Recipes from food stylist Nicolas Ghirlando: Fish fingers to Friday nights.

Preservation order


I only preserve cucumbers so I can eat them immediately. Or pickle them, at least. After all, it’s not as if cucumbers are hard to come by these days. I pickle because it’s delicious.

I use Swedish pickling vinegar for this, and a good large bunch of dill. The vinegar is incredible stuff. It would strip the paint from twenty years of redecorated school lunch halls from 30 metres. So it needs to be diluted.

There’s a recipe on the website somewhere for mizeria, which is a delicious Polish version with sour cream added, so that’s something you can also do if the fancy takes you.

There’s something about the sharpness and crunch of a good pickle, the acid tang that brings dishes into sharp focus. It’s like a punch of flavour that keeps you interested. I’ll often eat them straight from the jar just for that little tingle you get.

Fermenting and preserving is one of our oldest food preparation methods. It’s good for you too. So try this, it’s obviously great in burgers, although I know some people think it’s the devils food, but it’s also great with fish, meatballs, in cheese and ham sandwiches and DON’T FORGET TO VOTE LABOUR TODAY.

Ingredients
600ml water
200ml Swedish spirit vinegar (if you’re using cider vinegar or such, use it neat in a 1:1 ratio)
30g sugar
20g salt
A large bunch of dill
1tbsp yellow mustard seeds
10 juniper berries
A few black peppercorns
1 cucumber, sliced long and thin. Use a mandoline, preferably. Get one if you don’t have on. They’re fun, in a kind of lethal way.

Method
Heat the water, salt and sugar in a pan until the salt and sugar dissolve then add the vinegar.
Leave to cool while you slice the cucumber, carefully.
Add the dill, mustard seeds and peppercorns to a suitable sized sterilised Kilner jar or suchlike, top with the cucumber and pour over the pickling liquid.
Leave for at least half an hour before eating. This will keep in the fridge for about a week and you can then top up with new cucumber twice more before you need fresh pickling liquid.

6 Responses to “Preservation order”

  1. DIYMess

    I so should not read your blog when hungry. I’m going to have to try this recipe soon! Don’t you find that all shop pickles are very sweet now?

    Reply
    • Nicolas Ghirlando

      I do yes, but I find that in general with so much bought stuff. I’ve cut down so much on sugar amounts in recipes recently and they’re so much better…

      Reply
      • DIYMess

        So true! It’s creeping into everything isn’t it. Well you’ve inspired me!

  2. frankanast

    Here in italy we pickle about every vegetable on earth, but cucumbers :’D maybe this’ the time i’ll try to make it!

    Reply

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