gherkins

Home-made ploughman’s lunch

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This super-simple no-knead bread was the star of the meal.
This super-simple no-knead bread was the star of the meal.

With such a mild winter, it seemed like the perfect time to have friends around for Sunday lunch.

Like all our meals for guests, we try to feature our locally grown produce as much as possible. Today it was a home-made ploughman’s lunch.

Store bought ingredients:

  • deli-sliced ham
  • various cheeses

Home-grown and home-made ingredients:

  • freshly baked no-knead bread
  • beetroot, feta and walnut salad
  • hard-boiled eggs
  • “Australia Day” chutney (zucchini, apple, onion and saltanas)
  • cucumber relish
  • savory pickled cherries
  • pickled burr gherkins
  • freshly-picked mustard leaves

We then followed that up with a steamed marmalade pudding, using home-made marmalade.

This is the life of our inner-city farm… 🙂

The spread of food, laid out on the table, ready to eat!
The spread of food, laid out on the table, ready to eat!
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Pickled bur gherkins

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Fifty-five bur gherkins, all in a pile
Fifty-five bur gherkins, all in a pile

There is a great love in gherkins in the household, for adding to burgers and the like. So when I saw that Digger’s Club had seeds for “West Indian Gherkins”, I jumped at the chance.

The plants grew very vigorously, taking over a whole garden bed. But the fruit was odd to the say the least. Some head-scratching and Googling revealed that they weren’t the typical French gherkins, but something called a bur gherkin (also known as West Indian Gherkin or West Indian Gourd).

Native to Africa, these sure are strange looking things, and spiky to boot! Even odder, if you leave them too long on the vine, they suddenly grow out to become something that looks like a WWI grenade:

Oops, left some of the gherkins on the vine too long!
Oops, left some of the gherkins on the vine too long!

Apparently they taste and pickle just like a normal gherkin. So with 55 picked in a single session, we’ve prepared three jars of “Kosher Pickles”. We’re going to let them steep for a month or so, and then we’ll report back on the taste! 😉

Three jars of pickled bur gherkins
Three jars of pickled bur gherkins

PS. the keen-eyed reader will have spotted our new jar labels, with our brand-new Lewisham House logo. More on this in a future post, and we’ll get the logo added to the website when we have a chance.