This came about through a combination of factors. My friend Rowan, who lives in the Kent countryside and has a very productive allotment, sent me home from a visit with tons of green beans and runner beans (not to mention a whole load of other stuff!). A few days earlier I'd been very disappointed with the bar snacks in the local pub, not just the flabby pork pies but also the gloopy piccalilli that was dolloped on a plate to accompany it.
I was reminded that I'd been meaning to try my hand at piccalilli for ages, especially since another allotment-owning friend had given me a jar of fabulous runner bean piccalilli a few years back. So I assembled a heap of beans, a carrot, half a red pepper and a patty pan courgette, which were washed and chopped up before being salted and left to brine overnight in the fridge.
I had two recipes - one suggested cooking the veg but I stuck to the dry brining process, which is recommended in the Pat Corbin 'Preserves' book from River Cottage, which is generally my preserving handbook.
Put the chopped veg into a large bowl, add the salt and mix well, then leave in a cool place for 24 hours (ish).
The next day you rinse the veg in ice cold water to remove the salt, then leave them to drain.
Put most of the cider vinegar in a pan with the honey and sugar, bring to the boil stirring till the sugar dissolves.
Use a bit of the cold vinegar to mix a paste with the spices, mustard and cornflour, then add a little bit of the hot vinegar into the paste and stir well before tipping it all into the pan and bringing to the boil. Don't forget to stir constantly to prevent it going lumpy or burning.
Cook for a few minutes then stir the veg in, decant into sterilised jars and put the lid on. Leave for at least two weeks, six if possible, before you eat it.
1kg veg (beans, carrots, cauliflower, peppers, courgettes, etc) chopped into small bitesize pieces.
50g salt for brining
600ml cider vinegar
15g mustard powder
1.5tsp coriander seeds
1.5tsp mustard seeds
1tsp cumin seeds