17 September 2016

Fig Chutney, Mozzarella & Watercress Panini

It's that time of year again, where the days are getting colder and everything is 'spice' flavoured; you find yourself caught between wanting to eat something warm and comforting and not wanting to admit to yourself that summer is officially over. This panini is so melty and delicious that it will effortlessly ease you into autumn food - a homemade, no added sugar fig chutney and Violife mozzarella with peppery watercress sandwiched between a toasted ciabatta roll, that's been rubbed with garlic. There's so much flavour in this one sandwich and it's comfort food, without compromising on health. Whilst most shop bought chutneys are laced with sugar, this recipe contains only naturally occurring sugars, without compromising on taste!

The wonderful people over at Violife have launched organic versions of their regular cheese and pizza cheese, so to celebrate, sent me a very generous sample of their cheeses to cook with and share the recipes with you all. My first recipe uses the mozzarella slices, I was researching different chutney and dairy cheese pairings to best decide which Violife flavour to use, a mild creamy cheese such as mozzarella was suggested for a fig chutney, so I went with this one first. The Violife mozzarella really captures the creamy, mildness of dairy mozzarella and worked so well in this recipe; I would happily feed this sandwich to anyone and wouldn't have a doubt to whether it was enjoyed or not, this panini truly is incredible!

The chutney itself is mildly spiced with things such as ginger, mustard, mixed spice and balsamic vinegar; it's overflowing with flavour and whilst sweet, not sickly at all. The natural sweetness of the figs, along with medjool dates are what make this chutney stand out from the rest and the best thing about making it yourself is that you know exactly what's in it! You needn't worry about the cheese either, as violife is free from preservatives, artificial colours and flavourings and is also gluten & soy free - should your diet require that. The chutney recipe makes 2 standard jam jars worth of filling and you could also preserve them using canning jars and a hot water bath, by following the manufacturers instructions.

Fig Chutney, Mozzarella & Watercress Panini | Serves: 4 | Time: 45 mins

You'll need

  • Chopping board
  • Knife
  • Fine grater
  • Large saucepan
  • Griddle pan
  • Grill tray
  • Measuring cups/spoons
  • 2 sterilised jam jars


Fig Chutney

  • 1 large red onion
  • 2 inch ginger, grated
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp mixed spice
  • 1 heaped tsp salt
  • Splash oil
  • 100g medjool dates
  • 10 figs
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  1. Thinly slice the onion, peel and grate the ginger, add to the large saucepan with a splash of oil, mustard seeds, mixed spice and salt and fry for around 5 minutes on a medium heat until the onion becomes translucent.
  2. Then remove the pits from the dates and finely chop, remove the tops of the figs and cut into quarters, add to the pan with the balsamic vinegar, put a lid on and simmer on a low heat for 5 mins. Remove the lid and simmer on a medium-high heat for 15-20 minutes, until the liquid has evaporated and the mixture is thick and jam-like. 
  3. Meanwhile, toast the ciabatta and then rub the inside of the roll with a garlic clove. Then place the mozzarella slices onto the bottom side of the roll, and place under the grill for a few minutes, until the cheese has melted.
  4. To assemble the sandwich, top the cheese with the fig chutney and watercress, then the top layer of the roll and enjoy!
  5. With the rest of the chutney, place into sterilised jars, firmly close the lids and allow to cool fully before opening. Once cool, keep refrigerated and use within 1-2 weeks of opening. Alternatively, using suitable canning jars and a hot water bath, follow the manufacturer's instructions to preserve them for longer. 
Cassidy xx

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