Quince is a beautiful, fragrant fruit that is definitely underutilised. This is a pickle using Rice Vinegar (although this can be replaced with other vinegars) and some spices. It showcases how beautiful quince can be.
To make these Okra Fryums they are soaked in yoghurt for 2 days and then dried. Traditionally they would be dried on rooftops in the hot sun, but as that is not possible here, a dehydrator will substitute. I used Vidhyas Home Cooking as a guide for making these.
Browse all of our Okra dishes, and all of our Vathal. Have a look at our Autumn Preserving article. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials here. Or simply explore our Early Autumn recipes.
Italians and Greek people have a wonderful approach to produce, treasuring the flavours of the individual items and almost reverently preparing them. Traditionally, the approach has been seasonal, and many of the practices continue even today. I love my semi-local Greek Warehouse and their range of not only produce but also equipment – for baking, drying, preserving, squishing, squashing, rolling, and flavouring. From there I get the best jars for all sorts of storage, but also for my pickles and preserves. Recently they also gave me a small booklet of preserving recipes, Mediterranean style.
The recipes are very simple, but it prompted me to share one or two with you. For example, this one. We dry tomatoes routinely – it is a great way to use up excess produce – and often use cherry tomatoes. Sometimes we keep them dried in a jar, ready for nibbling or for intense flavour injections into dishes. Other times we put them under oil, where the tomatoes flavour the oil and the oil flavours the tomatoes.
Now, there is nervousness in the US about keeping foods under oil. Certainly do your research, I won’t recommend a practice one way or the other. It is up to you.
Preserving this way is a traditional and very common practice in parts of Europe. In the rest of the Western world sun dried tomatoes came into fashion in the 1990’s, went out of fashion by 2000 due to over production of poor quality dried and semi dried tomatoes, and are now, apparently, making a comeback. In my kitchen, they never went out of fashion, but we make our own. We do use the dehydrator at times, but I find the moist atmosphere of a low gas oven gives a much better result. Using sun power is the best of all.
These sweet chillies are a variation on Sweet Chilli Sauce, – red chillies are simmered in a sugar solution until tender, and then stored in a glass jar. I will usually make small portions as it is an easy recipe, using a dozen or so ripe chillies from the garden. The preserve is then used over the next few days as an accompaniment to dishes. It is pretty delicious, especially with anything involving rice.
The syrup thickens like a jam or jelly, creating an interesting texture as well as flavour. The trick is to avoid over cooking otherwise you will have chilli toffee. The clearish jelly is strongly chilli flavoured, and the chilli pieces add texture and more heat. You will really enjoy this one. Today I used ripened chillies from the purple jalapeno chilli plant in the garden.
I love to serve this preserve on a cheese board (you have to be a chilli lover) and also mix it into creamy salad dressings.
Some years ago my friend Franz shared the recipe for a chilli jam he was making, and as I had chillies everywhere (in the freezer, on the bush, dried, drying), I made a couple of jars too. One I gave to my Thai friends, and they ate the whole (large) jar within a week. Oh my goodness! They loved the heat and the sweetness.
The other jar has been in the fridge all of those years. The reason is, we are always making chilli jams, pastes, purees…. There are always multiple jars open in the fridge and more containers in the freezer. This particular one came to the fore the other day when a sambal was needed for some okra with coconut rice. After the intervening time, the jam was still absolutely excellent (perhaps better for the maturing), and tasted incredible. I mixed it with some Chinese Chilli-Blackbean paste for an instant sambal.
Chatting with Franz, I told him the story and asked him to send me the recipe again. Catastrophe! Neither of us could find a copy! That made me search deeper and longer until I found it. Not wanting to lose the recipe again, we are posting it here so we know where it is! Please make and enjoy, it is amazing. I have tweaked the recipe a little to suit my preference and available ingredients.
A beautiful Punjabi pickle
Pickles are ubiquitous in India. Spicy green chilli pickles, Mango Pickles with Cardamom and Fenugreek, tiny Plum Pickles, yellow Cauliflower pickle, Apple Pickles, even Quince Pickle and Cumquat Pickles. You name it, every Indian household will have big jars filled with freshly made pickles sitting in the sunshine. This is a method commonly used to develop the flavours of the pickle and let them mature.
