I’m not sure we can deny it anymore….Christmas is being thrust upon us. All you have to do is look at supermarket shelves, which are already groaning with the weight of festive themed goodies. From Christmas Tree shaped shortbread to gold sprayed chocolate brownies, everything has that extra decadent sparkle & not so festive price hike too.
I say embrace Christmas, but do it from the comfort of your own home by making your own seasonal themed foodie gifts. It may only be October, but the time is NOW if you want to make preserves or pickles that will be ready to eat when give as gifts on the 25th December. I’m going to share my Piccalilli recipe with you, which is one handed down to me from my step-mother, handed down to her from….erm….Delia Smith.
Make no mistake, there’s A LOT of chopping involved so make sure your knives are extra sharp. There’s also turmeric involved, so wear gloves if you’d prefer to totally eliminate the risk of yellow stained hands & nails. Finally – your kitchen will STINK of vinegar, so do make sure it’s well ventilated.
That’s the serious part over with. Now, get ready to make THE best Piccalilli you’ve ever had. I made this for family and friends last Christmas and it’s still being talked about. Delia Smith, I salute you.
2 Cauliflowers, divided into 1 inch (2.5cm) florets
1lb small onions/shallots (450g), quartered and cut across
2 pints malt vinegar
Half a whole nutmeg, grated
Half a tsp powdered allspice
1 cucumber, peeled, cut into quarter inch (5mm) rounds, then each round quartered
1lb runner beans (450g), cut into slices
12oz caster sugar (350g)
2 cloves of garlic, crushed with 3 tsp of salt
2oz dry mustard powder (50g)
1 oz turmeric power (25g)
6 level tablespoons of plain flour (use Doves Farm gf plain flour if you want it to be gluten free)
5 extra tablespoons malt vinegar
3 tablespoons of water
Utensils – a large saucepan and 5 1lb jars
1) Put the cauliflower florets, onions and 2 pints of malt vinegar into a large saucepan, add the nutmeg and allspice and bring to the boil. Cover and simmer for 8 minutes.
2) Remove the lid and stir in the cucumber, runner beans and sugar. Crush the garlic in the salt and add this too. Bring it all up to a simmering point again, cover and cook for another 5 minutes. The vegetables should still have a slight crunch to them at this point, so keep an eye on it!
3) Grab a large colander and place it over a large bowl. Pour the contents of the saucepan into it and let it drain (reserving the vinegar). Mix the mustard powder, turmeric and flour together in a bowl. Gradually work in the additional tablespoons of vinegar and water so the mixture becomes a fairly loose paste. Then add a ladleful of the hot vinegar liquid, drained from the vegetables, stir and transfer to a saucepan.
4) Bring to the boil, whisking as you go with a balloon whisk, gradually adding the remaining hot vinegar. Boil gently for 5 minutes, then transfer the veg from the colander to the large bowl, and pour over the sauce. Stir well to mix, then pop the Piccalilli into your jars. Make sure they’ve been cleaned correctly before use, and heated up in the oven previously. I boil the rubber seals for a few mins and clean the jars in the dishwasher before use. Pop the jars in a hot oven for 10 minutes before you need them so they’re nice and warm for the Piccalilli.
5) Store the cooled down Piccalilli in a cool, dark cupboard for at least 4-6 weeks before eating. You can keep the Piccalilli for up to 3 months before eating, but I very much doubt it’ll last that long!
Please let me know what you think and if you do give it as gifts, I’d love to know what your recipients think too!
Recipe taken from Delia Smith’s Complete Illustrated Cookery Course, 199.