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Turnip Kimchi

30 Sep

Fantastically hot Korean inspired quick pickle of white turnips or radishes. I was hoping to harvest some Mooli later this autumn but the wild pigs got to it before I did.  I’ve had this dish fixed in my mind and still wanted to make it so I bought some white radishes or mooli in the market yesterday. Kimchee is most commonly made with Chinese Cabbage and is, some say, the national dish of Korea. I find treating white turnips or radish in a similar way makes quite a delicious quick pickle.

  • White turnip or radish
  • Salt
  • chilli powder
  • grated ginger
  • crushed garlic
  • garlic chives

Wash and peel the radishes/turnips then cut into small batons. Sprinkle with 1 tbsp of salt per 300g of vegetable and mix well. Loosely cover and leave to steep overnight. The next day rinse to remove excess salt and make up the hot paste to taste stir into the turnips and leave to mature for a few more hours before serving. Keeps well for a week or two in the fridge.

Note I make my own chilli powder using a blend of some very hot, medium hot and some mildly spicy peppers to get my preferred heat level.


Salted Parsley Preserve

28 Sep

Salting parsley makes a great long-keeping preserve that remains remarkably fresh tasting and keeps its deep rich colour well. I collect and preserve parsley in late spring and early autumn.

*300g parsley, washed and dried
*1 bulb green garlic, peeled (optional)
*5 heaped tsp rock salt

Grind the ingredients together, empty into a clean bowl cover with a plate and leave for 24 hours. Next day stir the mixture well and spoon into sterilised jars, loosely cover and leave for 2 days. After 2 days seal tightly and store. Use this preserve as a seasoning ingredient for soups, salad dressings and pasta sauces. Use it by the spoonful straight from the jar, but do beware of adding any other salt to dishes if you are using this preserve as it is very salty. This method of preservation works remarkably well and will keep for at least a year, that I know of, in jars in the fridge.

Garden Note
In May, before last years parsley starts to go to seed and in October before the first frost we have a plentiful supply of parsley leaves to preserve. I make this or freeze it. I use the Italian flat leaf parsley.

Collecting the parsley 
The parsley must be very dry with no moisture clinging to the leaves of the condiment will spoil. It is best gathered when dry after a light rain or first washed and dried fully before using.

This recipe was originally posted on  06/05/2008

How to Make Wine Vinegar

1 Jan

It is really worth making your own wine vinegar because the home made stuff is delicious and if you can wait long enough it is far better than anything you can buy. Making wine vinegar is really simple you just need a little ‘mere‘, some wine and lots of time.

The mere or Mother of Vinegar is an Acetobacter, a useful bacteria that turns the ethanol in wine to acetic acid with the aid of oxygen.

Just before we left England to come to France one of our friends, Jean Yves, a Frenchman, gave us a parting gift. Something we would need in France. Jean Yves scooped some weird looking sludge from a large white crock he had on his kitchen counter and put it in a clean jam jar. This sludge would not have looked out of place in a 50’s sci-fi movie, but this stuff was precious. Jean Yves had given us some ‘mere’ or mother so that we could make our own wine vinegar.

He also told us how to make wine vinegar, the instructions are simply to put the mere into a jar with a loose cover or vinegar pot and add wine then leave it until it turns into vinegar.

Once we were in France I bought a vinegar pot just like the one Jean Yves had at a local market. A vinegar pot is normally ceramic with a loose fitting lid and tap. The tap means that you can decant the vinegar without disturbing the sediment and the mere, and makes it easy to test a little bit to see if is ready to decant.

Testing a small amount of vinegar to see if it has matured enough to be ready to use.

I put Jean Yves’ mere into the pot along with a little bit of red wine. My biggest problem was parting with the wine to turn it into vinegar but I decided to use the dregs from each bottle of red we drank along with a few sloshes of stuff I wasn’t so keen on drinking. Admittedly not much hit the reject seat so it was a while before the vinegar jar was full. But once it was full I left it alone and waited. I left it for three years before tasting it and found it had turned into wonderfully sweet, rich red wine vinegar. I decanted it, through a filter, into a special red wine vinegar bottle, an old ceramic one I had found, with a spring top. The bottle is perfect, not only does it stop the light and keep the vinegar well it looks pretty in the kitchen or on the table.

How long does it take?

It took 3 years for my first batch of red wine vinegar to mature to my taste but that’s nothing apparently. I was at my neighbours house recently and discovered his red wine vinegar has a vintage of over 30 years, it knocked the socks off mine and was truly delicious. If only I could wait 30 years. Some people reckon it only takes a few months to turn wine into vinegar and that may be so but from a taste point of view the longer it ferments the better the taste seems to get.

Red and White

As luck would have it I ended up with another vinegar pot from Rachel’s sister exactly the same as the first one so I now have two jars, one of red and one of white wine vinegar, fermenting away.

Verdurette (Vegetable Stock)

1 Jan

Verdurette is an old French way of making vegetable stock by preserving ground aromatic vegetables and herbs in salt. It is very handy stuff to have in the cupboard. Throw a spoonful into soup, stock, sauce, bouillon or casseroles, basically use it instead of a stock cube, to add flavour or at the end of cooking to add flavour and texture. You can even add it raw to salad dressings or sandwiches. I often make several versions so that I have a range of different flavours to hands, but the one I find the most useful is this combination of leek and celery. It is very quick and easy to make particularly if you have a food processor.

  • 450g Leeks
  • 450g Celery stalks & leaves
  • 150g Sea salt (ratio 1 part to 6 parts veg.)

Wash the vegetables thoroughly and remove the outer leaves. Chop finely or grind the ingredients in a food processor then empty into a large bowl, add the salt and mix well. Cover the bowl and set aside overnight. The next day give it another good stir and pack into sterilised jars (either 1 large 1litre jar or 5 small 250ml jars) and seal. Store in a cool dark place. The mixture will keep for up to 3 years.

Notes Be aware that Verdurette has a high salt content so it is best not to add any other salt to dishes in which it is used.
VariationUse any of the following: Leeks, celery, parsley, chervil, spring onions, carrots, celeriac, turnips, onions, tomatoes, chard ribs, nasturtium leaves, tarragon. Any combination can be used according to taste or what is available but keep the ratio of salt to vegetables roughly the same i.e 1 part salt to 6 parts vegetable. Alternatively you could try and make it with a lower salt ratio (I have not tried that).

This recipe was originally posted on  4/12/2006