Archives for posts with tag: scrap vinegar

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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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Would you call this performance a kind of Housewife Burlesque? I don’t know but I think she’s fabulous! Watch and tell us what you think.

“Everybody’s good at cooking something, I’m good at cooking Crumble.” Since May when Lorraine Bowen was on Britain’s Got Talent, my kids go around singing this song, so I sing it too now.  We all sing it–it’s catchy!

Here we have a large forage of end-of-September blackberries picked by husband and son.

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And despite that it’s now October, there are still perhaps some bramble bushes fruiting in abundance. 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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Oranges: a fermented chipotle salsa; a sour pickle with fenugreek and mustard; a scrap vinegar beauty cure; and dried orange peels for many uses…

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LOOKING BACK AT THE DEADLY SUPER-TYPHOON, FEELING INSPIRED BY THE CLIMATE WALK IN THE PHILIPPINES, AND MAKING ATCHARA, A FILIPINO PICKLE, TO TIE IT ALL TOGETHER.  REFLECTIONS AND A SONG, A RECIPE, AND A VIDEO….

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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Hello to you!  Am in busy desperate preserving mode– so much to do, race against time and the forces of overripening, but wanted to share a few random things.

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I’ve made a really nice blackberry jam and threw in actually quite a number of very very soft pears.  (I mushed them through a strainer first, and retained the skins/seeds etc for a scrap vinegar.) Then added a cinnamon stick too.  Decided to strain through a sieve so the jam wouldn’t have that bramble grit of the teeny seeds.  The jam is wonderful, glad to have done this. I put the seeds from the sieve  in water with water kefir grains and have a really lovely bubbly drink happening– didn’t even bother with the whole first and second ferment thing.  Blackberry Pear Soda Pop, pictured above……

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Spicy Pumpkin Vinegar, made from pulps I could have thrown out.  A glorious enzymatic condiment for brightening, souring, finishing and … drinking!  Pumpkin Scrap-cum-Vinegar plus Fermented Chilli Pepper Skins is a match made in heaven…  or Upcycling Kitchen-Counter-Culture paradise, at least…

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Once upon a time we carved a pumpkin for Halloween, and instead of roasting the seeds, I fermented them for a scrap vinegar.  This is such an easy thing to do.  Cover your fruit scraps (in this case, the scooped-out pumpkin seeds embedded in the stringy stuff) in about triple the volume of water.  Add a tablespoon or two of sugar, which will inspire an alcoholic fermentation; keep stirring, periodically exposing your mixture to air, and  you will get acetic acid fermentation– that easy.  (The link above will give more detail if you don’t believe me.)

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A.K.A. Pumpkin Wild Vinegar, after lots of stirring and bottle-burping and exposure to air, and time:

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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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Fermenting in the Kitchen: Probiotics and Permaculture Principles

A Workshop with Elderflower-Tibicos Champagne

Today I am having a great time at home preparing for a workshop tomorrow….
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I have a vision now of a calendrical-seasonal kitchen, in which I find uses throughout the year for ingredients I’ve made at a different moment in the wheel. I was so thrilled by the bright result of using Rosehip Syrup with Rhubarb.  I’m looking forward to making little jam tarts with my vegetables marmalades and carrot jam for summer picnics.  Mostly I have an array of maturing Scrap Vinegars to get creative with — Red Pumpkin, Pear, Rhubarb, Blackberry-Apple… Some are nearly a year and a half old, and still wonderful.  Magical ingredients, for pennies.

Lately I’ve just been splashing a spoon’s worth or so of these in glasses of water, for a kind of body-alkalizing tonic.  (Have I unabashedly revealed to all that sometimes I get kidney-pain that abates if I drink vinegar?)

This morning I strained and decanted a scrap Chaenomeles Vinegar I’d made in late November– from the scrapings and cores of the Japonica Fruit used for the very Christmassy Chaenomeles Preserve I wrote about here.

Do read about Chaenomeles — it’s inspiring to think about the illustrious past and possibilities of what we know as an ornamental in gardens.

And the vinegar is the finest perfume! It’s the fragrance of something you’d spray from a fancy bottle onto your wrist and neck before a date (if you did things like this, or had dates).  I wish the internet had a Scratch and Sniff capability.  Maybe I should put a vial in a Mary Poppins carpet-bag and start traversing Paris…

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