After our recent trip to England (travelogue pending honest) I got a renewed taste for a couple of my favorite foods: Soreen Malt Loaf, and UK-style pickled onions in malt vinegar*. Our bags were already stuffed full (leading to some rearrangement at check-in) so I wasn’t able to bring any home with me. Plus I forgot. So, let’s make some at home!
(* You may notice a “malt” motif here. “Very malty”. Malty malty malt. I like Horlicks too – although that got a juvenile snicker from Friend Jason when I showed him. Horlicks actually got a mention in Robin’s Best Man speech at my wedding – some form of free lifetime supply might be in order. Must get on that.)
Malt Loaf may need to wait until I can find a good enough recipe that claims to replicate Soreen. It’s got to get chewy and sticky and so good toasted with butter. Pickled onions, on the other hand, should be easy…
Well, pretty easy. I found a recipe, and most of the ingredients are pretty straightforward. Boiling onions (small white ones), spices (ready mixed), dark brown sugar and malt vinegar. It was only the last one I had problems with. White vinegar is everywhere here, but brown malt vinegar (at least in my local supermarket) is in the gourmet-foreign-small-amounts-for-high-prices aisle. I bought two bottles that were clearly meant to be sprinkled over chips, not dumped wholesale into a pan.
I blanched, peeled and simmered the onions for five minutes, then simmered the rest of the ingredients for a few minutes, and put the onions and spiced vinegar in a Fido jar (one of those with the rubber seal and wire closure).
They’re now in the fridge for a week, so next weekend I’ll be able to test them and report back. If they’re as good as the ones from my childhood, I’ll probably eat a whole jar in an afternoon while watching Raiders of the Lost Ark among snoozing adults on Xmas afternoon, getting prune-fingers in the process.