Chutneys: Balsamic onion and mango

I’m quite a thoughtful person *blows own trumpet* and buying gifts for friends and family is one of the main reasons why I love Christmas. But the downside to the festive season is shopping – I detest shopping.

Doddlers, personal space invaders and people who stop right in your walk way to pause for thought – just a few of the reasons why I hate shopping, and at Christmas these pet peeves seem to be multiplied.

In the past, my deep hatred of shopping has seen me leaving buying gifts to the last minute and scrambling all over the place. Stress is high and prices are ignored as I rush through online purchases – ending up spending a fortune on not just gifts but next day delivery too. Not this year!

For the first time ever, I will be sitting back on the run up to Christmas, mulled wine in hand and basking in no shopping heaven. This year, all my Christmas shopping was done with a month to spare and it was all down to planning in advance (snore), resulting in the most stress-free and cost effective Christmas ever.

With just under a week to go, the online delivery window is just about closed and stock levels are limited, leaving very few options for last minute shoppers. What’s going to save your ass this Christmas? One word ‘Chutneys’.

This year I’ve made mango chutney, caramelised onion chutney and oatcakes to give to as mini hampers to friends and family.

 Chutneys are a great emergency gift to give, they take no longer than two hours to make, creates numerous presents with one recipe and working in to even my tight budget.

 A straight forward creation, you just need chuck all your ingredients into a pan and wait for them to turn into caramelised goodness. Little word of advice – open all windows and have your extractor fan on full blast, intoxicating vinegar will fill your kitchen.

Pinterest is crammed with chutney recipes, play it safe or go off the wall, there are hundreds of ideas to choose from. Hobby Craft have you sorted for low cost jars and cellophane to package your items nicely. And finally, get yourself to Aldi for some budget ingredients.

 Aldi, Hobby Craft and Pinterest have been my savour this year, helping me put together six mini hampers for just under £15, when in the past I have spent more than triple that. This has been ideal for me saving money.

So you have 4 days, you’ve been given the heads up, you know where get ideas and you know where to get supplies. Clocks ticking, get making some chutneys.

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