English Heirloom Recipe
Today’s recipe for “A Country Recipe: Winter Salad (Pickle)” is a bit of a Blue Peter recipe, as here’s one I made earlier! I made a batch of this delicious pickle just over 6 weeks ago, using some of the green tomatoes in the garden, the ones that were never going to ripen. As well as the green tomatoes, this recipe, which is similar to piccalilli, has onions, celery and cabbage in the ingredient list, but no cauliflower or green beans, and because of that, it doesn’t require a pre-cooking salting procedure, as most piccalilli recipes need. It has quite a lot of sugar added, which makes it a sweeter relish or pickle than piccalilli, but that adds to its flavour.
The recipe is over one hundred years old, and comes from a series of reader’s recipes in a collection of recipes from the Farmers Weekly; it’s a recipe that I have enjoyed in the past, as my grandmother and some of her friends and relatives used to make it, and I remember enjoying it with cold cuts (meats) at the tea time table when I was little. The recipe appears to be very regional and comes from the North East of England, especially around Durham and Northumberland, and it’s a real country store recipe, insofar as it uses quite simple and easy to source produce, that would have been available to most housewives.
I liberated my first jar over the weekend, and I served it with a “bacon butty” for a rather late and leisurely breakfast. The pickle had had time to mature and develop, and was mellow and sweet with a bit of a mustard and turmeric kick, it really is a lovely relish and was perfect in a hot bacon sandwich. If you make a batch this week, then it will be ready in time for Christmas and for all your festive cheese boards, as well as charcuterie platters, tea time cold cuts and the odd bacon butty or cheese sarnie here and there! You can also add it to any food hampers you may be planning as gifts for foodie family and friends.
I am a big lover of pickles, relishes and chutneys, and all of my seasonal recipes using gluts of home-grown garden fruit and veg are always very popular, with my recipe for Spiced Runner Bean Pickle being requested all the time by family and friends, and another old country recipe for Shooting Party Chutney (Green Tomato Chutney) is used almost weekly in my kitchen – my husband loves it and I have already made two batches this autumn already. It’s always a good idea to have a large store of preserves, both sweet and savoury, in the pantry, as they can be used in so many recipes, as well as with humble dishes like cheese on toast and ploughman’s lunches.
The recipe for “A Country Recipe: Winter Salad (Pickle)” is shared below and do excuse the rather short instructions, it is written exactly as it was printed in the original recipe or 1914, and it really is a very simple method and works like a dream. The main thing is to make sure you chop and dice your vegetables finely and to a similar size, to achieve even cooking and texture to the pickle. If you have no green tomatoes to hand now, although I still have a few lurking in the garden, then use under-ripe and very firm small tomatoes instead. That’s it for today, I’ll be back in a few days with more recipes and travel news, have a great week, Karen