Pickled Shallots with Mixed Peppercorns and Star Anise in Cider Apple Vinegar
Today’s recipe is truly Christmas in a Jar – this recipe for Pickled Shallots with Mixed Peppercorns and Star Anise in Cider Apple Vinegar, is my latest preserves creation and is perfect for the festive cheeseboard, or as a gift for friends and family. I developed this recipe specially for some Davidstow Cheddar cheese I was sent recently…..the two cheese that I was sent were a tangy 18 month extra matured Cheddar, aka Cornish Crackler, and a complex 3 year Reserve vintage cheddar. Both cheeses are mature enough to be served with my latest pickle recipe, and the cider apple vinegar flavour is particularly delicious when served with this festive cheeseboard.
I’m an avid pickle fan, and I love a good pickled onion, especially with a ploughman’s lunch….but, when creating a new recipe for these two award-winning cheeses, I wanted something a a bit special, something that was aromatically festive and fun, enter these Pickled Shallots with Mixed Peppercorns and Star Anise in Cider Apple Vinegar, which not only look brilliant, I think you will agree, but dance provocatively on the tongue with a slightly Asian flavour……that’ll be be the star anise. Along with the star anise, I added a mixture of different coloured peppercorns – pink, green, white and black as well as some mustard seeds for a warm flavour kick.
Some of my readers may remember I worked with Davidstow Cheddar last year, and my recipe for Spiced Fig Jam, which accompanied last year’s festive cheeseboard, has been one of my popular preserves recipes on Lavender and Lovage – this delicious jam has a wonderful rich colour, and is wonderful when spread on toast or bread, as well as dolloped on ice cream and hot desserts – but the best new is, is that it is AMAZING with cheese too, and I always serve my cheeseboard with a jar of this on the side. I was going to make some crackers to accompany my cheeseboard this year, but these shallots jumped into my shopping basket and begged to be pickled, and pickled they were!
The recipe is shared below, along with some of my notes (and some Davidstow Cheddar’s notes) on how to assemble and “style” a cheeseboard, and if you get a shimmy on and make these pickled shallots this week, they will JUST be ready in time for Christmas and the New Year. I served BOTH cheddar cheeses on my board, which seemed to suit all tastes in cheese…..the 18 month extra mature is “Exquisitely intense flavour with a slight crunch of calcium crystals and deliciously flinty. The taste is finished off by a velvety creaminess that tempers the intense flavour, resulting in a well-rounded flavour profile”, whilst the multi award-winning 3 year vintage reserve is “has an unrivalled complexity in taste and crystalline appearance. The concentration of flavour pleasantly lingers on the palate before subtly disappearing with a wave of creaminess”.
I hope you enjoy making this easy recipe as much I did a few weeks ago, and I’m sure all the pickled onion fans put there will love these pickled shallots as much as we do too. You can use small onions if you wish, and if you like a little heat, then you can add a couple of dried chillies to the pickling vinegar. I’ll be back soon with more recipes, culinary news and traveller’s tales, so do keep popping back to see what’s new. Have a wonderful week, Karen
Disclaimer: Collaborative paid post with Davidstow Cheddar
An impressive cheeseboard is easy to put together with a bit of knowledge and care. Here are our top tips to ensure your cheeseboard rounds off festivities in the perfect manner:
*Never have more than four cheeses on the board.
*Vary the cheeses that you include to incorporate a variety of textures and styles.
*Pairing cheese with the right accompaniments will bring out its unique flavours.
*Be sure to serve cheese at room temperature to bring out its full flavour – allow a minimum standing period of 20 minutes.
*Never pre-slice cheese as it will cause it to dry out.
*Present cheese on either a large, flat slate, marble tile or a wooden cheeseboard.
My Notes for the Perfect Cheeseboard:
* Choose between four and five cheese to enhance the palate and not confuse it.
*Choose hard, medium and soft cheeses, for different textures.
*Always unwrap your cheese and bring it to room temperature for an hour before serving. Store your cheese wrapped in greaseproof paper wherever possible, as cling-film makes it “sweat” as well as being too “wet”to serve. Invest in a cheese cave, an open framework with mesh covers and door, which allows the cheese to “breathe” and “age” (affinage) naturally.
*Always serve the cheeseboard before the dessert. This allows you to finish your wine (as served with the main meal) and also serving savoury after sweet is not always that pleasant!
*Allow about 75g to 100g per person if no dessert is being served, or 50g to 75g if a dessert will follow.