From Instagram
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This morning, I walked down the hill, past the post office (and laden fig tree!) and under the arch here in Pontassieve, to the health food store.
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It is more expensive to buy food here than to go shop in the supermarket. But it is a totally different experience – no car park, trolley, florescent lights or queues. And local, sustainable food, grown organically.
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This is what I came home with.
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Money is not what culture has brought us up to believe it is. It is an exchange of energy. And I believe that the intention expressed in that exchange of energy is everything.
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It’s scary to believe this, when you don’t have pots of the stuff and you’ve been brought up by people whose life is run in completely the opposite way. But I feel better when I shop like this and I believe in what these people are doing, so I step forward with faith.
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I really want to go and visit @bioagriturismoilcerreto – the place that grew these lentils and farro. They have an unchlorinated pool filtered by zeolites. One day!
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#veryfarmish *Sustainable* post – check out my story for all the details on this month’s challenge.

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Molasses in bread? Yes please!
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This is a Russian bread, 100% wholegrain rye. It’s got toasted caraway seeds, malted grains and this deep, dark molasses in the dough. It ferments all day and then bakes up into a rich, tangy and hearty loaf.
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The recipe is this month’s #ancestralcookup – you can find me walking you through it via the link in my profile.

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If what I felt as I wrote these words could come at you through your screen it would jump up and down, be red and gold and green, sweep through with a caress and reach to hold you hand before it gave you an incredibly big hug.
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How to put into words feeling something so strongly…in our cells, in our blood, in our bones.
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The sharing: I would be honoured if you’d read my article ‘Good Food’. The link is in my profile.
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And then to…

The Connecting – if you respond whilst reading, I’d love to know about it; below or on my blog.
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This feels like it needs to be my Our Future post for #veryfarmish, because, heck, it’s important.

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First Mumma morning alone for ages. I was raring to get out of the house and find some local food. A train trip into Florence and a wander to the market at Sant’Ambrogio.
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When I saw the chanterelles and porcini my heart beat a little faster! And then on to the reason I came – to get some Italian waters fish. I came home with ‘trigliette’ and some prawns.
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I am not a very confident fish dish preparer, but I’m going to look after these morning finds the best I can.

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This is a loaf I made yesterday. It is the first time I have ground spelt berries at home.
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It made a wonderful bread but it was a lot of work…literally hours and hours.
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I spent time sourcing local, whole spelt berries, ordering them and decanting them to store in the freezer.
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2 days ago we ground the spelt, using a #marcato hand-grinder. We put it through the mill 6 times. Two of us needed to be there and we were at it for almost 2 hours.
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Then yesterday morning, I mixed this beautiful, rough flour with my sourdough starter (that came from the UK to Italy with us when we moved last year), salt and water.
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I watched over it all day. Stretching, folding, smelling, touching, then panning and watching some more before cooking it for an hour.
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Then I waited, waited, waited before cutting it and tucking in.
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I choose to make local, sourdough bread rather than go 50 metres down the road and buy a loaf.
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#veryfarmish has a prompt ‘Why do it the hard way?’
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2 reasons:
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1 – Because I can. I have the privilege of this time available. This is partly because of my birth but also very definitely because, starting 25 years ago, I decided that I was being strangled by mainstream ways and I wanted to live my life differently. Every brave decision I’ve made since then has got me to this point where I can choose this as part of my day.
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2 – Oh, and the 2…because, because, because. Because I care about the soil, about the farmer, about pollution, about packaging, about my body, about my biome, about my son and husband’s health, about tradition, about creation, about using my hands, about beauty.
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Life has never been easy. Our attempts to make it easy come with pay-offs. Those pay-offs are killing our health and the health of our community and planet.
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May as many as possible wake up to this. And may we enable as many as possible to have the means and support to be able to choose things that are hard, but that are good.

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Fermenting is a creative act for me. And I take every opportunity to try out new (to me) ferments.
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Thanks to @rootkitchens I found out about Sowans. It is a traditional Scottish oat ferment. And it is currently on the go in my kitchen!
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I cracked and ground the whole (local – yippee!) oats till they looked like small rolled oats.
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I sieved them, putting aside the rolled oats for porridge, and keeping the hull and white ‘dust’ (the squashed inside of the oats) for this ferment.
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I poured water over this hull/’dust’ mix and stirred.
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It’s now sitting on my ferment shelf, next to the sauerkraut, bread kvass and kefir.
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In a few days I’ll carefully pour off the liquid, trying not to disturb the oaty sediment.
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This liquid will be the Sowans. We’ll drink it. The sediment at the bottom is the Swats – I’ll cook that up to a porridge.
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I’ll report back in a few days…exciting!!
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If you fancy giving it a go, check out @rootkitchens
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This is my #veryfarmish ferment post. Thank you to my co-hosts @farmandhearth @thebyefamilyfarm and @untamed.nourishment. I am so enjoying sharing my passions and nosing into other people’s wonderful treasure troves of experience, knowledge and projects.

