Summertime Reveries (2)

Boy is it getting darker sooner these evenings! Not to mention the weather getting colder and wetter! I hope you been doing well nonetheless. I’m still trying to finish the last of my projects that I started earlier in the summertime this year! I wrote in my last post about a few things I’ve enjoyed the past few months and carried it way into autumn and here’s a few more to add to that list. Mostly recipes.

Apple mania!
This year, I cooked, baked and consumed a record number of Apples like never before and I must say, I’m looking rather well-rounded because of it! Oh well, apples are good for me! So I guess there’s nothing to worry about. (Seriously, I’d pick Apple Crumble over a bag of crisps, any day. Well, on most days anyway!)

This is the apple tree by my building that gave a bumper harvest this year. IMG_2272

So besides the usual crumble and pie recipes, I also found a rather good recipe to make with my foraged Apples. Instant Mango Pickle. That’s right, you did read it right! Mango Pickle, with Apples instead! I know it sounds bonkers, but it works. I was dubious about the whole thing myself when I came across it for the first time; but having made this recipe over a dozen times in the last 4 months alone, I can certainly tell you that you can make an excellent Mango pickle out of Apples! When the Apples are still unripe and mostly green, it has a tangy and sour taste that is quite similar to green Mangoes, believe it or not. So it is a wonderful replacement for when one can’t source Mangoes easily, like here in Britain. The pickling method in question here though is different to the one used out in the West, i.e., preserving in bottled filled with brine or vinegar. Indian pickles come with a lot of chilli powder alongside the salt and vinegar and is finally tempered in hot oil with mustard seeds. This particular recipe is an instant version requiring no real pickling, and one that most Indians would go GaGa for anytime of the year. Once made, this pickle will last only a few hours before disappearing completely or if you are lucky enough to have family members with a little bit more self-restraint, unlike my own brood, it will last a few more days. I don’t even bother bottling this pickle, just cause of how soon it disappears right off the stove top. So I practically made it every few days the past four months. Try it for yourself.


Cheat’s Mango Pickle

  • Any number of chopped Apples – Should be mostly green (leave the skin on). Or use Granny Smith in any other season
  • Salt, to taste
  • Chilli powder, to taste
  • Roasted & powdered fenugreek seeds, a tablespoon
  • Oil, a few tablespoons
  • Asafoetida, a few pinches
  • Mustard seeds, a teaspoon
  • Curry leaves, optional
  • Vinegar, a teaspoon, optional.

Start by heating oil in a pan and splutter the mustard seeds. If using, add the curry leaves now, followed by asafoetida and chilli powder. Lower heat and add the chopped Apples. Add the salt and vinegar and mix well. Do not cook the Apples, you want to retain the crispy texture. Now take it off the heat and mix in the powdered Fenugreek seeds and set aside for a minute before beginning to stuff all of it in your mouth! Cause once you start eating this stuff, you’ll be hooked!


Lemon Pickle

As if I hadn’t consumed enough Apple/Mango pickles this summer, I also made this rather lovely Lemon pickle. The bottled Lemons you are seeing in the picture have been pickling for a good 6 months after I went through a phase of squeezing Lemon juice quite literally on top of everything I ate in the beginning of this year. Not wanting to throw away the remains, I’d put them in a bottle, topping each time with a bit of salt and left them to pickle over the course of the next few months. After six or so months (I’d shake and turn the bottle over every now and then) I was welcomed by the gorgeous smell of pickled lemons upon opening the lid. From here, I simply tempered it in hot oil with mustard seeds and added chilli powder to the whole lot. This is great with any rice dish and tastes better than the over-priced, imported, store-bought stuff you get in the Asian shops. It actually tastes much like my mum’s own version and made me feel a bit homesick eating it!

Apple CrumbleIMG_2217

Like I mentioned earlier, I did also make tonnes and tonnes of Crumble with the Apples. I just couldn’t seem to get enough of crumbles this year. My recipe for it is rather simple; a bit of sugar and cinnamon added to chopped Apples, and then Microwaved for a few minutes until soft. Before topping with a Crumble mix of oatmeal and plain flour (half and half) sugar, cinnamon and sunflower oil and baked in the oven till the top is brown.


Enna Kathrikkai
(Baba Ghanoush, Indian Style) 

IMG_2244My husband is a big fan of eggplants and loves this dish that is usually served with Biriyani at Indian wedding banquets. It is quite similar to Baba Ghanoush, except it is not roasted and cooked fully on stove top until soft and mushy. I took the recipe from here and my husband was all praise for how close it tasted to the authentic version he’s eaten at Indian weddings. I made this quite a few times at my husband’s request this past summer, and we enjoyed it with both rice dishes and chappathis; and even with slices of white bread sometimes!

Those are all the recipes I tried this last summer besides the usual fares. I’m nearly done with my language-learning CDs as its time to return it to the library. I really hope to continue this streak by keeping up with the French, German and Spanish I’ve learnt over the months. It’s truly been a remarkable summer in terms of all the number of things I’ve been able to do. I’m picking up more autumn-type hobbies with the evenings getting longer and colder. i.e., Crochet, knitting, Macrame, not to forget, reading books! (I’m going to get a Kindle, finally. Yay!) I guess the colder weather brings with it its own charms. Here’s to hot chocolate, sweaters, scarves, cozying up under a duvet and marathon book-reading sessions!