Making piccalilli is quite a lengthy process but so rewarding in the end. This makes quite a lot, enough to last for a couple of months.
Preparation time: 1 day for the maceration and 45 min-1hr for the rest
Quantity: makes enough for 4 jars of 270g
You will need: 4x 270g jars; 1 big saucepan; 1 medium saucepan; 2 big bowls; brine (100g natural rock salt and 2 litres cold water)
1 medium cauliflower cut into small pieces
200g extra fine beans cut into 2cm pieces
150g thin carrots cut into thin 2cm pieces
8 small shallots cut into 4 pieces each
600 ml malt vinegar + 2 & 1/2 tbsp
1/4 tsp grated whole nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground allspice
1/2 tsp grated fresh ginger
3 big garlic cloves crushed
85g golden caster sugar
1 tbsp yellow mustard seeds
1 tbsp brown mustard seeds
30g Colman’s dry mustard powder
10g sauce flour
barely 1/2 tsp turmeric
1 tbsp water
Day 1: Make the brine by whisking the salt in the cold water. Separate the brine into two big bowls. Put the cauliflower pieces and shallots in one bowl and the carrots and beans in another. Cover and weigh down each bowl. Put aside and leave to macerate.
Day 2: Drain away the brine. Put the vegetables in a big saucepan with 600 ml of malt vinegar. Add the nutmeg and allspice and bring to a boil. Cover and leave to simmer for 8 minutes.
Turn off the heat and add the golden sugar, crushed garlic cloves, grated fresh ginger and mustard seeds. Stir and bring back to simmer. Cover and leave to simmer for about 5 minutes (no longer, otherwise the vegetables won’t be crunchy enough).
Turn off the heat and separate the vegetables from the vinegar. Keep the vegetables warm.
Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan mix the mustard powder, turmeric and sauce flour. Add 2 & 1/2 tbsp of vinegar and 1 tbsp of water to the mix to make a small yellowish paste. Add a ladel of the warm vinegar and whisk. Bring to a medium heat and stir until the mixture thickens. Every time the mixture starts to thicken, add a bit more vinegar. Keep on doing so until you have added all the vinegar. I usually let it come to a boil after that and add a bit more sauce flour so that it gets a bit thicker (I do this by putting some of the hot mixture in a small bowl and whisking quickly some sauce flour into it then putting it all back into the original saucepan). You need a nice smooth consistency.
When it’s the right consistency, stir it in with the vegetables. Then pour the whole thing into the four 250g sterilised jars. Tip: to get your jars sterilised the easy way, put them upside down, lidless, on a tray in a 200Â°C oven for about 10 minutes.