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Kitchen Queries

Welcome to Kitchen Queries, where the nigella.com team will answer your cooking or food related questions.  We’d love you to submit some of your recipe problems, dilemmas or queries for us to get our teeth into!

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  • Fig And Olive Chutney

    I live in Australia and sometimes there are certain ingredients that are simply not available. One of them is dry packed black olives - what can be substituted for these in this recipe please?

    From the nigella team:

    The dry packed olives used by Nigella in the Fig And Olive Chutney (in Nigellissima) come in small plastic pouches in the UK but in other areas they may come packed in jars. Also in some countries the olives may be labelled as "oil cured olives" or "salt cured olives". These olives tend to be slightly wrinkled and much more salty and intense in flavour than the brine or water packed type.

    We understand that there is an on-line company in Australia called Olives Direct and they sell salt cured Kalamata olives. If you are still having difficulty then you could use the pitted black olives stored in brine or water but you need to make sure that you dry them as much as possible on kitchen roll (paper towels) before using them. The Fig And Olive Chutney should have a pleasing balance of sweet and salty, so once you have cooked the chutney you may like to take a half teaspoonful and let it cool slightly, then taste it carefully to see if you need to add a little salt. Remember also that the chutney will taste more salty when it is warm and less salty when it is chilled. If you want to add salt then do so in pinches, tasting between each addition.

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