Paul’s Pickles

by Northern Life

In a bit of a pickle? With winter comes the problem of sourcing fresh fruit and vegetables to cook with, but we’ve got a dill-icious solution!

Michelin-starred Chef Paul Leonard from The Forest Side in Grasmere has created easy pickle recipes you will relish.

Perfect to serve as a side, as a healthy snack or handy to grab for a quick crunch.

Paul Leonard



  • 2 small cauliflower, cut into small florets
  • 400g silverskin onion
  • 600g courgette, cut into small chunks
  • 6 Granny Smiths, cored, cut into small chunks
  • 100g salt
  • 1.7l apple vinegar
  • 40g piece fresh root ginger, grated
  • 2 tbsp coriander seeds
  • 3 tbsp black mustard seeds
  • 300g caster sugar
  • 8 tbsp cornflour
  • 5 tbsp English mustard powder
  • 3 tsp turmeric


  1. In a bowl, mix the vegetables, apple, and salt with 2 litres of cold water, then cover and leave overnight.
  2. The next day, drain the brine from the vegetables, rinse briefly, then tip into a large saucepan with the vinegar, ginger, coriander seeds, mustard seeds, and sugar.
  3. Bring to the boil and simmer for 8-10 mins until the veg is tender but still with a little bite.
  4. Drain the vegetables, reserving the liquid, and set aside while you make the sweet mustard sauce.
  5. In a large bowl, stir together the cornflour, mustard powder, and turmeric, then gradually pour in the hot vinegar while whisking until you have a lump-free, thin yellow sauce.
  6. Return it to the saucepan and bubble over low heat, stirring constantly, for 4 mins until smooth and thickened. Stir in the veg and spoon into five sterilised 500ml jars while hot, then seal.
  7. Once cool, enjoy immediately, or store in a cool, dark cupboard for 2-3 months. Refrigerate once opened.

Pickled Cucumbers


  • 1 large cucumber, ends trimmed and cut into 2cm chunks
  • 1 tsp flaky sea salt
  • 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp caster sugar
  • ½ tsp coriander seeds
  • a small handful of dill, leaves picked


  1. Toss the cucumber with the salt in a colander.
  2. Leave for 15 mins, then squeeze out any excess moisture with your hands and pat dry with a tea towel.
  3. Mix the other ingredients together in a small bowl, then stir in the cucumber.
  4. Put in a sterilized jar and keep up to 2 weeks.

Gherkin Condiment


  • 200g gherkins
  • 250ml gherkin pickle liquor
  • 25g caster sugar
  • 10g honey


  1. Tip all the ingredients into a pan.
  2. Bring to the boil and simmer for 10-15 mins until almost all of the liquid has evaporated.
  3. Pour the gherkins into a blender and purée until smooth.
  4. Then pass through a fine sieve and chill in the fridge.

Pickled Onion


  • 1 ½kg baby onions
  • 1l white wine vinegar
  • 150ml rapeseed oil
  • 600ml water
  • 140g caster sugar
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1 tsp black peppercorn, cracked
  • 100ml balsamic vinegar


  1. Tip the onions into a large bowl, pour over a kettleful of boiling water, leave to stand for a minute, then drain.
  2. When cool enough to handle, peel the brown skin away, keeping it as intact as possible.
  3. Set the peeled onions aside and place all the other ingredients except the balsamic vinegar into a large saucepan.
  4. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, then simmer for three mins. Drop the shallots into the pan and simmer for 8-10 mins until tender.
  5. Use a slotted spoon to scoop the shallots into sterilised jars, then boil the liquid vigorously for 5 mins.
  6. Turn the heat off, stir in the balsamic vinegar, then pour over the onions to cover.
  7. Seal the jars and leave for at least three days. Will keep for up to three months.

NorthernLife Jan/Feb 24