Archives for posts with tag: recipes
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Shredded CARROTS and RADISHES, RUBYKRAUT, PICKLED CHILLIS and CELERY, CORIANDER, DILL, OIL and SCRAP APPLE BLACKBERRY VINEGAR.

Often when I teach workshops, participants seeking the health benefits of fermented foods ask about consuming them: how do we eat these foods? how do we incorporate them into our diet, our day, our meals? How do we use the ferments we make?

So I launch into my talk on the variable use of the word “pickle” and the idea of a savoury morsel, and sauerkraut and kimchi as foods that go as condiments or digestives or piquant flavour-rounders with many other foods.  And of course you can cook with ferments, and traditionally around the world many functioned to preserve raw ingredients later to be be used in cooked dishes like soups and stews. I explain how I like to toss kraut and small pieces of pickles in green salads, and sometimes to puree them in dressings, and to add probiotic, succulent brine to bolster flavour and acid. Raw is good for maximum bacterial benefit.

Lately I’ve been layering ferments in root vegetable salads.  These salads are nourishing, delicious, filling, and can be invented truly from what’s on hand in a well-stocked kitchen of local and seasonal ingredients. If you find yourself fermenting, then you’ll have interesting, creative fermented elements to incorporate, for endless possibilities, into your meals.

The formula I’ve been obsessed with is so basic: shredded roots, layered with a ferment and fresh herbs, then dressed.  And add whatever you like. Proportions are yours to decide. Leftovers are yours to use up.  Alliums, garlic, ginger and spices– yours to choose.

Here are a few salads I’ve made recently on this theme.

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Shredded BEETROOT and LEEK, RED ONIONS, SAUERKRAUT w white cabbage, spring greens, radish tops, coriander and cumin seed and ginger, PARSLEY, RED PEPPERS, Olive Oil and Vinegar.

 

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SWEDE (rutabaga), CARROT, KIMCHI with dandelion, cleavers, alexanders, chives, CORIANDER LEAF, DILL, YELLOW and RED PEPPERS, OLIVE OIL, LEMON JUICE, SESAME OIL.

 

 

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SWEDE, CARROT, LEEK, CELERY, some smashed PRESERVED LEMON, SAUERKRAUT, DILLWEED, AVOCADO,  the TURMERIC-Y BOTTOM of a JERUSALEM ARTICHOKE PICKLE, Olive Oil. (Fish would have been so nice in this!)

 

 

 

 

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I’m a Black Eyed Peas-at-New Years gal, and this year I searched around and could only find a tin. So a tin of peas it is, and a most wonderful salad that that feels lemony and green and bright.  I know that these peas can take a LOT of flavour, and years of preparing them THIS way pushed me towards the fermented flavours and the bitter of the lemon zest.  This is the salad I just made– I’m sure your variations will be delicious too.

Make sure to read this great piece by Michael Twitty musing historically on black eyed peas and greens…

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Ah the infinities of interesting worlds on the internet…  I have a file “Links for Blog” into which I save items to share; despite good intentions, they languish and amass.  I’ve now prepared this post and am aware it might be overwhelming.  Please forgive me if so!  May some of it be useful to you…  Mostly Food Politics on the top, then a nice round-up of cooking and food links.

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This is my fifteenth autumn in the UK, and the fourteenth time I’ve taken part in an annual ritual of chutney making with all the abundance of fruit, much of it “windfall” (on the ground, fallen from the tree) and pretty much always part of a seasonal glut that demands quick attention.  I mean chutney not as a raw accompaniment or cooked decoration on a plate, but a vinegary, quite sugared preserve of a jam or compote that is processed and jarred for eating with cheeses and meats and, of course, for sharing with family and friends.

And I’ve been lacto-fermenting vegetables for about ten years I reckon; much of this natural, healthy and no-cook food tradition has made me question the value of preserving fruit and veg in jams and chutneys.   Whereas ferments add health and nutrients, jams and chutneys involve cooking the life out of living food, and adding so much sugar– at least in the typical British style that we know them.   And they use so much energy, unless I were cooking on a wood-burning stove like an Aga or Rayburn that was on anyway for home-heating (in which case that wouldn’t be the most energy efficient way to heat a home).  And anyway my stove is electric (induction to reveal all). Read the rest of this entry »

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.…in which Kitchencounterculture explores local food, locavorism, veganism, climate impacts of diet, and A MASSIVE LIST OF RABBIT RECIPES from a really great collection of cookbooks…

In my freezer are two rabbits, which a local man, H,  the getting-elderly but still a-hunting brother of a friend, had in his freezer.  For £3 each it was hardly a sale but rather an exchange.  “Cook it like a chicken,” he advised, and told me he’d cut it in seven pieces: two back legs, 2 front legs, two middle bits and a “bonnet” (the ribs).  He recommended I “casserole” it: fry the pieces in a pan with carrots and onions, then tip it in a roasting tin with gravy, or wine, or beer.

My friend, H’s brother P, said H would have hung it for a few hours after bringing it  home (probably this time with a ferret not a rifle — I didn’t think to ask but will, and will update here), then gutted it, then hung it again for a few days before skinning and putting it into parts.  These are men who’s childhoods would have been 70 years ago.  H remembers his mother Sybyl roasting rabbit very plainly, but she would never eat anything wild herself, though duck was also on the menu for these country children of mid-Wales back then.

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Fast Food Spinach Soup

As frequently as possible, I make a thermos flask of soup for my husband for his lunch. This is to use up leftovers, save family money so he doesn’t buy junk or eat out, and give him a portion controlled meal which he says helps him to feel energised rather than overfull.

