Wednesday, 14 September 2011

A pretty pickle...

As Carl Sandburg once said: “Life is like an onion: you peel it off one layer at a time, and sometimes you weep”...

...then again he also said “the moon is a friend for the lonesome to talk to” so possibly isn’t the most sane of people to listen to!  (No offence budding poets!)

Perhaps a more fitting phrase for me this week would be “Life is like a pickled onion: you pop one in your mouth and spend the next few moments in a rapture of gurning, vinegary, delight!”...

Yes, this week I have been pickling anything that has sat still on the counter top long enough to be thrown in vinegar.  A vat of pickled onions and more piccalilli than you could shake a stick at... which is apparently quite a lot!

Only three days left until my holiday to Portugal... goodbye preserving, HELLLOOOOOO sun, sand, swimming pools, sangria, surfing and Portuguese Custard Tarts! Ok, so the last one doesn’t start with S but it’s still pretty exciting!

Don't miss me too much...

Make brine by boiling one litre of water with the salt until dissolved.  Cool completely.  Peel the shallots, and submerge in the brine.  Leave for at least 24 hours.

Place the rest of the ingredients and two of the peeled shallots in a pan with an additional teaspoon of salt and two peeled shallots.  Bring to the boil and boil for five minutes.  Turn off the heat and leave to cool completely. 

Rinse the brine from the shallots and pack them into jars.  Pour over the cold vinegar, seal and store in a cool place.  Leave for at least a week before opening.

Place the vegetables in a colander over a bowl.  Sprinkle with salt and mix.  Cover with a tea towel and place in the fridge for 24 hours.  Rinse with cold water and leave in the colander to drain.

Blend the cornflour, turmeric, mustard, ginger, and seeds to a smooth paste with a small amount of vinegar.

Bring the rest of the vinegar to the boil with the sugar and honey.  Pour a little of the hot vinegar in the spice paste to loosen it up.  Then pour into the vinegar.  Bring back to the boil and stir until thickened to the consistency desired then turn off the heat.

Stir in the vegetables and pack into warm, sterilised jars.  Leave for 6 weeks before opening and use within the year.

1kg shallots
250g salt
1L malt vinegar
60g pickling spices (I used a mixture of whole coriander seeds, mustard seeds, chilli, peppercorns, bay leaves, all spice)
25g root ginger
1 small cinnamon stick

1kg assorted crunchy vegetables, chopped to bite-sized pieces (I used radish, courgette, cauliflower, cucumber, green beans, carrot, and onion)
50g salt
60g cornflour
20g turmeric
20g English mustard powder
20g ground ginger
1 tbsp mustard seeds
2tsp cumin seeds
2tsp coriander seeds
1L vinegar
100g sugar
300g honey

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