Piccalilli. Like most of Britain’s culinary icons, its ancestry can be dated back to colonisation. The English interpretation of a South Asian “Achaar”, Piccalilli gets its tangy kick from Indian spices and pickling methods…Ahh the aftertaste of empire.

This batch of pickle was made in preparation for summer picnics and our favourite cheese ‘n’ pickle, post mountain biking sandwiches. Sadly, those sarnies look unlikely to make it to the trails though as I’m close to finishing off the entire lot already. Disclaimer: this will get better and better the longer it ages and mellows, all that’s required is patience (something I’ve to accomplish). Store in a cool, dark cupboard for a month to reach optimal Piccalilli achievements.

In the ingredients, I’ve listed by favourite combination and rate of vegetables. Use this only as a guideline though and just pick and choose what vegetables you have to hand, just ensuring that you have 1kg worth of variety. Cauliflower, cucumber, courgette, green beans, leaks, tomatoes, shallots, carrots, peppers and fennel all work really well.



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Course: Chutneys, PicklesCuisine: BritishDifficulty: Easy

The very British classic of Piccalilli gets its tangy kick from Indian spices and pickling methods. The perfect accompaniment to an extra strong chunk of cheddar.


  • Vegetables
  • 400 g Cauliflower, broken into small, bite-sized florets

  • 100 g carrots, cut into bite-sized pieces

  • 100 g green beans, cut into bite-sized pieces

  • 100 g shallots, cut into eighths

  • 100 g cucumber, cut into bite-sized pieces

  • 100 g courgette, cut into bite-sized pieces

  • 100 g fennel, cut into bite-sized pieces

  • Pickling ingredients
  • 50 g salt

  • 30 g cornflour

  • 10 g English mustard powder

  • 20 g black mustard seeds

  • 1 tsp toasted & crushed cumin seeds

  • 1 tsp toasted & crushed coriander seeds

  • 600 ml malt, white wine or apple cider vinegar

  • 2 apples, grated

  • 150 g granulated sugar

  • 50 g honey


  • Put all the vegetables in a bowl, toss well with the salt and cover. Leave in a cool place for about 1 hour, longer if you can manage – up to 24 hours.
  • Rinse the veggies well with cold water and drain thoroughly.
  • Blend the cornflour, turmeric, mustard powder, mustard seeds, cumin and coriander into a smooth paste with a bit of the vinegar.
  • Pour the remaining vinegar into a saucepan with the sugar and honey, bring to the boil and stir until the sugar dissolves. Pour a few drops of the hot vinegar into the spice paste, stir well and scrape into the pan. Add the apple also.
  • Boil for 3-4 minutes, stirring gently until you see the mixture thickening a little.
  • Remove from the heat and carefully fold in the vegetables. Pack tightly into sterilised jars and seal immediately,
  • Leave to mature for a month or longer before opening.

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