Spiced Cucumber Pickle

A quick recipe post for an Instagram follower. I hope you like this one @emmaloulalala – it’s great with a winter cheeseboard.

Ingredients:

  • 1 large cucumber
  • 2 shallots, finely sliced
  • 100ml cider vinegar
  • 75g muscovado sugar
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ¼ tsp ground clove
  • 1 tsp yellow mustard seeds
  • ½ tsp ground turmeric
  • ½ tsp coriander seeds
  • ½ tsp kalonji (nigella) seeds

Method:

Sterilise a glass jar by washing it thoroughly and popping it into a hot oven for 10 minutes.

Slice the cucumber in half along its length and scrape out the seeds with a spoon, then finely slice. Place the cucumber in a colander and sprinkle with salt to draw out some of the moisture.

Mix the other ingredients together in a pan and bring to the boil, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Take the mixture off the heat and add the cucumber.

Fill your jar, pop the lid on and allow it to cool down. Store your pickle in the fridge.

preserved cucumber

Chilli Jam

Hot and spicy but like no other chilli sauce, this delightful condiment is curiously both sweet and savoury. Amazing with meat, cheese, whatever; I’ll admit to eating it on toast for a punchy breakfast and even straight from the spoon..

I literally love the stuff.

A glut of red chillies brings a naughty smile to my face as I know what’s coming next. Here’s my quick and easy recipe for a kicking chilli jam.

Ingredients:

  • 8 red chillies
  • 4 Romano red peppers (deseeded)
  • thumb-sized piece of fresh ginger (peeled)
  • 8 garlic cloves
  • 750g caster sugar
  • 200ml red wine vinegar
  • 400g passata or finely chopped tomatoes (you could just blend a tin of tomatoes)

Method:

  1. Roughly chop the chillies, peppers, ginger and garlic and then blitz in a food processor.
  2. Pop all of the ingredients into a heavy pan (or jam pan if you have one), stir and bring it up to the boil.
  3. Skim any scum that rises to the surface and then simmer for about an hour and a half, stirring frequently to stop it catching on the bottom of the pan. making chilli jam
  4. Once you’re happy with the consistency, pour into sterilised* jars.

Refrigerate after opening.

chilli jam

As always, recipes are only guides – if you like it hotter, pump up the chilli, garlic and ginger. I like to use a mix of chillies to create a depth of flavour and include a birdseye chilli for a nice kick.

 

* to sterilise jars, give them a good wash in hot soapy water and then pop them into a hot oven for 10 minutes (lids too). Alternatively, just run them through a dishwasher cycle.

red chilli

Kimchi

This is by far my favourite Kimchi recipe to date. I say to date, as I have no intention of getting off the experimentation bus, and neither should you.

Kimchi is the national dish of Korea and consists of vegetables which are salted and fermented with garlic, ginger and chilli etc. It’s eaten as a side dish or used as a condiment. I can’t get enough of its umami goodness, smug in the knowledge that every bite is ridiculously good for me has a significant effect on gut health.

Ingredients:

  • 2 chinese leaf cabbages
  • 4 tbsp salt
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled & sliced
  • 5 cm fresh ginger, peeled & sliced
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp chilli powder (mild to medium heat)
  • 10 spring onions, finely sliced

Method:

I use a large kilner jar with a water trap that prevents pressure building up during the lacto-fermentation process. If you don’t have one yourself, you may want to pop open the lid on your jar every now and again until it’s ready to go in the fridge.

  1. Chop your cabbages into 5cm chunks and discard the tough core. Place in a large bowl with the salt and give it all a good scrunch up.
  2. Pour in enough cold water to cover the cabbage and leave to stand for 2 hours with a plate over the top to keep it all submerged in the brine.
  3. Rinse the salt from the cabbage in a colander. Leave it to stand for half an hour to drain thoroughly.
  4. In a mortar and pestle (or small food processor), mash the ginger, garlic, chilli and sugar together into a paste.
  5. Squeeze any excess water from the cabbage and then thoroughly mix all of the ingredients together.
  6. Pack the mixture into your glass jar, pushing it all down until the juices rise up. You need to make sure that you leave a reasonable air gap at the top.
  7. Seal your jar and leave to ferment for 3 to 5 days before transferring to the fridge, where it will last for up to three months.