I have lots to share about soup-making, which I will save for a less sunny day.

This morning first thing, I had loads to do and had to get out the door. So I took a quick, almost careless approach, which I’m transcribing into second person so you feel you could make it too if you’d like, such was the feeling of success:

7am.  Take out the recycling, lament how much friggin’ plastic there is that even you do not manage to avoid using.

Chop one large leek, saute  in a butter/ olive oil combo while you make the coffee.  Turn off the pan, drink your coffee upstairs with everyone else doing their morning thing.

Return downstairs, kick your son’s shoes out of the way, find some amazing fresh spinach you’ve bought, though a bit at the end of its life, from Great Oak Foods and decide you are too lazy to worry about examining the rather thick stems.  Or even to wash it, as it is organic, and decide if there is some sand, well, “a peck of dirt before you die” is a good motto.

Stuff the unwieldy spinach in with the chopped leek in the pot that is momentarily too small because spinach reduces in volume dramatically.  Throw in a glass of water, and another glass.  Realize you actually have bone broth in the freezer but decide it’s too frozen and too strong a flavour anyway.  Feel a bit stressed about time.   Begin to whirl it all together in your semi-broken food whizzer.  Decide too-pureed doesn’t matter anyway.

Put it back in the pan on the heat.  Add some pepper.  Grate a little nutmeg and think about how stale this spice is though still fragrant but without the top notes.   Imagine how expensive it would have been 400 years ago.

Find the jar of home-cultured Creme Fraiche in your fridge.  It’s a little on the edge but ignore this.  Add a tablespoon.  Add another.  Taste.  All’s fine.   Add some more water. Looks like you think soup should look.  Remember the out-of-date Feta you bought, ponder that it’s so salty but you’ve added no additional salt to the pot. Crumble a little into the soup.   Put in the flask and put the flask on the table and make sure your son’s trombone is in the car and that you know where you are meeting your daughter after school.  Forget to brush your hair.

For the bit you reheat later for your own lunch, garnish with toasted walnuts and pine nuts because they are delicious and they are there in a jar that somehow has lost it’s lid.

Et Voila!

And next time, because it’s spring and the greening ground is offering, it’ll be nettles and dandelion leaves.

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Vascular Dementia– slow, frustrating, watching capacities diminish but not quite believing what’s happening…  So, my mother-in-law, who was a geriatric social worker, finds herself in the odd position of being in a care home, wishing to take steps a geriatric social worker would take, but being thwarted by Authority (such as it is in a care home) and her own brain fog.

This was an energetic and thoughtful woman, who gave me a tatty copy of a book she’d enjoyed that represents an old and mostly rural way of cooking in Britain: Farmhouse Fare, “Recipes from Country Housewives collected by The Farmers Weekly.”   I often find copies of this book in charity shops, and I always buy it, to give to friends, because it’s such a treasure trove indeed. The edition she gave me is “the first impression of the enlarged (fourth) edition of Farmhouse Fare [and] was published in November 1946.  The second impression appeared in 1947; the third impression in 1950. The fifth revised edition was first published in 1954, reprinted 1956 and 1958,” which dates the copy I have, in beautiful, stained disrepair.  I also have a hardback copy from 1979 with a cheesy photographic cover.  Clearly this is a collection that’s been loved.  If you find this book, make it yours.

Last weekend, kids on holiday from school, we went to see my mother-in-law, and my husband popped by her recently sold house to talk with the new owners.  They weren’t in, but he took some apples lying on the grass underneath the old apple tree that they had –I hate writing this–  chopped down.  Must have been a recent chop, because the apples on the ground were beginning to get red, these cookers (green) that in most summers never ripen.  These were apples my mother-in-law had enjoyed all through her years in that home, making pies and chutneys and baby food for my babies!  Yes of course new people can do what they want with their new property, but I can’t imagine not loving that tree, that fruitful dwarf apple, variety I-don’t-know.  Wish I could ask Grace, but I don’t want to tell her what they’ve done; I think she’d find it very disturbing.

Somehow to deal with my own sense of injustice, I’m going to work through lots of the apple recipes in Farmhouse Fare.  For the Apple Marigold above, I used the last apples we shall ever have from that beloved tree. My husband collected them in a plastic bag from that grass on that stormy October day.

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I was interested in this Apple Marigold recipe for different reasons– because I’m “collecting” savoury apple recipes, because I love calendula flowers, because I’m interested in using herbs like thyme with apples (herbs in general with fruits in general), because it’s a chance to feel authentic with my enamelled baking dish, because it’s so simple a recipe but so personal, because it’s interesting to explore what British cooking is, English, Welsh, Scottish– and how within seasonal and economic limits “farm women” put together meals they felt proud of.

This recipe tasted wholesome and simple, basically, apples in an unsweetened custard, and the fruit quite discreet from that custard.  I added a little salt which felt necessary.  Of course could one fancify this, by infusing flavours, maybe even adding some pastry down below or on top of.    I’d wished to be able to cut proper rings– for the visual effect– but that didn’t happen.  To Mrs J Preston of Oxfordshire, thank you: I feel this is your recipe, the “marigold” petals and sage and thyme your original idea.  Through the years, there’s a voice in this Marigold Apple, a small celebration of resourcefulness in the name of a quiet artistry.

Meanwhile: I made this today too, with some applesauce from apples that really needed doing.   It’s in the oven now.  Love the simplicity of three ingredients– and even refrained, against the wisdom of experience, from adding any salt or fat, though glugged in some sourdough starter in lieu of “yeast”.   Not sure I let the dough sit long enough, but the oven is on for another purpose so wanted to get the baking done, in the the name of efficient energy use.

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