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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Cauliflower fritters and the stink of learning

A conversation had with the eldest of our progeny went like this.

Me: You smell of school.
Kid 1: I hate the smell of school too. It’s the stink of learning.

It is true that our boys emanate a certain odour upon their return from school which is, well, rather unpleasant. However, I always thought it had more to do with the running, jumping, sweating, wearing enclosed shoes, stinky socks, and being cooped up in classrooms with twenty five or so other human beans along with their bodily emissions.

In my imagination, the smell (or stink) of learning would consist of the earthy scent of knowledge filled books and the exciting aroma of information. You would be enveloped by the bouquet of well washed teachers who are thrilled to impart knowledge and to empower our children to be independent and critical thinkers.

But then, what do I know? All that is required is a shedding of uniforms and some serious bathing to ablute the young ‘uns of the heady aroma of school. These fritters are packed full of cauliflower (the totally hip vegetable of the hour.) They smell only of good things, the tingly exotic spices of India and the promise of something tasty to eat. We usually serve them with an Indian style tomato relish or yoghurt and mint sauce.

I would rather walk into a house that was perfumed by the fragrance of delicious fritters than the odiferous miasma of stinky, day old school socks. Like, any day.

INDIAN STYLE CAULIFLOWER FRITTERS, GLUTEN FREE

WHAT YOU NEED
Olive oil/grapeseed oil for frying
1/2 cauliflower, trimmed and chopped into small 1.5 cm pieces
1 medium red onion, (half it then finely slice each half)
1 garlic clove, crushed
2 tsps sea salt
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground turmeric
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp chilli powder (or 1/2 fresh red chilli finely diced)
Black pepper, a few healthy grinds
Handful of fresh coriander, stalks and leaves roughly chopped
3 eggs, beaten
1 cup millet flour (or sorghum flour or brown rice flour)
1/2 cup plain gluten free flour
1 1/2 tsps gf baking powder
3/4 to 1 cup water

HOW YOU DO IT
Preheat oven to 170C and line two large baking trays with baking paper.
Place the cauliflower, onion, garlic, spices and coriander into a large bowl.
Sift the flours and baking powder into the large bowl. (I am big on saving on washing up.)
Add the egg and half a cup of the water, mix well. If the batter is too dry, continue to add the rest of the water until you have a loose batter.
Heat 2-3 tablespoons of oil in a large non stick frying pan.
To make the fritters, add 2 – 3 large spoonfuls of the batter for each fritter into the pan. The mixture will be chunky and look like it won’t hold together but it will. Once they are golden brown on the bottom, flip them carefully and cook until golden brown on the other side. Remove to the tray and repeat the process until the batter is used up.
Place the fritters in the oven and cook for fifteen to twenty minutes until they are puffy and golden brown.
Makes ten very big fritters or if you wish to make smaller ones, just use 1 – 2 tablespoons of batter when making them.

A Cheergerm recipe creation


Diving in bed and eggplant curry

If I said to you that my husband likes to dive in bed, you could be forgiven in exclaiming ‘What the!’

Calm down. It’s not what you think.

The Yak, when in the throes of sleep, likes to dive.

By this I mean, imagine you are watching the Olympic Games. A diver performs a breathtaking inward two and a half somersaults in the pike position, finishing off with a perfect rip entry.

When The Yak rolls over in bed, it is not a gentle roll or turn. He is an elite athlete, standing on the end of a diving board. He then performs an incredible triple pike turn in the tuck position, before landing back atop the mattress on the other side of his body.

The bed is merely a trampoline for his nightly diving shenanigans. The re-entry that he makes when diving back into the mattress, does not translate into the same pretty ripples that a pro diver makes when hitting the water.

I am merely the judge, holding up score cards.

8.0
9.0
7.5

Rest assured (because I certainly can’t), I would rather be sleeping.

We have this curry often, actually, we have all kinds of curry often. Cause that’s how we roll.

Mustard seeds and potato are like Laurel and Hardy, Sonny and Cher, fish and chips, bubble and squeak or some may even say, the Cheergerm and the Yak. They just go together. Little pops of bright mustardy goodness paried with the soft potato is the bees knees.

Eggplant are the sponges of the vegetable world. Not like the gross, mouldy thing that may or may not be hanging in a dark corner of your shower recess. But in an awesome ‘suck the flavour out the delicious ingredients that you pop in with it’ kind of way.

