• Clare McElhatton

Piccalilli Pickle and Welsh Rarebit

Updated: Mar 9


Serves 2

Quick 'piccalilli' cauliflower pickles, with vegan welsh rarebit


For the ‘Piccalilli’ quick pickles

· ¼ head of cauliflower

· 150g malt vinegar

· 2tsp sugar

· ½ tsp salt

· ½ to 1 tsp English Mustard (or mustard power)

· 2 tsp brown or yellow mustard seeds

· 2 tsp coriander seeds

· 2 tsp cumin seeds

· 1tsp of turmeric

· 2 bay leaves

· Black pepper

1. Add the vinegar, spices, bay leaves, salt and sugar to a saucepan and bring to the boil. Once bubbling, turn of the heat. Stir to make sure all the salt and sugar is dissolved. Stir in ½ tsp of English mustard (or more if you wish).

2. Leave to sit for at least an hour until cool. This can be left overnight in the fridge.

3. Meanwhile, wash the cauliflower. Using a mandolin or a knife, slice thin pieces of cauliflower- to get around 20g of slices. Or, for an easier pickle, cut or break into small pieces (small enough to fit onto a teaspoon). Keep the scraps for the welsh rarebit.

4. Place the cauliflower in a shallow dish or Tupperware in one layer.

5. Strain the cooled pickling liquid through a sieve onto the cauliflower.

6. Add 1tsp of the strained seeds (cumin, coriander etc.) to the cauliflower. Anymore and the flavour may be too overwhelming or bitter.

7. Leave the cauliflower to marinade in the liquid for at least an hour (up to 4 hours or overnight in the fridge- the longer it is left, the stronger the flavour will be but the less crisp or crunchy the cauliflower will be. So, if preparing in advance, cut the cauliflower pieces slightly larger)



For the rarebit

This is a vegan version but can easily be made with dairy milk and cheese instead. This is basically a thick béchamel and it needs to be made in advance to allow it to cool down. It can be made an hour ahead or the day before and kept in the fridge.


· Cauliflower (about 100g)

· 35g of fat (Vegan butter, margarine or oil)

· 35g Flour- plain wheat flour, pea flour, or gram flour all work

· 350g Plant milk (Oat or soya is good)

· Nutritional yeast

· Smoke essence or smoked paprika (optional)

· Henderson’s relish (or Worcestershire sauce, if it doesn’t need to be vegan)

· Stock powder (optional)

· Salt

· Black pepper

· Good bread (sourdough or rye bread work well. I used Albert Street Bakery Seeded Sourdough)


1. Using the scraps of cauliflower (from making the pickle), chop into small pieces (roughly 1cm). Add to a saucepan with a little oil and salt. Heat, stirring often, to soften and slightly brown the cauliflower. This will take about 5 minutes. Leave to one side. Alternatively, this can be done in the oven. A sprinkle of cumin powder can be added while cooking. This part is optional, but it uses up any leftovers of cauliflower you might have!

2. For the sauce, melt the fat in a saucepan. Add the flour and mix in using a whisk- cook the fat/flour mixture for a couple of minutes.

3. Slowly add the plant milk by adding a splash, then whisking into the fat and flour until it thickens. Keep adding until all the milk is added. When all the milk is added and the sauce bubbles, that’s a thick as it will get.

Brown ale or stout can be used in place of some of the milk- up to half of the amount. Just add it as you would the milk.

4. Turn of the heat. If the mixture has lumps in, it can be blended when it is cool or passed through a sieve- so don’t worry!

5. While the sauce is still warm, stir in the flavourings; about 3 tbsp of Nutritional yeast, 1/2tsp of stock powder, pepper and a few splashes of Henderson’s relish (or Worcestershire sauce). Taste for salt and add more if needed. If using, add ½ tsp of smoked paprika or a few drops of smoke essence. The sauce should be thick, cheesy and very savoury- it’s going with a pickle so can be very rich. Depending on the ingredients you are using, the flavourings may need to be adjusted. Stock powder is good for adding a more ‘rounded’ saltiness, nutritional yeast gives the ‘cheesy’ flavour.

6. Add the cauliflower pieces (if using) to the sauce and leave everything to cool.

7. Toast a few pieces of bread until properly browned. Spread a few spoonful’s of the sauce onto the bread. It can be spread thickly now its cool. Spread to the edges to prevent the bread being burnt.

8. Place under the grill (not too close) until the ‘rarebit’ bubbles and browns.

9. Serve with cauliflower piccalilli ‘pickle’

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