Summer is ending with storms in Queensland. I went to the Doomben races on Saturday with a group of girls and saw a total of three races before torrential rain set in and the racing was called off. On Sunday morning I took a long walk along the banks of the Brisbane river and got caught in a downpour while still 30 minutes from home. I quickly decided to abandon myself to the rain, loving the cooling splat of each raindrop, every squelching step, and the novelty of being alone on the boardwalk except for a few equally drenched cyclists flashing grins as they passed. At the storm’s zenith I experienced a momentary fear that it might start to hail. Sheltering under the Story Bridge, I was surrounded by temporary waterfalls pouring off the bridge and rocky cliffs. The air tingled deliciously – Queensland sure knows how to have a good summer storm.
All this extra moisture about makes for revolting levels of humidity when the sun is shining. My hair is not coping. Summer might be ending but it is not done yet.
I made these pickled radishes back in January when summer was in full flight, but I never got around to posting the recipe. February ended roughly and March has been busy and stressful and all of a sudden it’s been a month since my last post. I never feel guilty for taking blog breaks. It is what it is and sometimes my head is too full of otherstuff to make time for creativity, which won’t be forced. Returning is always a sign that I am starting to breathe again.
This recipe comes from Selma’s Table, a British blog written by the wonderfully upbeat and colourful Selma. This recipe is like so many that she features – fresh, vibrant, quick and easy. I am a sucker for pickles and chutneys but have never tried my hand at pickling anything before. Selma’s recipe was a perfect introduction, as there is no need to sterilise jars, no need to boil and test and boil some more. The rapid preparation method means that the pickles won’t keep for long, but they are unlikely to hang around anyway; I demolished my jar in a single week of ravenous after-work cheese and cracker sessions.
My love for crackers and cheese is already well documented here – add pickles and my tastebuds are tipped over the edge. These radishes remain crunchy in texture. Their heat is moderated by the pickling method, and the whole seeds become soft and chewy and moreish. The pickle is fresh and piquant and tastes absolutely homemade. I didn’t get beyond the cheddar cheese and cracker combination, but Selma advises that they are great in sandwiches, on burgers, with grilled meat and in salads.
A few tips – if you have a mandolin, use it to slice the radishes quickly and cleanly into thin, uniform slices. If you don’t, a sharp knife and careful eye will produce almost the same result. If you like a spicy pickle, try doubling the amount of chilli flakes. And finally, one of the best things about these pickles is that you don’t need to wait to eat them. They are ready to eat as soon as the jar has cooled to room temperature. Enjoy, and I’ll be back soon with a more suitably autumnal recipe…
Quick Pickled Radishes
1 bunch radishes (about eight medium radishes)
1/2 tsp chilli flakes
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp black peppercorns
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
1/2 tsp coriander seeds
100ml white wine or apple cider vinegar
1 Tbsp honey or maple syrup
1 tsp salt
Wash and trim the radishes then slice as thinly as you can – a mandolin is ideal. Mix together the spices in a small bowl, then transfer one third of the spices to the bottom of a clean glass jar. Layer over half of the sliced radishes, packing them tightly together. Sprinkle over another third of the spice mix, layer the rest of the radishes into the jar, then top with the final third of the spice mix.
In a small saucepan, heat the vinegar and water together with the honey or maple syrup, and salt. Bring to a boil and stir to ensure the honey or syrup has melted. Pour gently over the radishes then seal with the lid. Allow the jar to cool to room temperature before serving or transferring to the fridge. The radishes can be eaten as soon as the jar has cooled. They will keep for up to two weeks in the fridge.