Nasturtium ‘capers’

Nasturtium capers

Nasturtium ‘capers’

Nasturtiums are great plants. Easy to grow, good looking, and most importantly – you can eat them – flowers, seed pods, the whole shebang.

The flowers look great on a salad, they’ve got a really peppery taste – but I often just eat them straight off the plant (after a quick bug check!)

Nasturtiums plants

There are 3 nasturtiums plants in this basket

Flower and seed pod

Flower and seed pod

Pick the seed pods when they’re young (before they start to turn a reddish colour)

Seed pods and flowers

Seed pods and flowers

Give them a good rinse and split the larger pod trios into separate pods. Make a brine with 50g sea salt and a litre of water and soak them overnight, then wash them well and dry them.

Put them in a sterilised jar with a couple of bay leaves, cover them in white wine or cider vinegar, and that’s it. You could add whatever you like to the jar – rosemary, peppercorns or thyme. It’s up to you.

Leave them somewhere cool for a couple of weeks or so before using. They will last almost indefinitely, and they’re great in potato salad, or with fish dishes.

Persian pickled cherries with tarragon

Persian pickled cherries with tarragon

Persian pickled cherries with tarragon

I need to somehow process the 6kg Rainer cherries I picked yesterday, and this recipe sounded so weird that I had to try it.

The recipe is from Diana Henry’s book “Salt sugar smoke”.

You need:

  • 500ml white wine vinegar
  • 3tbsp salt
  • 12 bruised black peppercorns
  • 400g cherries (these are rainier cherries)
  • 5 sprigs of tarragon
  • sterilised jar with a vinegar proof lid

All you need to do is

  • bring the vinegar, salt and pepper to a boil, then leave it to cool
  • put the cherries and tarragon into the jar, cover with the vinegar solution, try to get the air bubbles out by banging the jar, then put the lid on
  • wait 2 weeks before eating.

I have no idea how these will taste. There’s no sugar in the recipe, and although the cherries are really sweet I get the feeling that it might turn my face inside out!

I’ll report back in due course. I need to find something to do with the other 5.5Kg cherries now!

Beetroot pickled eggs

Beetroot pickled eggs

Beetroot pickled eggs

I like pickled eggs anyway but these were a bit of a revelation. Sweet and delicious.

They don’t taste anything like those sad looking pickled eggs you see on the chip shop shelf, drowned in pure acetic acid. I wish I had a shot of these sliced up. They’re pink all the way through apart from the middle of the yolk. I was too busy mmm’ing to take a picture at that point I think.

Anyway here’s how you make them. You need:

  • Half a dozen or so free range eggs
  • A fresh beetroot or two
  • A couple of shallots, sliced
  • Cider vinegar – about 125ml
  • White wine vinegar  – about 125ml
  • Castor sugar – about 50 grams
  • A teaspoon of sea salt
  • A sterilised Kilner jar (or other vinegar safe jam jar)

Sterilise the jar (wash it well in hot soapy water, rinse, and pop into the oven to dry out at about 180C, OR put them through the dishwasher, then dry in a low oven) If you’re using a Kilner jar, don’t put the rubber seal in the oven 🙂

  • Hard boil the eggs. If you’re anything like me, you’ll ruin a few trying to peel them. Boil a few extra, and eat the ones you don’t like the look of, while you’re getting on with the rest of it.
  • Peel and dice the beetroot, then boil in a little water until tender. Save the water.
  • Put the eggs, beetroot chunks, and shallots into the jar (or jars).
  • Put the vinegars, sugar and salt in with the saved beetroot water and bring to a simmer, stirring, until the sugar and salt have dissolved. A couple of minutes or so.
  • Pour the vinegar solution over the eggs, beetroot and shallots in the jar, allow it to cool to room temperature and seal it.

Pop the jar into the fridge for a week before eating (if you can last that long!)

That’s it!

You could add other things to the brine if you like. Garlic, mustard seeds, whatever. Up to you, but I like them just like this.