Both a verb and a noun.
Each of my families loves my chilli relish – that is, not everyone in each offspring’s family, but some of them – and so I make a couple of batches in the autumn. It’s a labour of love, but worth it as it’s so very good. It should be made with jalapeños but one can’t buy them by the kilo and I only grew one plant this year, so the long red chillies you can get at the greengrocer are a decent substitute, being spicy but not blastingly hot.
I made the mistake of mentioning it on Facebook, whereupon friends asked for some too. I’ve made 10 jars, from 2 kilos of peppers, plus onion and carrot – not sure if that’ll be enough. I can make them any time of the year but the autumn harvested chillies are the best. While I was surprisingly enthusiastic, I also made a couple of batches of spicy tomato relish – as it’s past tomato season, I added some purée too and, for the second batch, used 600g fresh tomatoes plus a tin. I must check each against the other, to see how well that worked. If it’s good with a tin of tomatoes, it would be a doddle to make in the winter.
I also – really surprised myself here – bought some medlars. They aren’t overripe yet – bletted is the term for virtually rotten medlars, by which time they’re not too astringent to eat. I think a mixture of ripe and less ripe is best for jelly. It’s not as flavoursome as quince, but goes well with various meats, especially poultry and game.
I didn’t think, apart from the chilli relish, which is a given, that I’d bother with preserves any more. Tim and I enjoyed making them from various vegetables and fruits in their season and I haven’t had the heart to do it since he died. I haven’t used up all I made previously, in any case. But I do miss feeling cheerful. I’m pleased that I felt so much enthusiasm.
I’m trying to plan a holiday for the end of winter or early spring – February/March is probably going to be the time I’m least busy for a couple of weeks. I can do anything I want, which is why it’s so hard to decide what I do want. I do need to renew my passport, however, or I won’t be going anywhere – not at that time of the year, anyway. I’d like to be a bit warmer than in Britain.