Serve this lovely sweet and sour chutney with any cheese.
1 tablespoon of olive oil
2 shallots or 1 small red onion, peeled and chopped finely
1/2 teaspoon of mustard seeds
140g dried dates
40g dried cranberries
2 tablespoons demerara or cane sugar
60 ml white wine or rice wine vinegar
1/2 red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
Pinch of sea salt
1. Heat the olive oil in a saucepan. Add the shallots or red onion and cook until caramelised, making sure the onions don’t burn and don’t catch the bottom of the saucepan (if they do, redo the onions from scratch).
2. Add the mustard seeds and cook until they pop. Immediately add the rest of the ingredients along with 120ml of cold water. Bring the mixture to the boil, reduce to a gentle simmer and cook for 8-10 minutes, stirring from time to time, until you have a thick sweet and sour chutney but the cranberries have not broken down (you don’t want to turn the chutney into a purée by over-cooking it). Halfway through cooking, if you need to, add a little more water if it is too thick, and taste to see if you have enough chilli or if you need to add a little more sugar or salt or vinegar. Rebalance it to suit your taste, making sure to cook it for a little time after you add any ingredient so that the final chutney doesn’t taste raw.
3. It’s best to allow the flavours in the chutney to develop for a few days before you eat it. Store the chutney in covered jars in the fridge for up to 4 weeks.
The reason you add the rest of the ingredients once the mustard seeds ‘pop’ is because they will burn if you don’t bring down the temperature in the pan quickly. This is the case whenever you cook with mustard seeds: once you hear them ‘pop’, add some liquid or ingredients to the pan to stop them burning or remove them. Once they burn, they taste bitter.
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