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Things I've made that I didn't make up - pickles, jams and piccalilli

Inspired by a post on Vegan Dad's blog entitled Stuff I've Made But Did Not Make Up, I thought I'd share with you lucky little lot a few recipes that I've made that have worked out for me, on the offchance you had a spare rainy afternoon and fancied giving them a crack yourself.

For some reason, I had a brief pickling phase. There's something about pickling that I like - I like the idea of stashing something away for a long time, of making something that can last for months and still taste grand. I like the idea that you could make something now and it would still be there, veggie goodness and all, in a year's time, even post apocalypse. It would be me and the cockroaches, but I'd still be able to have a good bit of chutney, dammit.

The first recipe I've made that went over quite well is Sweet chilli jam, which has had repeat orders from my parents, who I tend to foist jars of experimental produce on. Aside from the hot-sweet axis of awesome, what pleases me about this jam is that making a massive vat of it and watching it bubble makes you feel a bit like a mad scientist or a witch.

Another thumbs up for jam work goes to this recipe for redcurrant and raspberry jam (PDF) which I knocked up with yet more goodies from my partner's mum. It turned out so well, I'm going to try and impress the lady in question with a jar of it!

A blast from the past that also turned out well was this recipe for piccalilli. I remember there always being a jar of piccalilli in the fridge when I was a kid, so it has some weird nostalgia thing for me. Yep, yellow vinegary fluid always takes me back to my childhood. Hmm.

The last recipe I wanted to share, only I can't remember which one I used, was one for pickled shallots. Alas, I can't find the recipe I made myself, but I think it was this one from the BBC, only I replaced the juniper berries and allspice berries with a few sprigs of rosemary and it was all gravy.

I made the pickled shallots over six months ago, and found a jar leftover in the back of a cupboard. I'm happy to report they're still good. Now bring on the apocalype. I'll meet it with a smile on my face and a jar of pickle in my hand.

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