Growing up, a jar of piccalilli was always prominent on the Christmas dinner table. It used to be a staple accompaniment to the roast ham – and the cold meat sandwiches, cheese and pies in the following days.
I found numerous recipes in my collection of cook books; all much the same, with slight variations on the ratios of spices. I’ve made the recipe my own by adding mustard seeds and a couple of chillies for bite and colour.
The preparation takes place over two days – the veg needs to be soaked in salted water (the brine) for 24 hours.
Once that’s done, cooking is a quick 20-minute affair before decanting into jars.
The piccalilli is best left for at least 3 months before using to allow the flavours to develop. That leaves plenty of time before Christmas!
- 1.4kg/3lbs vegetables (I used 800g cauliflower, 300g courgettes, 160g onions, 125g fine beans, 15g red chillies)
- 2l/3½pts water
- 200g/7oz salt
- 1l/1¾pt distilled white vinegar or malt vinegar for pickling
- 140g/5oz Demerara sugar
- 1tbsp mustard seeds
- 1tbsp mustard powder
- 2tsp turmeric
- 1tsp ground ginger
- 1tsp mixed spice
- 1tbsp plain flour
- Dissolve the salt into the water
- Into a large mixing bowl, cut all the vegetables into even sized pieces
- Pour the salted water (brine) over the vegetables making sure they're all submerged. Weigh them down with a plate and cover the bowl over with a tea towel. Leave to stand for 24 hours
- Drain and put the vegetables into a large pan with the vinegar, sugar and spices. Simmer for 10-20 minutes depending on how soft or crunchy you like your veg
- Using a slotted spoon or ladle, decant the vegetables into hot, sterilised jars (I needed 5 mayonnaise-sized jars)
- Mix the flour into the spiced vinegar and boil for 1 minute before pouring into the jars of vegetables
- Seal the lids tightly on to the jars
- Store in a cool, dry cupboard for at least 3 months before using