A Taste of Christmas: Spiced Red Cabbage

Yes, I did it: I mentioned the C-word. There is no running away from it now. Spiced red cabbage is one of those things bringing with them the warm, fuzzy images of candlelight, the smell of tinsel and winter nights in front of a fire.

Low in calories and able to accompany both sweet and hearty – but always rich – dishes, it is the perfect alternative to a roast for all you sprout-haters.


  • 2 small onions
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil (lacking a CMPA-child, try 30-40g butter: it gives it a richer taste)
  • 1 red cabbage
  • 750ml water
  • 5 cloves
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 red apples
  • 2 tbsp dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon

Chop the onions and briefly fry in a large, oiled pot on a medium flame. Shred the cabbage and add to the onions, frying it off for 2-3min and stirring it all the while. Then add the water, cloves, salt and pepper and cover with a lid. When the water has reached boiling point, reduce the heat to a simmer.

De-core and chop the apples, and add to the cabbage. Stir in the sugar and cinnamon and leave to simmer for at least 45min – check on water levels every 10-15min or so. Gradually, the (admittedly rank initial) smell will change to a sweet aroma. You’ll know that your cabbage is done if the leaves are soft, but still have some bite in them, and the apples have changed colour.

Leave to stand outside in the cold (thoroughly covered) or in the fridge overnight, then re-heat when you need it. Perfect with roast pork or duck, but will also work well with other rich roasts.

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