The Domestic Goddess and the summer produce

by Amanda McInerney on 18/11/2011

The domestic goddess has been stirring in my breast of late.  As a rule, I can usually slap her back down.   I am very reluctant to establish high expectations on the domestic front as it can only lead to tears – and not necessarily mine.  However, I suspect  a lingering feeling of redundancy brought on by the three month absence of my youngest, who is in Canada on a student exchange, has given that vixen an added burst of strength.  As a result I have found myself wandering to the kitchen with a sense of purpose more frequently than usual in the last week or so and the (remaining) grateful family have enjoyed the products of my niggling insecurities – as well they might. Who knows how long I can sustain this?

Not only have I baked up  storm (admittedly not all that unusual for me), but I’ve been testing some recipes from a review copy of a fine new cookbook (watch this space), churning out regular meals and whipping up vats of carb-dense food for my only son to take on the weekend of debauchery he has planned to celebrate the completion of his school career.   Oh, and I’ve been doing a spot of pickling, too!

A few weeks back I succumbed to temptation and purchased myself some very fine looking preserving jars from a US website called Kaufmann Mercantile.  Normally I try quite hard to avoid this kind of extravagance as the guilt I feel from the carbon footprint incurred sucks all the joy from my purchase, but these jars were just so very desirable that I became weak and helpless.  Coincidentally, I have been lurking around some of the fantastic US-based canning and preserving blogs that are around.  (Try Food in Jars and Canning Jars Etc. to begin with.) They take their preserving seriously over there and offer a wealth of resources so the advent of the first of the summer produce here in Australia was just what I’d been waiting for.

These two pickle recipes are my own adaptation of a couple of existing recipes.  The cucumber was inspired by a Greg Malouf recipe in “Turquoise” and the carrot is a slight rejigging of one  I found on Bon Appetit.  I never realised how simple the process was and neither of these are rocket science, so can be knocked out in a very short amount of time.  I struggled with whether to refrigerate them immediately or to let them begin to ferment a little.  However, Botulism is such an ugly word so I erred on the side of caution and put them straight in the fridge where they will sit for a week or so before I unveil them.

Pickled Cucumber

Ingredients

  • 500 gms small green cucumbers (approx)
  • 1 tsp fennel seed, cracked
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds, cracked
  • 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 small bulb fresh fennel, chopped
  • 1/2 cinnamon stick
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tsp sea salt

Instructions

  1. Prepare your jars by scalding with boiling water or putting through a hot cycle in the dishwasher.
  2. Wash cucumbers, top & tail them, then slice into sticks.
  3. Place garlic, fennel and spices into bottom of jars.
  4. Pack cucumber sticks in jar, upright, with cinnamon nestled in the middle.
  5. Bring water, cider vinegar and salt to boil, then pour over cucumber, ensuring it is covered.
  6. Seal jars, allow to cool, then refrigerate.


Moroccan Spiced Carrots

Ingredients

  • 500 gms carrots (approx)
  • Rind of 1 lemon
  • 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 tsp chilli flakes
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds, cracked
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds, cracked
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 3 tsp sea salt

Instructions

  1. Prepare preserving jars by scalding with boiling water or running through hot dishwasher cycle.
  2. Peel carrots and cut into sticks.
  3. Place chilli flakes and garlic in jars, then stand carrot sticks in jars, slipping the lemon rind in around them.
  4. Bring remaining spices and brine ingredients to boil and simmer for three minutes.
  5. Pour over carrots, ensuring they are covered.
  6. Seal, allow to cool, then refrigerate.

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{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

celia November 19, 2011 at 5:47 am

Long live your inner domestic goddess! :) And thank you for the recipes – we’ve planted three Lebanese cucumbers this year, so hopefully we’ll get a glut that will need pickling! :)

Kate November 19, 2011 at 8:31 am

I am full of admiration for your pickling and canning ventures – botulism scares me off going down that path !!

tania@mykitchenstories November 19, 2011 at 9:00 am

Oh no, now you’ve done it I want to go to this site immediately to get jars. Your carrots and cucumbers look great. I love these in the fridge for jazzing things up in a hurry

grant nowell November 19, 2011 at 10:45 am

Lovely pickling yarn, it is so very satisfying to pickle things or make a funky chutney and give them to friends. The icing on the cake is if you can grow the `things`in the garden and the go forth and pickle! Your cucumbers are perfect for that….food miles, zero.
I did some of my onions last year with my own chilli, coriander and cumin seeds and cloves, pretty nice. I also used some of my little green tomatoes for a spectacular chutney with similar spices.
Thanks agin for your writings.

InTolerantChef November 19, 2011 at 10:53 am

Oh, they look so pretty! The B word always scares me a little too, I’ve been doing some research on the CSIRO info and what they recommend before getting too excited.
Let your domestic goddess shine, and I’m always very interested to hear about a fine new cookbook too , love adding to my collection! :)

Lizzy (Good Things) November 19, 2011 at 12:57 pm

Good work you domestic goddess! Well done.

Hotly Spiced November 19, 2011 at 10:06 pm

I hope your youngest is good at keeping in contact because that’s a long time to be away from home. I love your pickling jars and great to see this ‘old school’ kind of cooking back in vogue.

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella November 20, 2011 at 12:35 am

I adore pickled cucumber. I really like those jars although I’ve bought similar ones here :)

cityhippyfarmgirl November 20, 2011 at 3:19 pm

I do not need more jars, I do not need more jars, I do not need more jars…. oh pickle me in vinegar!… Perhaps I really do?
And just for the record Amanda, I can’t imagine you ever not being a kitchen goddess!

Louise November 20, 2011 at 6:34 pm

This all seems too easy! And so much easier than the old Canola preserving methods which seemed to involve hours of boiling. I was always terrified if I did it wrong we would all die of botulism!

How long do the pickled vegetables last?

Amanda November 20, 2011 at 8:08 pm

Celia – Good luck with the cucumbers. I’m about to put a couple in up here.
Kate – this is my very first try. If you don’t hear from me again you’ll know why.
Tania – Thanks, I’m quite pleased with how they look.
Grant – your chutney sounds very good. Care to share the recipe?
Bec – I like to keep the goddess in check. Like I said, I don’t want to create expectations.
Lizzy – thanks!
Charlie – My baby appears to have settled into her new home very nicely and is not at all homesick – yet.
Lorraine – I’ve not seen the jars here, but I haven’t been hunting for them.
Brydie – They are really quite fine looking jars.
Louise – I’m told the vinegar makes it too acidic for nasties to grow, but I don’t think they will last more than a week or two once opened. That’s why I used the smaller jars.

The Food Sage November 20, 2011 at 9:44 pm

Those pickles look wonderful. Go domestic goddess!!

Joanna November 21, 2011 at 2:08 am

They look splendid! Love the idea of pickled carrots, might have to do that one next. I think the vinegar has to be certain level of acidity too, we’ve been experimenting with making our own vinegar from the glut of apples this year and I think ours isn’t high enough in acid to use for pickling though it does make a fine salad dressing, marinade addition etc etc.

Melanie @ Melanie Cooks November 21, 2011 at 5:26 am

Homemade pickles are so good! Looks delicious!

Amanda November 21, 2011 at 7:29 am

Food Sage – thanks for the encouragement!
Joanna – yesterday I was given a bottle of local apple cider vinegar & I’m looking forward to experimenting with it.
Melanie – thanks. We’ll find out how good they are this week.

Cakelaw November 21, 2011 at 3:59 pm

Both your pickled cucumbers and spiced carrots look amazing! I don’t think jars like this are ever extravagant, as you can use them over and over and save veges from spoiling.

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