I have only just discovered Piccalilli! At least, I always knew what it was, but only recently found out that I love it, having been served a home-made version as part of a pub lunch – it was absolutely delicious, and I decided there and then that I wanted to try and make my own.
Piccalilli is a pickle made from chopped vegetables, mustard, and hot spices. Having had a look at a few recipes, I have taken the bits I like from each to come up with this version. If you would like to check out the original recipes they are all pinned on my Homemade Presents and Preserves board on Pinterest.
It is a fairly long list of ingredients, but you really can use whatever vegetables that take your fancy – just keep the proportions of sauce to vegetables roughly similar. This is a large batch recipe, but it could easily be halved.
1 large cauliflower broken into small florets
800g pears cored and diced
600g courgettes diced
1 medium cucumber peeled and diced
200g green beans cut into 1 inch lengths
300g silverskin Onions (I used ones out of a jar)
1500mls cider vinegar (I used 1200 + 300mls vinegar from the pickled silverskin onions)
1 inch square of fresh ginger (grated or
2-3 cloves garlic
2 tbsp crushed coriander seeds
3tbsp black mustard seeds
300g golden castor sugar
5 tbsp English mustard powder
3 tsp ground turmeric
First we prepared all the vegetables, putting the roughly diced cauliflower and pears in one bowl, and the courgettes, cucumber and beans in another. We mixed the salt with about 3 litres of water, and covered both sets of vegetables with the salt water, using a plate to keep the vegetables submerged. We then covered with cling film, and set aside overnight.
The next morning, we drained the vegetables, rinsed them under the tap, and placed the cauliflower and pears in a large pan with the vinegar, coriander seeds, mustard seeds and sugar. We also added the ginger and garlic which we had blitzed with a little of the vinegar in a blender. We bought the contents of the pan to a boil and allowed to simmer for a couple of minutes before adding the cucumber, courgettes and beans. Allow to simmer for another minute, check the vegetables are cooked to your liking (bearing in mind you want them to have a nice crunchy bite) and then drain them, reserving the cooking liquid.
Mix the cornflour, mustard powder and turmeric in a bowl, then whisk in the hot vinegar, making a thin yellow sauce. Return to a saucepan and cook over a low heat, stirring continuously until it has thickened – it should be thick enough to coat the back on the wooden spoon!
Add the onions to the rest of the vegetables, and mix in the sauce. If you decide to use fresh onions instead of pickled, I would treat them in the same way as the cauliflower and pears. Spoon into clean, dry, hot jars that have been sterilised in a warm oven. I ended up with about 3200mls of pickle – 15 jars worth, so plenty to give away over Christmas! Like all pickles and chutney, this will mature and mellow over time, so will benefit for being kept for a month before opening.