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We Are Not Numbers is a project of Euro-Med Monitor for Human Rights and seeks to give young writers in Gaza a platform to broadcast their voices.  I contacted them to offer my blog to share food-related posts, knowing food sustainability and sovereignty to be so multifaceted and challenging in Gaza and Palestine in general, from the brilliant book The Gaza Kitchen, discussed here.  WANN’s director, Pam Bailey, responded, yes please, and would I like as well to be a mentor to two young women, both 19, both university students, coaching and encouraging them on their writing?  Though I don’t think of myself as a writer, I do think of myself as a friendly, helpful person, and so I agreed– and “chatting” with them on line, corresponding, reading their work, commenting, learning about their lives, has become a real joy in my life.  I am truly impressed by their intelligence, depth, humour, and capacity to read, write and communicate in English as a language of study.

Hey, if you can, please contribute to this fund to support a modicum of payment for the marvellous journalism and reflections of all the young writers working with WANN. :)

This here is a piece by Hasna Abu Ewaida, describing her favourite dish, her mother’s hand-and love-crafted Maftoul, which she wakes at 5am to make!  It’s a thrilling, detailed description of the crafting of a meal in the context of culture and family. I would love to eat it, though I confess I’ve already bought myself a pack of Zaytoun Maftoul which if you live in the UK you can find in fair-trade and small food shops

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This is Gaza Too: Behind the Rubble and Mayhem, Food that Feeds the Soul by Hasna Abu Awed

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Pear Kvass: bubbly, light, perhaps the slightest bit alcoholic, totally refreshing– not perry, not pear juice, more like a “Pear Appletiser®”, with cheerful pro-biotic bacteria.  Very natural tasting, not over-sweet but hits the spot that is delighted with sweetness.

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I had the good luck to pop into a charity shop at the end of a day when these two bags cost £1 each, together weighing 3.25kg,

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If you are able to grow gooseberries, you’ll know they are very prolific if protected from berry-loving birds.

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It’s thrilling though rare to learn about traditional fermenting with vegetables in Britain, and in Wales in particular.  This Beetroot Stout is a healing recipe that is totally new to me. Read the rest of this entry »

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Lately I’ve been having fun with simple, quick, refreshing and naturally bubbly drinks. These “pops” or “sodas” are inspired by fruit and vegetable versions of  Kvass as a kind of fermented infusion, traditional to Eastern Europe and Russia, which uses rye bread as its most basic component. But the name has come to be inclusive of many delicious home-made soft-drinks. Read the rest of this entry »

Originally posted on The Zero-Waste Chef:

IMG_20150715_072741 First flower on my cucumbers

This past week, I was pretty excited when I spied the first flower on my cucumbers and a little bud behind it. Unfortunately, I haven’t noticed any bees.

According to a new report co-authored by researchers at Stanford, Princeton and Berkeley, Earth has entered its sixth period of mass extinction. Within just three generations, pollination by bees could be something kids only read about in textbooks (unless they live in Texas). You can read the full report here or an overview of it here.

While some people may not mind living in a world free of broccoli, cauliflower and lima beans, they will probably miss hazelnuts, melons, squash, cucumbers, lemons, limes, strawberries, persimmons, apples, avocados, apricots, cherries, almonds, cocoa, grapes and on and on. We’ll still have corn and wheat though, which do not require pollinators, until blight tears through these non-diverse and thus vulnerable…

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I’m on a kick to simplify, and Kvass in its method seems to be the simplest fermented drink possible.  Kvass just happens, really. Read the rest of this entry »

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Is it a dip? A pate? Not sure, but three times I’ve found myself bringing spreads made of pumpkin seeds, onion, fresh coriander and pickled jalapeños to parties.  Originally I read a version of Sikil Pak, a Mayan Yucateco dish, interpreted in an extravagantly chef-like way (orange zest, really?) on Tasting Table, and have sought since to backtrack to something more simple to learn about what it could be.

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On the occasion of the death of Val Doonican this week, I found myself listening to this song “Cod Liver Oil.”  It’s a ballad of a man fed up with life with his withered wife, and the miracle cure of weight gain, lifted depression and renewed strength that takes place when she starts taking Cod Liver Oil.

I realised that in all these years I hadn’t paid attention to talk in my actual and virtual networks about this traditional remedy, was curious, and so sent off a quick question to my good friend Anna Jenkins, a knowledgable, very critically-minded person and a tireless researcher on matters of health and sustainability.  Watch this space if she ever develops a website.

“Is there a link you’d recommend if I wanted to learn about (fermented) cod liver oil? Or fish oils in general?” I asked Anna, expecting a link or two.

But because it was Anna I’d asked, I received a thoughtful and fairly comprehensive response, which I’m very happy to share with readers. Read the rest of this entry »

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Kimchi-Love here, maybe addictive passion, but I am not alone. Variations are fun and endless and you will be rewarded for experimenting with what you have. Read the rest of this entry »

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