Several of my recipes require a spiced white vinegar – this is a recipe that is best prepared several months in advance, but can be done quickly if needed.
5 grams of each spice will be enough for a mild pickle but for strongly flavoured such as onion the full quantity should be used.
Put the spices in a folded cloth and beat them lightly with a rolling-pin to release their flavour. Put the bruised spices into the vinegar and seal the bottle. It may be more convenient to add a double or treble quantity of spices and dilute later with more vinegar, but label the container accordingly if this is done.
If time allows, leave the spices in the well-sealed bottle of vinegar for 2 months, shaking daily for the first month. Strain out the spices carefully and re-bottle the vinegar.
For quick use, put the spices and vinegar in a heatproof bowl and cover with a plate. Stand the bowl in a saucepan of cold water, bring the water gently to the boil and draw the pan off the heat. Leave for 2 hours, taking care not to move the plate or the flavour will be lost. Strain the vinegar and, if not required immediately, return to the bottle and seal.