For a while, now, I’ve had an urge to make my own mustard. Not Colman’s finest – any fool can do that – but decent, well-flavoured (as in not simply hot!), wholegrain mustard. So, today, I did.
If anyone’s interested, this is my recipe. It needs, for those like me, to whom it matters, almost no effort to make.
Normal wholegrain mustard is basically mustard seed, some lightly crushed, in a base of normal mustard, which has always struck me as a tad pointless. And I find the whole seeds annoying.
This is somewhat different, as the seeds are blitzed in a blender (though a blade coffee mill would probably be better), until most, if not all, are broken. I wanted it the texture of a coarse, wholemeal flour, with a relatively small proportion of whole seeds.
100g yellow mustard seed, crushed
50g brown mustard seed, crushed
¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon honey
Equal parts apple juice and cider vinegar; mix seeds to desired texture.
The juice is Copella English apple juice (unfiltered), the vinegar Aspall Organic Cyder Vinegar
I tried blitzing the seeds a few at a time, but that didn’t work too well, as they just bounced around the blender goblet. Tossing them all in at once, the blades create a whirlpool effect, seeds being drawn down into the centre and chopped seeds ejected around the perimeter – run until you have the desired texture.
A warning – if the centre cap of the lid is vented, to vent the steam pressure from hot liquids blowing it out it out (as it might not be if you have an old blender), seeds will make a bid for freedom. I removed the centre cap and put my hand over the whole. This is more of a problem with just a small amount of seeds. Once processed, tip the seeds into a glass or similar non-metallic basin, and stir in the salt and pepper.
I started with 50ml each of juice and vinegar, into which I dissolved the honey, and mixed it into the processed, seasoned, seeds, then continued to add equal amounts of each until the desired consistency is reached (this is easiest if you combine the liquids – there might be a little waste, but what the hell?).
One you’ve attained the desired consistency – if you’re making this, you’re probably familiar with how it should be, if not, note that there should be no free liquid, but the consistency should be slightly loose – a spreadable consistency, if you like. Note: It thickens up while it’s maturing – quite quickly, too – so before transferring it to jars, adjust the consistency using the same proportions of juice and vinegar.
Once you’ve done that, scrape down the sides of the basin and smooth out the mustard, then cover tightly with clingfilm and store at room temperature for a week. In my flat, that would mean storing it at around 30C (yep, seriously – my flat faces due south and gets the sun nearly all day at this time of year), which would be a bad idea, so I’ve put it in the bedroom, which is kept cool by having reflective Mylar film on the window (in both the living room and bedroom, one wall is almost entirely window – it’s lunacy and, being on the ground floor, like living in a goldfish bowl).
So, it can sit in there and mature quietly, while I wait for my jars to be delivered. It smells amazing and, even now, tastes pretty damn good.
I’ve ordered 10 55ml jars (55ml = 11 x 5ml teaspoons, which is about right for mustard). I ordered them from Head Cook & Bottlewasher, at a fiver for 10, plus postage.
And that’s where things went a bit arse ’uppards, as we said in my youth, in Manchester. Like Shipton Mill before them, the interface with the Sage Pay system is screwed up, as I found when it rejected my transaction, while whining about postcode inappropriateness. So, I had to go back, change my post code by removing the space and changing the letters to lower case – a format which exists nowhere else except here and Shipton Mill, unless others have done the same thing.
I’ve paid for dozens, possibly scores, of transactions using Sage Pay, and they’ve all been perfectly fine with post codes in the correct format. Anyway, bear that in mind if you order or, indeed, if you have problems with Sage Pay anywhere – it’s worth tweaking your post code.
And I think my transaction went belly-up. Although, once I’d fixed the problem, it apparently completed without a hitch, my bank asked me its routine security question, I took a copy of the order and then – nothing.
I emailed them, pointing out the problem and asking them to confirm my order – or otherwise – to which I probably won’t get a response until tomorrow. I tried to check my account, only to be told that my email address doesn’t exist on their system, which is just weird. (Now sorted.)
And there, for the moment, the matter rests. As, indeed, does my mustard.