Pickles in a burger help balance out the rich fattiness of beef. These pickles are nice to have in the fridge for other uses, such as tossing through a potato salad or even tartare sauce.
baby cucumbers, or 4 large Lebanese (short) cucumbers
Pickling spice mix
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
½ teaspoon chilli flakes
½ teaspoon allspice berries
¼ teaspoon mace
pinch of ground cinnamon
8 bay leaves
pinch of cloves
large pinch of ground ginger
65 grams salt
125 ml white vinegar
½ teaspoon black peppercorns
2 teaspoons pickling spice
For the pickling spice mix, put all the spices together in a dry frying pan and toast over a medium heat for a few minutes, until fragrant. Using a food processor or spice grinder, pulse into a fine powder.
For the brine, combine all the ingredients in a large saucepan. Add the powdered spice mix and 1.25 litres (5 cups) water and bring to the boil. Leave to bubble away for 3 minutes, then remove from the heat. Strain through a fine sieve and allow to cool.
Slice the cucumbers 2–3 mm thick, using a mandoline or a sharp knife. Place the slices in the cold brine and submerge with an upside-down plate. Leave to pickle in the fridge for at least 24 hours.
Store the cucumbers in the brine in an airtight container. The pickles will keep in the fridge for up to 3 months. Makes 4 x 250 gram punnets