First make the pickling liquid: bring the vinegar and 300 ml/½ pt water slowly to a boil with the sugar, salt, peppercorns and cloves. Remove from the heat and allow to cool and the flavours to infuse.
Top and tail the turnips and beetroots and parboil for 5 minutes in boiling salted water. Refresh in cold water and peel. Cut into 5 cm/2 in by 1 cm/½ in bato