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Not perfect, but getting there! My latest #homemadechocolate saw me roasting the whole, raw cacao beans in our oven, rather than the cast iron pan.
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I then cracked the seeds and took the husks off by hand.
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After that I tried grinding in the mortar and pestle… it was virtually impossible to get anywhere near fine cocao, even for my hubby’s strong arms, so I swapped to our high-power coffee grinder. That did a reasonable, ‘stone-ground’ job.
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Then I added a small amount of melted cacao butter, stirred and plopped the mix into my moulds, filling some of the chocolates’ middles with freshly grated orange zest, others with hazlenuts.
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The taste and texture is the best of my attempts so far. The roasting isn’t burnt (success!) and grinding better means less need for cacao butter, which improves the flavour. The liquid chocolate was a bit thick, hence the little holes in the chocolates you can see…but I think chocolate tastes best with eye shut anyway, so who cares?!
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See my story for some of the process pictures.
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I already know what I want to change for the next batch. Just need to eat these ones first…

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This is the season of Jerusalem artichokes, which are a traditionally-foraged food here in Italy. They are full of prebiotics, which I guess is why they are notoriously hard to digest. I’m working on that though, having read that when they are lacto-fermented they don’t cause the same problems.
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So here we have Jerusalem artichokes, along with some garlic and spices, ready for a 5 day ferment.
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Interestingly, the name is thought to come from ‘girasole’, the Italian word for their species, the sunflower. This was apparently mis-pronounced when Italian immigrants settled in the US, and turning into the word Jerusalem.
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I think I prefer Sunchokes, their other name 🙂

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Sausage soup made with half home-made duck stock and half sauerkraut juice. It’s the first time I’ve tried cooking with fermentation juice and it works!
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The heavenly sausages are from @lavalledelsasso and I also added some nigella seeds (I am having a prolonged love affair with these little’uns!).
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Cooking with sauerkraut and soured liquids has a long heritage in parts of Europe. I can see (or should I say, taste) why. We argued over who was having the leftovers, I caved in and let my son have them 🙂

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I’ve written up the recipe for the Sourdough Wholegrain Rye I’ve been making pretty much every week for 2 years. It’s doesn’t require attention or kneading during the dough phase and there’s no fussy shaping needed either.
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It makes a dense, tasty, rustic loaf.
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You can see the process via the link in my profile. I’ve included a couple of videos in the recipe so you can be confident about how your loaf should look.

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Blood and chocolate. Together. In a recipe. When I first came across this, it sounded crazy to my ears, but, having read an entire book on the traditional use of blood in Italian cooking and seen 30+ recipes that combine blood and chocolate, it’s kinda seeming natural to me!
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And I want to make it. So very much.
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Finding pig blood from a trusted source has not been easy so far. I want to know how the animal’s been kept. I want to trust the sanitization. I want to know chemicals haven’t been added to it.
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And then, I’ll be able to, with peace of mind, try to bring some recipes to life; recipes that value everything an animal gives when its life is taken for me.
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There’s a video of an excited me showing you the book (it’s only taken me 9 months to read it!) in my story today 🙂

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Everyday Wholegrain Sourdough Rye Loaf
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Rye has been used to make bread for thousands of years. It’s not only super tasty, it’s also lower in gluten and requires less attention than its much more popular cousin, wheat. For the one who is eating, that often … Read More

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This is leftover beef tongue. Before baking, I mixed it with sauteed leeks and mushrooms, sourdough millet/sorghum breadcrumbs and lots of duck stock.
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Whilst its smells were filling the room, I listened to @177milkstreet’s podcast (which I recommend!), and cleared my 2020 food photos from my device, making room for the many that’ll I hope to snap this coming year.
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These new days of the year are introspective and warm in our house. I have some wonderful plans and ideas for 2021. I hope you’ll like them as much as I do 🙂

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I love @darra.goldstein’s Thursday Salt enough to fill my flat with smoke on New Year’s Eve! It’s a great excuse to open the window and, as Italian’s say, “change the air”.
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There’s a pic in my story today of Rob holding the charcoaled ‘cake’ out of the window if you want a peek.
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This is my second go at this black salt. We’ve eaten all the first lot! Scroll to see the salt/sourdough rye mix being spread, how it looks after baking and then mashing it up in our Tuscan marble mortar and pestle.
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Happy New Year to you all. Thank you for sharing and being a recipient of my sharing this year. x

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Every Christmas Day, we eat something we’ve never eaten before. This year it was Sarmales, a traditional Romanian dish, of rolled fermented cabbage leaves, stuffed with a pork/millet/veg mix and cooked in stock and fermentation juice.
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The rolls were delicious. The pork was local, from @lavalledelsasso, I fermented the whole cabbage late November (video on my IGTV) and the cooking juice was half duck stock and half sauerkraut juice. We ate them a top Italian sorghum also cooked in duck stock.
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Thank you @irina.r.georgescu for bringing this and much more about Romanian cuisine to life in my imagination.

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Fancy a bit of baking? This is my wholegrain sourdough spelt loaf. It has a portion of ‘scalded’ flour in it which makes it soft and long-lasting. The recipe is in my bio.

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