Earthy, spicy, unctuous eggplant and brightly flavoured potato (how very Nigella of me). Please sir, can I have some more?

EGGPLANT AND POTATO CURRY

WHAT YOU NEED
2 tbl cooking oil
1 onion, finely diced
1 garlic clove, crushed
2 cm fresh ginger, grated
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp brown mustard seeds
1/2 tsp chilli powder
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 large peeled potatoes, cut into 1-2 cm cubes
2 small eggplants, cut into 3 cm cubes, partially peeled (see photo below)
1 tin crushed tomatoes
12 dried curry leaves
A big handful of roughly chopped coriander

HOW YOU DO IT
Heat the oil in a medium sized saucepan, add the onions and sauté a few minutes until they start to soften.
Add garlic and ginger, cook for about 30 seconds then add all the spices and salt. Cook for 1 minute, take care not to burn the spices.
Add potato and stir, add eggplant and stir through.
Add tomatoes and 1 and 1/2 cups of water and the curry leaves.
Simmer on low to medium heat for approximately 1 hour until the potato is tender. Check for salt.
Add a handful of chopped fresh coriander to your taste.
Serve with basmati rice.
This has a zing as I used quite hot chilli powder, use less if you don’t like it spicy, use more if you like a bit of Johnny cash…

A Cheergerm creation

A happy Father’s Day to my own dad Mr Bagpipes, to the excellent Yak who is an outstanding Dad to our sproglets and to all you other big Daddies out there.


Diving in bed and eggplant curry

If I said to you that my husband likes to dive in bed, you could be forgiven in exclaiming ‘What the!’

Calm down. It’s not what you think.

The Yak, when in the throes of sleep, likes to dive.

By this I mean, imagine you are watching the Olympic Games. A diver performs a breathtaking inward two and a half somersaults in the pike position, finishing off with a perfect rip entry.

When The Yak rolls over in bed, it is not a gentle roll or turn. He is an elite athlete, standing on the end of a diving board. He then performs an incredible triple pike turn in the tuck position, before landing back atop the mattress on the other side of his body.

The bed is merely a trampoline for his nightly diving shenanigans. The re-entry that he makes when diving back into the mattress, does not translate into the same pretty ripples that a pro diver makes when hitting the water.

I am merely the judge, holding up score cards.

8.0
9.0
7.5

Rest assured (because I certainly can’t), I would rather be sleeping.

We have this curry often, actually, we have all kinds of curry often. Cause that’s how we roll.

Mustard seeds and potato are like Laurel and Hardy, Sonny and Cher, fish and chips, bubble and squeak or some may even say, the Cheergerm and the Yak. They just go together. Little pops of bright mustardy goodness paried with the soft potato is the bees knees.

Eggplant are the sponges of the vegetable world. Not like the gross, mouldy thing that may or may not be hanging in a dark corner of your shower recess. But in an awesome ‘suck the flavour out the delicious ingredients that you pop in with it’ kind of way.

Earthy, spicy, unctuous eggplant and brightly flavoured potato (how very Nigella of me). Please sir, can I have some more?

EGGPLANT AND POTATO CURRY

WHAT YOU NEED
2 tbl cooking oil
1 onion, finely diced
1 garlic clove, crushed
2 cm fresh ginger, grated
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp brown mustard seeds
1/2 tsp chilli powder
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 large peeled potatoes, cut into 1-2 cm cubes
2 small eggplants, cut into 3 cm cubes, partially peeled (see photo below)
1 tin crushed tomatoes
12 dried curry leaves
A big handful of roughly chopped coriander

HOW YOU DO IT
Heat the oil in a medium sized saucepan, add the onions and sauté a few minutes until they start to soften.
Add garlic and ginger, cook for about 30 seconds then add all the spices and salt. Cook for 1 minute, take care not to burn the spices.
Add potato and stir, add eggplant and stir through.
Add tomatoes and 1 and 1/2 cups of water and the curry leaves.
Simmer on low to medium heat for approximately 1 hour until the potato is tender. Check for salt.
Add a handful of chopped fresh coriander to your taste.
Serve with basmati rice.
This has a zing as I used quite hot chilli powder, use less if you don’t like it spicy, use more if you like a bit of Johnny cash…

A Cheergerm creation

A happy Father’s Day to my own dad Mr Bagpipes, to the excellent Yak who is an outstanding Dad to our sproglets and to all you other big Daddies out there.