I am immensely impressed with those adventurous souls who spend time in test kitchens making up new recipes. I tend to stick to other people's recipes. Two things get in way of me trying this. First, I am much too fond of the food. What would happen if I made a mistake? Each meal feels far to precious to run the risk of a fail.
Second, I have believed, for quite some time, that I have forgotten how to imagine the taste of things. Don’t get me wrong, I know the deliciousness of Nutella and can remember the salty tang of cheddar cheese but I can’t quite imagine them together (probably a good thing. Although…)
It hasn’t always been this way. As a kid I created some marvellous culinary treats. Marmalade and marmite sandwiches were met with retching sounds my siblings in the seventies but don’t seem that far from the current salty, sweet concoctions chefs present today. Marmite on apples: same retching; same salty/sweet thing going on. I’m prepared to admit that my all time childhood favourite, a sandwich of malt vinegar and mayonnaise, has lost a little of its appeal.
This culinary close-mindedness has stood in the way of my pepperdew harvest. Back in spring I was hungry for the sparkling, sour bite of pepperdews as they are usually prepared: pickled. Sometime between then and now the desire for mouth-puckering food has waned.
I researched other recipes for pepperdew preparation and came up empty handed.
I confess I didn’t tell anyone about my decision to dry and grind the pepperdews until after I the first batch was complete. Too many memories of retching noises, I suppose. But the result, if I say so myself, is rather marvellous. Imagine a mild chilli and some unspecified summer fruit (maybe a mango, many a tangy apple) had a burnt umber, love-child. That would be pepperdew powder. It’s delicious and it tastes of concentrated sun.
Now all I need to do is work up the courage to cook with it.