Wednesday, 13 June 2007


Generally I'm a dry season kind of person. January is our spring. The air is crisp and the sky has a particular blueness that is good for the soul. By the end of December I am usually drowning in humidity and gasping for the dry season. So much so that I forget the richness of our rain. The big fat heavy drops and the rolls of thunder rumbling down the Northern Range. I am glad to see the rain this year. I woke to heavy rain this morning and the murmurs of a satisfied garden. June is the time of mangoes and with the cocoa tree still bearing, I am feeling rather estate-ish. Below is a picture of cocoa as it is off the tree. The creamy sap that cloaks each pod is sweet and mild and rolls around the mouth comfortably. The actual cocoa bean is quite bitter and almost purple in colour. As teenagers we would grate the cocoa pod (i.e. the nubbly skin) put the slimy product in our hair and leave it in all afternoon believing it to be the best conditioner in the world.
With the mangoes turning ripe faster than we can eat them, it is time to make chutney. We will spend most of tomorrow peeling green mangoes and preparing the bottles. It is somehow fitting that the first recipe post that I make should be mango chutney. I use my mother's recipe and it is an old local one that is lovely. Mango Vert generally makes the best chutney but I have Julies which are unbeatable for fresh eating but (according to my mother) are not the first choice for chutney. I made a batch last year and was very happy with the results so we will see what happens this year.

The reason that the cocoa often goes unused is that it is so beautiful on the tree. I leave them so long that the squirrels eventually get to them and enjoy them more than we do.