Makes 1 large jar
Wash 1 cucumber and slice about ½cm thick. Place in a bowl with 2 small, very thinly sliced red onions. Sprinkle over 4 tbsp sea salt, cover with a clean tea towel and leave in the fridge for 3-4 hours. Drain the vegetables and rinse well. Leave to drain in a colander over the sink, pressing down to remove excess water. In a stainless steel saucepan, combine 450ml white wine vinegar, 250ml cider vinegar, 350g brown sugar, ½ tsp ground cloves, ½ tsp ground turmeric and 2 tbsp mustard seeds. Heat gently, stirring occasionally, until the sugar has dissolved. Add the drained cucumber and onions and bring to the boil. Simmer for one minute. Use a slotted spoon to remove the vegetables to a sterilised jar. Gently simmer the remaining syrup for five minutes until reduced slightly, then pour the liquid over the vegetables in the jar. Cover with a lid and leave for at least one day before eating. The pickles will keep in the fridge for up to three weeks.
Elegant cucumber and strawberry sandwiches
Spread good-quality white bread with cream cheese and top with very thin slices of cucumber and fresh, hulled strawberries. Add 1-2 fresh basil leaves and some salt and black pepper, then top with another slice of bread. Cut into quarters on the diagonal, to serve.
Halve 1 cucumber lengthwise and scoop out the seeds with a teaspoon. Slice the cucumber and combine in a bowl with 250g plain natural yoghurt, ½ tsp ground cumin, the juice of ½ a lemon, 1 crushed garlic clove, a large handful of chopped coriander and a generous crack of salt and black pepper. Stir to combine and serve as a dip or a side – perfect with salmon or lamb.