I have spent the morning in the surf which abides as a constant. I have always found in the surf a serene peacefulness. The waves today were strong and rolling and battling them made my heart race like that of small deer, but it is that weightless elation and my immense love for the ocean which always holds me there for much longer than anticipated. There were few who braved the conditions early this morning so the isolation in only having the die-hard body surfers, three older men who invited me to join them, made it so much more enjoyable.
We are also experiencing the tail end of a blisteringly hot summer. Mother Natures little mood swing and one of the hottest on record. Although it is Autumn in Australia, it should be a milder and kinder weather pattern, the furnace like heat is still unrelenting. Global warming really is impacting our beautiful world.
And my life, well that is unfurling at a gentle pace and even the rocketing temperatures cannot lessen my mood. My sadness still overwhelms at times and that can be a difficult one to shake. I can easily retreat into sorrow for that is the acknowledgement of things being lost to me forever. My guess is that comes from the odd dislocation of what has been, of what could have been (perhaps) and of where life’s unforeseen journey will take me. Maybe I still find inadequacy in traversing life’s odious little snags but then, something will remind me how beautiful my new ‘home’ is and the nakedness of loss and yearning is somewhat diminished.
It should be no surprise there is trepidation of interaction with others given past treachery, which still haunts like a savage ghost. Perhaps there is nothing like a Judas kiss to make you appreciate it is not when we move on my friends, but how well we do so. I have caught up with some family too which has been a lovely and welcome addition to my usual quiet existence. I haven’t seen them for about a hundred years (exaggeration on my part!!), but perhaps well over sixteen long years have passed. I do tend to drop off the face of the earth at times and of course my tendency to not stay in touch with people plays a part in that but the connect of family can be an important and cherished one. And my dear Great Aunty will also be happy to know I phoned my Mum xx.
Anyway, once home from the surf and I had a thought to making a hot and spicy Indian peach chutney. I had sand, lots of it in my togs and salt upon my skin but I began the meticulous process of chopping eight perfect peaches regardless.
I have varying degrees in my levels of cooking confidence and for me, baking or making chutneys, jams or preserves is a restorative process. I have a love affair with baking and I will bake when I am happy and even when overwhelmed and distracted as I find the gentle rhythm of the baking process lustral and kind to my soul. When baking, I will generally always use a recipe except when making pancakes or pikelets. When I make chutneys, preserves or jams I don’t use a recipe although I probably should. I tend to rely on my own instincts and taste but at times, this trust has shown that I am an infallible human with glaring imperfection due to a couple of small failures. Regardless, I soldier on with intuitive contentment.
Summers bounty of stone-fruit here in Australia is slowly coming to end. The sweet and juicy Victorian peaches however, are still in abundance. With my favorite cast pot on heat I popped the mustard seeds then sweated my diced onions down until translucent before adding the garlic, fresh ginger and spices. The smell of ginger and spice on heat beautifully scented the apartment and the aroma of yielding is one of comfort.
I love mangos as they signal the ultimate taste of summer so after washing my preserving jars in hot soapy water I sliced into a fat Queensland mango. I kept one of the cheeks aside and this, I have to say, required the greatest of will power on my part as I can eat two mangoes just as snack. I chopped the set aside cheek and slid it into the bubbling mix.
Gentle stirring stopped the chutney from sticking to the bottom of the heavy pan while it slowly darkened and became jammy with sticky caramelization. I knew from its taste I had been heavy handed with the mustard seeds but all was not lost as I hit the mix with a good drizzle of local bush honey. Don’t you think the dear little bee has an awful burden to bear. The weight of humanity riding on its tiny shoulders for without bees humans would not be able to exist…..food for thought!
I will store these jars in the pantry for when the cooler months come and this chutney alone will warm us with its spicy heat from the fresh Thai chillies I added. This really needs a few months to truly develop its flavor and we will use this as an accompaniment to curries but also liberally slathered on corn meat sandwiches made from the freshest of oven baked loaves.
What a lovely way to end the day after a perfect start to it and with satisfaction, I will plan my next assault on the peach world. Perhaps a row of preserved peaches in vanilla bean and ginger syrup would look fab on the pantry shelves……. xx
Note: One jar barely lasted the day as FB enjoyed it on a platter and I had it with hand torn chunks of fresh baked bread and ripe French cheese.
