Wednesday, September 5, 2012

River Cottage Piccalilli...

It's that time of year again! Vegetable patches and allotments up and down the country are bursting at the seams with great gluts of delicious runner beans, courgettes, french beans, broccoli and sweetcorn. We'll have hearty root vegetables aplenty over the coming months but the season for crisp green vegetables is fleeting. I love to make a hot piccalilli at this time of the year to preserve some of this summery vitality.
 



I followed this lovely recipe from The River Cottage Preserves Handbook...

Ingredients:

1 kg washed, peeled vegetables - select 5 or 6 from the following: cauliflower or romanesco cauliflower, green beans, cucumbers, courgettes, green or yellow tomatoes, tomatilloes, carrots, small silver-skinned onions or shallots, peppers or nasturtium seed pods.
50g fine salt
30g cornflour
10g ground tumeric
10g English mustard powder
15f yellow mustard seeds
1 tsp crushed cumin seeds
1 tspn crushed coriander seeds
600ml cider vinegar
150g granulated sugar
50g honey

Cut the vegetables into small, even, bite-sized pieces. Place in a large bowl and sprinkle with the salt. Mix well, cover the bowl with a tea towel and leave in a cool place for 24 hours, then rinse the veg with ice cold water and drain thoroughly.

Blend the cornflour, turmeric, mustard powder, mustard seeds, cumin seeds and coriander into a smooth paste with a little of the vinegar. Put the rest of the vinegar into a saucepan with the sugar and honey and bring to the boil. Pour a little of the hot vinegar over the blended spice paste, stir well and return to the pan. Bring gently to the boil, boil for 3 - 4 minutes to allow the spices to release their flavours into the thickening sauce.

Remove the pan from the heat and carefully fold the well-drained vegetables into the hot, spicy sauce. Pack the pickle into warm, sterilised jars and seal immediately with vinegar-proof lids.

You need to leave the piccalilli for several weeks to allow the vinegar flavour to mellow. I like to save mine until December 1st - it makes it festive and exciting! This hot, crunchy pickle will brighten up many a supper time this Winter when it's dark by the time I scurry home from work. I'm looking forward to enjoying it with chunks of roasted ham, cheese and crusty bread.

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