January 14th, 2009

Cauliflower and Shallot Piccalilli

Piccalilli is the king of the pickles. Once a year in a rather ceremonial fashion there is an official piccalilli making date in our household calendar.This occurs just before Christmas as the piccalilli needs to mature for a few days before it  takes pride of place on Boxing Day along with the honey-glazed gammon.

At the same time we are celebrating using a true British classic ingredient Coleman’s Mustard. I remember when I was little, my dad use to cut a chunk of cheddar and then smear it with a thick coating of Coleman’s Mustard.Somehow  the heat did not seem to bother him at all, but when I tried the same,the tears  streamed down my face. Well that certainly has made me wary of this hot potion.

I quite like using  the Coleman’s Mustard powder as this definitely makes this cauliflower and shallot piccalilli recipe special and unique. I also like to add a teaspoon of Coleman’s mustard powder along with a tablespoon of honey to homemade coleslaw.


I make a few extra jars and hand them out to friends and family as a little gift. This delicious recipe should not only be kept for Christmas, piccalilli makes any summer BBQ table look even brighter. Spoon a generous amount of piccalilli on a delicious sour dough bread with thick slices of honey roast gammon, sandwich done.

  • 300ml white wine vinegar
  • 150ml malt vinegar
  • 1 large red chilli, de-seeded and julienned
  • 175g unrefined caster sugar
  • 25g Coleman’s English Mustard Powder
  • 12g turmeric
  • 2 whole star anise
  • 15g corn flour
  • 100ml cold water
  • 1tsp salt
  • 1 fresh bay leaf
  • 180g banana shallots peeled, 5mm thick sliced rings
  • 180g carrots, peeled 5mm thick sliced on an angle
  • 300g small cauliflower florets

Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil.

Prepare the vegetables keep them separate from each other.

Blanch the vegetables separately starting with the carrots, cook them until al dente and refresh in icy water. Follow with the shallot rings, blanch them very quickly and refresh in icy water. Last blanch the cauliflower, blanch them very quickly as a firm bite is preferred and refresh in ice water. You can now mix the vegetables and drain them in a colander, leave them for about a half hour to ensure that all the water has drained completely.

Place the sugar, star anise and both vinegars in a medium sauce pan, bring to the boil and cook for 8 minutes over medium heat, add the julienne chillies and cook for a further 2 minutes.

Mix the corn flour, salt, turmeric and mustard powder in a small bowl, add the cold water and dissolve.

Add two ladles of hot vinegar to the corn flour paste stir and add the paste to the hot vinegar, stir to dissolve, bring back to the boil over medium heat and cook for a further three minutes.

Pour the hot liquid over the blanched vegetables and the bay leaf.

Mix and spoon the piccalilli in sterilized jam jars.

Keep for up to one month.

Makes about 4 x 250g jars of piccalilli

Food Fanatics Tips

Tie a ribbon with a tag around the jar and give it as a gift to friends and family.Piccalilli is a delicious accompaniment for baked gammon or as part of a ploughman’s platter with good quality mature cheddar and freshly baked sour dough bread.

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