There’s not much that gives a feeling of abundance like zucchini does. It grows easily and prolifically, some people complain that it provides too much food, and then end up gifting some of their harvest to me. I end up picking most of mine before the flowers have dropped off, eager to make all kinds of zucchini cakes, zucchini gratin, minestrone and other soups, and making this zucchini pickle to accompany cheese and cold meats for the year ahead.
200g onions (2 small-medium ones)
Water for rinsing the salt off
5 teaspoons yellow mustard seeds, crushed
1 teaspoon dry turmeric or 3 teaspoons freshly grated
2 tablespoons finely grated fresh ginger, or 1 1/2 teaspoons dried
85g honey (around 2 tablespoons)
500ml cider vinegar or white wine vinegar
Grate the zucchini and finely dice the onions. Mix with the salt in a bowl and set aside for at least half an hour, or overnight. Drain the liquid, rinse the vegetables, and then drain again, squash them into a fine sieve to remove as much liquid as possible.
When the vegetables have been drained and rinsed, put them in a pot with the spices, vinegar, and honey. Bring to the boil with the lid on, reduce the heat, and simmer with the lid on for 20 minutes. Remove the lid and simmer for another ten or twenty minutes, until most of the liquid has evaporated and the onion tastes cooked. Put into the sterilised jars, put the lids on, then turn them upside down for a few minutes. Turn the right way up again and leave them to cool.
This pickle will taste best after it’s been in storage at least a month. It keeps for around 12 months in the cupboard. I’ve opened ones that were two years old and they were still good.
All you need to make butter is a bowl, a whisk, and some cream.
The cream should have no additives, just cream, and if it’s créme fraiche for making cultured butter, then it will have cultures as well (here’s my recipe for culturing cream at home).
Put the cream in the bowl and whisk. After a fair amount of whisking it will become whipped cream. Continue whisking and whisking and the whipped cream will become more yellow. Soon after this you’ll begin to see some liquid forming. Continue whisking, more of the buttermilk will separate from the butter.
You don’t have to do all the whisking at once, you can come back to it every now and then. Or you can use a stand mixer or hand mixer.
Once it looks as though all the buttermilk that’s going to come out has been released, strain the butter over a mixing bowl, reserving the buttermilk for recipes.
Put the butter in a bowl of very cold water. Knead with your hands a few times to release even more of the remaining milk.
Drain the water and replace with more very cold water. Knead again.
Remove the butter from the water, kneading as much water out of it as you can. Shape it and store it in beeswax wraps or glass jars. Enjoy!