Thursday, 17 November 2011

Let's Make Christmas

"Christmas is coming, the goose is getting fat..."  Well, the goose may be getting fat but although we have had a goose for a number of years now, we have decided to have a turkey this year!  I really should get the Christmas cake made so it has plenty of time for weekly doses of alcohol.  However that it still on the 'To Do List', along with rather a lot of other things but I have started making Christmassy things.

As many of you know I enjoy all kinds of making things, cookery and craft.  I think the value of homemade became engrained in me as a child growing up in a family where making was a part of everyday life.  Fruit and vegetables were jammed, pickled, salted or, once we had a freezer, frozen.  I loved helping to make the sweet treats for Christmas especially as some such as Rum Truffles,  Date Balls and Marzipan Dates were only ever made at Christmas.  As I got slightly older I wanted to increase my repertoire and went on a few one day sweet making courses that were run by a friend of my grandmother.  Now I don't need much encouragement to start making and over the years there has always been at least some homemade gifts.  When I read Vanessa's Let's Make Christmas post I quite agreed with her comments and know that homemade presents are always appreciated.  Vanessa has organised a wonderful Christmas event, a great exchange of ideas and I am really looking forward to meeting fellow bloggers. 

I am hoping to take three homemade gifts along and the first must be Mulled Wine Jelly.  Made from the lovely crop of grapes in the garden,  despite the disaster of the jelly bag!

This is roughly based on a recipe for 'Grape Burgundy Jelly' from Harrods Book of Jams, Jellies and Chutneys.  A book that I have had a very long time.  It was published in 1986 and it was probably about then that I bought it and have used it a lot over the years.  Their recipe says, "The delicate flavour of grapes makes a lovely jelly, and the touch of red wine gives this luxury recipe a certain quality, as well as a beautiful magenta colour.  It is delicious on fresh bread or toast, and is also an interesting accompaniment to hot roast meats."  I have to add that it goes well with cold meats too, and we also add a spoonful to gravies, it is great with Pot Roast Chicken and all sorts of things.  Only tonight my younger son used a spoonful in the Mexican Pork Chilli he was making.

Mulled Wine Jelly

700g   ripe black grapes
300 ml   water
2 tablespoons lemon juice
150 ml   red wine
225 ml  pectin (if needed)

Remove the grapes from the stalks, and crush them ( I use a potato masher). 

Put the grapes and water into a preserving pan.  Cover and simmer for 20 minutes.  Cool slightly and then strain through a jelly bag overnight.

Measure the juice into the cleaned preserving pan and to every 600 ml of juice add 350g sugar.  Stir in the lemon juice and wine.

Stir over a gentle heat until the sugar has dissolved and then bring to the boil and simmer for 15 minutes.  If using pectin remove from the heat and stir it in, skim if necessary and pour into warmed jars and cover.  As my grapes are fresh picked I find I do not need the pectin so test for a set on a cold plate and then pour into the jars and cover.


  1. Great idea and I LOVE the photo! Son 1 and Ben made plum and grape jelly this September - it'll be good to give away presents made by the boys as well as the adults again.

  2. Now that will be an idea I must remember for next year. Plum and grape sounds a good combination and there was a lot of grapes this year!

  3. I am trying to make most of my presents too - but I am not sure if I am going to manage - time creeps on apace!

    Pomona x