Diehards

Monday, 7 March 2011

Jar Head

Because they were going cheap in Ikea I bought more kilner jars than you can shake a stick at. The contents of many an opened packet found itself rehomed in glorious glass: crunchy muesli, spelt flour, Lebanese cracked wheat et al, all neatly contained. Now I just need a proper pantry. Bob said yesterday when I was hunting for somewhere to store my baking supplies: 'I think you've exceeded your capacity.' Quite! Especially as I've been fruitfully creating new contents for the rest of the jars:

Moroccan lemons: summer, bottled.*


Brinjal pickle. My mother used to make this when I was a child. Although it was a favourite of mine I'd forgotten about it until I came across a recipe recently. Apparently it's a speciality of the Bene Israel community of India.*


Chilli-fry: the hottest condiment ever.**



*Both recipes from Claudia Roden, The Book of Jewish Food: An Odyssey from Samarkand and Vilna to the Present Day (Penguin, 1996)

**This recipe was given to me via email by my brother, with the addendum: "When it has cooled down and you've bottled it, don't just wash out the frying pan. Pour some oil into it and heat slowly, scraping up all the remaining bits of chilli and onion that are stuck. Allow it to cool, bottle it, and you have a chilli infused oil for salad dressings, pasta, or just to dip fresh bread into." (It's these little asides that make recipes from people you know so much more rewarding than the ones in books.) I just happened to have some bread left over from the previous night's supper; needless to say not much of the oil made it to the bottle:




25 comments:

Kass said...

You are a cook and an artist!

Very pretty.

It's weird. I don't cook, but I spend a lot of time watching cooking shows and reading cooking blogs.

savannah said...

impressive! maybe when the MITM comes home again, i'll start really cooking. xoxoxo

The Unbearable Banishment said...

You could have left the captions the off the photos and held a contest to see if people could guess what's inside. My guess for #1 would have been somebody's buttocks.

Linnhe Mara said...

Kilner jars always appeal.There was brief moment, a few years ago, when I had glass jars and bottles full of healthy snacks lined up on the worktop. It didn't last! My constant battle with clutter, a losing battle on my part, had me sweeping them all in to a cupboard. If the contents looked half as exciting as yours I might be tempted to try again: )

Mary Witzl said...

I love those jars! (That's a soy sauce bottle, isn't it? Kikkoman, right?)

I feel so smug. Even if your brother hadn't told you to use the stuff left in your skillet, I'd have done it. The only stuff I waste in the kitchen is stuff that nobody could possibly consume. I shudder to watch my kids and husband cook: they leave all sorts of things in pans and blithely wash them down the drain.

Kim Ayres said...

Some of those look more like they ought to have body parts floating in them like something out of an old mad professor's laboratory...

The Pollinatrix said...

It's a very telling thing about how deeply I'm involved in housebuilding plans that looking at these, all I can think is "What great windows those could make!"

angryparsnip said...

What a wonderfully tasty post today.
Your pantry sounds filled with fabulous items.

I love Moroccan Lemons, never made them though and the Brinjal pickles and Chilli-fry looks wonderful.

I love anything pickled and maybe that is why I love eating in Japan, you always have lots of pickled items to eat with your food.
Heaven !

I make simple fast Japanese style Tsukemono.

cheers, parsnip

Tess Kincaid said...

Wow, I'm impressed. The lemons are beautiful and so otherworldly looking!

Rachel Fox said...

When we get home I want to come to your house for a meal! Or two...
x

Mollie said...

I would just love to sit and watch you do your thing in the kitchen while I gobble everything you make! Gah! You're so awesome.

Scarlet Blue said...

I bet these jars look wonderful displayed in your kitchen. They make my three pasta jars look like unappetising debris from the 1980's...
Sx

Eryl said...

Kass ~ thank you!

I think I learnt to cook because it was one of the very few creative activities available to me when I didn't realise I was creatively inclined. And I found very early on that food pleased people when I got it right. I was lucky that when I first started out, as a young wife and mother, the culinary renaissance was just gathering momentum in the UK so there were lots of people getting rather excited about it and I was able to join in. I have Elizabeth David to thank for that.

Savannah ~ fingers crossed that will be very soon indeed. I do think one needs someone to cook for, XXXXXXX

UB ~ I wish I had now! "A row of pickles line the shelves like jars of pickled buttocks." If I were Philip Larkin I'd be able to do something with that image.

Linnhe ~ did the healthy snacks get eaten? I have found the trouble with putting things on the counters encourages others to add to them until there's no space to work. Like you I'm constantly battling clutter, it's like weeds.

Mary ~ Kikkoman indeed, they're such handy little bottles for all sorts of liquidy things, and I love their shape.

Kim ~ what is it with you men, there's UB thinking the lemons are buttocks and now this?!

Polli ~ you're house is going to be so damn cool!

Parsnip ~ Tsukemono? I have no idea what that is, but I want some! Moroccan lemons are the easiest thing in the world: quarter your lemons lengthwise but not quite all the way to the bottom so they are still joined, stuff each with a tablespoon of salt, squash into a jar. After a few days if the juice doesn't cover them top up with more, leave for a week at least, the longer you leave them the softer the skins become. Rinse thoroughly before eating.

Tess ~ I used to thing preserving was the kind of thing other, more skilled and patient, people did. But it's so easy and the results can keep you going for months! Definitely a new passion.

Rachel ~ you will be more than welcome. Hopefully we'll have had the roof fixed by then so you won't have to hold an umbrella while you eat.

Mollie ~ having someone to eat as I cook would be great!

Scarlet ~ they're more crammed onto any available shelf now. I did attempt artful display but...

Sausage Fingers said...

Great pics, I do hope you get a gig for a foodie magazine.
Cheers, Sausage...

nick said...

Jars make everything look tidier and better-organised, even though in reality they do nothing for the exceeded-capacity situation and are merely pretty. A sort of optical illusion.

Titus said...

I love the capacity comment!

And I thought the lemons were tripe...

Lulu LaBonne said...

Hey - we must be twins (but I'm the retarded one), I also have a stack of kilner jars - I haven't got round to filling them yet but you've inspired me

Pat said...

Ah Kilner jars and I feel twinges of guilt as I remember the thick glass and the rubbery joints. They used to stare accusingly at me from the top larder shelf whilst I wondered what the hell to put in them.
You are a proper housewife Eryl. I'll bet you put eggs down too:)

Eryl said...

Sausie ~ I'm not sure if writing for a food magazine would be good or not: the pressure!

Nick ~ you're so right! And they actually encourage me to exceed my capacity further, I've now filled every jar and the cupboards and shelves are bulging. However, the spillage problem has been solved.

Titus ~ I can see the tripe in that picture, now you mention it. You can trust your children to tell it like it is!

Lulu ~ you make things that need to be eaten straight away due to their deliciousness. No need for jars. I rather like the idea of a huge one filled with little pies though.

Pat ~ put eggs down? I don't know what that is, and now feel lacking.

Alesa Warcan said...

Brinjal pickles? Five minutes googling reveals I have another recipe to try!
Sounds like it has serious potential for deliciousness though it may not be the prettiest of the jarred things you've shown us! ; j

Eryl said...

Alesa ~ it does look a bit specimen like, doesn't it? However it is completely scrumptious.

Eryl said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Carole said...

I love the jars. You make everything look good Eryl.

Eryl said...

Thank you, Carole.

Carmina said...

Those are useful tips, really informative. Thanks for sharing. Great post!