From Instagram
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Chocolate Water Kefir. Totally 6-year-old son approved!
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I had a brain wave whilst making cacao husk tea: man, this’d be goood fermented. So I cooled it, added sugar and let my kefir grains at it! After a second ferment with orange and cardamon it’s delicious.

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A new batch of Sowans, the traditional Scottish fermented drink, ready for a 7-day ferment.
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I make a batch of this every other week. It’s whole oats, flaked at home, then put through a sieve. The bits I use here are the crumbs that fall through the holes in the sieve. I put them into jars, add water, stir and then leave to ferment for a week.
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Every morning during that week, I give them a quick stir. Towards the end of the week, I taste the liquid. When it’s funky enough for me (I like it funky), I stir it and strain it through a sieve to remove to bran particles. I leave the remaining liquid to settle. Over time it separates into liquid and oat starter.
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I use the liquid, Sowans, as a drink, a starter and to bake bread. I cook up the oat sediment, called Swats, as a porridge, use it as a thickener and bake it into sourdoughs too.
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Phew. Trying to explain that clearly took some thought. I’m hoping that, later in the year, I can put together some videos demonstrating how I make this and more of my kitchen alchemy projects. I’m also hoping to create a newsletter and have an exciting project with Andrea @farmandhearth on the burner. Lots of things fermenting – both literally and figuratively over here.
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Happy weekend to you all. x

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Lezioni
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Inglese in Cucina Do you want to improve your English? Vuoi migliorare il tuo inglese? Do you love being in the kitchen? Ti piace stare in cucina? I’m Alison, a mother-tongue, qualified, experienced English teacher and passionate cook. I offer … Read More

From Instagram
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This time last year me and my two boys were living out of 2 suitcases. We did it – being forced to move 8 times over a period of 6 weeks, because the flat we were supposed to move turned out to be uninhabitable.
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During those 6 weeks, in various unfamiliar and ill-equipped kitchens, I continued to make sourdough. We were never without a loaf.
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Looking back (thankfully from the comfort of a new flat we found 10 days before the first lockdown), it astounds me that I kept this going. It was testament to 2 things:

1 – The simplicity of my ‘go to’ sourdoughs, and
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2 – The amount of times I’d baked them before.
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If we practise, we can do anything. We can repeat nourishing staple foods with our eyes virtually shut.
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I have written up the recipe for my Everyday Rye Sourdough. You can find it via the link in my profile. It’s super-simple. No kneading, no constant watching. So easy you could even make it if you ever find yourself ‘between homes’, I promise 😉

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Soup with a difference! (in fact, with at least three differences)
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1 – It’s got sourdough in it! Yes, I used some discard. What a revelation…talk about hearty. I mixed my rye starter with home-made stock, veg and sausages. It thickened the soup up and gave us a tangy carb hit too.
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2 – It came from the lovely @dreamtemplearts family. This is the first time I’ve been passed a recipe I was looking for (it’s based on Zurek, a Polish sour soup) via a one to one IG connection. That warms my heart 🙂
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3 – It traditionally includes All Spice berries. I have not been able to find these in Italy, so instead used a similar flavour profile – cinnamon bark, nutmeg and cloves. I would never have thought of putting these flavours in a savoury soup. It added to the roundness and warmth.
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This one isn’t going anywhere. I already have plans to make it again and when I’ve got my favourite version, to write it up. If you’re looking for discard uses, keep watching.
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And that’s Russian Black Salt on the top in case you’re wondering…there’s a highlight on my profile for process pics of it.
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I’ll go back to my Polish soup induced warm haze now 🙂

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From Instagram
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My first go at a #lectinfree (and hence #glutenfree) sourdough pizza. It’s different to my usual spelt, in that the crust was not as crispy and the crumb more cakey…that’s what you get with millet and sorghum as flours. But it was very much enjoyed here.
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And I gotta talk toppings…home-cured bacon from @lavalledelsasso, local red onion and tiny brussels sprouts picked up at the local farmer’s market here in #Pontassieve. I fried it all first, hence the dark colour. Lard-fried brussels on pizza are *good*…seriously, give them a go!

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From Instagram
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Finding creative ways to use everything that comes into and is part of my kitchen feels like part of the reason I am here.
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It is satisfying, helps me feel as if I am living with integrity, and brings me such creative joy.
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Here we have a Spelt sourdough. It’s dough had a special addition – I cooked up the oat solids from the bottom of my fermenting jar of Sowans (a traditional Scottish ferment) into a smooth porridge and included them in the mix.
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They bring softness to the crumb and their super-fermented tang adds to the flavour of the nutty spelt. Having said that, even if it’d been a taste disaster, the sound of my knife cutting the crusty crumb would have been enough to win me over.

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Lunch for my hubby, pulled together in 20 mins, but with many more moments than that in its offering:
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Millet and sorghum #lectinfree sourdough that I made yesterday. This one’s flavoured with tumeric, onion and nigella seeds… I’m experimenting!
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Chicken (along with a blob of reserved juice/smaltz in the middle of the plate). I roasted this Monday, I love the ease of leaving it in the fridge and serving simply during the days that follow.
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Salad, made this morning in quantity big enough to last us 4 or so days.
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Topped with sauerkraut and fermented garlic (made at least 6 weeks ago) and sided (is that a verb?!) with a fermented cabbage leaf (made in November) topped with fermented sliced jerusalem artichoke (made last week).
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He was happy (as always…his gratitude fuels my creation) and I was pleased enough to want a photo.
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What are you eating for lunch today?

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From Instagram
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It’s a cold morning. I’ve sent my son and husband off to catch a train to school. Now, I’m focused on me. I’ve cooked up some swats – fermented ground oats – and topped the white clouds with linseed, crunchy nuts, olive oil and miso. Now I get to sit and watch the birds feasting on persimmons outside my window.
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I hope today brings you a warm plate of food and some moments to be still.

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From Instagram
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My Christmas book haul!
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Starting at the bottom:

The Secret Life of Chocolate. This is an astounding book. 700 pages of chocolate history, pharmacology, symbology…years of research. It includes ancient concoctions, which I hope to be able to bring to life. It is the most expensive book I’ve ever bought and I’m totally in love! Thank you @nocturnalherbalist for sharing your knowledge.
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A History of English Food #clarissadicksonwright. Italy is my soul’s home, but the UK is my birth home. I want to know more about its food history.
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@lambposts Steven Lamb’s River Cottage series book on Curing and Smoking. The bacon I cured a month ago used Steven’s process. I love his clarity and simplicity and wanted more. Expect creations to follow!
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And a book in Italian: Il Contadino 2.0, that tells the story of Flavio, the creator of @lavalledelsasso, the local farm where we source all our meat. His journey is an inspiration and I can feel the enthusiasm in the words bouncing off the page (even with a dictionary always in tow when reading!)
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Stupidly, perhaps, I am reading all four books at once! I couldn’t not. Swipe to see where I’m at with each of them.

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