It’s hard to imagine a better accompaniment to a pork pie, cheese and cold meats than a fat spoonful of autumn gold piccalilli! Make it now and it will be good and ready for Christmas. You can buy this pickle in the shops of course but this really is a million times more delicious when it’s homemade. Put it in lovely jars and it makes a great present too. It will keep for six months but some people I know, you know who you are, can’t leave it for six days! It’s not hard to do, quite therapeutic really – here’s what you need!
- Preserving pan.
- Long-handled wooden spoon for stirring.
- Enough sterilized jars to bottle it – it makes around 2KG or 41/2lbs.
- 2 large bowls for brining.
- 225g salt to make a brine
- 450g (1lb) pickling onions, peeled and halved
- 1 medium-sized cauliflower, washed and broken into small florets
- 2 courgettes cut into bite-sized batons
- 2 heads of garlic, peeled and left whole
- 225g (8oz) French beans cut into bite-sized pieces
- 30g (1oz) cornflour
- 60g (2oz) English mustard powder
- 1 tablespoon brown mustard seeds
- 225g (8oz) golden caster sugar
- 1 tablespoon of ground turmeric
- 750ml (1 1/4 pints) distilled, clear malt vinegar
- First, make the brine in both bowls. Put half the salt into each bowl and dissolve it in about 200ml (7fl oz) of boiling water. Top it up with cold water – about a pint and a half or 800ml. Each bowl needs to contain sufficient brine to draw out the excess moisture from the vegetables but not overflow when the vegetables are added.
- Add all the chopped vegetables to the brine. They all need to be evenly bite-sized as it makes it nicer to eat and easier to bottle. Leave it overnight to soak.
- The following day, sterilize your jars (in the dishwasher or in a cool oven) and then make the piccalilli sauce. Combine the cornflour, mustard powder, mustard seeds, sugar and turmeric powder in a mixing bowl. Make it into a smooth paste with a little of the vinegar. Mix in the rest of the vinegar and then pour it all into the preserving pan.
- Bring the mixture to the boil and keep whisking it so that it starts to cook through and thicken. Simmer it for about 4 or 5 minutes until it’s cooked through. Take it off the heat whilst you attend to the vegetables.
- Rinse the vegetables and drain them really well. I usually lay them out on a couple of clean, dry tea towels to get them properly dry.
- Add the vegetables to the mustard and vinegar sauce, bring it back to the boil and simmer until the vegetables are cooked but still have bite.
- Pot the mixture into hot, sterilized jars. Make sure that each jar has an even mix of vegetables and press them down gently so that there are no air bubbles. Seal the jars with vinegar-proof lids and seal.
- Wait until the jars are cool before you label them. Enjoy!
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