Gareth Groves is an ex-Chef turned wine merchant who is now Communications Manager at Bibendum. His best man once described him as a man who uses breakfast as an opportunity to think about lunch. Part of his job is to manage social media for Bibendum, so he spends a bit of time on twitter, where it's clear to all that he feels a real passion for food and drink.
Given my recent condiment craze, nay obsession, I was more than a little intrigued when he tweeted that he was cooking up his annual batch of mango, date and chilli chutney. Sounds quite a tasty treat doesn't it? Especially given that Gareth stipulates proper tasty mangoes!
Rather liking the sound of that, I invited Gareth to share the recipe (and it's history) with readers of my blog and, to my delight, he agreed.
Over to Gareth:
I've been making this chutney for something approaching ten years. I first came across the recipe in a cookbook celebrating the chefs of the town of Noosa on Australia's Gold Coast, when I was cooking in a Edinburgh fusion restaurant (God bless the 1990s).
We used to serve it with anything and everything: goats’ cheese tarts, grilled tiger prawns, Isle of Mull cheddar - you name it, it probably came with a small red dish of this chutney. It was our staple condiment: it is easy to make, reads well on a menu and, most importantly, is absolutely delicious.
Since giving up the professional cooking lark for the wine trade and moving to London, I've made this chutney every summer when the Indian and Pakistani mangoes have been in season on Tooting High Street.
Mango, Date & Chilli Chutney
Ingredients (makes 6-8 jars):
3 boxes of golden Pakistani mangoes (about 15-18 mangoes)
500ml cider vinegar
500ml demerara sugar
6-8 hot chillies
250g root ginger peeled or scraped
325g pitted dates
- Chop the mango flesh into a big pan.
- Boil the vinegar and sugar to make a light syrup.
- Blitz the chillies (seeds and all), ginger and dates up to make a thick paste. Add a bit of water to the blender if necessary – it will boil off in the final cooking.
- Add the vinegar syrup and chilli mixture to the mango.
- Heat and simmer gently until thick and a dark burnished gold. This can take a few hours. Sunday's batch took about 3 and half hours. Take care the chutney doesn't catch and burn on the bottom of the pan.
- When ready, jar up in sterilised jars.
How long do you have to wait? In truth, not that long. You can eat this chutney almost immediately and it will be hot, sweet and fruity. With time, it mellows and becomes more rounded with a deeper flavour. We've just finished our last jar of the 2009 vintage one year on and it was delicious.
And what should you serve it with? Almost anything you like. Cheese and cold meats are obvious choices but it also shines in fish fingers sandwiches. A favourite at our house is to make quite a plain dhal and serve it with rice and this chutney: perfect comfort food.