This morning I am making Aunty Marion's sweet mustard pickles.
My Aunty Marion died 16 years ago, and she was buried on my 10th wedding anniversary.
She was the eldest of my dad's siblings and the only girl. The towns people used to say that she would grow up lop sided as they always saw her with one of her 5 little brothers slung across her hip.
She lived all of her life in Merriwa which is in the hunter valley above Sydney. Her home was on the river bank and her house was a hand built slab hut with many layers of newspapers plastered over the walls then covered with wallpaper that was peeling off and I loved to read bits of the old stories underneath. The ceiling inside was of calico slung between the rafters and tacked on around the wall edges. I drove through Merriwa last year and its still standing and being lived in. But I don't know if its been renovated. The school kids used to go to see her house and farm as an example of pioneering history for school excursions.
She used to earn her living from selling eggs and poultry to the towns people and cleaning for the pubs and other places around town. She also kept ducks, geese, guinea fowl and the odd sheep or pig for people and was the kind of person who would take in anyone or anything if she thought they needed help. I thought she was wonderful and she would sit on the front verandah and brush my hair in the sun and I loved to follow her around and try to learn stuff off her.The first thing I would do when I was a child and we went to visit her was take a walk around her yard and garden to make sure nothing had changed because my family moved around so much and I didn't want her place to change.
Anyway I could write a lot more about her too if I wanted to keep going. She was a good old fashioned cook and preferred her wood stove to the electric one and she used her electric stove mostly to store her pots and pans in. Her pickles and jams were always award winners at the local Merriwa show. Here is her sweet mustard pickle recipe.
3lb chokos, 1 1/2 lb onions, 1 cauliflower, 2pints white vinegar, 1 cup salt, 2lb sugar, 3/4 cup plain flour. 1 desert spoon each of turmeric, curry powder & mustard, 1 tin corn kernels.
Peel seed and dice all veges then place in container with salt, stand overnight. In the morning wash off the salt. Place sugar, 1 1/2 pints of vinegar and veges in pan and bring to boil. Cook for 20 minutes. Mix all dry ingredients with remainder of vinegar and add to pot then boil again for 5 mins longer. Put hot into sterilized bottles put lid on when cold and label.
I like it thick so I added extra flour in mine. You can also add extra sugar if you like it sweeter, just made sure its dissolved. 1 pint = 4 cups. I also recommend using bottles with plastic lids in preference to metal as the vinegar can damage the metal lids over time. It keeps for years. I have also made this using different veges like cucumber and green beans and zucchini to made up the veges so I had enough. Today I used all choko and cauliflower because Lyn at work had the chokos growing and gave me a couple of bags full. Today I doubled the recipe and ran out of jars to put it in.
Please see the comments for this post as I had to correct the original recipe, sorry I was so late in changing them.