Making Indian pickles is so simple. Some are pickled in oil, some in an acid, like vinegar, or lemon or lime juice. It may take some time to allow the flavours to develop, but all good things take time.
Oil style pickles are common in North India, and salt and oil play important parts in the pickling process. Salt adds to the flavour, draws moisture out of the vegetable and inhibits bacterial growth. Oil acts as a barrier and keeps the vegetables moist. Different oils produce different tasting pickles.
Today’s pickle is a beautiful crunchy carrot pickle, made mustardy with the use of mustard oil and mustard seeds. It is a perfect accompaniment to parathas, vegetable pulao or any meal, really.
Have a look at other Carrot Pickles, and all of our other Pickles – our Chutneys too. All of our Carrot dishes are here. Or browse our Indian recipes, the Indian Essentials Series, and explore our Mid Spring recipes too.
I am not sure where I first came across Ousback’s recipe — he was very popular with Vogue Entertainment Magazine around the mid 1990, so perhaps it was there. Anders Ousback was well known as a lover of food and wine, and this relish of his was also well known and loved. He was influential in the Sydney food scene, and influenced many chefs and restaurant owners. This recipe of his has stood the test of time, and is as wonderful today as it was back then.
There were several variations of the Grilled Pepper Relish. The one below is the one that I love because of its freshness and the wonderful taste of the spices it includes.
I am sure the recipe that Anders used has provenance. You can see the origins in Elizabeth David’s Red Pepper Relish. And there are infinite purees and pastes of roasted red peppers, such as Serbian Ajvar, an Eggplant and Roasted Red Pepper Relish.
Similar recipes include Harissa, Roasted Red Pepper Sauces, and Red Pepper, Eggplant and Tomato Pasta Sauce. Or try Fennel and Lemon Chutney, and Char Grilled Banana Chillies Stuffed with Tomatoes and Spices.
This recipe is one of the vegetarian recipes from our first blog which was in existence from 1995 – 2006. You can find other recipes from that blog in our Retro Recipes series.
A gorgeous carrot pickle that will last in the fridge for a week.
Here is another quick Carrot Pickle, quite different to the last Quick Carrot Pickle which had dark Asian flavours. This one is bright and fresh with a touch of sweetness, and the tartness that only cider vinegar can provide. I hope that you enjoy it.
This pickle is lovely with a bowl of steamed rice drizzled with the marinade juices.
An Asian flavoured Quick Pickle
Quick pickles are the go when time is rushed and there are no pickles ready at hand. They can be made in a matter of minutes but do take an hour or three to pickle and develop their flavours. They are wonderful mixed in the morning and eaten for lunch or in the evening.
This pickle is unusual as it combines kombu, that salty seaweed from Japan, with crispy carrots. It is pickled in a mixture of sake and rice vinegar, sweetened with mirin and salted with soy sauce. It is allowed to pickle for a few hours before being ready to serve.
Quince paste is as old as the hills, being made in the Middle East and slowly spreading across Europe and indeed into Australia, primarily through our foodie icon, Maggie Beer. It must be one of the best uses of quinces.
You will find quinces in the green grocers in Autumn and again in Spring. They are long-keeping, so the appearance in the shops in Spring is a bit of an artifice, I am afraid, as their fruiting time is Autumn. I have such a love of this fruit – perhaps they remind me of my Grandmother. Years ago, I knew of a wonderful, neglected quince tree in the Clare Valley in South Australia, and each Autumn I would spend a weekend in this delightful region and come home with a bucket of quinces. One year, the tree had been removed, and I was devastated.
Since then, I have found that one of my friends has a quince tree, and every Autumn I still get my bucket of quinces. I feel blessed at this time of year, there is such an abundance of produce. It is as though nature is also preparing for Winter.
There are many recipes for quince paste. I use this one. I like the way that the long cooking intensifies the flavour. Serve with the creamiest of cheeses, or eat on its own as a sweet – sneak some for your midnight snack.
This recipe is one of the vegetarian recipes from our first blog which was in existence from 1995 – 2005, and is part of our Retro Recipes series.