Charles gave me a jar of his home-made pickled greengages last year, and they somehow found their way to the back of all the other pickles in my cupboard - until now. How I wish I had tasted them earlier. Now Charles has kindly shared the recipe with me, and the greengages are absolutely delicious with most cheeses, but especially with Freddie de Lisle's Quenby Stilton.
2kg greengages, halved and stoned
1 litre white distilled vinegar
500g granulated or caster sugar
Seeds from 20 cardamom pods
2tbsp green peppercorns, fresh or canned
5g mace blades
12 dried red chillies
Pack the greengages into four or five half-litre sterilised Kilner or preserving jars with an equal proportion of the spices in each. You may need more or less depending how tightly the greengages are packed. Meanwhile, boil the vinegar and sugar for a couple of minutes, stirring a couple of times until the sugar has dissolved. Pour the hot liquid into the jars, seal the lids and then turn the jars upside down for 15 minutes or so to seal the lids. Turn them back up, leave to cool and store in a cool place for up to six months.
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