Quick pickled radishes

The word ‘pickle’ tickles my fancy. For starters, it rhymes with ‘fickle’, ‘trickle’ and ‘sickle.’ (Not a word that I have had many chances to use, up until now.) Its origin appears to derive from the Dutch word ‘peckel’ which historically referred to a vinegary brine or spicy sauce, not an actual pickled vegetable. In Britain, a pickle is a relish made of chopped veggies or fruit preserved in vinegar. In the US and Canada, a pickle is widely thought of as a cucumber preserved in brine. In these here parts and in much of my foodie reading, we now seem to refer to pickles as any vegetable that has undergone the pickling process.

Getting ‘pickled’ also alludes to partaking of too many alcoholic beverages resulting in inebriation. Finally, all of this pondering leads me to the delightfully old-school sounding idiom ‘in a pickle’. Meaning to find oneself in a quandary, difficulty, tight spot or jam. (Now this is getting confusing.) Certainly a state that all of us who are undertaking the human experience, find ourselves in at one point or another. When I find myself in a pickle (the idiom, not swimming in a giant bowl of vinegary liquid), nothing soothes my troubled soul as much as spending quality time in the kitchen. Making your own preserves is a highly satisfying process. The radish and myself are good friends. This crisp, peppery root vegetable adds zing to my salads and is a favourite snack when sprinkled with a smidgen of salt. It is also delicious when pickled.

This is a quick pickle, meaning you do not need to sterilise the jars and process them in a boiling water bath to ensure shelf stability. They need to be refrigerated and are at their best when eaten in the first few days after making. These rosy-hued radishes sing with a gentle hum of chilli heat and an earthiness from the Indian spices. To add freshness and zing, pop them in salads, sandwiches, tacos or burgers. Also delicious as a condiment with cured meats, cheeses and alongside curries and casseroles.

QUICK PICKLED INDIAN STYLE RADISHES

WHAT YOU NEED
1 bunch radishes
1/2 cup sherry or red wine vinegar
1/4 cup water
2 tbl granulated sugar
1 1/2 tsps sea salt
1 tsp whole coriander seeds
1 tsp whole cumin seeds
1/2 tsp brown mustard seeds
1/2 tsp whole black peppercorns
1/4 tsp chilli flakes

HOW YOU DO IT
Wash the radishes then remove the green leafy tops, the bottoms and any hairy bits. Using a sharp knife or a mandolin (please use the guard and watch your fingers!), slice them very finely and pack them into a jar. I used a medium sized Weck jar that takes about 500ml of liquid.
In a small saucepan, combine all of the other ingredients and cook over a medium heat. Bring to the boil, stirring occasionally until the sugar has dissolved. Remove from the heat and let it cool down for about ten minutes.
Pour the brining liquid into the jar, ensuring that the radishes are covered with the liquid.
Let the pickles cool down to room temperature then cover, shake or rotate the jar gently to ensure that the spices are coating all of the radishes and refrigerate the pickles for at least 1 day before using.
They can last up to five days but they are at their best and crunchiest for the first few days.
Serve on a salad, alongside curries, as an extra taco condiment, with burgers, as part of a sandwich filling or alongside a sandwich.

Cooking Notes: it is important to use pure sea salt and not table salt as additives can make the pickling liquid cloudy.

A Cheergerm adaptation of a bunch of different recipes.

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Ice-cream pants and an asparagus radish salad

Of late, there seems to have been much just cause and reason for celebratory eating. A good portion of this happy eating has included the devouring of some excellent ice-cream and gelato.

So much so, that this Cheergerm has been forced to coin the phrase ‘ice-cream pants’.

Definition: when ones trousers/waistbands/knickers/undies/jeans/skirts have become ‘ever so uncomfortably tight’ due to the over indulgence of delicious ice-cream. An example sentence would be:

‘Oh dear, I have ice-cream pants.’

One could be forgiven in thinking that you had spilt ice-cream on your pants. (Whilst this has been known to happen, it is a rare occurrence for the true connoisseur of ice-cream.)

In essence, when you experience the state of ‘ice-cream pants’, it simply means you have been eating a bit too much of the good stuff. It is an indication that you need to reign it in, just a tad.

To counter ice-cream pants, salads such as these will be thrown down my gob on a regular basis. I will also be exercising more and am about to set off on a walk, it will be a long one. A few days or so.

The Hornsby Market had the most divine bunches of Prince like purple asparagus and rosy red radishes. A brand new packet of lemony sumac spice was sitting in the pantry, crying out in its little sumac voice ‘eat me, eat me’. The crunchy, spicy radish goes beautifully with the earthy delicate asparagus and this zingy, sweet dressing. The purple asparagus loses a tad of it’s vibrancy when cooked but still tastes delicious.

ASPARAGUS AND RADISH SALAD

WHAT YOU NEED
2 bunches asparagus (I used purple), woody ends removed and trimmed into 5 cm pieces
4 medium radishes, sliced finely. (I did mine on a mandolin.)
Vinaigrette
2 tbl extra virgin olive oil
1 tbl white wine vinegar
1 tsp Dijon mustard
2 tsps honey
1 tsp sumac
1/4 tsp salt
Zest of one small lemon
Black pepper to taste

HOW YOU DO IT
Boil the asparagus in salted water for two minutes until just tender then immediately refresh the asparagus in cold iced water. Once the asparagus has cooled, drain well and pat dry.
Place asparagus and radish on a shallow platter or in a salad bowl.
Place the vinaigrette ingredients into a small bowl, whisk until combined and pour the mixture over the radish and asparagus. Toss the salad gently.
We ate this with the most awesome bowl of monster cold king prawns (well, the lads and I did) and a scrumptious potato salad.

Cooking Note: Sumac is a deep red, purple spice used mostly in Middle Eastern and Greek cooking. It has a tangy, lemony flavour. It is wonderful sprinkled over a plate of tomatoes or sliced avocado. It can also be used in a marinade or in a dressing, as is done here.

A slight Cheergerm adaptation of a recipe from the Taste of Home website. Link follows the photos.

http://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/radish-asparagus-salad#.

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