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Garner’s Pickled ShallotsAh memories! Pickles do bring back memories.

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 and shallots.

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

National Pickled Onion Lovers Day takes place this year (2012) on 20th October. The day is a celebration of all things pickled onion!

It also means the search is on for Britain’s 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 year’s supply of Garner’s 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!

Garner’s 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 nation’s Pickled Onion Lover extraordinaire on National Pickled Onion Lovers Day.

More details can be found on



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


  • Heat oil in pan and brown pork on both sides.
  • Halve onions and add to pan with tomatoes and sauté with pork for a couple of minutes, taking care not to burn.
  • Add stock to deglaze pan and season.
  • Place lid on pan, adjust heat and simmer gently for 45 minutes. Check occasionally and add a little water if required.
  • When casserole nearly ready, boil rice in lightly salted water for 10 minutes. Drain and return to pan.
  • Finally 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 sticky.
  • Serve with boiled rice and green salad

Serves 3



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

For topping:
Pickled Onion
Tomato sauce
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
1tsp honey


To make dough:

  • Mix flour, salt and yeast in a mixing bowl.
  • Make a well in the centre.
  • Add warm water and oil.
  • Mix to a soft dough, adding a little water if the mixture is too dry.
  • Gather the dough together with your hand and knead on a lightly floured surface for 10 minutes until the dough is smooth.

To make sauce:

  • Heat oil in a small pan and sauté onions quickly.
  • Add remaining sauce ingredients and simmer gently for approximately 5 minutes until the tomatoes are reduced and the sauce thickens.
  • Set aside.

To assemble and cook:

  • Divide the dough into two and shape into neat pizza bases.
  • Place on baking tray dusted with flour and place in a warm (not hot) place to rise for 15 minutes if possible.
  • Preheat oven to 220°C / Gas 7.
  • Spoon sauce over pizza bases, leaving a rim.
  • Add nuggets of cheese.
  • Bake for approximately 8 - 10 minutes until the top is bubbling and the dough golden.

Serves 2

Recipes courtesy of Garner's

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