Sharon said this can be made with just about any fruit but I don’t believe her. She also says it knocks the tui out of the trees, and she might be right there.  Every Autumn, for almost the last decade, we’ve made this fiery chutney from tamarilloes.  I say we, but in actual fact, this is the daughter’s area of expertise and I always cajole and plead and beg for her to do the honours.  In fact, sitting on the kitchen table are some fine tamarilloes, just asking to be chopped up and cooked slowly with the right spices.

It is fantastic with almost everything I can think of, and no home should be without a jar or two.

Fiery Chutney

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 apple, peeled, cored, and roughly chopped
  • ¼ cup vinegar
  • 8 to 10 tamarilloes
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pickling spice, inside a small muslin bag

Chop the onion and place it in a large pan.  Cut fruit in half and scoop out into the pan.

Add the rest of the ingredients and bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for about half an hour or until the mixture thickens.

Keeps well in a jar in the fridge.

We seem to have a surplus of spud at the moment, as well.  Plants popped up around the place and we allowed them to thrive and produce as they wanted to over the summer.  Potato is one of my favourite vegetables, nothing beats them roasted with garlic, turned into crispy chips, or simply mashed with butter and a little milk. 

These glorious tubers are the basis of Western cuisine.  But it’s taken a while for us to get the hang of them. 

A few centuries ago, the Irish thought they were only good to feed to the cattle, and many thought they were poisonous.  This wasn’t helped when at a feast in England the whole thing – leaves and stalky bits and all – were fed to guests, with the result that many were sick.  The French held that they enfeebled a man, and the British carried them around in their pockets as a rheumatism cure (which might have been better than eating the wrong bits). 

I know if I go without them for too long (a day or two) I yearn for the familiar taste of the common old spud.

The following dish is simple itself and is magic with the chutney.  Better yet, there are no onions to chop or garlic to peel.  Almost a piece of cake.  And it comes into its own when the larder is bare and visitors drop by.

Italian potato pie

  • 1kg potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 can tomatoes
  • salt, black pepper
  • 300g mozzarella, grated
  • 2 tbsp capers
  • 12 black olives, unstoned
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tbsp fresh oregano, parsley, coriander, all chopped

Preheat the oven to 200ºC

Place tomatoes in a colander to drain off as much liquid as possible

Cook the potatoes in salted water until tender, drain, and mash well, using half of the oil.  Set aside.

Oil a pizza tray and spread the potato mixture on this to about pizza-base depth.

Cover with tomatoes, sprinkle with cheese, and arrange capers and olives on top.  Dust with paprika and herbs.

Drizzle the remaining oil over the entire dish and end with a flourish of black pepper.  Bake for about 20 minutes