I was lucky to grow up in a huge house in Wales. It was so
big that part of it was closed off, that is until my grandparents
retired when they came to live there. It was an arrangement
that suited both my parents and grandparents, as my grandfather
was a passionate and expert gardener, and with six and a half
acres of woodland, lawns and gardens there was a huge amount
of work to do every year. The vegetable garden alone was an
acre with another half acre as an orchard (mostly covered
by the biggest fruit cage I have ever seen).
My grandfather used to work most of the daylight hours in
the vegetable garden or the greenhouse and we grew everything
we needed for the whole year . . . including pickling onions
As the Autumn nights drew in my grandfather could no longer
spend his evenings in the garden so would sit by the fire
peeling pickling onions for all he was worth. In those days
we did not just make a few small jars - the pickling was done
in large sweet jars, made of glass of course. Several jars
like that would keep the family in pickles for a whole year.
Most of us no longer grow our own pickling onions but we
still enjoy a jar of pickles.
National Pickled Onion Lovers Day takes place this year (2012)
on 20th October. The day is a celebration of all things pickled
It also means the search is on for Britains Biggest
Pickled Onion Lover - the ultimate fan of these quintessentially
British delights. This year the stakes are higher than ever.
As well as taking home a years supply of Garners
finest, the winner will enjoy a week at the delectable Pickled
Onion hotel in Mexico.
Situated in the heart of the Mayan ruins in Yucutan, this
little gem is the perfect base for exploring undiscovered
Mexico. Rest your head in the quaint Mayan-style cabanas after
a day of fine food, culture and a dip in the pool . . . heaven!
Garners search is being led by good friend and foodie
fanatic Nigel Barden. A fan of pickled onions from his youth,
Nigel will be head judge on the pickle panel which will reveal
the nations Pickled Onion Lover extraordinaire on National
Pickled Onion Lovers Day.
100g Garners Original Pickled Onions, drained
200g sliced leg of pork, diced/3 boneless steaks
1tbsp rapeseed oil
9 cherry tomatoes
1tsp brown sugar
A light pinch of salt and freshly milled pepper
150mls vegetable stock - a quarter tsp of bouillon powder
dissolved in boiling water
1 dessertspoon cornflour, blended in a little water
250g long grain rice
oil in pan and brown pork on both sides.
onions and add to pan with tomatoes and sauté with
pork for a couple of minutes, taking care not to burn.
stock to deglaze pan and season.
lid on pan, adjust heat and simmer gently for 45 minutes.
Check occasionally and add a little water if required.
casserole nearly ready, boil rice in lightly salted water
for 10 minutes. Drain and return to pan.
add cornflour, blended in a cup with a little cold water,
for the last few minutes of cooking and bring to boil for
a final time to thicken juices. The result should be almost
with boiled rice and green salad
CHEESE AND PICKLED ONION PIZZA
For bread base: (or buy ready made pizza bases)
225g strong white plain flour
Half a level tsp salt
1 x 7g sachet easy blend yeast
150mls warm water
30mls olive oil
plus 150g of your favourite cheese sliced Mozzarella/grated
cheddar/crumbled Cheshire or blue cheese.
Pickled Onion Tomato Sauce:
3tbsps Garners Pickled Shallots, drained
1dstsp olive oil
1 medium can chopped tomatoes
Freshly milled black pepper
1 level tsp mixed herbs
flour, salt and yeast in a mixing bowl.
a well in the centre.
warm water and oil.
to a soft dough, adding a little water if the mixture is
the dough together with your hand and knead on a lightly
floured surface for 10 minutes until the dough is smooth.
Heat oil in a small pan and sauté onions quickly.
remaining sauce ingredients and simmer gently for approximately
5 minutes until the tomatoes are reduced and the sauce thickens.
assemble and cook:
Divide the dough into two and shape into neat pizza bases.
on baking tray dusted with flour and place in a warm (not
hot) place to rise for 15 minutes if possible.
oven to 220°C / Gas 7.
sauce over pizza bases, leaving a rim.
nuggets of cheese.
for approximately 8 - 10 minutes until the top is bubbling
and the dough golden.