"Le Météo" as the weather forecast is called in France gave us a rather stern warning yesterday: Thunderstorms and torrential rains was what they promised us for today and guess what we woke up to? Torrential rains and thunderstorms. Good thing that for once I believed what was said and harvested the last of our figs. I don't think we ever had such good and many figs as this year. We have been eating them straight from the tree, on fig tarts and I must have about 15 pots of fig jam stashed away in a corner of the wine cellar. This time I tried my hand at something I'd never done before - fig chutney to go with foie gras.
The last figs of the season
The inspiration to this was my friend Theda who told me about a recipe one of her friends had given her and which she generously shared with me. Not entirely happy I searched the Internet for alternatives and ended up combining Theda's friends' recipe with one I found on chefkoch.de .
Having two ingredients missing and doing this on a Sunday (where shops around here are only open until noon) meant that I had to wait until the rain this morning subsided to go and get fresh ginger and raisins.
So I already cut up my kilo and a bit (1200 g) of figs, added 150g red pepper, cut into very small cubes, one finely chopped white onion (150g), 150 g chopped prunes, 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp cayenne pepper, 400 g brown sugar and stirred it all together with 3/4 cup of red wine vinegar plus 3/4 cup of red wine. All this was left to macerate overnight.
Left to macerate overnight - Figs, prunes, red wine, brown sugar, spices and red wine vinegar
This morning I added a walnut sized piece of very finely chopped ginger and 120 g of raisins, brought the mixture to the boil and over moderate heat and frequently stirring let it patiently simmer until most of the moisture was evaporated. This took about 90 minutes before I could fill my newly acquired jam pots. Which made me laugh. Because even on jam pots the Academie Française reigns supreme! See, whenever a foreign word is used in France the Academie Française, a very honorable institution that was founded in 1635 makes sure there is an astrisk added and the word translated. So zealously the Academie guards French against foreign influence that French radio stations are not allowed to play more that 30 per cent foreign music and "homemade" on the lids of my jam pots had an asterisk added and the translation "Fait Maison" on the side of the lid. Politically correct Fig Chutney.....
Home made of course
See the asterisk? Translated to make the Academie Française happy