stripey celeriac pickle



No this is not the eventual descent into madness caused by high exposure to Night Garden with the children. This is about two parents getting a rare escape for a night away.

Saturday night was spent over at Sat Bains in Nottingham. Apparently this was for relaxation, but there is always a part of my mind that works as a radar for new ideas. It was a very relaxing evening though and an experience we cannot wait to repeat. One of the many excellent dishes used celeriac and I got to thinking how I could take this as inspiration. So on the way home I picked up a celeriac and tried a few different techniques out. The one that realy stuck was a pickle.

Basically, very thinly sliced squares of celeriac are put in a vacuum bag along with a couple of tablespoons of balsamic vinegar and some matchsticks of fresh ginger. The bag is then evacuated of all air by the vacuum packer. This is left in the fridge for a couple of hours. The result is that the vinegar has been pushed into the celeriac except where the ginger was covering it. What was left was a very crunchy pickle with stripes across. The flavour of both the ginger and balsamic where each there in their own right.

So what next? If this is cut into wider matchsticks, it will be perfect as a home made pickle for use in the next smoked salmon sushi demo. Another experiment coming soon is the creation of aged vinegar …


We often think of a vacuum as something that occupies the space between a politicians ears, essentially a complete lack of anything. A true vacuum would be a difficult think to achieve as you have to clear a space inside of an atmosphere that would essentially crush the vessel. A food vacuum packer works on evacuating air from the bag leaving just the food behind. This provides a long storage for the food left inside. Canning has used this principle for years, but does rely on a few other basics; a sterile vessel (the can), food heated beyond the bacterial killzone or otherwise safe, a device to pump out the air and seal the can. Canned food will live on a shelf almost indefinitely.

As a modern method of food preservation, the vacuum does have it’s merits. Maybe those plastic vac-packed soups on the shelves of the supermarket could eventually replace the can?

A big disadvantage of vacuum packing is that traditional food preservation methods, especially the ones still in use today, created unique flavours. In addition, once the vacuum is breached, it’s fresh food on the clock. If you open an aged cheese or an air dried ham, these still have a long shelf life ahead as the food itself is preserved and not the stasis it is kept in.

Traditionally preserved foods contains a certain honesty, unlike the vacuum that replaces the power hungry thinking space.

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