Saturday 30 December 2017

2017 and Gin Pickled Cucumbers.

2017. You had some epic highs and some tough spots. Thank you and good riddance.

I turned 29 just over a week ago. I’m now officially into my last year of my 20’s and in my 30th year of hanging around this world. My birthday is a bit of a non event and I enjoy other people’s birthdays much more. But, I have these lovely, beautiful and pesky friends that organise things for me each year and spoil me so I can’t skip it. I end up having the best time and realise birthdays aren't so terrible in the end. This is a message for future me.

Also, does anyone know where December went??? It came, and is nearly done and I’m still not sure how it all happened. It has flown. I normally bake my little feet off and gift cookies and toffee but this year it seemed hard enough to get a batch of mince pies baked, let alone cookies. I’m still not sure what went wrong except that it has been the most unorganised Christmas/December ever. We didn’t even have a tree up or lights... go on say it. Grinch! Grinchy Grinch Grinch! Yep I am. Instead of baking for people, I made gin pickled cucumbers from The Modern Preserver cookbook that I borrowed from the library. I’m sharing this recipe with you all because I wasn’t organised enough to gift everyone some and they are freaking amazing so you should make them yourself but also for me, to note the recipe down so I can make them again and again. They are sharp, pickley, spicy, zingy and go so so great with cold smoked salmon. If you love pickled things, you will LOVE these.

Ah and New Years, how are we doing this again so soon?! It’s the day of the year I need a greasy burger or dumplings to fix the amount I’ve drunk the previous eve the most. The day I make resolutions that may or may not be kept for the rest of the year and the day I start a new diary that I never end up keeping. This year, I’m planning on not drinking my body weight in wine, not buying a 2018 diary and I’m not making any resolutions. Instead I thought I’d share what I’ve learnt in 2017 that might be useful in 2018 for others.

  • You should always check the wash for black socks before you put a white load in.
  • Learning to sharpen a knife is a good skill to have.
  • Bicarb and vinegar clean mince pie mush off your oven really well.
  • Friends are important, tell them you love them often.
  • The gym isn’t so bad once you get through the first month of aches.
  • Bay leaves in your cupboards seem to keep silverfish away (fingers crossed).
  • Getting married is fun but if you’re a non-planner the planning is the hardest part.
  • Moving your body is important, you only get one.
  • Tasmania is rugged, full of wildlife and spectacular.
  • It takes skill when squatting not to pee on your ankles. 
  • It takes time to master skills.
  • 2018 is the year for skills.
  • The Barefoot Investor is really good book.
  • Salad Pizza is a genius recipe.
  • Green Chicken meatballs are also genius.
  • Family is precious.
  • It’s ok if you can’t roll sushi, make sushi sandwiches instead.
  • It’s always better to do the dishes that night because tomorrow you will want to do them even less.
  • Campfire cooking is really fun.
  • The local library has some really good cookbooks.
  • Don’t believe the cat rescue shelter when they tell you it’s a short haired kitten. It could possibly be the great dane of cats with a lion's mane. Shaving them in summer will be funny, a revelation and also make them a happier cat.
  • Dishwashers are gods.
  • Rooftop tents are fun and cozy but not great in the wind. Everything shakes.
  • If only your friends read this, what more can you ask for?!!

MERRY EVERYTHING AND HAPPY ALWAYS you beautiful beautiful people!! Thank you for reading my rambles and sticking with me always. x

Gin Pickled Cucumbers

recipe from The Modern Preserver by Kylee Newton
makes 4-5 300ml jars

How to eat: these are sharp, boozy and spicy. Try with chicken, fish or beef burgers. They are also great with smoked/steamed/baked salmon or trout or simply spice up your work lunch sandwich with a few. Or garnish the edge of a gin martini glass instead of an olive.

1 birds’ eye chilli
1 lime, zest and juice
500ml white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 ½ teaspoon sea salt
12-15 juniper berries (3 in each jar)
2 large cucumbers
8 baby round shallots
2-3 sprigs fresh mint
100-125ml gin (25ml per jar)

Finely chop the chilli (if you prefer these without a chilli kick, deseed the chilli for a milder flavour) and put in a medium, stainless steel saucepan with the lime zest and juice, vinegar, sugar, salt and juniper berries.

Bring to a gentle simmer, dissolving the sugar and infusing the flavours for around 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and leave to cool while you prepare the other ingredients.

Finely slice the cucumbers - a mandoline does this perfectly but you can slice them with a knife if you don’t have one or prefer thicker slices. Peel and finely slice the shallots. Strip the mint leaves from the stalks.

Start by stacking layers of cucumber, shallot and mint into warm, dry, sterilized jars** until the jars are half full. Add 25ml gin and 2 juniper berries (from the vinegar brine) to each jar and continue to stack, until the vegetables are about 1 cm from the rim.

Fill the jars with the vinegar brine, distributing the remaining spices (in the brine) evenly between them and gently pushing down on the contents to remove the air bubbles. Tap the jars gently on a hard surface to remove any more bubbles, add more bringe if necessary to completely cover the vegetables then seal.

Eat the next day if you like a crunch to your pickle or keep sealed for up to 4 weeks in a cool, dark place to allow the flavours to marry.

Once opened, refrigerate and eat within 4 weeks.

** Sterilising jars.
If you have a dishwasher, this is the easiest way. Place jars and lids in a dishwasher on a hot cycle, remove them once done without touching the inside of the jars or inside of the lids. Make sure jars are still warm (but not wet) when filling them with hot jam.

Otherwise if you don't have dishwasher like me, wash jars in hot soapy water and rinse well. Place rinsed jars on a tray in a preheated, low (120C) oven for about 30 minutes. Place the lids in a pot, cover with water and bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes. I take the jars out of the oven just before I am about to fill them so they are still warm.

Or you can go to any home-brew shop and they sell sterilising chemicals which you can also use.


  1. This sounds like a great idea! What's not to like! They'll be amazing with some smoked fish.

    1. If you love anything pickled then you'll love these! Thanks for stopping by :)


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