Monday, 23 April 2012


I have a beautiful cooking and gardening book by Stephanie Alexander called kitchen garden companion. I love this book because it not only tell you everything you need to know about that particular plant including the soil type, soil preparation, climate, position, when to grow it, water requirements, how to plant it, successive planting, when to fertilize, harvest period, pests and organic control, companion planting, and the quantities you need to plant to sustain a family of four. It then has a detailed section on growing and harvesting, container planting, preparing and sharing and then gardening and cooking that particular plan with children. What i love is it also has a handful of recipes using that ingredient. So if your stuck with a heap of it you can use it without thinking too hard about it. 

This year i found myself with over 10 kilos of cucumber - yikes how on earth am i going to use all those cucumber?? Well in my trusty book Stephanie has a recipe for bread and butter pickles from her sister and i would like to share it with you!

I made this recipe times 5, so it is very easy to multiply if you have had as many cucumbers as i have. 

500 mls freshly picked young cucumbers unpeeled and sliced very finely -you could use a mandolin or a slicing attachment of your food processor - but i don;t have either of these so i did it with a very sharp knife!)
1 large onion very thinly sliced
1 1/2 tbs salt
1/4 hot water
Pickling liquid:
1C white vinegar
1C white sugar
2 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp chopped dill
1/4tsp ground turmeric
1 fresh long chili (her recipe calls for 1/4tsp dried chili flakes)

Mix cucumbers and onion in a bowl. Dissolve salt in hot water in a stainless-steal sauce pan over medium heat, stirring with a wooden spoon until completely dissolved, then pour this mixture over cucumber and onion mixture. Mix thoroughly and leave for 3 hours, rinse saucepan. 

Tip cucumber and onion into a colander resting over a plate or bowl. Press with back of spoon to extract as much liquid as possible. 

To make pickling liquid, mix all ingredients together in rinsed out saucepan. bring to simmer over medium heat, stirring until sugar has dissolved. Tip the cucumber and onion into pickling liquid and simmer for 2-3 minutes, stirring once or twice. Remove from heat and leave to cool in the saucepan, then spoon into sterilized jars, ensuring the cucumber mixture is covered with pickling liquid. Seal, label and date the pickle.

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