Sunday, 3 November 2013


Good Afternoon to you,

I am feeling very happy, because I am ticking things off my Christmas To Do List,

Christmas Cake baked ....... tick

Feed the Christmas Cake with brandy each week .....tick

and today, I will be able to tick another item off my Christmas To Do List,

Pickled Onions

These little onions require no cooking, the wine vinegar and pickling spices  just need a little "heating up", to bring out the flavour of the spices, but although there is no cooking today,  I have to be honest with you, and tell you, there will be a lot of knife action, as there is lots and lots of peeling to be done.

Now here's the thing.... I love cooked onions, but I am not a lover of pickled onions.... so I hear you asking "why on earth are you making them?"  The reason I make them each year is because George loves them, as does the rest of the family.  Although George enjoys eating them at Christmas time, he also loves eating them, as part of a Ploughman's lunch.  So each year when these baby onions are in season, I start the pickling process.

So today, as we are still in the Christmas "get ahead" mood, I have chosen my music with Christmas in mind, but this time not the rich sound of a choir, but the rich sound of,

Rod Stewart.  I have enjoyed listening to Rod Stewart for many years.

I love this Christmas album, as Rod duets with Michael Buble for "Winter Wonderland", Cee Lo Green for "Merry Christmas Baby", Mary J. Blige for "We Three Kings" and Ella Fitzgerald, for "What Are You Doing New Year's Eve?" so for me, this is a double whammy, as I love all the artists.

Now before we begin, I have to tell you, that pickled onions are made in two stages.  The first stage is the peeling of the onions and soaking them in brine.  The second stage, which is the following day, is when the pickling spices are added to the wine vinegar and the pickled onions are put into jars.  

So with the music playing, it is on with the apron, and I am gearing myself up, to peel all the little onions, but first the list of ingredients.


750g pickling onions or small shallots
1 litre of white wine vinegar
 malt vinegar if you prefer
2 tablespoons of pickling spices,
made up
 of a mixture of,
1 tablespoon of coriander seeds, slighty crushed
1/4 teaspoon of yellow mustard seeds
6 very small dried chillies
1/4 teaspoon of ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon of black pepper corns
2 dried bay leaf cut into small pieces


4 tablespoons of sea salt
1 litre of water 
or enough to cover the onions


You will need,
 1 small and 1 medium sized Kilner jar.

Sterlise the jars using your usual method. 



Heat up enough boiling water to fill a large cup. 
 Place 4 tablespoons of sea salt into the cup, 
and pour over the hot water.  
Stir until the salt has dissolved. 
I will be calling this salty water "brine" from now on

 Add the cup of brine to 1 litre of cold water and stir. 

Set aside.

Just a  thought,  before  we begin, if  you  don't  want  your   hands smelling of onions for days on end, I would  recommend wearing a pair of rubber gloves.  I  have to  tell you, I don't use rubber gloves 
as I find it easier to handle the onions, without them, but that is just my preference.

Now are you ready for our marathon
onion peeling session?

Let us begin!

Peel the onions
and remove the skins.
Be careful when cutting the root, 
cut as close to the the root as possible
but make sure you
leave the root intact
as you want the onions to remain whole.

Place the peeled onions into a large bowl
pour over the brine which you made earlier

Cover with a tea towel or plate
and leave the onions to steep in the brine
for 24 hours


Place the wine vinegar into a non-reactive saucepan


add the pickling spices
 bring to a simmer.
The moment the wine vinegar comes
to a simmer, switch off the heat,

Allow the spiced vinegar to cool.

Remove the onions from the brine
and rinse under cold water

Pat each onion dry

Pack the onions into the
sterilised Kilner jars

Pour over the cooled spiced
wine vinegar

making sure
all the onions are covered
with the spiced wine vinegar

Place the lids on the kilner jars
store in a cool place  for at least a month,
but the longer the better.

......but this is not enough, I am going to make three times this amount, to share with the family, for Christmas time.  After all the rich food,  I know George for sure, will enjoy these spicy pickled onions, with Cheddar Cheese and a few crackers. 

I have another batch of onions, which are steeping in a bowl, waiting in the kitchen, ready to be placed into Kilner jars....... I think I will have one, very happy George, during the Festive period.

I love gently caramelized onions and  I love these baby onions cooked in a Beef Bourguignon, which I am going to be making in December.  I can't wait, because although I am not a huge meat eater, Beef Bourguignon really hits the spot for me.

So take care and I will see you on Wednesday, when I will be making Leek and Potato Soup.

This week I will be joining,

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Best wishes to you.


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