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Last night I made the Cranberry and Port sauce for Christmas. It smelt divine. It makes me want to decorate the tree and finish wrapping my parcels. Unfortunately I’m still some way off being able to do that, not least as the Other Half objects as it’s not close enough to Christmas yet to put the tree up. I haven’t told him that the sprouts I was peeling the other night are in the bottom drawer of the freezer – ready for Christmas Day. After all, what if there is a seasonal sprout shortage? Mind you, he doesn’t like sprouts. It would probably make his day. I’d be gutted, hence the cunning plan to outfox other shoppers by cornering the Yorkshire market in sprouts prior to the annual seasonal shortage. 

I digress.  If you want your house to smell like Christmas, try this easy recipe for seasonal tastebud happiness.  You’ll never want to buy a jar again – this is a million miles off the overprocessed and heavily sweetened goo for sale in the shops.

250g fresh cranberries

50ml port

Zest of one satsuma or half an orange, depending on what’s in the fruitbowl at the time.

Pulp and juice of one satsuma or half an orange

A spoonful of sugar to taste (start with one teaspoon, add more as required)

Rinse the cranberries, discarding any berries which are discoloured, and place in a pan. Pour over the port, add in the zest, pulp and juice, sprinkle over a spoonful of sugar and pop on a low heat with a lid to trap the steam.

Bring to a gentle simmer, stirring occasionally, until all the cranberries are split and softened. They will do this at different rates, so make sure they are all split before turning the heat off.  The longer you cook it, the thicker it will become.

Taste and if too tart, add more sugar. If you feel it is too thick – add more port!

Pot in a warm sterilised jar and store in the fridge until needed. If you can’t wait until Christmas day, try it with brie and bacon sandwiches, with ham or cold meats, alongside your Sunday roast, with goats’ cheese or to pep up a pork pie.