La Chatte Gitane (or The Gypsy Cat) was the name we chose for our cottage in France at the time. We chose it while on the road, moving house the first time round, from Ireland to France with 2 dogs and 7 cats in the car.
This blog began its insignificant life as a recipe book for friends and family who would ask me repeatedly for a recipe of this, that and the other.
Since then it has taken many different directions, like we did and like gypsies tend to do. Sometimes making a U-turn and revisiting familiar roads and taking a break when necessary.
You'll find recipes here, but also musings about the places we've called home, the gardens that we've established, not always successfully, the homes we've improved and the environments we've lived in. Currently, after yet another stint in Ireland, we're back in France @ Le Mas d'Ayen

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

In a Pickle - Bread and Butter or Cucumber and Dill Pickle

My go to cookery book when I want to make an exciting preserve is Preserving by Oded Schwartz . To me it is the most beautiful book to look at and as I said, the recipes are exciting.

Our friend, Sophie - who grows an awful lot of veg and fruit - gave me 6 kg of pickling cucumbers. It might be a bit late in the growing season, but if you have neighbours, friends, relatives who have been pickling themselves to death and can't tackle another cuke, here is your chance to store some of this year's harvest for winter use.

This first recipe is for a Bread and Butter Pickle and it is my take on it.

Ingredients - yield +/-  3.5 ltr

  • 2.5 kg cucumbers - washed, weight after : cut in half, seeds removed and sliced into half moons (0.5 cm)
  • 1 kg onions, red or white, whichever you find first, weight after peeled and sliced 
  • 8 tbsp sea salt
  • 2.5 l white wine, cider or malt vinegar. I only had white distilled, so that is what I used.  Mind you it is sharper than any of the others, so you should taste and tweak if you use the latter.
  • 1.25 kg soft brown sugar
  • 1 heaped tbsp ground turmeric
  • 3 tbsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tbsp dill seeds (or if you don't have any,like me, go into your herb patch and pick dill flowers and green). Whatever you do, don't leave out dill, because that is a main ingredient for this cucumber pickle.
  • Put cucumbers and sliced onions in a non corrosive bowl with all of the salt. Mix well, cover with a clean towel and leave overnight. So far so good.
  • Next day you'll find a lot of liquid at the bottom of the bowl. Drain  
  • Rinse under cold running water. Taste a slice of cucumber. If it is too salty, cover with cold water and leave for about 10 minutes. Drain again
  • Pour the vinegar in a large cooking pot or preserving pan, add the sugar, turmeric, mustard seeds and dill seeds (if you have them). If you only have flowers and/or green only add them when potting up.
  • A rapid boil for 10 minutes is required.
  • Time to add the drained veg and bring the whole shebang back to the boil.
  • Remove from the stove and start packing the pickle in sterilized jarred while still blistering hot. Seal.

This pickle is ready to eat immediately. Shelf life (according to the above mentioned book) is 1 year.
Come back for the Asian Flavoured Pickle.

Thanks for stopping by.
Patricia xxx...x


  1. This is not one I would enjoy, because I hate Dill, but you have explained and illustrated the recipe perfectly!

    1. Well, then you'll have to come back because I've got another recipe coming soon, without dill. ;-)

  2. I've just made some Bread and Butter Pickle ... but my jars look nowhere as pretty as yours. I love your labels :-)

  3. Labels, courtesy of Bert, the husband.
    Maybe he can't read my handwritten ones, hence the effort. lol


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