Homemade Piccalilly...

Before arriving in Ireland, I have never ever heard about something called Piccalilly... Well that's a shame, cos I've missed actually quite a lot! I've tried Piccalilly for the very first time only about a month ago. It wasn't made by me but bought on a local Farmer's Market. It was quite nice but... way too acidic for me. I liked the idea of Indian spices though and decided to make it myself. Turned out it's not difficult at all! Found a good recipe, the kind of a recipe you can trust when making something for the very first time - recipe taken from a great book "Preserves" by Pam Corbin in a River Cottage Handbook series. I've changed it slightly though, as I really don't like vinegar at all! So instead of making the pickle with vinegar only I've made it half vinegar half water - worked perfectly! That's the "acidic level" just right for me (if still not a little bit too strong... but I guess it's this pickle's particular taste).

"Piccalilli is a Western interpretation of Indian pickles, a relish of chopped pickled vegetables and spices; regional recipes vary considerably. (...) The Oxford English Dictionary traces the word to the middle of the 18th century when, in 1758, Hannah Glasse described how "to make Paco-Lilla, or India Pickle". The more familiar form of the word appears a decade later in a book for housekeepers in a section on how "to make Indian pickle, or Piccalillo". The spelling "piccalilli" can be seen in an advertisement in a 1799 edition of The Times." - by wikipedia.org

How to make it...
1 kg washed, peeled vegetables - select 5 or 6 from the following:
- cauliflower, green beans, cucumbers, courgettes, green or yellow tomatoes, tomatilloes, carrots, small silver-skinned onions or shallots, peppers, nasturtium seed pods
- 50 g salt

- 30 g cornflour
- 10 g ground turmeric
- 10 g English mustard powder
- 15 g yellow mustard seeds
- 1 teaspoon crushed cumin seeds
- 1 teaspoon crushed coriander seeds
- 600 ml cider vinegar (I only used 300 ml of vinegar with 300 ml of water)
- 150 g granulated sugar
- 50 g honey

Cut the veges into small, even bite-sized pieces. Place in a large bowl and sprinkle with the salt. Mix well and cover with cling film. Leave in a cool place for 24 hours, then rinse the veg with ice-cold water and drain thoroughly.
Blend the cornflour, turmeric, mustard powder & seeds, cumin and coriander into a smooth paste with a little bit of vinegar. Put the rest of the vinegar into a bigger saucepan with the sugar and the honey and bring to the boil. Pour a little of the hot vinegar over the spice blend and mix well, then return into the saucepan. Bring gently to the boil and boil for 3-4 minutes so the spices can release the flavour.
Remove the pan from the heat and fold the well drained veges into still hot sauce. Pack the pickle into a warm, sterilised jars and seal immediately with vinegar proof lids. Leave (if you can) for at least 4-6 weeks before opening. Use within a year.


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