Preparation time: ~12 + 1 hours
I’m not sure about you but I love the idea of canning and pickling. I have a vision of one day having a house, a big bright, airy kitchen, a garden which I can fill with vegetable and fruit seeds during the spring – harvesting them during the summer and doing all sorts of exciting things with them. I want a separate building which I can fill with jars – jams, marmalades, pickles. I want to be able to stock up for winter and maintain an inventory so I know just how many jars and bottles I have out there at any one time. Eventually I even want to have chest freezers and freeze things I have grown. All things in time though. For the moment I have to make do with the space and resources that I have available to me and one way of satisfying my conserving urges is through canning. I make a mean chutney but it was time to try something a little different.
I was talking with Sissi a while ago about mustard and she recommended I try something called “Savora”. A product similar to Mustard by the company Amora which features mustard, cinnamon, cayenne pepper, nutmeg, turmeric, cloves, celery, garlic and tarragon. I was pleased to discover this and think I’ll probably be keeping this in the house from now on (thanks Sissi!) but I also immediately noticed that it was a lot like a smoothpiccalilli to me – a British take on Indian pickle (apparently). For those of you unfamiliar with it, it’s a deliciously tangy, spiced, crunchy collection of vegetables, cooked in vinegar commonly eaten with cold meats, cheese, bread, and so forth. If you want to know my idea of the world’s best sandwich it’s as follows: two slices of white bread, thinly spread with mayo, stick in some thinly-sliced strong cheddar, sliced cucumber, thinly-sliced ham, sandwich it all together with some piccalilli and baby, you got a party goin’ on in yo’ mouth!
As with many things, quality of the raw materials plays a big role on the final outcome of the dish. The biggest tip I can give you is to use a good vinegar which isn’t too sharp in flavour. Additionally, make sure you don’t forget to brine the vegetables over night. This will ensure they retain flavour, crunch and bite after cooking in the vinegar.
If you have a garden and end up growing a whole load of veg like this (let’s face it – cauliflower is vile!… sorry, I grapple with it yearly and still can’t get on board with it fully!) this is the perfect use for it.
Have a wonderful Thursday everyone – I’ll be back on Sunday with another gluten-free post, as well as some photos of… well, you’ll have to wait and see. I have a family member visiting and we’ll be visiting a thing or two… some nice photo opportunities to be had!
For the brine
- 2 litres of cold water
- 100g Salt
For the piccalilli
- 2kg of Mixed Vegetables (Cauliflower, Marrow, Cucumber, Silver-skin onions, gherkins, carrot, etc)
- 1.5 litres of Vinegar
- 250g Sugar
- 30g Plain Flour
- 20g Ground Ginger
- 20g Mustard Powder
- 10g Turmeric
You’ll also need
- At least 4 or 5 medium-sized Preserving Jars
- At least 12 hours, preferably 24 hours, before you plan on making this, wash and dice the vegetables very finely. Break the cauliflower into tiny florets and peel the small onions – remember: piccalilli is often eaten in sandwiches so that should give you an indication of the sort of size things need to be. Mix the salt well with the water for the brine and then pour the vegetables in. Cover and leave to soak for 12-24 hours before draining.
- Place the sugar, turmeric, ginger and mustard into a large pan and pour in the vinegar. Mix well and then add in the vegetables. Bring the pot to the boil, but do not cover. You probably want to make sure there is some good ventilation in your kitchen – boiling vinegar fumes can be rather overpowering. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until the vegetables are tender (though not mushy). At this point, heat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius and wash your preserving jars thoroughly. Place upside down in the hot oven to sterilise for 10 minutes (not including the rubber seals of course (place these into a jug of boiling water to sterilise) while you move onto the next step.
- Mix the flour in a little extra vinegar using a small whisk and then mix into the piccalilli in the pan. Stir well and allow to cook for a further 10 minutes or so while the pickle thickens up. Meanwhile, remove the preserving jars from the oven carefully and allow to cool slightly. Spoon the slightly thickened piccalilli into the still hot preserving jars, filling up to about 1.5cm away from the lid, apply the rubber seal and close the jars immediately. Enjoy with meats, sandwiches, cheeses… the possibilities are endless!