Hot and Spicy Indian Peach Chutney Recipe:
Ingredients: Olive oil, 8 diced peaches, 1 large diced onion, 4 crushed cloves of garlic, apple cider vinegar, dash of water, white pepper, diced fresh Thai chillies, a shake of dry chilli flakes, a generous hand of local honey (I used honey as I didn’t have any brown sugar or palm sugar in the panty….yet), mustard seeds, Keens curry powder, fresh ginger finely sliced into match sticks, a sprinkle of ground ginger, currents, all spice, ground nutmeg, a pinch of sea salt and the cheek of a fresh lovely mango.
Method: I placed the mustard seeds on the heat until they popped then I sweated off the onions before adding the garlic, fresh ginger, chilli and spices. Once cooked off I added all the remaining ingredients and bought the mix to the boil then lowered the heat to a gentle simmer for a couple of hours. While cooking, I sliced up a mango and added one cheek.
This mix made exactly enough to fill two jars. How ideal was that! The washed mason jars were placed in a hot oven to sterilize and once off the heat the hot chutney was added to the still hot jars. The jars were sealed then left to cool.
9 thoughts on “Eight Perfect Peaches and a Spicy Indian Chutney…..”
Hey sweet girl. So happy to see you are doing well. Time is going by so quickly but we still miss you here. We were only talking about you the other day when we were stuck for an idea and stuck on trying to remember the name of a dang song. It was so funny we all said at the same time “you know who would know that song”.
We love seeing your photos of Australia. It is just how you said it would be. Please include a photo of yourself soon too. It would be great to see your again. We hope your little girl is doing well. What a journey and how happy she must be being home again with you. Well dear girl, take loving care of yourself and keep your light shining. Know you are thought of and loved here in this little part of the south. We might all be parted by distance but not by our hearts. God bless.Your friend always Luann xxx
Hello dear friend. How lovely to hear from you. Well, I make no bones about it, I have unreserved bias for my beautiful homeland. We really are the ‘lucky country’. I do hope Luann, that one day you see it for yourself in all its glorious colour and light. I miss you guys too and it really was such an honor to have volunteered with you all. I am indeed, at times, a very fortunate girl. I’m not sure about the photo request…..my arms are too short for a selfie 🙂 but I’ll see how I go. I tend to ‘pop up’ randomly on my blog every few years though 🙂 To be honest, I’m not really one for photos of myself. Anyway, I hope the weather and life are being kind to you. Take the greatest of care until we perhaps see each other again one day. I close with much love and the happiest of thoughts for my time spent with you all xx
P.S. Luann. I was distracted during my reply to you and I neglected to reply about our little cat as was my intent. Zoe is doing beautifully…thank you. She is happy and content, just as a little cat should be. She is playing as though a kitten again and eating well. There is a fresh fish co-op two buildings away so she has a weekly and deserved indulgence of prawns (which are her favorite). Happy days xx
Finally! A real person with a real blog. No sanitary highlights of the perfect world and perfect life here. You put your very raw self with faults, painful honesty and warts right out there. You have mess, real heartache and sorrow balanced with a sweet, insightful and funny lust for life. Thanks for sharing your not so perfect self. Love Sui
What a lovely comment, thank you. Sometimes I wonder (code for worry) I have ‘said’ too much of myself but to me, that is what writing is about. The truth of experience be it heartbreaking or heartbreakingly funny. Have a blessed day Sui x
Beautiful writing and most importantly..it is real. Your words just speak to me. Thank you, Anouk x
Thank you for such a lovely comment Anouk x
Please post your “Peaches in ginger and vanilla” recipe soon. So looking forward to it. You cook just like my Nan. She did a pinch of this, a dash of that and dot of this. I wanted to inherit her recipes because they were such a wonderful part of my childhood but they were all kept in her head and so hard to write down. I can’t add, as she used to say “a bigger dash of that” because I didn’t know what her smaller dash was to start with. So glad I found your blog. Emma xo
How lovely that your childhood evokes such memories Emma. My grandmother was also the same. Most recipes kept in her head and she cooked with ‘dashes and pinches’ and a big slug of whiskey on hand. I do love the connection of food and people and memories. And yes, I will definitely post my recipe before the peach season finishes. Have a wonderful week x