such as coriander, chopped (optional)
1 beaten egg, to glaze
black onion seeds, to decorate
- Preheat your oven to 200C/180C fan. Line a baking tray with a sheet of baking paper.
- Gently unroll the sheet of puff pastry so that a short end is near you. This just makes it easier to plait.
- Spread the chutney evenly down the middle of the pastry sheet, leaving a gap at the top and bottom.
- Place the sausage meat (mixed with herbs, if using) on top of the chutney. Fold the top and bottom edges over the sausage meat, then brush beaten egg on top of these folded edges.
- Using a sharp knife for neatness, cut the pastry slightly diagonally downwards from the left edge of the filling to the left edge of the pastry. Repeat this all the way down the left side side, leaving about 2 cm between each strip. Repeat on the right hand side of the filling. (Google this stage if it doesn’t make sense).
- Carefully pick up the first strip at the top and fold it across the filling. It should lie nicely over the top folded edge, at a slight angle downwards. Pick up the top strip on the other side and fold that across the filling, again angled slightly downwards.
- Repeat, alternating left and right strips, all the way down to the bottom, so it looks like a plait. The bottom strips should lie across the bottom folded edge, sealing it all together.
- Brush the plait generously with beaten egg, then sprinkle black onion seeds on top.
- Place in the centre of the oven and bake for 40-45 minutes, until golden brown and cooked all the way through.
- Serve hot or cold.
You could of course use other chutneys in this plait, but I would strongly recommend the Christmas Chutney if you want to really get some festive flavours on your table! It truly is delicious.
Boddington’s Berries can often be found at food fayres but the easiest way to buy their beautiful products is through their website.
Their Christmas Chutney can be found HERE so stock up ready for your festive feast!