Mrs. Bug's Piccalilli from The Fiery Cross

Mrs. Bug's Piccalilli from The Fiery Cross

He laughed, handing her a biscuit filled with ham and Mrs. Bug's piccalilli.

"How Pizza Came to the Colonies," he said, and lifted the cider bottle in brief salute.  "Folk always wonder where humanity's great inventions come from; now we know!" 

He spoke lightly, but there was an odd tone in his voice, and his glance held hers.

"Maybe we do know," she said softly, after a moment.  "You ever think about it -- why?  Why we're here?"

"Of course."  the green of his eyes was darker now, but still clear.  "So do you, aye?"

She nodded, and took a bite of biscuit and ham, the piccalilli sweet with onion and pungent in her mouth.  Of course they thought of it.  She and Roger and her mother.  For surely it had meaning, that passage through the stones.  It must.  And yet...her parents seldom spoke of war and battle, but from the little they said -- and the much greater quantity she had read -- she knew just how random and how pointless such things could sometimes be.  Sometimes a shadow rises, and death lies nameless in the dark.

Roger crumbled the last of his bread between his fingers, and tossed the crumbs a few feet away.  A chickadee flew down, pecked once, and was joined within seconds by a flock that swooped down out of the trees, vacuuming up the crumbs with chattering efficiency.  He stretched, sighing, and lay back on the quilt.

"Well," he said, "if you ever figure it out, ye'll be sure to tell me, won't you?"

The Fiery Cross, Chapter 20

Some pretty deep thoughts there, Bri & Roger, considering it's only cider with lunch and you haven't even started drinking the strong stuff yet...

When I think of piccalilli, my thoughts tend to wander away from earth shattering topics like time travel and more towards Christmas gift giving.

Tie a red-velvet ribbon around a mason jar full Murdina Bug's piccalilli, and you have a beautiful (and sharply delicious) Outlander-themed gift straight from Fraser's Ridge.

After all, if I made treats for Rollo, then I had better come up with something for friends and family, aye?


Indian Pickle, an earlier name for Piccalilli, gives you an insight into this golden-coloured, mustard flavoured condiment's origins in Britain's colonial past.  Also known as Paco-Lilla and Piccalillo, it makes an appearance in a number of 18th Century cookery books.

Here's an excerpt from an early receipt for Indian Pickle from Cookery, and Pastry. as Taught and Practised by Mrs Maciver, Teacher of Those Arts in Edinburgh.  (1774):


I left the cabbage out of this version, and decided on a simple mix of cauliflower, onion, green beans and cucumber.  I added a bit of grated carrot for colour, and left the sugar out altogether.  I'm so glad I did -- the sharp tang of the mustard is foiled perfectly by the sweetness in the onion, cucumber and carrot -- no sugar required.

I had also planned to use pearl onions, but when I got to the store, they were so expensive that I balked and chose plain old yellow ones instead.  Another decision that worked out well.  Pearl onions are sweet and lovely, but they're a pain to peel and also very bulky when you're trying to put together a sandwich. I chopped all of my vegetables on the small side for the same reason.  If you like it chunky, cut everything a little bigger, use pearl onions, and cook it for an extra couple of minutes.


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