Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Back Gate Gifts

What better way to start our blog than to tell of a simple act of friendship.  Our lovely friend Kim had been round whilst we were out.  Hanging from the gate was a bag containing apples and figs from her garden.  This was the second bag in two weeks.  She has had a great harvest of figs this year.  I decided to make some fig chutney so that I could return some love and a gift back to her for sharing her produce.  Here is the recipe for this simple fig chutney -

13 -15 fresh figs
150ml balsamic vinegar
100ml red wine vinegar
300g soft brown sugar
zest and juice of 1 lemon (unwaxed)
2 red onions (sliced thinly)
2 teaspoons mixed spice
10g fresh grated root ginger or 1 teaspoon of dried ground ginger
1 tablespoon of olive oil

Remove the stalk from the figs and cut into quarters.
Heat the oil in a large pan over a medium heat and fry the onion for 5 minutes until soft and slightly caramelised.
Add all the other ingredients except the figs, season with salt and pepper and bring to the boil, simmering for 30 minutes.
Add the figs and cook for a further 30 minutes, stirring occasionally until the mixture has reduced to a syrupy consistency and the figs are nice and soft.
Pour into sterilised jars, label and spread some figgy love.  It will keep for months!

Figs are not only delicious but a great source of minerals, potassium, manganese and iron as well as vitamins A, B and C and tons of good fibre to keep all things working as they should.  Fresh figs are a world away from the dried up offerings you normally get in the baking section of supermarkets.

As demonstrated by our friend Kim, figs can grow very well in the UK.  We do have a fig tree in our garden which was loaded at the beginning of the year but the storms back at the beginning of the summer stripped it clean.  Strong winds are one of the disadvantages of living and trying to grow stuff close to the Cornish coast.  If you too suffer with bad wind (cue childish giggle) but don't have a friend with a more sheltered garden who leaves figgy treasures on your gate, fear not as you can often find them in your local supermarket in the 'cheapy' section as most people don't know what they are or what you can do with them! 

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