“Autumn.. the year’s last, loveliest smile!” – William Cullen Bryant.
It is with great pleasure that I re-introduce my eldest daughter Victoria as my guest writer. Some of you may remember Victoria’s previous guest posts from last year.
Autumn The Season of Mist and Mellow Fruitfulness
All seasons bring their own joy. At times, Autumn in the UK can be windy, wet and cold, but there are also days of glorious sunshine, where it’s a pleasure to be outside walking the dog, enjoying the last remnants of Summer and appreciating the change in light, colours and smells.
It’s also a great time of year to make jam and pickles. I’m not sure where my urge to preserve originally came from, but I do remember my Dad making rather robust pickled onions when I was younger. The smell of vinegar permeated the house for days and family members in the know would give the packed jars a respectable wide berth. Those pickled onions were beasts and could clear any sinus problem in seconds. They made your eyes stream and your taste buds ache.
Dad also had a fondness for making green tomato chutney (mum’s favourite) and chunky piccalilli – chopped pickled vegetables with spices. Eating piccalilli today still reminds me of him and his pickle jars, waiting patiently in a dark cupboard for 3 months to mature in time for Christmas.
In the UK this is basically jam that has been strained or sieved to remove all the seeds and bits. I use a recipe from an amazing book I ‘permanently borrowed’ from my Mum about 20 years ago – Step by Step Cookery by Marguerite Patten. It was given to her on her 19th birthday. I make the Christmas cake from a recipe I’ve adapted in this book too. It’s brilliant – sorry for stealing it Mum.
I suspect I am the only person who actually eats the jam, despite my family making vague, appreciative noises. I love it spread on a slice of toast in the depths of a dark and gloomy winter morning and remembering the sunny day I picked the fruit. Small pleasures.
To use up the plums, I decided to make a pickle or chutney and spice it up with some chilli (the usual spelling in the UK, although chili is also accepted). I’ve made lots of pickles before, with various degrees of success and utter failure. This year I looked at a multitude of recipes and eventually decided to be brave and make up my own. I didn’t want dried fruit, or overwhelming Christmas spices.
It will take weeks for the flavours to develop properly so I don’t know if it’s a winner or not yet. I hope so as my house also smelt of vinegar for days. Fingers crossed the flavours are a success as I plan to give a couple of jars as gifts. Come back in December to see how it tastes with our cheeseboard!
Thank you so much Victoria for once again agreeing to be my guest writer. What a delightful post. I’m so looking forward to Christmas and warming up from the winter chill with your mulled wine, cheese board and delicious chilli chutney.
Editorial Note: I eventually replaced my ‘borrowed’ cookery book with a decent copy from e-bay!
Despite leaving her dad in the dark cupboard for three months every year with his pickle jars, he never did mature by Christmas!
SueW-nansfarm.net 2019 Word Prompt Chill from Fandango