pickled vegetables

quick pickled vegetables and fried capers – game changing garnishes

More often than not the final hit of flavour is the thing that transforms a meh dinner into something amazing. Adding a hit of acid and some crunch to dishes are two of my most used tricks when I’m cooking. I make these pickled vegetables or fried capers when I want my food to taste restaurant worthy and I’m short on time.

My speedy pickling method was a bit of a revelation, before I tried this I always thought pickling was something owned bearded hipsters or grannies. Now I add pickled veggies (red cabbage, radishes, cucumber, cauliflower, onions) to all sorts of dishes and always have a few bowls or jars in the fridge where they’ll sit happily in their pickling liquid for ages.

I love these pickles and capers with anything but particularly with my smoked fish pâté or my chicken liver pâté. They are also fabulous alongside chunks of avocado on toast or to top rice, avocado and noodle bowls.

with pate
with pâté

Quick pickled veg ingredients:

  • 1 – 2 cups of your choice of thinly sliced veg – I like carrots, cauliflower, radish and red cabbage as they turn beautifully neon. You will need to pickle them separately to keep their vivid colours. Just to warn you, radishes really smell when they’re pickled, they taste delicious and won’t smell when used in small quantities but don’t panic at the smell when you open the jar!

Pickling liquid:

  • 1 cup water
  • half a cup white wine or apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon each of sea salt and black pepper
  • optional – a star anise, a teaspoon of coriander seeds or fennel seeds, a whole chili

To make:

1. Set a small pan with the pickling liquid ingredients in, and a lid on, over a high heat. If making a range of pickles separately you will need to increase the pickling liquid ingredients

2. Slice the vegetables as thinly as you can. I use my Joseph and Joseph shredder, box grater slicer or potato peeler to get thin coins or ribbons (all available through my shop). Then put them in a small bowl or jar.

3. When the picking liquid starts bubbling, take it off the heat and pour it over the bowl/jar of veg. Push the veg under the liquid, cover the jar or bowl and set aside for 30 minutes or as long as you want. When cool, pop into the fridge where they’ll sit happily in their pickling liquid for ages – at least 3 weeks.

Fried capers

I love these acidic, salty, crunchy morsels and have started adding them to all sorts of things. I love them with cooked fish or tossed through a salad, soup or pasta. I also serve them on their own with drinks see my cocktails here.

To make:

Simply, drain your capers then dry them on kitchen towel. Heat a couple of tablespoons of canola or safflower oil in a saucepan until quivering then add the capers. Stand back as they may spit. Cook them on high for around 2 minutes, moving them gently with a spoon. Then when they are light brown and dry, drain them on paper towel. Use them immediately so they don’t lose their crunch.


You can now buy the equipment I use in this recipe through my shop. I’ve spent years testing my favourite bits of equipment so rest-assured that whatever I recommend is the best tool for the job and will give you great results without cluttering your kitchen with unused tools. I receive a small affiliate fee from Amazon if you buy via my link. The products don’t cost you any more. These small fees help me keep creating all the free content I share.

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Find more recipes for sides and starters/appetisers here.

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