Mrs Jones’s whizzy whizzed cucumber relish recipe made with Mr Jones’s home grown cucumbers

These Jones’s I speak of are unrelated. But they both hail from a period in our younger lives when we danced in the dirt at the O’Connell Hotel on a Sunday afternoon and played house in a little cottage just up the road of an evening. Steve and I and a crazy, spotty dog called Floyd.

Across the courtyard lived our glamorous friend Lorraine who whizzy whizzed things up in the kitchen, from the garden, inspired by Elizabeth David, and who, together with her husband Ted, left their indelible mark on us.

This is one of Rainie’s recipes. Captured on the hop, for nothing is ever written down.  Or measured.

cucumber relish


Our friend, Mr Jones (not Mrs Jones’s Mr Jones but the dancing in the dirt Mr Jones) dropped a bounty of home grown cucumbers into us during the week. They are not the normal egg cucumbers I use but any will do.

cucumber skins

cucumbers and pot

diced cucumbers

cucumbers into pot

Chopped and covered in malt vinegar.

brown vinegar

With a wicked amount of sugar.

mountains of sugar

And a cacophony of spices.


Brought to the boil and simmered for a gentle couple of hours.

With a little bit of cheese, a sprig of something pretty from the garden, an old silver fork, some swing playing in the background – it becomes for us, just one of those personal little moments that are imbued with so much more than what’s on the plate.

It’s part of the great pleasure of cooking for me. The stories behind a recipe. The smells that whizzy whiz you back to happy times.

on a plate

I hope you’ve all had some precious downtime over the holidays. Our Christmas has been very chilled this year. A little salt water. A little time together as a family. I have been driving everyone crazy (including our neighbours) with the soundtrack from Mad Bastards, a film shot in the Kimberly region of Western Australia in 2010. It’s become our soundtrack for the holidays, or as Alex Lloyd and the Pigrim brothers would put it, for “the season of the lulling.” I can’t get it enough of it. Here’s a taste.  And another one from Kasey Chamber and Shane Nicholson – Sleeping Cold.  And just one more, The Pigram Brothers and Alex Lloyd’s though it’s a little different than the actual soundtrack version Nothing Really Matters … here ha ha .  I’ll go now.


Lorraine’s Cucumber Relish

Malt vinegar to cover
Egg cucumbers, sliced into quarters
Pepper and salt (I add about 20 black peppercorns as well)
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
4 fresh ginger slices
2 fresh basil sprigs
Heaps of sugar ( I would have used 750g for this big pot)
5 bay leaves
10 whole cloves
Big teaspoon of curry powder (I add more – to taste)
A touch of honey.


  1. Wash and slice and chop the cucumbers.
  2. Just cover them with malt vinegar.
  3. Add everything else.
  4. Bring to the boil and simmer away gently for a couple of hours.
  5. Sterilise some jars in the oven and seal while relish is hot.

Adjust the seasonings as you wish. It will taste pretty zingy/sharp but there needs to be a sweetness there as well. So add some more sugar if you think it’s too vinegary. But bear in mind that it will mellow in the jars so don’t make it sickly sweet. It needs a vinegary edge.




Wishing you only good things for the coming year.



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    1. Janeen O'Shea
      Posted 9 January 2016 at 8:07 am | Permalink

      Wonderful, wonderful post Margie. Loved it! And a great recipe into the bargain x

      • Marg
        Posted 9 January 2016 at 9:27 am | Permalink

        Thanks Janeen. I reckon you could do this with other things too, maybe zuchs, eggplant, capsicums – don’t know… worth trying. xx

    2. Sue Douglas
      Posted 10 January 2016 at 6:20 am | Permalink

      Thanks Marg, lovely post, very evocative 🙂

      • Marg
        Posted 10 January 2016 at 10:16 am | Permalink

        Cheers Sue. x

    3. Posted 13 January 2016 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

      My grandmother was the pickling queen. Grew everything too. She made watermelon rind preserves which were a way of making something out of nothing. Her recipes disappeared with her. Your recipe looks marvelous although I’ve no idea what an egg cucumber is.
      Happy New Year,

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