for years, a vintage postcard with the saying “all you need in life is love and preserves” was hanging on our fridge. it always struck me as very true. to have a well stocked pantry feels so good and reassuring! i love to pickle things, it gives me a homey and in-charge feeling. like the world is a good place, after all. or at least: like even the worst times can be handled with the right food – savely and secretly hidden for bad days… it might sound a bit nuts to you, but i think to have food on the side is even better than to have money on the side. with food… well, you won’t have to be hungry. with money, that’s not always given. anyway, let’s not fall into an apocalyptic mood… people might think i’m so desperate about the big three-zero event… which i’m totally not. i’m zen about apocalypse and birthdays. should the world end – fine with me! okay, distracted. back to the point.
i like preserves. especially savory, pickled ones. that make you be all creative about their use. like these pickled cherry peppers here (slighty hot, slightly sour, a bit sweet, very nice). i bottled them up and let them pickle (is that an acutal verb?) and soak in the spices and vinegar. okay, so since i’m not the most patient type, i couldn’t wait for them to pickle any longer than a week. after a week i just went at them. i served them on marinated mozzarella (which was also kind of an ‘at the moment’ thing) and it was really something to dwell on… to be continued (as soon as cherry peppers hit the markets).
pickled cherry peppers
makes one large jar full
600 g cherry peppers, cleaned
1 liter white vinegar (i used an apple-honey vinegar)
1 cup honey
3 bay leaves
3 garlic cloves, peeled
1 tbsp. black pepper corns
3 tbsp. salt
wash your hands and workspace. clean and sterilise a large mason jar and lid in boiling water. put it, open side down, on a clean kitchen towel until used, making sure not to touch the insides of the jar anymore. clean the peppers, and cut a slit lengthwise into them, to get the air out of them and prevent them from swimming on top of the pickle liquid instead of being soaked. throw the pepper, cloves and bay leaves in the jar. for the pickling liquid, bring the vinegar, honey and salt to a boil, and let cook for 5 more minutes. pour the hot liquid into the jar over the peppers. press down the peppers with a clean spatula, to get the air out. wipe clean the rim and close the lid, securely. can the jar in a canner or in a large saucepan with boiling water (making sure that the water covers the jar completely) for 10 minutes. alternatively, if you don’t have a canner or a large enough saucepan, ‘bake’ the jar in the oven for 15 minutes at 180 degrees. let cool and store in a dry and dark place for at least one week before using.
ingredients: 1 large mozzarella, torn apart à la main 1 bunch basil leaves 1 garlic clove 1/2 cup olive oil 1 tsp. maldon sea salt 1 lemon, zest 1 tsp. lemon juice 1 tsp. acacia honey 1 pinch dried chili flakes
directions: blend together the basil leaves, garlic, olive oil, honey, salt, lemon juice and zest and chili flakes in a food processor. pulse until homogenous. distribute the mozzarella on a plate. pour the basil oil over the mozzarella, and marinate it, covered in the fridge, for a few hours before serving (or, if you can’t wait, again, like me… just serve it there and then. carpe diem, and all…).