Saturday, 29 January 2011

Date, Apricot and Orange Chutney

Whilst visiting family over Christmas, there was of course a ridiculous amount of food to make sure we left their shores a few pounds heavier. We definitely made the most of it and did a very good job of over indulging on all the things we can't get over here. (mmm, cadbury's chocolate, wensleydale and what would Christmas be without a mince pie - or 10?) I tell a lie. Some things they do import but unfortunately there's always a hefty price tag around it's neck. I actually saw a small jar of chutney in a department store for 8.95 euros!

So when I was rifling through my Mam's food stash and came across some homemade chutney I decided to build my lunch around it. The orange provided a great balance to the sweet apricots and dates and oh my it was good. We tried to control ourselves but, a little naughtily, we managed to finish it off in a couple of sittings. It was the perfect accompaniment to a nice bit of blue cheese and some melba toast. Mmm. Well she did say that it was there to be eaten so I did what I was told. Maybe she would've liked some too though? Oops.

So the cogs started turning and I thought yes, why don't you make your own. And hey, if it's good then I could make a small fortune selling it. So, after finding out that it was my Aunty who had made it for a Christmas gift I swiftly got hold of the recipe and this weekend I gave it a go. 

It was so simple. The only thing that took any of my time was de-pitting the dates and chopping the onions. The recipe actually calls for soft dates and I was told by my Aunt that she used Medjool dates but for love nor money I couldn't find them anywhere in the land of the windmills. I ended up substituting these for dried dates and just chopped them really small to help them along a bit as I wasn't sure how well they'd break down. 

Itstill seemed to work well but of course the day after I'd made the chutney I walked into the supermarket and there were the fresh dates right in front of my face. Typical! They must've moved them, it can't have been me looking in the wrong place. Definitely not. So I think I'll give it another go with the fresh ones but if you can't find them either I'd say you could still get away with the dried ones.


Courtesy of my Aunt Theresa.

Makes enough to fill approximately two 500ml jars.

As I was told, this chutney is super easy to make. After a bit of chopping all you have to do is bung it in a pan  and stir occasionally until, well until it looks like chutney really. Enjoy!

500g soft dates (medjool)
400g soft ready to eat dried apricots
2 large finely chopped onions
25g fresh ginger, finely grated
1 large onion
500ml cider vinegar
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp ground coriander
400g soft brown sugar
1 tbsp sea salt


Chop the dates and the apricots into small pieces and put them into a large pan with the finely chopped onions, the fresh root ginger, the grated zest and juice of the orange and the cider vinegar. Also add the cayenne pepper, ground coriander, soft brown sugar and the salt. Bring everything slowly to the boil then simmer uncovered stirring occasionally for about 1 hour.When the chutney is ready, you should be able to make a slight hollow in the top of the mixture and it will not fill up with excess liquid. Pile the chutney into warm sterilized jars and store in a cool place before eating.


If you've got a dishwasher then just put your jars through a hot wash and that will be sufficient to sterilize them. If like me you have a dishwasher but because your kitchen is so small you have to use it as storage or don't have a dishwasher at all then just do what I did. Wash the jars in hot soapy water and rinse well. Just before you want to fill the jars, pop them in a preheated oven at about 150 degrees for about 10 minutes.

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