Cauliflower and Shallot Piccalilli
Cauliflower and Shallot Piccalilli

Cauliflower and Shallot Piccalilli

  • Prep time:

  • Cook time:

  • Total time:

  • Portion/Yield:

    Makes about 4 x 250g jars
  • Difficulty:


Our British Larder piccalilli has won over many hearts and taste buds over the years. At the pub we made and served it with our famous pork and game tasting platters. We often get customers who ask to take a jar home with them and I can understand why they want ours instead of making their own or buying inferior versions elsewhere. This piccalilli is at its best once it has been left for about a week after making, as the flavours need a little time to mature and develop. We make large batches of piccalilli at a time, then pot and sell it.

It’s a good idea to make a decent amount and then you can give a jar or two to friends and family as a tasty homemade gift – tie a ribbon with a tag around the jars to finish them off. As with all our cooking and recipes, we select the best ingredients we can get, and a local organic farm supplies us with the most wonderful cauliflowers that are firm, sweet and creamy white.

Ingredients & Method

  • 180g carrots (peeled weight), cut on the diagonal into 1/2cm slices
  • 180g banana shallots (peeled weight), cut into 1/2cm slices
  • 300g small cauliflower florets
  • 175g caster sugar
  • 2 star anise
  • 300ml white wine vinegar
  • 150ml malt vinegar
  • 1 large fresh red chilli, deseeded and cut into thin julienne (matchstick) strips
  • 25g mustard powder
  • 15g cornflour
  • 12g turmeric
  • 100ml cold water
  • 1 bay leaf
  • sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper

Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil. Blanch the vegetables separately in the rapidly boiling water (covering the pan each time). Start with the carrots and blanch them for 5 minutes, then remove using a slotted spoon and refresh in iced water. Next, blanch the shallots for 3 minutes, then remove and refresh in the iced water with the carrots. Finally, blanch the cauliflower florets for 3 minutes, then remove and refresh in the iced water.

Drain the cooled vegetables in a colander; leave them draining for about 30 minutes to ensure that all the water has drained away completely.

Place the sugar, star anise and both vinegars in a heavy-based saucepan, along with salt and pepper, and bring to the boil, then boil rapidly, uncovered, over a high heat for about 8 minutes or until the mixture is slightly reduced and syrupy. Add the chilli strips and cook for a further 2 minutes.

Place the mustard powder, cornflour and turmeric in a small bowl, add the cold water and stir until smooth and blended. Mix 2 ladlefuls of the hot vinegar mixture into the blended cornflour, then stir the cornflour mixture into the remaining vinegar in the pan. Bring back to the boil and cook over a medium heat for 6–8 minutes or until thickened and glossy, stirring continuously.

Add the drained cooled vegetables and bay leaf to the pan, bring the mixture back to the boil and simmer for 1 minute. Remove from the heat, then spoon the piccalilli into hot, sterilised jars. Cover with vinegar-proof lids and seal. Leave to cool, then label and store in a cool, dry cupboard. Store for at least 1 week before using. The unopened jars of piccalilli should keep well for up to 3 months. Once opened, store in the fridge and use within 1 week.

Cook’s Note

Piccalilli is a delicious accompaniment to baked gammon, or it is ideal served as part of a ploughman’s platter with mature Cheddar cheese and freshly baked sourdough bread.

Leave a comment