DIY xmas gifts – Piccalilli (pickled veg in a mustard relish)

Happy Holidays everyone!

For years I have been wanting to make some DIY xmas presents in the forms of jams or relishes. Whenever I get given something like that i really love it and cherish it. But i always leave it too late, think it will be too hard and expensive, dont have any jars etc etc.

All excuses really. This year i got my butt into gear early enough. This recipe makes about 6 medium jars worth, or 12 small jars. The hardest part is you need to let it sit in the cupboard for at least 2 weeks before the flavour is right, but it tasted pretty decent straight off anyway – and xmas is exactly 2 weeks away.

Piccalilli is an anglicised version of traditional pickles from India and South Asia. It is fabulous with a ploughmans plattter or leftover xmas gammon or any cold meats really.

  • 225g salt
  • 1 cucumber
  • 500g cauliflower, broken into small florets
  • 200g carrots, cut into 5mm slices
  • 150g fine green beans, topped and tailed, cut into 2.5cm lengths
  • 225g red onions halved and cut into 3mm slices
  • 900ml distilled malt vinegar, plus 4 tbsp extra
  • 175g caster sugar
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 50g coarsely grated fresh ginger
  • 4 tbsp cornflour
  • 2 tbsp English mustard powder
  • 2 tbsp ground turmeric
  • ½ tsp ground ginger
  • ½ tsp chilli flakes
  • 1 medium-hot red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped


  • In a large jug, stir the salt into 2.5 litres cold water until it has dissolved. Pour into 2 large mixing bowls and set aside.
  • Halve the cucumber lengthways, scoop out the seeds, halve lengthways again, then cut into 5mm slices. Put the cauliflower, carrot and green beans into one bowl of salted water and the shallot and cucumber into the other. Put plates on top to keep the vegetables submerged and leave for 24 hours.
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  • The following day, drain the vegetables and rinse well, keeping them separate as before.
  • Put the vinegar, caster sugar, garlic clove and ginger into a large stainless-steel pan or preserving pan and bring to the boil. Add the cauliflower, carrot and green beans and cook for 6 minutes. Quickly remove with a slotted spoon to a large mixing bowl and bring the vinegar mixture back to the boil. Add the shallots and cucumber and cook for 2 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and add to the other vegetables in the bowl. All the vegetables should be just-cooked, with some crunch left in them.
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  • Mix the cornflour, English mustard powder, ground turmeric, ground ginger and chilli flakes into a smooth paste with the 4 tbsp vinegar. Add a little of the hot vinegar mixture to the paste to loosen it, then stir it all back into the hot vinegar pan and bring to the boil, stirring.
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  • Simmer for 2 minutes until smooth and thick. Stir the sauce and the red chilli into the vegetables, then spoon into warm, sterilised jars, cover with waxed discs and seal with vinegar-proof lids.
  • Leave to cool, then store in a cool dark place. The pickle is ready to eat immediately.


Let me know what you think!