Piccalilli Part 1

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Well, well, well, who would have thought it eh?  I am in the process of making Piccalilli, all thanks to ‘Pam the Jam’.

Now for those of you who don’t know what Piccalilli is, firstly, shame on you, and secondly, it is thought to be a version of Indian Pickles, which was, according to my limited research, first written about in the mid 18th century.  Apparently there are many varying recipes, with those chums across the pond in the little village of America, adding red peppers.  However, I am more au fait with the cauliflower and courgette combo.

That said, I have never before made Piccalilli, until a couple of things happened which made me plump for trying it out.

Firstly, a friend had written about making a batch which she apparently does every year as family presents, and secondly, in my attempt to use all the vegetables I buy, I began wondering what to do with some excess cauliflower I had.  A quick search on the internet led me to ‘Pam the Jam’ and her very seemingly straightforward recipe which included most of the ingredients and spices I had.

Which brings me to the here and now.  I am in the glorious position of having a little time on my own, so am listening to Bach’s cello suits played by Mstislav Rostropovich (in case anyone’s interested) bought for us by a wonderful lady who lodged with us a few months before we got married.   But I digress.

So, this Piccalilli.  Well, Pam suggests you chop up into bite sized pieces 2kg of five or six vegetables of your choice from a list that she gives.  I opt for cauliflower, courgettes, shallots, green beans, carrots and yellow tomatoes.  I know, not strictly all vegetables but I won’t tell if you don’t.  All is going well, until I begin to consider what exactly a bite sized piece should look like.  Which is where I begin to falter.  Are my pieces too big?  Is there anything wrong with oversized pickles?  Well, I’m sure the Women’s Institute pickle and jam expert would have an opinion, but I am throwing caution to the wind and leaving them as is.  Also, I can’t quite be bothered to re-chop all said veg.

Then, Pam informs me, I must put the vegetables into a large colander and sprinkle over 100g of fine sea salt.  I don’t have a large colander.  I do, however, have a large bowl.  So, as I write this, my Piccalilli vegetables are covered in salt, relaxing in a large bowl with a tea towel over it, in the outhouse.

It’s supposed to be left in a cold place for 24 hours, which the outhouse is, unless the sun comes out.  At which point it turns into a cauldron.

I shall keep you informed of progress.

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