We had some friends round this weekend for a barbecue on Saturday night. Debauchery naturally followed in the form of homemade schnapps, however that isn’t the point of my tale.

As a ‘thank you for having us’ present, we were given a box of perfectly ripe mangos from the London fruit market and some Indian sweet delicacies. Despite the fact I’m not the world’s biggest mango fan, this is possibly the best gift anyone could have given me. As a non-native fruit, I tend to avoid mango – well, not avoid per se – because I’m not sure of its season, or what I can do with it other than slice it into chunks and nom. Having a new, shiny ingredient to play with has been brilliant, especially in such large amounts.

So I dutifully turned to my old friend google and decided on mango chutney with apples (as they’re in season now) and chilli (which is growing in my garden. I also attempted my first sorbet in the ice-cream maker, something I’m very much looking forward to because it came out perfectly. The chutney, on the other hand, was less so.

For some reason, the recipe called for a painful quantity of vinegar – which I dutifully added – and I think that as a result, the pectin in the apples struggled slightly to set the mixture. In the end, I started grabbing any old fruit from around the kitchen, including raisins and the juice of a lemon, in the hope it would set the pickle.

This worked, to an extent, though without accompaniment, the chutney is still too tart for my tastes. I will be trying it with pork tonight though, so will report back on my progress. If anyone is interested in the recipe I used, it is on the BBC good food website.

Normally, an unsuccessful pickling attempt would put me in a foul mood automatically. ‘Luckily’ though, the worst possible thing happened this morning which put my mediocre chutney into perspective.

The kettle died.

People say that everyone has some kind of crutch, for when the world gets too hard. A hot, leaf-based beverage is certainly mine. We do have a back-up kettle for the hob, which is something of a relief, however it takes forever to boil and for some reason, tea never tastes quite right from it. C’est la vie. Mum is kindly donating a spare kettle in due course, so for the moment, I will be frequenting the local pub for non-alcoholic drinky-poos.

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