From Instagram
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Learning Italian, and being an ancestrally-passionate cook, I often end up opening cans of linguistic worms when I get excited about a dish.
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This is often because, up until very recently, Italy did not have one language. Instead, each region, even each town, had it’s own dialect, each derived separately from Latin and often very diverse.
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Friccioli is the Tuscan name for small, yummy bits of pork fat. Elsewhere in Italy, they are called Ciccioli. In the UK, I think the closest we’d get to them are pork scratchings.
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Anyhow, they are in this bread, which may look like a Focaccia. It sort of is a Focaccia, but if you’re Tuscan, you’re more likely to call it a Schiacciata, or because it’s got bits of pork fat in, a Ciaccia.
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I’m just going to translate it as being a delicious bread with yummy bacon bits in! And, because it’s from my kitchen, it’s sourdough and wholegrain spelt.
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This is the second time I’ve made this. I’ll try and get some photos of it cooked before it gets inhaled this time!

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I strive for joy, beauty and connection. But at the same time, I am acutely aware of pain, ugliness and disconnection. Engaging with these things is hard work, but they move me…to act with integrity, with hope and with courage.
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And sometimes they also move me to write; to try to share the things I view as ‘wrong’ when I look around me.
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I’ve written this article for the website www.preventanothercorona.org.
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You can find it as the first button on the linktr.ee in my profile.
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If my words resonate with you and you feel inclined, please share them. There is so much media being dedicated to Corona reactions – masks, distancing and vaccines. There needs to be more focused on fixing the things that caused Covid. For the sake of preventing it happening again. And for the sake of our species’ future existence.

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I’ve been on such a fermented porridge ride recently, that I’d almost forgotten my beloved sourdough pancakes.
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Almost…
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This morning’s breakfast: Super-sour sourdough spelt pancakes with my favourite filling – miso, ground linseed and olive oil.
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The process of how to make these is linked in my profile. They are easy. And delicious. And they’d make a great Christmas or Boxing Day breakfast. You could go a bit festively bonkers with the toppings if you wanted…although miso is always good on them in my book ๐Ÿ™‚

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My hubby, Rob, ran this raw, goat, lustrously blue cheese down the hill from @aziendaagricolapodereruggeri. It’s probably the last visit he’ll make there until Spring, as the goat’s aren’t producing milk over Winter.
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This piece, toasted, on my plate was the last bit of that last purchase…and he said I could have it. I must be a wonderful wife ๐Ÿ˜‰
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To stop us being sad about the end of the 2020 milk, enter the Brussels Sprouts! My favourite green. I bought these organic beauties from the local health food store.

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Every time we grind grains for sourdough, I am astounded by how deep and rich the bread tastes.
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We have a Marcato Marga manual grain grinder. It’s quiet, beautiful and therapeutic. I organise everything whilst my husband (and occasionally my son) grinds. All three of us listen to a podcast/book or I read aloud.
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Then I take the flour and facilitate the wild yeast fermentation. We don’t usually get to eat the bread until the next day, but when we do, it’s something magical.
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Here is this week’s result: Italian rye sourdough. In my stories you can see pictures of the process. I’ve a saved highlight called rye sourdough where you can see further rye adventures too!

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There is a dish called Rubbish Bin Pasta. If you’re American, I guess this translates as Trash Can Pasta. It’s from Naples and called Sicchie d’a Munnezza.
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The original is pasta served with nuts and dried fruit in a tomato sauce. I often take the essence of this dish (i.e. use whatever you have left!) and re-imagine it using yesterday’s extras and other orphaned veg.
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Here’s my home-made sourdough wholegrain spelt pasta topped with what I had and then sprinkled with sauerkraut… because most things are sprinkled with sauerkraut here.

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This loaf was an experiment. I wanted to use the oat ‘swats’ (i.e. the bit left at the bottom) from my traditional Scottish drinking fermentation, Sowans in bread.
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I include a portion of roux-like pre-cooked flour and water in all of my spelt sourdoughs. It helps the loaves stay soft. Here I chose to take the waste oat paste from the bottom of my Sowans fermenting jar, and cook it up, before mixing it into the dough.
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Turned out nice, don’t you think? I wish I could give you a taste. There’s a video of me cutting the loaf in my story today, along with a pic of what the ‘swats’ are (trying to describe it above was not easy!)
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Thank you @rootkitchens for opening the door to Sowans for me. I have loads of ideas for how I can use it.

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Why score your loaf, when you can open the oven and see this?! It’s so alive and enthusiastic, I almost want to hug it.
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The recipe for this sourdough wholegrain spelt loaf is this month’s #ancestralcookup. You’ll find detailed instructions on how to create it via the link in my profile.

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I am filling my head (and tummy!) with chocolate. Researching, learning, trying out, tasting.
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I have decided that I want to roast the raw cacao beans I buy before making chocolate. This for two reasons:
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1 – Cacao beans are fermented and I did not do that fermentation. I don’t feel comfortable with exposing my family to potential moulds/bacteria that might still be present on the beans. Roasting kills any baddies.
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2 – I like the flavour! Acid is decreased and that toasty yum comes out.
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I am learning that, like all stages of the chocolate-making process, roasting is challenging. I don’t have posh kit; I used my cast iron pan. Unfortunately, I burnt them a bit.
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I then cracked and shelled the beans by hand.
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I do not do well with sugar, so am on a quest for the best 100% cacao chocolate I can make. Once ground, I added a 50/50 mix of cacao butter/coconut oil and mixed.
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The taste is good. The texture is finely-gritty, let’s call it ‘stone-ground’!
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Next batch won’t have any burn ๐Ÿ˜‰
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Pictures and video do this much more justice than my words. Check out my story today for a chocolate-covered walk-through!

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This is BorลŸ. An interesting word and food stuff. In Romania, the tradition I’ve learnt it from, it is sour liquid made from fermenting bran in water. Once filtered, the probiotic-laden liquid is used as a base for soups and as a drink.
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It is historically a food made from ‘waste’; the bran that would have been thrown away. In that respect it’s similar to the Scottish ferment ‘Sowans’ that I make – that was traditionally made with ‘waste’ from the milling of rolled oats.
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I am electrified to learn that traditions of disparate populations would basically *do the same thing* with waste from their local grain. That’s ancestral food wisdom at its best.
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So, living in Italy, I made this modified version with home-ground local spelt. All I’ve added is water. This is day 2 (I expect it to take 5-7 days). You can see the fervour of the ferment – the bran has been lifted above the water line thanks to bubbles!.
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I will use home-made BorลŸ in our Christmas dinner, which is going to be a Romanian dish of stuffed fermented whole cabbage leaves. I made an IGTV vid yesterday of me prepping the whole cabbage leaves for fermentation, if you want to check it out.
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In the meantime, I’m drinking this liquid. It is good. And @irina.r.georgescu says I can even use the spent bran as a face-mask…photo may follow!!

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