In a pickle, part 1: quick, easy, tasty zucchini pickles

I have a thing for pickles. Maybe this is why we had four children, so I had a fairly predictable excuse for the outrageous number of pickled items I would consume. Yeah, that’s it. Offensive levels of fertility and general laziness come carelessness had nothing to do with it whatsoever. That and we really just wanted a girl. Let’s just perpetuate as many myths as possible.

So, I had this recipe from an Australian Gourmet Traveller hanging around on the kitchen bench for pretty much most of last year, maybe longer and in fact thought I’d tossed it in a recent purge of ripped out recipes but no! Score! It was still there, testament to my love of the pickle.

Make these. They’re easy and taste DIVINE. I am making burgers this week just to have these on them. And also buying some lovely crumbly vintage cheddar – these are perfect for that. I doubled the recipe below so these photos are of a kilo of zucchinis. I also only had a smidge of cider vinegar so used bog standard white vinegar. Worked a treat. (1kg of zucchinis gave me 7x325ml jars which I loosely packed – and I didn’t need any more liquid to cover.)

Pickled Zucchinis

From Australian Gourmet Traveller from Neil Perry, Rockpool Bar & Grill who lifted it from San Fransico’s Zuni Cafe

  • 500g zucchinis, thinly sliced
  • 1 small onion, thinly sliced
  • 2tbsp fine sea salt
  • 500ml ice-cold water
  • 500ml cider vinegar
  • 220g (1cup) caster sugar
  • 2tsp mustard powder
  • 2tsp yellow mustard seeds, lightly crushed
  • 1tsp tumeric
  1. Combine the zucchini, onion, salt and water and stand for 1 hour.

  2. Combine the vinegar, sugar, mustard powder, seeds and tumeric in a saucepan and heat until the sugar is dissolved. Simmer for 2 minutes and then cool to room temperature. (Make sure it is completely cooled before pouring over the zucchinis as if it’s still warm it will make your pickles soggy.)
  3. Drain the zucchini and onion and pat dry on absorbent paper then put back into the bowl with the cider mixture and stir to combine.  

  4. Transfer to sterile jars and add a bit of water to cover if necessary. Seal and refrigerate for two days to pickle. They’ll keep, refrigerated, for at least three weeks.

Quince Jam

So it’s quince season over here. A fleeting time when I never make enough of my quince relish to last until the next season which this year I have sought to rectify.

But after peeling and coring and chopping finely about four kilos of quinces I was calling it quits. I figured 11 jars would be enough so long as I wasn’t overly generous with handing out jars of this precious condiment. (It’s sublime with cheese – far nicer than quince paste – and delicious with lamb or any meat for that matter.)

Then Chef asked me if I had a quince jam recipe. I found one in my Country Show Cookbook and figured that not having to peel or core the quinces until they were partially cooked I would give it a go.

Now, not being a big fan of quinces in a sweetened dessert form I was not holding much hope for me enjoying it but MAN OH MAN it is freakin’ delicious. Smear it on some buttered toast and I defy anyone to not eat the lot. I did also use a jar of it on some lamb shoulders I slow roasted for about 7 hours yesterday and again, superb.

Quince Jam
The Country Show Cookbook

  • Quinces
  • Sugar
  • Lemon juice
  1. Place the quinces in a saucepan in which they all fit and cover with water
  2. Bring to the boil and simmer until the quinces are quite soft
  3. Keep the water, remove the quinces and peel and core them (granted this is fiddly because there are those weird grainy bits around the core and you have to get it all out but hey, it’s a hell of a lot easier when they’re soft than raw)
  4. Put all the cores and skin (some of the skin just pulls away as a very thin film, some of it is harder, just deal with accordingly) back in the water, bring to the boil and simmer for 30 minutes
  5. Meanwhile, chop up the quinces
  6. Strain all the cores and stuff from the water and then combine the water and chopped up quinces
  7. Measure the cups of quinces into a pan then add the same number of cups of sugar
  8. Slowly bring to the boil (ensuring the sugar is dissolved before you get to boiling point)
  9. Boil until it reaches setting point
  10. The lemon juice is optional – add about five minutes before end of cooking time
  11. Pour into sterilised jars and savour throughout the long non-quince season.

Ode to Nigella 7 – Beetroot puree

I adore beetroot. It has that earthy sweetness about it. And the colour. I guess it figures considering my addiction to rhubarb. This is sensational, but go easy on the garlic. I haven’t and am really regretting it. Nigella recommends using a high quality red wine vinegar or if that is not possible, a run of the mill balsamic. I did the latter and it is fantastic.

Beetroot puree

  • 500g raw beetroot
  • 2-3 cloves garlic
  • 50g walnuts
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 20g coriander
  • 10g flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 3 tsp red wine vinegar
  1. preheat oven to 220C and make a foil parcel for the beetroots
  2. place beetroots in the foil to make a roomy parcel with tightly sealed edges
  3. cook for 2 hours depending on size, check at 1 hour if you must. I was going to then completely forgot until the two hours were up. They were fine
  4. Unwrap and let cool
  5. Blitz the garlic in a food processor then add the walnuts and process again
  6. Peel and roughly chop the beetroot (I wore latex gloves so my hands didn’t look like they were bleeding for days)
  7. Add the beetroot and everything else to the processor and whiz until it’s a fine paste
  8. Taste, it may need more vinegar
  9. Put into a bowl and let it mellow for at least two hours before using.

