So named by family friend Eric, who is renowned for his taciturnity. However, he got very animated about this piccalilli, and declared it to be bloody brilliant. High praise indeed, from a man of few words.
- 1kg mixed vegetables, washed and peeled as necessary. Essentials are cauliflower (white or romanesco), green beans, and shallots or small silverskin onions. The rest can be made up of sweetcorn, fresh peas, red peppers, courgettes, carrots, green tomatoes. The more colourful the mixture, the better.
- 50g fine salt
- 30g cornflour
- 10g ground turmeric
- 10g English mustard powder
- 15g yellow mustard seeds
- 1 heaped teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 heaped teaspoon ground coriander
- 600ml cider vinegar
- 200g granulated sugar
The most time consuming part of making piccalilli is cutting up the vegetables. You need to make sure that the pieces are quite small and of an even size. Once you’ve got your kilo of chopped veg, put them in a large bowl and sprinkle over the salt. Mix it in well and leave the bowl, covered in a cloth, overnight. This will help to ensure that the vegetable pieces stay crunchy. The next day, rinse the veg in ice-cold water to get rid of the salt, and drain as much of the water off as you can. The veg need to be quite dry or the resulting sauce will be watery. Put the cornflour, turmeric, and all the other spices in a big jug and mix them to a smooth-ish paste with some of the vinegar. The rest of the vinegar goes into a large saucepan to be heated up with the sugar, until the sugar has dissolved. Bring the vinegar and sugar mixture to the boil, then pour some of it over the spice paste and mix it well, then pour the spice paste and vinegar mixture back into the pan and bring to the boil again. Keep stirring it until it thickens. This should take about five minutes. Take the pan off the heat, and then you’re ready to mix in the drained vegetables. Stir all the vegetables around until they are all coated with the spicy sauce, then pack them into sterilised jars, making sure there are no air pockets. Seal the jars with wax paper discs to cover, and acid-proof screw-on lids. This piccalilli can be eaten straight away but improves after about 4 weeks maturing in a dark cupboard. It’s excellent with cheese, cured meats, pork pies, roast beef, sandwiches, anything that benefits from a mustardy, crunchy hit. I have been known to eat it from the jar with a spoon. It’s also vegan, containing no animal products (but it tasts so good WITH animal products…!).