Sweet Cucumber Pickle
I was a difficult child when it came to food – a nightmare for my parents. I was the child that refused to eat ANY fruit or vegetables, claiming an infinite dislike without ever having tasted them. Despite my 180 degree turnaround in recent years, there are still some fruits and vegetables that I have issues with. I struggle with the texture of many fruits but with vegetables, only a couple – I HATE turnip! The Italians have the right approach when it comes to turnip: eat the leaves and feed the roots to the sheep! And then there is the cucumber. I don’t like it’s freshness. That might seem like a strange thing to say but there’s something about biting into a piece of cucumber and getting that taste of…..green water! Not for me. Before attending Ballymaloe, I had a little chat with myself and decided that I had to try everything presented to me and start afresh. So imagine my surprise when I tasted their sweet cucumber pickle. Although cucumber still brought out the same reaction in me, I fell in love with this pickled version!
I decided to use this Ballymaloe recipe as part of my Antipasto Platter for The Kinneagh Kitchen Pop-Up Italian Restaurant last week. It’s not particularly Italian but it’s the perfect accompaniment to cured meats and cheese. It went down a storm and many people asked me about it on the night. It’s a simple process but you must slice everything very finely, a mandoline (mind your fingers!) is useful but not essential. In the original recipe, it states cider vinegar but I always use white wine vinegar; use whichever you prefer.
Adapted from Darina Allen’s Ballymaloe Cookery Course Book:
900g Cucumber (very finely sliced)
2 medium Onions (very finely sliced)
1 tbsp Salt
225ml White Wine Vinegar
1. Mix the cucumber and onion in a large bowl.
2. Combine the sugar, salt and vinegar and mix well. Pour over the cucumber and onion, mix well and leave for a couple of hours for the flavours to develop. Will keep for weeks in a sealed container in the fridge.