I used to do a lot of pickling when I was a student but apart from the occasional batch I have never really got back into the habit. I love simple pickled vegetables, homemade pickled eggs are great, and I once pickled an octopus with great success.
500g green pepper
500g fresh tomatoes
2 whole lemons
2 whole oranges
500g fresh pineapple (about half a large pineapple)
500ml white wine vinegar
200g brown sugar
4 tbsp grated fresh ginger (or use minced ginger)
2 tbsp salt
3 teaspoons of turmeric powder
2 finely chopped red chillies (or use 2 teaspoons of minced chilli)
4 tbsp of cornflour
- Chop the tomatoes, pepper and pineapple into 2-cm chunks, and the lemons, oranges and onion into 1-cm chunks.
- Combine all the ingredients in a large saucepan, bring to a boil then reduce heat to minimum and simmer for 30 minutes.
- Allow to cool a bit, then place a colander over a large bowl and tip the cooked pickle mixture into it. Once all the liquid has drained out, stand the colander over a plate, and transfer 500ml of the liquid which accumulates in the bowl into a medium sized saucepan. (You can discard the rest of the liquid.)
- Put the cornflour into a glass, and slowly dilute it with about 8 tbsp of the liquid from the saucepan, stirring with a fork to dissolve.
- Add the dissolved cornflour to the saucepan and heat gently, stirring all the time with a whisk. When it starts to reach simmering point the liquid will thicken.
- Combine the cooked pickle and the thickened sauce in a large bowl, and transfer to sterilised jars. Allow to cool fully before closing.
My aunt spent a couple of years in Zambia in the 1970s. She didn't have a great time there - I don't think she was ideally suited to ex-pat life in the Zambian copperbelt or to her first husband. However, I still remember the gifts she brought back for us: African masks, stools covered in hide, and a little tinderbox contain flints and some dried moss. And I think I recall her making a mean chicken in peanut sauce, too.