This is an English vegetable pickled chutney, best known to accompany mature farmhouse Cheddar cheese and freshly baked bread. The three combinations make a typical Ploughman’s lunch, a popular pub meal in England, usually eaten at lunch. It is far from boring as modern additions have joined the trio, such as good quality sliced ham, wedges of pork pie, vegetable crudities, boiled eggs, pickled onions, grapes, oatcakes, digestive biscuits and hot mustards. Let’s not leave out a generous glass of beer or cider!

It’s come a long way from originally being a British farm worker’s packed lunch.  Now it can be enjoyed as a meal on its own or shared on a wooden board to graze from.

Besides the good quality cheese and freshly baked bread, the star of the show is the chutney, which is a spicy thick brown chutney consisting mainly of swede (rutabaga), carrots, cauliflower and onions. In the UK, the original and well-known store-bought brand is Branston Pickle.

As the chutney is normally pickled in brown malt vinegar, which is made from barley, it has made it tricky to enjoy this dish as a gluten-free option. My recipe has substituted the brown malt vinegar with apple cider vinegar to make it gluten-free and I believe it comes close to the real thing. Relatively straightforward to make, the only time-consuming step is chopping all the vegetables into small 1cm pieces, but if you get yourself comfortable in front of the TV, a good Netflix show should keep you entertained throughout the peeling, slicing and chopping.

This recipe makes 5 medium size jars, but if you aren’t keen to have that many jars, just halve the recipe to make 2 large jars. You could always give the extra jar as a gift to a gluten-free relative or friend.

The pickle can be eaten straight away, but the flavour will improve over time.

Any type of gluten-free bread will go with a Ploughman’s lunch, but if you’re stuck for ideas, I have a recipe for a gluten-free walnut baguette using the quick and easy soda bread recipe from my earlier recipe post. As walnuts go so well with cheese, I think this baguette is a good choice if you fancy baking your own bread.

Gluten-Free Ploughman’s Pickle
  • ½ a medium swede/rutabaga, peeled
  • ÂĽ of a medium cauliflower, broken up into small florets
  • 3 small red onions
  • 3 carrots, peeled
  • 2 celery sticks
  • 1 zucchini, peeled
  • 1 green apple, (Granny Smith or a tart variety) peeled and cored
  • 1 red apple, (Golden Delicious or a sweet variety) peeled and cored
  • 100g dried dates, pitted
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 6 pickles/gherkins, chopped into 1 cm pieces
  • 150g brown sugar (the darker the better)
  • 180ml apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ginger
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon yellow mustard seeds
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon ground coriander
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ½ teaspoon chilli flakes
  • 1 tablespoon cornflour (optional)
Step-by-Step Instructions
  1. Cut all the vegetables, apples and dates into 1 cm cubed pieces.
2. Add them into a large, deep pot and pour enough water to cover the contents.

3. Add the remaining ingredients.
4. Bring to the boil, then reduce to a medium-low simmer with the lid on for about half an hour.
5. Remove the lid and continue to the simmer for one hour, or until the pickle becomes thick and gooey. Stir often. If you want to speed the thickening process up, add a mix of 1 tablespoon of cornflour to 2 tablespoon of cold water.
6. Taste and add more seasoning if necessary.
7. Sterilise several glass jars and their lids either in the dishwasher or in hot water over the stove for 10 minutes.
8. Let the pickle cool down slightly before adding them to the jars. As soon as the pickles are in the jars, cover them and place them in a cool dark place to mature for several weeks or months.  They will keep indefinitely in sterilised sealed jars.

  • Makes 5 medium jars
  • Keeps indefinitely, provided stored in a cool, dark place in sterilised jars

Gluten-Free Walnut Baguette

  • 280g store-bought or homemade gluten-free bread flour
  • ½ teaspoon psyllium husk
  • ½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda/baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ tablespoon sugar
  • 250ml milk *
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice *
  • 30-50ml fizzy water or soda water, cold
  • 15 walnuts, broken up coarsely, leaving some whole.

*If you prefer to use buttermilk instead of milk and lemon juice, use 210ml only as it is thicker.

Step-by-Step Instructions
  1. . Preheat the oven to 200 C/400 F.

2. Mix the milk and lemon juice together in a jug and set aside for 5 minutes to curdle (or use buttermilk instead).
3. . Sift the bread flour, psyllium husk, bicarb. of soda, salt and sugar and whisk to combine in a medium bowl.

4. Form a well in the flour mixture and add the milk & lemon mixture  (or buttermilk) to it. Add some or all of the cold fizzy water or soda and bring it together to form a soft dough. Add half the walnuts to the dough and knead.

5. Using floured hands, shape the dough into two baguette shapes and place it onto a greased and floured baguette tray or normal baking tray. Using a sharp knife, make several slashes across the baguette. Press the remaining walnuts on top of the baguette. In the photo below, I only added walnuts to one baguette, leaving the other one plain, but the recipe allows for two walnut-filled baguettes.

7. Bake in the oven on the middle shelf for 20 to 25 minutes, then flip the bread over and continue to bake for a further 8-10 minutes. The bread is fully cooked when it is tapped and sounds hollow. Cook longer until it sounds hollow.
8. Allow to cool down on a wire tray for at least 30 minutes before slicing.
  • Makes 2 small baguettes
  • Best eaten the same day of baking