Pickled Red Onions

One of the monster’s major crops each year is onions. We grow both red and white and we grow from seed and set. Stuttgarter and Bedfordshire Champions would be the considered whites while Karmen and Red Baron the trusted red varieties. Experience has shown that some years almost one third of the red onions will bolt, but when you get a summer as consistently good as last year’s, well then, thing were a good deal better with little or no bolting whatsoever, and though harvested during the last week of July, the Red Barons have stored very well indeed and this third week in January we are still making some delicious pickled red onion.

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Red Baron onions

These pickled red onions are one of the quickest and easiest recipes we here at monsterinthecorner use with the monster’s bounty: they dress any beef or lamb plate, work wonderfully well with any open or slider burger, can be served with cream cheese, Cheddar cheese or with smoked fish, and their piquant zing will enliven any cold platter or meat salad.

Ingredients:
• 2 red onions, peeled and thinly sliced
• 2 tablespoons (30 ml) red wine vinegar/cider vinegar
• 1 good tablespoon of caster sugar

 

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Sliced red onions

Method:
At the outset make sure you do not create a recipe for disaster by mixing this simple but potent trio in the wrong container to begin with. Although only using three ingredients be sure to mix in a non-reactive bowl: stainless steel, glass or ceramic. This makes enough pickle to fill a good sized jar and once covered should hold in a refrigerator for up to 3 weeks
• Slice the onions as thinly as possible and toss into mixing bowl. Scatter the spoonful of caster sugar across the onions them pour the red wine vinegar into the mixture and stir it up. At this point we like to cover the bowl with some cling film and over 20-30 minutes or so invert the bowl and shake it up periodically. The onions are ready to use after about 30 minutes, or do as we do and put them into a sterilized jar and pop into the fridge where they will keep for 3-4 weeks.

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pickled red onions with creamed cheese on sourdough,,,

 

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The Monster’s Mouth…

This is the first recipe that we post into the new Monster’s Mouth menu above, where we shall ( in the best of our own established traditions) make posting of those many and varied recipes in which we use the Monster’s annual bounty; jams, chutneys, sauces and salsas and a wholesome lot more besides to come.

Harissa:

One of the Monster’s favourite culinary condiments is the hot and spicy North African paste Harissa. We use our own red chilli peppers, garlic, tomatoes and coriander leaves to make this wonderfully pungent addition to our larder. We use it as a marinade for pork and chicken, and Mrs. Dirtdigger will often swirl a loving spoonful into beef casseroles and stews. Loosen a spoonful with some quality virgin olive oil and it more than serves as a bread dip, a hot salad dressing, or as a drizzle for vegetables to be roasted. It adds heat and punch to rice dishes and couscous and it works wonderfully and surprisingly well with hard-boiled eggs while transforming mackerel, salmon and tuna when used sparingly as a cooking rub or as a flavour dress for open sandwiches. We make a couple of small jars each year while our fresh ingredients allow and this hot aromatic accompaniment to our cooking reminds us of the heady summer days on our allotment and sees us through the darker days of the year.

harissa ingredients
The Monster’s harissa ingredients: garlic,peppers,tomatoes and coriander leaves

Ingredients
• 8-10 medium-hot red chilli peppers Cayenne/Serrano/Fireflame 
• 1 heaped tablespoon of purée tomato
• 1 good-sized bulb (whole bulb) or 8 cloves of garlic, cloves peeled and crushed
• 1heaped tablespoon cumin seeds, lightly toasted, ground,
• 1 heaped tablespoon coriander seeds, toasted, ground
• 80-100 ml (6-8 tablespoons) extra virgin olive oil
• Splash red wine vinegar
• 1 cup freshly chopped coriander leaves
• Sea salt, and freshly ground black and red pepper for taste
• Pinch of caster sugar (optional), if needed

Method
• Preheat oven to 200c/gas mark 7.
• Place the chilli peppers on a small tray and roast for 18- 20 minutes. The skins will blacken and begin to come away from the flesh.
• Removing from the oven place the roasted chillies in a bowl and seal completely with cling film. Allow to cool. When peppers have cooled peel off the skins and remove the seeds leaving just the roasted pepper flesh.
• Put peppers into a mortar and using a pestle work to a paste (a food processor can be used). Now add the purée tomato , garlic and ground spices and grind/pound to a paste. Add the freshly chopped coriander leaves and season for taste.
• Slowly drizzle in the olive oil and red wine vinegar splash.
• Add a full fingers pinch of sugar if you feel the flavour needs a lift.
• Put into sterilized jars, and store in a refrigerator. It should store for up to 4 months.

Harissa
Harissa, one of the Monster’s favourites