Savoury fig relish recipe

Figs are a wonderful thing, but are only at their very best and most affordable for a short amount of time (late september) unless you are lucky enough to live in the Mediterranean. I find that out of season figs are generally dry and bland having travelled so far.

Fresh figs effortlessly fit into sweet or savoury dishes and are best of all just eaten naturally. Combined with cheese, particularly salty'ish' cheese such as feta, goat's cheese or halloumi, they are a vegetarian paradise. This recipe aims to retain the sweetness of figs while trying to add a savoury depth of flavour ideal for baking with cheese and pastry.

This recipe should make 3-4x 340gm jars

Ingredients

1kg/2lbs halved fresh figs (or can use dried baby figs, rehydrated to keep a good texture,they may need longer casting.

300gm/.3/4lb onions peeled and diced

3 cloves of garlic crushed

1 medium chilli, seeded and finely chopped

½ teaspoon sea salt

½ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

2 cloves

3 bay leaves

a good sprig of thyme

½ level teaspoon ground cinnamon

80ml red wine vinegar

40ml raspberry vinegar

100gm/4oz raw sugar cane

1 tablespoon olive oil

Method

In a large/preserving pan gently heat up the olive oil, add the onions and sauté for 3 minutes until just turning 'translucent'

Add garlic, ginger and chilli and sauté for 2 minutes more

Take off the heat and add the red wine and raspberry vinegar plus all the other ingredients except for the figs

Simmer and stir gently until all ingredients are incorporated, the sugar has dissolved and the 'sauce' has reduced (approximately by half) and is thickening. At this point add the figs and simmer and stir for 25 minutes until the figs have 'bled' their own juice and have consequently absorbed some of the cooking liquor, i.e until they are just 'falling'.

The figs should just retain their shape, the relish should be a 'pulpy' chutney type consistency.

Fill warmed sterilised jars with the relish.