In need of some Christmas gift inspiration? Want something that looks and tastes like way more effort than is actually involved? Look no further than home made piccalilli. Your lucky recipient will think you’ve injected literally hours of love and care – the reality is an inexpensive crowdpleaser that once you’ve salted your veg, you can whip up in less than half an hour.
- sterilise your jars by rinsing well in hot soapy water and then drying in the oven at 180C for 20 minutes.
- toss the vegetables thoroughly in the salt and leave in the fridge overnight in a colander with a bowl underneath.
- The next day, mix the rice flour, turmeric, mustard powder, mustard seeds, nutmeg, nigella, cumin and coriander together in a bowl. Mix the vinegars together and add enough to the turmeric mixture to form a runny paste. Stir in the fresh ginger.
- Heat the sugar, honey and remaining vinegar in a saucepan and bring to the boil. You might want to open a window at this point.
- Scrape in the turmeric mixture and boil for about 5 minutes.Stir well.
- Fold the hot vinegar mixture into the vegetables and load up the hot jars. Leave for 6 weeks. (If you can)
I’ve started helping out at Farm:Shop in Dalston. It’s an exciting and unique project where we’re seeing how much produce we can grow in a disused shop front. And by this, I do mean quite literally, every inch of it. We have aquaponic tanks of fish which feed into lettuce and chard, jars of kefir bacteria (for ginger beer), chickens on the roof and a polytunnel in the back yard, in which we’re planning to plant a cinema screen in amongst the greenery. We’re also thinking of getting a couple of pigs and there will definitely be a great deal of barbecuing if it ever decides to woman-up and stop being winter. I’ll be supplying various gastro-goodies and helping out over the coming months in the café, which officially launches later on this month. I’ve also written a piece for Fork Magazine about what we’re doing, so look out for it in issue 17.
I am addicted to pickles.From Polish mushrooms to Korean radishes, English onions to German Sauerkraut, if it contains salt and/or vinegar I am usually overcome by the sort of craving that isn’t sated until the entire jar has been devoured in one sitting (and yes, if no one’s watching I have even been known to polish off the tangy pickling liquid. It’s that bad).
When I lived in Japan my neighbours would periodically satisfy this craving with gifts of pickled cucumbers and radishes, the vegetables lovingly preserved from a glut they had harvested themselves and the pickling recipe unique to each family. When I found this recipe on the fabulous “Appetite for China” site I had to give it a try. Miraculously I somehow managed to restrain myself enough to wait for the flavours to develop before eating them and it was well worth it. The crisp, tangy results were the perfect accompaniment to some tatsuta age mackerel and steamed basmati brown rice.