Something I have done in the last five years which has improved my life by an amount I can even measure in percentage terms (I would say 5%), it would be using one of the duopoly supermarket people to home deliver all my heavy horrible groceries like milk, mineral water and nappies.
In an attempt to further limit pointless driving around I have just started using these people to deliver organic fruit and vegetables to me. The delivery includes a mystery box of what is in season (and presumably cheap).
I think this is something people do perhaps more in the US than here, but I am loving the surprise of it. So what to do with two huge eggplants? Or other vegetables I don't otherwise usually buy like mushrooms. Last time round I got a big batch of plums. Plums remind me of my childhood, I think the plums we had then we a bit different - purple inside rather than orange, but nevertheless, I love their juicy sweetness.
(chopped plums, mint, chilli and spring onions)
The first thing I made was plum tabbouleh, with burghul (ie the traditional way). The plums contrast very well with the grain. Lots and lots of olive oil and lemon juice and salt and you can eat a whole large bowl No Problem At All.
This idea came from Nigel Slater' Tender Volume II, which is a cook's guide to fruit. I have written before about Nigel, and his brilliant cookbooks. (Nigel is on my dream dinner party list. He would be joined by Anthony Bourdain, Ian McEwan, Malcolm Turnbull, Henri Bernard Levy ands the lead singer of Muse (yes, all men. Why not, it's my dream.)).
Then I made a pudding-ey cakey plum cake with cinnamon and honey. This was okay but not amazing but I think I may have overcooked it. A variant on his recipe is here.
Finally, plum chutney. Very easy - chopped up plums, onion, cover with splash of water, some malt and apple cider vinegar, mustard seeds and cinnamon. Cook slowly for an hour. You may need to add more water and check at the end to make sure it is sufficiently sweet \ sour.
Brilliant with pork.
Happy chutney eating to you all.