The thing I love about Swiss supermarkets, is that they’re seasonal. Yes, it can be frustrating if you get a sudden craving in November for grilled asparagus. Frankly, unless you’re willing to scour the city or fork out at Fortnum & Mason’s, then you’re going to be out of luck. But, when the asparagus season rolls around and the shops are bountiful, it’s glorious: a true celebration.
Yet, year after year, I chastise myself for not having made a calendar depicting fruit and veg seasonality. Instead, I store ‘want to make’ recipes in my head and play Russian roulette with the stores. Invariably, the house always wins.
One such recipe that was often buzzing on the periphery of my mind was Fig Chutney. For three years, I had lost out, somehow the fig had passed me by, evaded me. That all changed this year.
David and I were doing a quick Saturday evening shop. The store was closing, a firm announcement had been made over the tannoy and the staff had been facing up the shelves for the last hour, desperately winding down the time until they could skip off home. I ran to get some milk. And that’s when I saw them. Sitting lazily in a tray, nestled in their individual paper skirts: Figs! Oh, the elation!
Then, panic. The store was closing, and bearing in mind that the shops don’t open on Sunday, this could literally be now or never (or at the very least, now or this time next year).
“David!” I shouted, whilst frantically opening Pinterest and finding the recipe ingredients. “Get the figs! GET THE FIGS!” I zoomed around the store, upsetting pristine shelves, ignoring surly looks. But I got my figs.
The moral of this story? Seize the day… Or, for cripes sake Gen, just make a bloody seasonal calendar!
RECIPE: Fig, Apple & Ginger Chutney
SOURCE: Kate Ford’s The Veg Space
FLAVOUR PROFILE: Sweet. Rich with warmth and spice.
GOES GREAT WITH: Serious cheeses – the more mature, the better.
NOTES: When you are chopping the fruit and veg, think about how you would like the final consistency to be. I wanted my chutney to be quite spreadable and jammy, so I chopped everything really fine. If you want a chunky texture, be a little more ‘rustic’ with your chopping. There’s no ‘right’ way to do this. At the end of the day, it’s all down to personal preference.
MAKES: 2 x 300ml jars
- 2 tbsp. OIL (I used Sunflower as it was all I had on hand, but the original post suggests Vegetable or Rapeseed.)
- 1 RED ONION, peeled and finely diced
- 6 FRESH FIGS, chopped
- 200g DRIED FIGS, chopped
- 1 COX APPLE, chopped
- 1 inch piece FRESH GINGER, peeled and finely chopped
- 1/2 tsp SALT
- 1/2 tsp MIXED SPICE
- 1/2 tsp GROUND CLOVES
- 1/2 tsp GROUND CORIANDER
- 1/4 tsp CAYENNE PEPPER
- 9Oml MALT VINEGAR
- 90ml CIDER VINEGAR
- 150g BROWN SUGAR
- Heat OIL in a large saucepan. Add ONION and cook on a gentle heat for 15-20 minutes. There’s no rush here. You want them to be lovely and golden and sticky. Just keep half an eye on them that they don’t catch. In the meantime, you can be peeling and chopping the other ingredients.
- Add the FRESH FIGS, DRIED FIGS, APPLE and GINGER to the pan, along with the SALT, MIXED SPICE, CLOVES, CORIANDER and CAYENNE. Pour in the MALT VINEGAR and CIDER VINEGAR and give it all a good stir.
- Leave to simmer for 30 minutes, again, making sure that it doesn’t catch on the bottom of the pan.
- Now add the SUGAR, stirring it through the mixture. Bring to the boil, then reduce heat and let it simmer gently for at least 15 minutes until you get the desired consistency, stirring occasionally. I wanted mine really thick and jammy, so I let it simmer away for 30 minutes.
- Take off the heat and let it cool for a couple of minutes, then spoon into sterilised jars. Store in a cool dark place until Christmas, or if you can’t wait until then, sneak a jar out after 4 weeks.