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Fig and Olive Chutney

by . Featured in NIGELLISSIMA
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Introduction

I often give homemade chutneys to Italian friends when I visit, as I’m proud of our traditional recipes and know that an English chutney can pair magnificently with an Italian cheese. Italians themselves are not averse to a condiment or two of their own, either. But I love bringing the two strands of our differing cultures together – and this fig and olive chutney is a marriage made in paradiso.

I often give homemade chutneys to Italian friends when I visit, as I’m proud of our traditional recipes and know that an English chutney can pair magnificently with an Italian cheese. Italians themselves are not averse to a condiment or two of their own, either. But I love bringing the two strands of our differing cultures together – and this fig and olive chutney is a marriage made in paradiso.

Fig and Olive Chutney
Photo by Petrina Tinslay

Ingredients

Serves: approx. 750ml in total

Metric Cups
  • 325 grams soft dried figs (snipped in half)
  • 220 grams pitted dry-packed black olives (2 x 110g jars)
  • 100 grams dark brown muscovado sugar
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 pinch of ground cloves
  • 60 millilitres marsala
  • 150 millilitres red wine vinegar
  • 100 millilitres water
  • 12 ounces soft dried figs (snipped in half)
  • 1¼ cups pitted dry-packed black olives (2 x 110g jars)
  • ½ cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 pinch of ground cloves
  • ¼ cup marsala
  • ⅔ cup red wine vinegar
  • 7 tablespoons water

Method

  1. Put all the ingredients into a smallish (approx. 17–18cm / 7 inch diameter), heavy-based saucepan that has a lid, bring to a bubble and when it starts boiling, clamp on the lid, turn down the heat and simmer for 15 minutes.
  2. Remove from the heat, take off the lid and let it stand to cool a little for 5 or so minutes, then tip into a food processor and blitz until finely chopped: this does not take long.
  3. Spoon the chutney into clean, warm jars, then seal with their lids and leave to cool for about 3 hours before transferring to the fridge.
  1. Put all the ingredients into a smallish (approx. 17–18cm / 7 inch diameter), heavy-based saucepan that has a lid, bring to a bubble and when it starts boiling, clamp on the lid, turn down the heat and simmer for 15 minutes.
  2. Remove from the heat, take off the lid and let it stand to cool a little for 5 or so minutes, then tip into a food processor and blitz until finely chopped: this does not take long.
  3. Spoon the chutney into clean, warm jars, then seal with their lids and leave to cool for about 3 hours before transferring to the fridge.

Additional Information

Should you be inclined to store this chutney for up to 3 months or thereabouts, then you should return the processed chutney to the saucepan, put it over a medium heat and bring it back up to a boil; it will bubble at the edges and be steaming slightly. Transfer it to warm, sterilized jars, seal and leave them to cool, then store in a cool, dark place. I tend not to bother with this fandango but warn friends who are the recipients of my chutney as a gift that they must keep it in the fridge and eat within the month; they don’t find this problematic at all. Nor will you.

I use the amount above to fill 3 preserving jars of 250ml / 1 cup or 6 tinier ones.

Should you be inclined to store this chutney for up to 3 months or thereabouts, then you should return the processed chutney to the saucepan, put it over a medium heat and bring it back up to a boil; it will bubble at the edges and be steaming slightly. Transfer it to warm, sterilized jars, seal and leave them to cool, then store in a cool, dark place. I tend not to bother with this fandango but warn friends who are the recipients of my chutney as a gift that they must keep it in the fridge and eat within the month; they don’t find this problematic at all. Nor will you.

I use the amount above to fill 3 preserving jars of 250ml / 1 cup or 6 tinier ones.

Tell us what you think

What 3 Others have said

  • Such a great recipe! It's now my go to for a dinner party starter, and it always gets a great reaction. Perfect with cheese and rosemary crackers. I personally like the chutney to be a little less sweet, so I tend to bulk up the amount of olives and reduce the number of figs slightly. If I don't have marsala in the cupboard, I substitute port and it works just as well.

    Posted by mac92 on 29th July 2016
  • I made this for Christmas presents and kept a jar for myself. My, it's good. I'm trying it with cheddar but I'm thinking it would be even better with a nice blue cheese.

    Posted by skate on 21st December 2014
  • Absolutely great!!! I tried it yesterday. I like the taste but it's my first chutney trial, so could you give me some advice about how to use this, just with bread or grilled meat etc?

    Posted by ozgecan on 20th December 2012
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