APRICOT-FIG BLATJANG WITH LEMON JUICE

Blatjangs, those chutney like dishes of southern Africa, are often based on dried fruits. Apricots and raisins, for example, are very popular ingredients. Here we have added figs, which are widely used in the cuisines of northern Africa, but you may substitute any dried fruits that you choose. Like other blatjangs, this goes very well with any type of roasted meats or game.

3/4 pound (1 1/2 cups) dried apricots

1/4 pound (about 1/2 cup) dried figs

1/4 pound (about 1/2 cup) golden raisins

1 small onion, diced small

1/2 cup cider vinegar

1/4 cup blanched almonds

1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger

1 teaspoon minced red or green chile pepper of your choice

Salt and freshly cracked white pepper to taste

1/4 cup lemon juice (about 1 lemon)

In a saucepan, combine the apricots, figs, raisins, onion, and vinegar with enough water to just cover. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring frequently, until the mixture is about the thickness of honey (do not overcook, as the mixture will thicken as it cools). Remove from the heat.

Meanwhile, toast the almonds on a backing sheet in a 325F oven for 8 to 10 minutes, or until just lightly browned.

In a food processor or blender, combine the ginger, chile peppers, almonds, and salt and pepper to taste, and puree well. Add the pureed spice mixture and the lemon juice to the apricot mixture and stir well.

This blatjang will keep, covered and refrigerated, up to three weeks.