A Split Pea Stew becomes a Split Pea Soup With Ethiopian Spices… Read the rest of this entry »

Here’s a story of something nice I made from desperate leftovers populating the refrigerator, with a non-recipe “methodology” I experiment with a lot…  If you are turned off by smelly fishes and even the idea of “herring sauce”, please you really must read on…

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Honouring the death of a difficult woman by remembering the soup she often made.

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I’m fasting today as a way to reflect on time as something that moves forward into the future.  And time in another sense as made of dates like the first days of each month that punctuate an awareness of time moving forward.  Ticking clocks and the pretense of normalcy even with epic, epochal droughts and snowfall and windspeeds, and walls of ice smashing into seas and weather records continually broken and storm and flood deaths little reported in the rich world.  There’s massive extinctions and struggling agriculture and many peoples finding their homes and ways of living increasingly impossible.  We are humans of the Anthropocene (and here is the best thing I’ve ever read on that topic).  My fast is a personal act to keep me grounded in this truth, as I figure out my existential relationship to it all.

Other fasters are honouring the dead in the Philippines, a year on from Typhoon Haiyan. I’ve been very moved by Climate Walk.

Others are hoping to be a body of people putting some kind of political pressure on the current round of UN talks beginning in Lima to make the whole thing meaningful, and actually ambitious, let alone visionary, rather than pathetically lame.

My fast today will be a private meditation that I’m sharing with whoever lands on this site.  It’s a way I can personally maintain my dedication towards being a) outspoken b) speaking at all in every day contexts like a blog about the climate crisis when really the norm is silence and c) my intention to consider this crisis in all my choices, actions and demands.

If you are new to Kitchen Counter Culture, here’s the first piece I wrote in a continuing thread about why I find the Fast for the Climate meaningful.


Making Kimchi Latkes from a great new book — a review and lots of inspiration.

When my review copy of Fermented Vegetables arrived from the publishers, I felt upon first leaf-through an energising surge of creativity. From my own larder and imagination, I dressed a salad of grated swede and carrots in a Plum Kimchi vinaigrette.


threw some RubyKraut in some lentil soup with assorted leftovers


and made a quick potato salad mixing plain old sauerkraut with potatoes in olive oil with spring onions and chives.


All were yummy, standard Kitchen-Counter-Culture type food preparations, but I needed to get past them to let in the light of the whole new universe that Fermented Vegetables opens up.  It’s a beautiful book with exciting and original recipes and has regenerated in me a can-do sense about all the ways to continue fermenting and use my fermentations as ingredients.

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Nearly a year ago, Typhoon Haiyan / Typhoon Yolanda was forming, to assault the Philippines (and other countries too) with incredible violence, killing at least 6,300 people and destroying huge swathes of towns, homes, communities, and property.  The strength of the storm was terrifying, and watching the destruction unfold very upsetting and deeply life-altering for people who lived through it.  For anyone who’d imagined Climate Change in the future, here it was now, announcing itself with fury and catastrophic chaos.

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Squash-leaf Soup with Flowers and Corn Dumplings in a Lemony Pork-Rib Broth. Meals evolving, like dancing on graves, creating a new cuisine. I saw this supper as a kind of exploration and experiment, which I guess is really my favourite way to cook and share food, learning as I go….

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All week I’d been throwing things into a small stock pot: onion and leek scraps, parsley stems, skin from roasted pumpkin, carrot scrapings and beetroot skins.

I simmered them and made a stock for a nice lentil soup (which included some #pumpkinrescue pumpkin).  Beet is a wonderful ingredient in stocks, but sometimes it’s the only time the gorgeous colour feels wrong, because it announces itself rather than coming in with stealth. Unannounced, beet is a great suggester of the richness of meat– there’s something of blood and iron in the flavour.  It’s great grated into vegetarian “Spag Bol” variations for this reason, though again, the colour needs to be accepted in this instance, not fought.

We’ve been busy, and the extra “stock” was sitting out on the stove stop, unstrained, unrefrigerated.  Yesterday I sieved out the vegetable bits to put the liquid in the fridge.  Tasting it, it was sour, and I thought, off.  And was about to chuck it.  Me!  Ms Ferment, Ms Anti-Waste, throwing out food!.

But I thought again, and tasted a bigger sip.

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Mission #pumpkinrescue: Thoughts on the comprehensive culinary flexibility of pumpkin, as well as links on juicing, sprouting, fermenting Harry Potter style and DIY skin treatments… Read the rest of this entry »

A soul! a soul! a soul-cake!
Please good Missis, a soul-cake!
An apple, a pear, a plum, or a cherry,
Any good thing to make us all merry.
One for Peter, two for Paul
Three for Him who made us all.

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