The crowds have gone and we are left with leftovers in the veg basket. Most of them are still edible.
Here’s a quick fix before they go too soft and manky round the edges.
With the merest hint of a nod to Olia Hercules……
Veg and salad drawer basket offerings today included
spring onions, dry skin and root removed
shallots – banana and pickling onion shaped
red cabbage, sliced thin
radishes cut in half top to bottom
courgette cut into chunks
garlic cloves for good measure
half a jar of medium sized pickled gherkins
Carrot, peeled and chunked
crisp apples, cored and quartered
Put all the vegetables in a large bowl and season with sea salt.
In a saucepan bring 750ml organic cider vinegar to the boil. Add a handful of coriander seed, a couple of star anise, black mustard seed and green cardamom seed plus two heaped tablespoons of raw cane sugar. Boil again. Then cool.
Sterilise a 2litre jar with boiling water or blast it in your microwave with a little water in the jar. Make sure it is scrupulously clean.
Put a couple of fresh bay leaves and a couple of whole dried chillis in the jar. Pack the veg in nice and tight then pour in the vinegar making sure to cover the veg. Bang the container firmly on the worktop to bring any air bubbles to the surface. Allow to cool and start eating in a couple of weeks, then store in the fridge once opened.
I bought some horseradish root, meaning to make horseradish cream for presents. I failed. I fished it out of the salad drawer today, it was a bit wrinkly. The last time I made horseradish we had to evacuate the house as the fumes were breath-stopping. This time I was more careful! WARNING! Do not put your face over freshly grated horseradish and then breathe in.
Peel a 15cm length of horseradish root and wipe it clean. Put it in a MicroBullet or food processor to chop it finely. Add a teaspoon of mustard powder, half a teaspoon of salt, a teaspoon of sugar, a teaspoon of lemon juice and mix again. Remove contents and place in a bowl (remember to keep your head out of the bowl) and mix in 200ml thick cream or mayonnaise. Stir to combine. Place in sterilised jars and seal. Give to friends for leftover beef, or hot mackerel, or tuna sandwiches this week!
Sandip brought these round one night – he is always so generous with his foodie gifts and they are always so delicious. Later on his mum Davinder texted me the recipe for which I was very grateful – it couldn’t be easier. Slice a lemon into eight pieces. Do this with 6 lemons. Put in a stainless steel bowl with a teaspoon of turmeric, as many chilli flakes as you dare, a couple of fresh chillies if you double dare. Add six tablespoons of salt and half a small bottle of lemon juice. That’s it. Pack everything into sterilised jars and add the juice and leave a week before eating. Keep in the fridge.
Cornersmith’s Fennel Pickle
This is from one of my favourite cookbooks – Cornersmith – which is a co-operative in the suburbs of Sydney. They take excess garden and allotment produce and make lovely things with it. Including this. I’ve adapted it slightly. One day I will go there. Slice two bulbs of fennel and one brown onion very thinly. Put in a stainless steel bowl along with one tablespoon of fennel seed, one tablespoon of mustard seed, one tablespoon of nigella seed, one tablespoon of chilli flakes. one tablespoon of salt. Mix. Put 500ml organic apple cyder vinegar in a stainless steel saucepan along with 60ml agave syrup. Bring to the boil. Pack your fennel tightly into sterilised jars and pour over the hot vinegar and seal. Ready in a week, or sooner. Will keep in the fridge for about a month but no longer. Great with cold meats and anything vegetarian, it doesn’t mind which.
You’ve read about this before but it is my go-to condiment for fish, vegetarian, pasta, meat – the lot. Go out in the garden and cut a very large handful of rosemary. Come indoors and turn on Radio 6Music. Remove all the leaves from the stems by stripping them off against the way they grow. Use a nifty zester to remove the zest from three lemons. Chop 4 large cloves of garlic. Now get nifty with a knife or a mezzaluna and chop everything very fine – don’t use a blender or processor as it over-processes it and loses the freshness. Put everything in a stainless steel bowl and add an equal quantity of seasalt or rocksalt. Pour into a jar or jars. Will keep for ages. I suggest you don’t use this in cooking but rather use it as a last minute sprinkle just as the dish is finishing off in the oven – or on pasta once its drained.