Crates of chutneys and jams are stacked against the walls of Kylee Newton’s living room, almost as high as the ceiling.
‘When people hear that I make preserves, I think they picture me in a country house with an orchard and a vegetable garden, going out to feed the chickens in a long white dress.’ She glances at the kitchen of her flat, which is about three feet wide. ‘They’re always surprised to hear I make everything in my own little kitchen! But I want people to know how doable it is – even in the centre of London.’
Kylee is the author of The Modern Preserver, a cookbook which features beautiful recipes for jams, chutneys, relishes, pickles and ketchups. There’s something classical about her recipes – many are based on preserves she used to cook in her mother’s kitchen as a child – but they all feature thoughtful, unexpected little twists. She’ll add flaked almonds to a recipe for texture, fresh herbs to brighten a sweet jam, and exotic fruits that remind her of her New Zealand childhood. In the fruit bowl on the table, tamarillos sit among the pears. ‘I love introducing people to new flavours,’ she says. As one of the judges of our second Annual Pickle Competition, she’s looking forward to trying some new flavours herself.
Terry will be using some of her preserves as inspiration for the food that will be served on the night. As all of Kylee’s recipes are seasonal, she doesn’t know what she’ll be making by the time October comes, but she’s already excited. ‘I love the autumn harvest. I can’t wait for the blackberries, the greengages, the plums...’
The menu is yet to be revealed, but when you get two Antipodean pickle-obsessives together, the results are bound to be explosive. They even have the same attitude towards hangovers, frighteningly enough. 'Best cure for a hangover? Hard work.' Kylee laughs. 'You just need to get in the kitchen and start cooking.'