This is a delicious balance of savoury and sweet. Great to have in the fridge, ready to elevate the next late-night dinner of cheese on toast to a special treat. It also makes an excellent gift as part of a hamper of good cheeses and crackers.
If you haven’t got a microwave, just stick all the ingredients in a good strong pan and boil it like billy-o. I think that’s how you spell billy-o …

650g (about 4) Braeburn apples, peeled, cored and roughly chopped
300g pitted dates, chopped
100g dark brown sugar, plus more if needed
1 medium onion, roughly chopped
300ml balsamic vinegar
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground allspice
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
1 tbsp sea salt, plus more if needed
Mix together all the ingredients in a large, microwavable bowl or container, pour in 200ml of water and cover loosely with a plate or lid. Microwave at full power (800W) for 10–15 minutes, stirring every 5, until the apples and onions have softened.
Blend to a smooth purée using a hand-held blender, then microwave again with the lid on for a further 5–10 minutes, or until the sauce is thick and a spoonful put on a cold plate doesn’t run. Taste and add more salt or sugar as needed to ensure a balance.
Allow to cool completely, then pot in a sterilised 1kg jar (see here). This will keep for up to a month in the fridge.