Make a pickling liquid by putting the water, vinegar, sugar, saffron, bay leaf, thyme and cracked black pepper in a medium saucepan. Add the reserved onion and carrot trimmings. Place over medium heat and simmer for 15 minutes for the flavours to infuse. Strain the mixture and return to the saucepan. Add the onion petals and carrot brunoise and simmer for 5 minutes or until the vegetables are just cooked. Set aside and cool. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Place the cockles with enough wine to coat in a large saucepan over medium heat and steam open the cockles. Reserve the shells and put the cockle meat in the pickling mixture for at least 2 hours, preferably overnight.
Serve the cockles cold with the shells, scatter with the chervil and a healthy drizzle of olive oil.
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