I enjoy making pickles, jams and relishes and this one takes no more than a few minutes. It works particularly well with cheese – its sweet, salty flavour cutting through the richness of a strong cheese. Here I have paired it with Gorgonzola, but it also works really well with a powerful cheddar such as Montgomery's.
100g/31/2oz little black olives stored in olive oil
250g/8oz dried figs
750ml/11/4 pints of full-bodied red wine
2 bay leaves
1 small sprig of thyme
The peel of one unwaxed lemon
First, prepare a sterilised jar (ideally 500ml/17fl oz in capacity) by putting it through the dishwasher. If the olives have stones in them, remove them by pressing down on the skin and thus releasing the flesh from the stone.
Rinse the figs under cool running water and tear in half. Place the wine in a small saucepan over a medium heat, then simmer until it has reduced by half.
Mix the olives with the figs and spoon into the jar along with the bay leaves, thyme and lemon peel. Remove the wine from the stove and allow to cool slightly, then pour over the figs and olives. Let it sit in a cool place for a week before using.