This recipe calls for a basic clear vinegar – distilled malt – and it’s ready to eat as soon as you’ve made it. The vegetables need a short spell simmered in brine first, before they are added to a sauce that coats and preserves them. Using wholegrain mustard and white pepper isn’t traditional for piccalilli, but they add a warming spiciness to the overall flavour.

Makes 2 jars – each around 250g

        60g sea salt

        ½ cucumber, deseeded and chopped into small pieces

        ½ red pepper, deseeded and chopped into small pieces

        175g cauliflower florets (about ½ small cauli), each floret quartered

        2 large banana shallots (about 100g), chopped

        275ml distilled malt vinegar

        50g golden caster sugar

        1 tsp each of wholegrain mustard and ground turmeric

        1 tbsp plain flour

        ½ tsp ground white pepper

1      Pour 500ml water into a medium pan and stir in the salt. Place the pan over a low heat for around 5 minutes and stir every now and then to dissolve the salt. Add the vegetables and simmer for 5–8 minutes until tender. Drain in a colander.

2      Pour 200ml of the vinegar into a pan and add the sugar. Heat gently for a minute or two to dissolve the sugar. Mix the remaining vinegar into the mustard, turmeric, flour and white pepper. Once the sugar has dissolved, return the vegetables to the pan and simmer over a very low heat for 8 minutes. Stir in the vinegar mixture and bring to a simmer. Cook for a further 2 minutes.

3      Sterilise two jars (see below) and divide the mixture between them. Seal and label each, including the date on which they were made. Store, unopened, in a cool dark cupboard for up to three months. Once opened, store in a cool, dry place and use within two to three weeks.


You can sterilise jars in the oven, but there is a quicker way when you only have a small number to do. First make sure the jars are clean, so wash them in hot soapy water then rinse well. Rest the jars on the bridge between a double sink or on a draining board, along with the lids, and pour boiling water into each one, making sure it flows over the side. Using rubber gloves, pour the water away (or into the washing-up bowl) and fill the jars with your ingredients. Tip the water out of the lids, give them a shake dry and use them to seal the jars.

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