This month, I’ve been making a lot of my usual preserves – raspberry jelly, elderflower cordial and the like. One I’ve not made before is piccalilli.
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!
Save my recipe to Pinterest here.
- 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
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- 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
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On our dog walk yesterday we picked elderflowers. Today I made our first batch of elderflower cordial of the year.
Elderflower cordial always marks the start of my preserving season. Good kit always makes the jam, jelly, pickling, or chutney-making process more successful. Here are a few preserving tools that I recommend!
- Swift stainless steel preserving pan: £59.96, Divertimenti
- KitchenCraft home made blister carded cooking thermometer: £5.99, Wayfair
- 24 assorted Kilner fruit jam labels: £2.50, John Lewis
- Preserves: River Cottage Handbook No.2: from £7.26, Amazon
- Ball® preserving starter pack: £19.99, Lakeland
Last week we brought you a sweet, baked redcurrant recipe. This week, some more of our redcurrants are being used in a savoury preserve – spiced redcurrant & red onion relish. We’ve slightly altered a recipe we found on the BBC Good Food website.
We’ve not tried out our relish yet – we’re giving the flavours some time to steep. It’s meant to be really good teamed with a creamy goat’s cheese or charcuterie.
Spiced redcurrant & red onion relish
- 2 medium red onions, peeled & sliced into ½cm square pieces
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp dried crushed chillies
- 2 large garlic cloves, chopped finely
- 1 small knob of fresh ginger, grated
- 200ml red wine vinegar (I used some of our home-made blackberry vinegar)
- 140g muscovado sugar
- 1tsp Chinese five spice
- 1 tsp salt
- 200g redcurrants, de-stalked
- In a heavy bottomed frying pan, cook the onions and dried crushed chillies in the olive oil over a medium heat until softened
- Remove from the pan and set aside
- Without washing out the pan, add the garlic and ginger with half the vinegar, bring to the boil and simmer for 2-3 minutes
- Add the cooked onion & chilli mix, sugar, Chinese five spice, salt and the remainder of the vinegar
- Bring back up to the boil then simmer for about 5 minutes until thickened
- Add the redcurrants and simmer for another 5 minutes, or until some of them have burst and the liquid has become syrupy
- Remove and pour into a sterilised, 450ml heatproof jar
- Screw the lid on tightly while still hot. Once opened, it keeps in the fridge for up to 3 weeks