Life doesn’t need to be complicated. Neither does pairing beer + food. Sometimes, you’re thirsty and you want to reach for something in the fridge. That’s why I always keep these on hand. Pickles and pale ale!
#5 Panhead Quickchange XPA + Bread and butter pickles
I first came across this recipe when I grew too many cucumbers one Summer, and I have since fallen in love with making all sorts of preserves and pickles. This recipe can be made a day in advance and eaten pretty much immediately. If you’re a fan of a whiskey pickleback, the juice is excellent too.
Due to their strong flavour, I have chosen a lighter style of beer to match with these pickles. Panhead’s Xtra Pale Ale is delicate and fragrant, with notes of guava and lychee, faint pine oils, and a very light malt base. The floral, citrus fruit and biscuity aromas match well with the bread and butter, cleansing the tartness of the pickles. On a hot day, this is heaven!
- 1.5kg telegraph cucumbers
- 450g onions
- 2 Tbsp sea salt
- 1 litre cider vinegar
- 400g caster sugar
- 2 tsp white mustard seeds
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 1 tsp whole peppercorns
- 1 tsp fennel seeds
- zest of 1 lemon
- 3 bay leaves
- at least 1 bottle of Panhead XPA
- freshly baked bread and butter to serve
- Slice the cucumbers into 2mm slices. Peel and halve the onions, slice thinly. Layer the vegetables in a colander, sprinkling them with the salt as you go. Then cover with a wet cloth and stand for 3 hours or overnight. Drain, rinse well under cold water, and drain again.
- Wash your pickling jars (you will need 2x one litre jars, which you should find easily at any supermarket) in hot water, rinse them and put them in the oven at 120C for 30 mins to drain and dry.
- Put the remaining ingredients in a large saucepan and bring to the boil, stirring.
- Add the drained vegetables and return the mixture to boiling point, stirring, then turn off the heat immediately.
- Take the jars straight from the oven, ladle the vegetables into the jars then cover with the pickle juice, including spices. Discard any remaining liquid, or save it for your whiskey chasers.
- Seal the jars and leave until cooled before storing in a cool, dark place. Makes about 6 cups/1.5 litres.
This method is adapted from a recipe book called “Ladies, a Plate: Jams and Preserves” by Alexa Johnston which I highly recommend. I have enjoyed every recipe I have tried so far.