I doubled it all – it made 3x375g jars – so if you make it as above you’ll have a good amount for a dinner of about 6-8 adults.
It’s a much darker purple than my picture. It really is very pretty.
Great for any meat or with a cheese platter.

Cumquat marmalade

For the first time in three years I didn’t burn my cumquat marmalade. It deserves a photo montage:

25 minutes on rapid boil. I love the rings of progress.
Swirls and twirls

This, being made late at night in the quiet of a normally very loud household, made the patterns of boiling fruit and sugar very mesmerising.

Bakers dozen

Clean benchtops. Enough said.

The colour (and of course flavour) is what I am most proud of

The recipe is no secret, I make the Stephanie Alexander recipe, which is apparently the recipe her mum used to make. I am however very lazy and do not pull all the pips out of these tiny fruits and secure in a muslin bag. I just let them boil in the marmalade and then pull them out as it cools ever so slightly before I pour it into jars.

Cumquat Marmalade

  • 2kg cumquats
  • caster sugar
  1. Cut the fruit into quarters
  2. Put in a ceramic bowl and barely cover with water
  3. Let sit overnight
  4. Measure out the fruit and liquid, counting how many cups it makes*, into a large heavy based saucepan
  5. Bring to the boil and cook until the fruit is soft
  6. Add the same number cups of sugar as there were fruit
  7. Boil rapidly until it reaches setting stage (almost always bang on 25 minutes)
  8. Let it cool slightly until a film begins to form – this is when I fish all the pips out
  9. Pour into sterilised jars**

* this batch gave me just under 12 cups
** I sterilise my jars by rinsing in warm soapy water then putting in a low oven for at least 10 minutes. This batch made 13x375ml jars.


even it’s name is enticing no?
I have always wondered what a jam roly poly was and in my impressive laziness resulting in a lack of research had simply presumed it was a rectangular sponge covered with jam and then rolled up.
How wrong I was.
Just as this curiosity was sitting there, along with my curiosity about a whole lotta things, out comes the latest Gourmet Traveller and the weekly edition of Good Living, both featuring a jam roly poly.
Get this.
It’s more of a scone wrapped around jam than a sponge.
I know. Move over Wikepedia.

that is the pic of the Jam Roly Poly in the latest GT – I mean, if that doesn’t make y0u want to make it, what will I say.
And yes, I even made the jam. I’m not a huge marmalade fan, but this – which I slightly modified – was very moreish indeed.
Also – mine looked nothing like this – my jam was not as dark and syrupy (similar to my insecurities about my kneading ability, I have similar angst about making jam. that said, this one set without me using Jamsetta and is delicious, it just wasn’t thick and syrupy enough to hold that much shape in the roll).

The jam

  • 4 oranges (I used 3 oranges, 1 tangelo)
  • 2 lemons
  • 6 mandarins
  • 220g white sugar
  • 1/4 cup lemon or orange liqueur (I used Cointreau)
  1. – Peel and segment the oranges, lemons and two of the mandarins. Do this over a bowl to catch juices.
  2. – Remove pips and set aside.
  3. – Using your hands, push down on the segments to release juices into a measuring cup.
  4. – Squeeze the remaining four mandarins and add to to the juice from the segments – you need 1 cup of juice.
  5. – Tie the seeds up in a muslin cloth
  6. – Combine the juices and sugar in a heavy based saucepan, bring to a simmer to dissolve sugar
  7. – Add the fruit, pips and liqueur and simmer for 20-25 minutes or until syrupy. Cool completely before use

The cake*

  • 2 1/3 cups SR flour
  • 2 tbsp caster sugar
  • 120g butter, chopped
  • Finely grated rind of 2 oranges and 1 lemon (Use the rind off some of the fruit used in the jam. Grate the rinds before peeling and segmenting fruit.)
  • 175ml buttermilk
  1. – Preheat oven to 180C
  2. – Combine the flour, sugar and rinds
  3. – Rub through the butter until it resembles breadcrumbs
  4. – Cut through the buttermilk (treat it like a scone batter, so work lightly and quickly)
  5. – Turn onto a lightly floured piece of grease-proof paper and form into a 25cm log
  6. – Roll out to a rectangle that’s 27cmx30cm
  7. – Spread over 2/3 of the jam, leaving a 3cm border
  8. – Roll lengthways, pressing the edges together as you go
  9. – Brush surface with some buttermilk
  10. – Now, the recipe says to wrap the roll in the grease-proof paper and tie the ends. I’m not sure why you do this, maybe to keep it in a tight roll as otherwise it might just spread outways… or something?
  11. – Place on a baking tray and cook for 35 minutes.

Serve warm with cream or ice-cream (or both) and some of the leftover jam if desired.

The recipe in Good Living used a jar of apricot jam, which may be what I do next time. I’ll keep the rinds in the batter though as it gave lovely flavour.

*This is basically like a scone dough. In fact, with the rinds adding an extra depth of flavour I may use this recipe for my next batch of scones.