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Getting in a pickle

How lovely it was to capture the essence of summer in these pickles and preserves. So on a grey winters day we can pop open the pickle to perk up dreary, dark days with a dazzle of summer class.

Try these three stunners now, runner beans never freeze well so partnering them in ginger steeped spice jam is a marvellous way to eek them out for little longer and give them a new spiced makeover.

Ginger Spiced Runner Beans Jam

Makes around 3-4 x 300ml jars and should keep for around a month. This Chutney is a wonderful partner to Pitchfork Cheddar

The 4th best cheese in the world! I'm not a great meat eater but if you are then this would be great with many cold cuts.


3 large red onions, roughly chopped

3 cm piece root ginger, finely grated

900g runner beans, after trimming and slicing

850ml malt or white vinegar

40g cornflour

1 tablespoon English mustard

1 tablespoon turmeric

175g coconut sugar

300g demerara sugar

You will need;

4 x 450g kilner jars, sterilised

Preserving pan or large casserole

1 Add the chopped onions and ginger to the preserving pan or large saucepan with 800ml vinegar. Bring up to heat and simmer until they are soft, around 15minutes. Don’t cook too fast or the vinegar will evaporate.

2 Heat a pan of salted water until boiling and throw in the runner beans, cook for 2-3 minutes until just cooked. Drain and refresh under cold running water and add to the onions.

3 Put the remaining vinegar in a small bowl with the cornflour, turmeric and English mustard and mix to a smooth paste. Add the paste to the onions and runner beans and simmer for 5minutes.

4. Stir in both quantities of sugar and simmer until the sugar has dissolved and cook for a further 10-15 minutes. Before potting the pickle into warmed and sterilised jam jards. Seal and label when cool.

Apple, Ginger and Cucumber Pickle

Fish is the obvious partner for this delicious sweet and sour pickle. Anything smoked from The Fish Society ; eel, mackerel, salmon are simply perfect. Cutting through the oiliness of the fish is what a pickle does so well. I would also have this with a tart cheese like a goats cheese, one of my favs from Paxton and Whitfield is Golden Cross Soft Ashed Goats Cheese. If you are a meat eater I would suggest adding this to raw sashimi salmon or finely sliced carpaccio of beef, this pickle would enhance the richness along with a few sprigs of coriander and extra red chilli.

This perky versatile pickle makes around 3 x 300ml jars, sterilised and can be eaten right away or kept up to 1 month in the fridge.


800g cucumbers

2 red onions, finely sliced

2 cox apples, quartered, cored and thinly chopped

2 cm piece root ginger, finely grated

1 tbsp fine sea salt

100ml water

300ml cider vinegar

100g coconut sugar or golden granulated sugar

1 tsp turmeric

1 tsp coriander seeds

1 tsp caraway seeds

Pinch chilli flakes

  1. Split the cucumbers down the middle and remove the seeds with a teaspoon. Slice the cucumbers into a thickish slices and put into a bowl along with onion, apple and salt. Cover the surface with a plate which covers the container completely and leave in the fridge for 2 - 24 hours to extract the liquid which makes the cucumbers crunchier.

  2. Once step 1 is completed. Rinse the salted cucumber under running cold water, drain and dry with kitchen paper.

  3. Put the remaining flavouring ingredients in a pan and gently heat until the sugar has dissolved. Add the cucumber, onion and apple mixture then cook for around 5 minutes or until the cucumber becomes translucent.

  4. Fill the warm jam jars to the brim making sure there is enough juice to cover the cucumber. Seal and set aside to cool.

Garlic and Rosemary Preserved Dried Tomatoes

Garlic and Rosemary Preserved Dried Tomatoes

Having grown my own tomatoes this year I decided it would be acer to bottle up the glut so I could keep on loving them all year round. I've used a variety of heirloom tomatoes which are so colourful and look pretty in the jars. I found a handy box of heirloom tomatoes delivered to my do by Ocado. I've also used a dehydrator to dry the tomatoes but you could use an oven on a low setting instead. My dehydrator came from Biochef

1 large 500g kilner jar

1.5kg mixed tomatoes, Ocado, Isle of Wight tomato box

1 1/2 tsp fine sea salt

1/2 tsp ground black pepper

1 tsp mixed Italian herbs

handful of fresh rosemary leaves removed from woody stalks

3 garlic cloves, peele and thinly sliced

Begin by washing the tomatoes and remove the stalks. Slice them in half across their middles. Leave little ones whole.

Lay the tomatoes cut side down on a the dehydrator trays. Sprinkle with the sat and ground black pepper and dried herbs.

 Preserved Dried Tomatoes

I dry them at 75oC for 8 hours. Or until they still have a little plumpness and juiciness to them, but still chewy and full of rich tomato sweetness. Allow to cool. If you don't have a dehydrator, you can use an oven. Lay them onto trays and heat the ove to 80oc and prop open the door with a skewer. So it stops the build up of heat and they dry rather than cook.

Dried Tomatoes

Now cook or 'blanch' the rosemary leaves and garlic slices in a small pan of boiling water for just 3-4 minutes. Drain.

Pack the tomatoes, with the garlic and rosemary into the sterilised jars and top with olive oil.

Serving suggestions; finely chopped and added to pasta, salads, on toast with sardines, they partner of course with mozzarella and basil salads and can really add depth when tomatoes are not at their best in the winter months.


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