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Friday, 28 October 2011

picalilli for cheese and sandwiches

Sisters sometimes know you better than you know yourself. They're a source of wisdom and amusement. They're also a source of coats and dresses when they're not guarding their closet. I have just one sister but that's enough for me because my sis is a quality one! 

She asked me not so long ago "What's your favourite food?" I didn't even have to think…"It's cheese! Cheese is my favorite food…I love cheese, all cheese, I do not discriminate against any cheeses! Stinky cheese, blue cheese, crumbly mature sharp melty - goat sheep cow and buffalo - I love them all." 

"Cheese? She blurted. You can't pick cheese! It's too wide a food category - it's like saying meat. That can't be your favorite food."

So I had to think long and hard - which cheese could I say was my favourite of all the cheeses? It was torture, but eventually I came up with a very mature brie as my cheese of choice - although I felt terrible guilt for the endless cheeses I had not picked. Then I asked her what her favorite food was & guess what she said? 

"Sandwiches! Sandwiches are my favourite - love, love, love them."

"You can't pick sandwiches" I howled - that's every food in the world except yogurt! You can put almost anything in a sandwich! "I know she said - that's why I like them so much!"

Sisters...you gotta love 'em!

This is a magical sunshine yellow color and, if you start the salting the night before, takes no time at all to make. It's so much nicer than the jarred version in supermarkets that it may change your opinion on cauliflower forever. This is best left to mellow for a few days before eating and can be kept in the fridge for about 6 months.

1 small cauliflower
200g green beans
1 red pepper diced
1 onion diced
2 tsp salt
250ml white wine vinegar
1 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp ground ginger
2 tsp mustard seed
150g caster sugar
80g plain flour 
4 tsp mustard powder

Picalilli, on girdled bread with potted duck, like it here

Cut the cauliflower into small florets and the green beans into 1cm lengths. Combine all the veg in a bowl, sprinkle with the salt and leave for 12 hours. Put the veg in a pan with the vinegar, 250ml water the turmeric, ginger and mustard seed (pour off any salty water first and a stainless steel pan is best). Cover, bring to the boil and simmer for 5 mins, no longer really, as you want the cauliflower to keep its crunch. Drain the liquid into a colander set over a bowl, reserving your vegetables. Put the liquid back in the pan with the sugar. Bring to the boil, while stirring to dissolve the sugar. Put the flour and mustard powder into a big bowl adding 75ml of water to make a paste. Pour in the boiling liquid whisking all the while. Return it to the pan stirring on a low heat until it boils. Remove and stir in the vegetables. Allow to cool and spoon into sterilized jars.


  1. I love how yellow this is. It must be the Turmeric and mustard? Did you use Coleman's or do you have a secret mustard that I do not know?

  2. I haven't had picalli for years and years, this looks delicious and such a wonderful colour!

  3. I love cheese and sandwiches and I would probably answer like you. Cheese is my favourite food :)
    I never heard about picalli. I must try it.

  4. Love this post - the perfect accompaniment to cheese AND sandwiches! I could never pick my favourite food - there are way too many and I'm far too greedy :-)

  5. @ Mona - Just the lovely yellow tin of Coleman's - I have always loved the packaging!

    @ London Bakes - Picalilli is pretty retro alright, but such a pretty color.

    @ Magda - Cheese is the best, Picalilli is especially nice on a ploughmans lunch!

  6. I only have one sister as well and, boy, am I glad I have her! She's the best and is a gas ticket all together.

    I have to say, I love sandwiches and cheese AND picalilli so this post has led to one drooling lady.

    I've never made picalilli, or any chutneys or things, but I'm feeling this winter could be my jarring winter. Will keep this in mind for sure!

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