I’ve been spending time in the local library to escape the heat and get some inspiration.  I came across an old book – Good Fair and Cheer of Old England by Joan Parry Dutto, 1960.  You can just about imagine the selection of quivering aspic recipes there are.  There are recipes for Forcemeat Balls – Yum!  Those Brits sure do make things sound appetizing!

Anyway, I opened the book to page 136 to find a recipe for Piccalilli.  Piccalilli is a Western interpretation of Indian pickles, a relish of chopped pickled vegetables and spices.

British piccalilli contains various vegetables— invariably cauliflower and vegetable marrow —and seasonings of mustard and turmeric. A more finely chopped variety “sandwich piccalilli” is also available from major British supermarkets. It is used as an accompaniment to foods such as sausages, bacon, eggs, toast, cheese, and tomatoes.

Piccalilli or Mustard Pickles

1lb pickling onions
1 small cauliflower
1 medium sized cucumber
1lb marrow (zucchini squash)
½ lb green beans – either French or runner
¼ lb kitchen salt

For the Piccalilli sauce
4oz caster sugar
3oz plain flour
2oz English mustard powder
½ oz dried turmeric
2 pts malt vinegar

Preparing the vegetables
Peel the onions (this is best done by putting them in a bowl of water and removing the skins whilst they are submerged – it helps prevent the juices affecting the eyes).

Split the cauliflower into tiny florets.

Wash and chop the beans and cucumber into small pieces (perhaps half an inch long)Peel and deseed the marrow and chop into small pieces of a similar size to the beans etc.

Put all the prepared vegetables into a large bowl.  Make a brine solution by dissolving the salt in 2 ½ pints of water and pour it over the vegetables.Pop in the bowl in the fridge for 24 hours and then drain well.

Preparing the sauce
Put the sugar, flour, mustard and turmeric in a saucepan and pour in a couple of tablespoons of the vinegar.

Mix together to form a paste then add the rest of the vinegar. Pop on the hob (heat in a saucepan on the stove!) on a medium heat and bring to the boil, stirring all the time until the sauce has thickened. Add the drained vegetables and simmer for 5 more minutes.Using a slotted spoon, decant the vegetables from the sauce into sterilized and hot jarsPour enough of the remaining sauce into each jar so the vegetables are just covered.  Seal the jars and store for a month before using.


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