(makes 4 medium-sized jars)
1.2 litres Chianti vinegar
1.2 litres Italian red wine
Zest and juice of 2 lemons
12 star anise
8 sticks cinnamon
40 juniper berries
1.8kg black cherries (stalked, but not stoned)
Agro dolce pickling can easily be adapted to other fruit such as pears. Serve as an accompaniment for lamb with a little chopped fresh mint added at the last moment or cold-cuts of meat.
Pour the vinegar, wine, water, lemon juice and sugar into a pan. Stir over a moderate heat till the sugar has dissolved. Add the spices and lemon zest.
Add the cherries and juniper berries. Bring to the boil, simmer 10 minutes and drain them with a slotted spoon. They should still be slightly undercooked and tasting of fresh fruit. Reserve.
Boil the liquor for about 15 minutes, reducing it to a heavy syrup. It's ready when largish bubbles start to form on the surface. Pack the fruit into warmed jars and pour over the boiling syrup. Fasten the lids.