Posted in What's for Dinner Mom?

Date and Apricot Chutney

So firstly a Happy New Year to you.
While writing this it’s bright and dry outside and we’re thankful to have come through the holidays without a hint of ice or snow this year (sorry kids).  I’ve been crazy busy with family celebrations and I’m looking forward to finally making it to a couch one of these days to loll and watch TV before the kids head back to school.  Before they go back we will be making our way through some of the goodies that still lay around tempting me, especially the ones in the shiny wrappers.  And then there’s the cheese that needs to be used up.
Chutney & Gubbeen
It has to be a good time of year for the cheese-makers as I’m sure that like me you’ve stocked up on all kinds of varieties.  I’ve written recently that all you need for a really good lunch is some really good cheese and bread so for a lunch par excellence just add some really good chutney.
My Secret Santa (thanks Donal) was very kind to me and gave me a beautiful book Farmhouse Cheeses of Ireland – A Celebration by Glynn Anderson & John McLaughlin along with this amazing slate cheeseboard with a variety of knives, slicers and prongy things with which to cut and select my cheese along with little dishes for chutneys etc.
Secret Santa Cheese Board As you can tell from the name of this post I’ve been experimenting with Chutney making.  I’ve done my usual and started with what looked like an interesting recipe from The Hairy Bikers’ 12 Days of Christmas and then substituted in what I actually had in my cupboards.  Making a chutney is a great way of using up left over dried fruit.  I’d almost a full box of dates that I’d been using to make sticky toffee pudding and some dried apricots that I’d used in tagines and florentines and as the best before dates was looming (well okay it had passed, shhhh…) on both of these it was time to use them up.
Chutney Up-close
Chutney with cheese on cracker
You will need:
1 tbsp olive oil
2 medium or 3 small red onions
2 garlic cloves
thumb sized chunk of fresh ginger
150g dates
150g dried apricots
100g raisins
150g light muscovado sugar (or any brown sugar)
150ml white wine vinegar
half tsp nutmeg
half tsp cinnamon
1 tsp sea salt flakes (or any salt) and ground black pepper
Peel, halve and thinly slice the red onions.
Heat the oil in a large saucepan and add the onions, cooking over a low heat for 10 minutes until they soften.
Finely chop or grate the ginger and crush the garlic.  Add to the onions and cook for 2 to 3 minutes.  Increase the heat to medium and cook for a further 5 minutes until the onions being to brown.
Roughly chop the dates and apricots and add these along with the raisins to cook with the onions for 2 minutes.
Add the brown sugar, vinegar, nutmeg and cinnamon  along with the salt and a good seasoning of ground black pepper.
Allow the chutney to cook at a gentle simmer for 30 minutes stirring occasionally.
Take the pan off the heat and leave the chutney to cool before storing in sterilised jars.
Enjoy with some great cheese and crackers or bread.
Til next time, Sheila.