I am a constant fan of Piccalilli! I can't get enough of the stuff. So when I arrived in Piemonte I knew I had to learn how to make Piccalilli fast, as there is no sourcing this delight here! I made a few different recipes since arriving and they were a bit hit and miss. I have finally found a traditional, easy to make recipe that actually works consistently and tastes like Piccalilli!
The recipe is from 'A Little Course in Preserving' Book by DK
Makes 3 Medium Jars, Must rest before opening for a month, will keep for 6 months + if sealed in a water bath.
Ingredients for Piccalilli
60g sea salt
1 large cauliflower, cut into florets
2 large onions, peeled, quartered and sliced finely, or use pickling onions (I buy the pickled baby onions in a jar for my version)
900g mixed vegetables e.g. courgettes, runner beans, carrots, green beans cut into bite size pieces
2 tbsp flour
225g granulated sugar
1 tbsp turmeric
60g English mustard powder (Colmans for me)
900ml pickling vinegar
Spices for vinegar- 1tbs black peppercorns, 1 tbsp allspice berries, 1 tbs mustard seeds, 1 crushed dried red chilli, 1 bay leaf, 1/2 crushed cinnamon stick, 1/2 tbs cardamom pods, 2 crushed garlic cloves
1. Make the pickling vinegar first by adding the spices to a square of muslin and tie a knot to enclose the bag
2. Pour the vinegar into a pan and add the spice bag
3. Bring vinegar to the boil and boil for 10mins
4. Set aside and allow to cool
5. Strain the vinegar and leave overnight
6. Brine the vegetables put the salt and 1.2ltrs of water in a large glass or ceramic bowl and mix well. Add the vegetables and cover with a plate to keep the vegetables submerged. Leave to stand overnight at room temperature
7. Rinse the vegetables to remove the brine (I taste after a few rinses to make sure they aren't too salty)
8. Bring a large pan of water to the boil, add half the vegetables and blanch for 2 mins before removing and dip the vegetables into cold water to halt the cooking process. Repeat with 2nd half of veg.
Tip: Cook the vegetables until al-dente, don't overcook
9.Make the spiced vinegar sauce:
Form a spice paste by putting flour, sugar, turmeric powder and mustard powder in a small non staining bowl (I use glass) and mix with a little of the spiced vinegar to make a paste.
10. Transfer to a large stainless steel pan, pour in rest of the vinegar, and bring to the boil, stirring constantly. (Stirring constantly ensures the ingredients won't form lumps)
11.Simmer the vinegar mix for 15 minutes, then remove from heat.
12. Add the vegetables to the pan, stir until well coated in the sauce.
13. Ladle into sterilised jars and press the vegetables down to prevent air pockets.
14. Seal with non-metallic or vinegar proof lids.
15. Label once cool
16. Store in a dark, cool place for at least a month to allow flavours to mature.
Once opened keep refrigerated!
Serve with cheddar cheese, crusty bread and even an Italian ham salad - Yum!
Clare, 41, living the 'dolce vita' in Piemonte in the Langhe Hills. This new blog is dedicated to the delicious food and drink of the Italian Piedmont region. To read more about our new life in the Langhe we have a life in Piemonte blog here