Pickling of fruit and vegetables is very much a food fashion now but it has been a method of food preservation through the ages. Many traditional dishes still play a vital role in many cuisines. Pickling and fermentation often go hand in hand and result in interesting complex flavours. My mind goes to German Sauerkraut and Korean Kimchi.

I find the hint of acidity in some foods a refreshing contrast on the plate. Lightly acidic flavours from fruit have traditionally been served with fatty meats: apple with pork; cranberry with turkey; plums with venison and mint sauce with lamb. All this makes sense.

Every summer I make various pickles, which I will share with you over the following weeks.

A family favourite is my cucumber pickle. I make a large batch as it has an excellent shelf-life. We enjoy it as part of a salad or on its own served with cheese, meat, chicken or fish dishes. It is a must with gammon. Around Christmas time I make batches to give to friends and family when we visit them.

When I shopped this week I forgot to buy the usual white onions so I used red onions. I added a few more pink peppercorns than usual and the result has a lovely pink hue, which looks amazing with the green cucumber!

Always use a good quality WINE OR GRAPE vinegar. NEVER use spirit vinegar for cooking.

You can use either English cucumbers or the little Israeli ones.

Also adjust the chilli content to taste.

I have previously also used whole dried chillies, which look very attractive in a gift jar.

Recipe: Cucumber pickle