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Books that hit the spot for me get me so excited! These are the foodie books I’m currently reading.
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From top left clockwise:
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La Cucina degli Antenati (basically translates as ‘the ancestral kitchen’). I am super-stoked I found this book. It goes through the Italian year month by month showing what’s in season, what you can forage, what was traditionally being preserved, food proverbs and traditions. It has sections on herbs and old-world techniques as well as a chapter on ‘fantastical foods’. It is so perfect for the #veryfarmish challenge. I love it and don’t think it’ll leave my side for many years!
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Honey from a Weed by Patience Gray. This is a treasure trove of Mediterranean recipes, techniques, food traditions and the like. It has stunning prose. I sigh a lot whilst reading it and I want to make everything in it…of course 😉
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The Plant Paradox. This is about lectins in plants and is interesting reading, particularly because the issues it uncovers seem to have parallels with the way certain vegetables have been prepared for millennia by our ancestors. I’m sure, once I’ve finished it, I’ll be reporting back.
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Crops in Pots. I have a tiny tiny patio yet I want to explore vegetable gardening. This year has been fumbling and learning. Next year, after this book, I hope I’ll be a bit more organised!
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Cooking up a Better Food Future. This arrived from France yesterday! The @parabereforum have such a worthwhile and exciting mission. The book is a collection of essays by women who work in and want to change our food culture. There is such power in unity, in togetherness. I can’t wait to read more of this.
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Sanguinaccio. This is about blood; Italy has a long history of using blood in sausage-like creations and also in tortes and pastry-style dishes. I am *fascinated* by this and despite the hard language, am constantly wanting to go back to this book. I have no idea how I might be able to make it happen, but I know I want to have a go at some of these recipes.
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Book stack monologue complete 🙂 Anyone reading or read any of these? Or anything similar?

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Home-made chocolates. Winging it resulted in the lovely brown/cream colouring you can see here – don’t you love it when ‘problems’ become ‘highlights’ 🙂
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Making chocolate the ‘proper’ way is so complicated. I read a couple of articles online and couldn’t believe it…so we chose an easy way and they turned out great.
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Check out my story to see how these gorgeous little things (that have now all gone!) came to life.
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Have you made chocolate?

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My hubby, Rob, inadvertantly made butter running back from the farm where we get our raw milk! Apparently 45 minutes downhill with a litre of milk in a 2 litre container is just the trick. He looks kinda proud, doesn’t he?!
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This is my outdoor time post for #veryfarmish.
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We have no car and are committed to good food. Rob runs to get our milk from @aziendaagricolapodereruggeri.
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All three of us walk across town to pick up meat from @lavalledelsasso.
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Virtually every day I walk into town with my son and top up supplies from the Sicilian family who run our local health food grocery store.
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I love using my legs, giving my eyes light, holding my son’s hand and getting good food.

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I love how the things in our homes have stories to tell. ‘Inert’ materials are not at all inert – they are alive, rich and full.
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This is our table. It was hand-made from chestnut wood a long time ago by the husband of an Italian lady who lives in the town where my son goes to school 2 days a week.
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We’d had a much-loved wooden table in the UK, but had to leave it behind. I looked for a long time here in Italy – a table means so very much to me – but couldn’t find anything that wasn’t so expensive it made my eyes water. I’d almost given up.
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And then the day before we were due to move to a new home, I saw an ad. My heart skipped a beat and I phoned the number. Yes, it was still available. We had already booked a van to move our things…24 hours later my son was playing with the lady’s dog as my husband and our friend hauled this solid chuck of beauty out of her home and later up 3 flights of stairs to our new place.
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It is the centre of the space we live it. It sings.
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And when I sit at it, it whispers to me through my skin; through my fingers. It tells of all the meals eaten, all the hugs given, all the difficulties discussed, all the coffees and teas drunk. Of the laughter and tears and joy and love.
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All of which was born thanks to the trees of this land and the hands and love of one man.
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I am so grateful.
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#veryfarmish Farmish Decor

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