Last year we made cranberry sauce for the first time and it was one of the real highlights of Christmas dinner: flavoursome, light and far nicer than the bought version. It also was surprisingly easy to make: one minute you have a saucepanful of firm, precise little cranberries and the next you have this wonderful vividly red jam. I adapted one of Nigella Lawson’s recipes for this, because as Trish Deseine tweeted last week, ‘Christmas was invented for Nigella wasn’t it?’.
Makes one large jar
340g fresh cranberries, rinsed.
200g caster sugar
1 tbsp brandy
4tbsp freshly squeezed orange juice
Some orange zest
– Boil all of the ingredients together for about 15 minutes. Add a little more orange juice, sugar or brandy until you reach your desired tart/sweet ratio. Mash up any particularly firm berries with a fork. If it seems too sweet add a little lemon juice. Take the cranberry sauce off the heat before it sets completely: it will set further as it cools due to the high pectin levels in the cranberries.