Pickled gherkins


B8ABAA5C-B25C-49DD-8181-041266133AEEPickled gherkins 

Since years I have wanted to pickle my own gherkins, but never got around to it. Last week when the thermometer reached 35 degrees I eventually did it!

20 small firm pickling gherkins

5-6 750ml jars

for the brine:

500ml vinegar (10%)

2,5l water

1 handful salt

250g sugar

spices for each jar:

1-2 tsp yellow mustard seeds

1 medium onion, cut in quarters or sliced

1 dill flower

2-3 tbsp dill finely chopped

6 pepper corns

2  whole allspice

1/4 bay leaf

Heat the ingredients for the brine in a big pot and bring to the boil. Set aside and cool completely.

Wash the gherkins with cold water using a soft brush to clean them well. Dry them and pack the gherkins tightly into the jars. Add the spices to each of the jars and pour the cold brine over. The liquid must cover the gherkins. Screw the lids on. Take a very big pot which can hold all the jars. Place a kitchen towel at the bottom, arrange all the jars in the pot standing upright. Now fill cold water into the pot until the water reaches half way up the bottom row of glasses. Bring to a rolling boil and cook for 10-15 minutes. Store in a cool place and let them marinate for 6 weeks before eating them.



Warming winter soup


I just came back from a fantastic round trip in Italy. Driving through Tuscany, Amalfi Coast and Umbria, I had so many delicious meals, that I got inspired to cook a typical Umbrian soup: Zuppa di legumi. The weather here is getting cooler each day and I am longing to go back to Italy to soak up more sun, but instead I’m standing in my kitchen and cook hearty Italian food to share the recipes with you.


Warming winter soup

500g mixed dried pulses ( red, green, yellow and brown lentils, split peas, black-eyed peas, butter beans,cannellini beans, borlotti beans)

3 cloves garlic, finely chopped

200g smoked streaky bacon, diced

1 carrot, chopped

1 leek, sliced in thin rings

3 sprigs rosemary, chopped

5 medium tomatoes ,  hopped

5 medium potatoes, peeled and chopped

4 tbsp olive oil

1,5 liter vegetable stock

salt, pepper

rind of Parmesan, approx. 2-3 cm thick

Heat the olive oil in a big pan, add the garlic, carrots, leek, bacon and rosemary and cook gently for about 10 minutes. Add the pulses, tomatoes, Parmesan rind and the stock, bring to the boil. Cover and simmer for 1 hour. Add the potatoes  and simmer for further 30 minutes. Season the soup with salt and pepper.