One of my favourite jobs at this time of year is chutney making. The French love it and I often take a small pot along when we are invited out to dinner. They look surprised, disbelief follows when they are told what to do with it; but they always ring up for the recipe afterwards!
I don't have any particular recipe, although I base it on Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall's, but use whatever is available in the garden. Today's batch has aubergine, French beans, cucumber, onions, garlic, green tomatoes, green peppers and Red Hot Chilli Peppers. Well, one actually. Be warned, the juice from this vegetable gets into your skin and stays there. Washing hands, showering, gardening and more washing doesn't mean it has been removed...
My son and I sat in the kitchen together and chopped vegetables for half an hour enjoying the relative peace and quiet. We talked about the satisfaction of growing our own chutney - raisins excepted - and the very last thing I chopped were the Red Hot Chilli Pepper.
After getting the chutney into the oven (I slow cook it rather than cooking it on the top of the oven) I had a lovely day, sowing some Swiss Chard and some Chinese Lettuce, and transplanting some lettuce seedlings. Then it was off to a local church for a wonderful concert. On my return supper was underway and we had delicious spaghetti with a pesto sauce (Basil supplied by yours truly from the garden of course!)
At some point I must have rubbed my eyes; I can even vaguely remember doing it. BIG mistake! The sting was not instant but came on gradually and in stages. Each stage was just about bearable but then WHOOSH...it got worse. Finally I couldn't see and my youngest went to get some ice. Didn't help. Then Max suggested some cucumber slices. This was BRILLIANT. The cucumbers are in the fridge (in the hope that we will be able to use them before they go off) and were so wonderfully cool when sliced. The children thought it very funny to have Mum sitting there looking like a complete prune; needless to say one of them had his I-phone with him and took full advantage of the situation to take photos of me looking stupid! But it was worth it. After about two minutes the pain went and I could see again.
So, if you are foolish enough - or unfortunate enough - to get Red Hot Chilli Peppers in your eyes, cut some cucumber slices and they will help enormously. Alternatively, just wear this rubber gloves when you are cutting them up!