Archives for category: Pro-Biotic Drinks

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Fortunate am I to receive occasional parcels of unsold bread from a friend who runs a really top quality bakery here in mid-Wales, Andy’s Bread. A few months back he gave me several loaves of pumpernickel, a dark, dense and sweet rye bread.  His version includes whole rye grain, rye chops, rye, sourdough, molasses,  and old pumpernickel. The loaf is coated in rye chops (and baked in a hot oven which is then turned off overnight); a “lid” is placed on top of the tins to “steam” the loaves and prevent their drying out.  Andy’s pumpernickel is something special– and not so dissimilar from his Borodinski breads which contain coriander seeds and powder, malt extract and molasses.  These are true artisan breads in that they come from long and varied traditions and are expertly crafted in particular, local conditions.

Andy’s pumpernickel makes great croutons for leek and potato, and split pea soup; I will be using some from another batch tomorrow for chocolate Christmas bark as per Claire Ptak’s wonderful recipe here.

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Being gifted with food that is “surplus” or “waste” anyway is really freeing, and allowed me to feel I could experiment.  I’d long been curious to try Bread Kvass, so in the absence of any planned trips to Russia or Russian communities elsewhere, I knew I’d have to try to make it. I also wanted to reproduce an effort from a while earlier in which I made a sourdough cake from recycled bread.  And I sadly found out that the friend who taught me her resourceful and roughshod approach to bread had died– so I was of a rare mind to bake bread. Read the rest of this entry »

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Well, maybe you feel a little longing when you look at photos of lots of your friends in a city where you used to live. You see their beautiful children, and the making an event of a day pressing apples, fruit that they’ve grown in orchards they’ve planted with love.  Everybody’s pitching in and working toge ther and it’s a productive food-preparation idyll there in suburban Oxford.

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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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Fermented Preserved Lemons: delicious in dressings; refreshing in drinks. Tart, salty, bitter, tangy, matured in lemon juice and sea salt, Preserved Lemons are a great larder item for the lacto-fermenting cook.  I made a batch several months ago, and they’ve really come into their own. I’ve been playing with them a bit, and getting obsessed with their bold brightness– or is it a bright boldness?–how they refuse to be denied presence, they refuse not to shine. Read the rest of this entry »

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I requested a review copy of April Bloomfield’s A Girl and Her Greens: Hearty Meals from the Garden as I’ve been so curious about the foodie buzz surrounding her.  Now I get why she’s such a star.

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April Bloomfield, in her writing and recipes, straddles something exciting between home cooking and cheffy imagination and technique, and it all feels accessible and inspiring.  Her approach is relaxed and easy as she looks around the world for culinary ideas and somehow simultaneously simplifies and elevates the foods.  It’s a kind of magic! Yet she never presents herself as the final word. Read the rest of this entry »

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Rose petals are all over internet recipes these days! I wonder if you have noticed this too.  Sprinkled on cakes and infused in creams and mixed with dried orange peel in harissa in all sorts of spicy North African-inspired dishes.

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Because roses are associated with romantic love, they’re an iconic Valentine’s Day flower.  There is in the perfume of roses something so love-ly indeed.  A few years ago, during a very low ebb, a friend who is a herbalist gave me a gift: a tincture of rose to spray on myself as a kind of self-love potion.  “A hug in a bottle,” she called it.  It worked.  That’s what a lot of us need: self-love potions.

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Jun.  The mysterious Kombucha relative that thrives, not on black tea and white sugar, but on green tea and raw honey. Mythically Tibetan, though not documented with any credibility– even if explications of the culturing bacteria are alluring and romantic.

I read this Nourished Kitchen how-to and felt full of curiousity and excitement.  But how was I, in mid-Wales, to acquire the culture? Seemed like an effort I wouldn’t make.

Meanwhile… I’ve been sorting through all the weird stuff clogging fridge and counter space.  And I finally got around to a months-old promise of posting out some cultures of Water Kefir, Kefir and Kombucha to some friends. Read the rest of this entry »

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Hello from Kombucha Central, where pretty little elderflower stars float in a firmament of fermenting tea, by the grace of a Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeast. In other words, I’ve been given a Kombucha SCOBY and am having a ball experimenting with different floral flavours, having found a fab use for the flower syrups I make.  Well then…. Come Bucha with me…

Kombucha is pretty easy– at it’s most basic, you boil and cool black tea, sweeten it with sugar, and use your SCOBY “mother”– the creature thing that is your “culture”– to ferment the mixture in five days or so.  After, if you bottle and cover, you get a nice effervescence.  Read the great Sandor Katz on Kombucha in this Splendid Table interview; there’s also an excerpt about Kombucha from his The Art of Fermentation that is generously and conveniently on line.  (And here’s my love letter to that book in Permaculture Magazine.)

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WATER KEFIR EXTRAVAGANZA

Melon Seed Horchata!  Pea Shoot, Mint Tea, and Yuzu!  Yuzu, Beetroot and Mango Stone! 

My message to you is: Have fun!

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Water Kefir grains are a magical substance (“a culture of bacteria and yeasts held in a polysaccharide biofilm matrix created by the bacteria”) that through fermentation transform liquids into beautiful, healthful “sodas” or carbonated bubblies, non (and sometimes just-barely) alcoholic drinks. There is loads written about Water Kefir on the web, many a how-to guide, including this Nourished Kitchen one that has great information even if a little complicated.

And here’s a piece on A Gardener’s Table, a really really beautiful blog.  There’s even the tip in the comments to add (sterilised) eggshell (to be removed) to remineralise your grains.

The basic instruction requires two phases:

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