Can any of you honestly say that you eat turnip? When did you last cook it and how? In this world of 24 hour shopping and air -freighted tender veg in the winter, our honest, if slightly solid, British root veg (or swollen stalk in the case of the turnip) are often overlooked.
I sometimes buy a sweede but very rarely do I take that extra step and buy a turnip, and I have no recipes that use it in my collection (although I did recently see a delicious one for potato and turnip dauphenoise online.) So, if a turnip rears its earnest little head in your veg box any time soon, or if you find yourself popping one in your shopping basket, then I can really recommend this weeks theft, a wonderful, vegful, colourful (enough fuls there?) pickle, Tracklements’ Farmhouse.
Pickles are wonderfully simple to make, but you do need to leave the vegetables in salt overnight to remove the moisture – all essential for that crunch. This one uses parsnips, carrots, turnip, courgettes and onions, so there are certainly some vegetables packed in there.
It is absolutely delicious, crunchy, full of texture and taste and I love that you can see the vegetables and they don’t just disappear into a brown mush. To show it off I had a go at bringing the ploughman’s up to the 21st century (apparently the ploughman’s as we know it was born in a marketing campaign in the 1960′s so its not as ancient and venerable as we might wistfully imagine as we tuck into a plate of the Best of British.) I’ve got Wild Boar Salami on here, with Hobbs House bread, and some chunks of cheese. Cheese on a ploughman’s has to be in chunks, there is no room here for slivers or slices. Sundried tomatoes and olives have turned my ploughman’s a little bit continental, and some celery for that extra special crunch, all accompanied with a great big dollop of pickle. Ploughmans should be all about dollops, hunks and chunks. Now I just need to find me a haystack and lunch is a good ‘un.
What would you have on your perfect ploughman’s plate?
Tracklements’ Farmhouse Pickle (makes 7 or 8 jars)
5 medium carrots, peeled, topped and tailed
2 small courgettes, topped and tailed
4 medium parsnips, peeled, topped and tailed
1 medium turnip, peeled, topped and tailed
1 medium onion, peeled
40g sea salt
530ml malt vinegar
15ml lemon juice
1/2 red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
4g ground allspice
500g muscovado sugar
75g chopped dried dates
225g tomato puree
The night before you make this pickle, chop the carrots, courgettes, parsnips, turnips and onions into cubes approx 8mm by 8mm. Mix them together in a bowl and add the salt, stirring well to ensure that they are all covered with salt.
Transfer the vegetables to a colander and cover with a plate with a weight on it. Put the colander on a draining board or in a bowl so that the water is expelled and doesn’t go everywhere. Leave overnight.
The next day, throw away the salty water and rinse the vegetables.
Heat the vinegar and lemon juice and when they are simmering, add the vegetables. Bring to a gentle boil and then add the chilli and the allspice stirring well. Add the sugar in stages, stirring well do make sure it’s dissolved and bring back to the boil. Add the dates and tamarind and boil for approx 15-20 minutes or until the desired consistency is achieved then stir in the tomato puree giving the mixture a final stir.
Fill into jars.
The beautiful plate that I served my ploughman’s on is from David Rogers Pottery at www.davidrogerspottery.co.uk . Beautiful plates and dishes made in the Raku style all thrown on a wheel.