I'd like regular ancestral cooking emails!

This is lardo. It’s back fat from a pig that’s been cured in salt, rosemary and other goodies. It is soft and buttery in texture. And absolutely delicious. . When we lived in Cornwall in the UK, we got pig fat from a local Cornish farmer and we rendered it down into spreadable lard ourselves. Lard is great to cook in or even slather on bread. . But lardo is like it’s super-refined cousin. The word I’d use is divine. Just as it is. Sliced thinly, wrapping an almond. Or a date. . This lardo comes from the farm up the hill. I am so grateful to those who do the work of raising animals sanely; who look after the animal, the soil, our planet so I can eat, create with and share what nature gives. Thank you.

This is lardo. It’s back fat from a pig that’s been cured in salt, rosemary and other goodies. It is soft and buttery in texture. And absolutely delicious.
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When we lived in Cornwall in the UK, we got pig fat from a local Cornish farmer and we rendered it down into spreadable lard ourselves. Lard is great to cook in or even slather on bread.
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But lardo is like it’s super-refined cousin. The word I’d use is divine. Just as it is. Sliced thinly, wrapping an almond. Or a date.
.
This lardo comes from the farm up the hill. I am so grateful to those who do the work of raising animals sanely; who look after the animal, the soil, our planet so I can eat, create with and share what nature gives. Thank you.

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Here is the inside of the milk kefir-leavened spelt loaf. It has a beautifully open crumb considering it’s 100% wholegrain and the only ‘yeast’ is from kefir. . Although this loaf doesn’t need a sourdough starter, it does need a warm place to do its thing. I keep it at 29C (84F) for almost 2 days. I do this thanks to a DIY proofing box my husband made for me. . I’ve almost finished writing an article on how to make an at-home proofing box. I’ll link it here when I’ve posted it. In the meantime, there is an article on my site now walking you through how to create a sourdough starter. You’ll find a link on my profile. . And, when I’ve got some more raw milk, I’ll make this one again and document the steps.

Here is the inside of the milk kefir-leavened spelt loaf. It has a beautifully open crumb considering it’s 100% wholegrain and the only ‘yeast’ is from kefir.
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Although this loaf doesn’t need a sourdough starter, it does need a warm place to do its thing. I keep it at 29C (84F) for almost 2 days. I do this thanks to a DIY proofing box my husband made for me. .
I’ve almost finished writing an article on how to make an at-home proofing box. I’ll link it here when I’ve posted it. In the meantime, there is an article on my site now walking you through how to create a sourdough starter. You’ll find a link on my profile.
.
And, when I’ve got some more raw milk, I’ll make this one again and document the steps.

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100% wholegrain spelt leavened solely with milk kefir. I’d forgotten how good this bread is. It has a creamy, milky flavour – which I guess is from the predominance of lactic acid bacteria in the ferment (as opposed to acetic, which is more dominant in ‘normal’ sourdoughs). . The crumb is very open for a wholegrain loaf. I’ll snap a pic later and post so you can see. . Quite a few people have said they are interested in trying this loaf themselves. The good thing about it is that you don’t have to have a sourdough starter. I’ve made a little file in my brain entitled ‘figure out how to explain how to make the kefir loaf’ :-)

100% wholegrain spelt leavened solely with milk kefir. I’d forgotten how good this bread is. It has a creamy, milky flavour – which I guess is from the predominance of lactic acid bacteria in the ferment (as opposed to acetic, which is more dominant in ‘normal’ sourdoughs).
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The crumb is very open for a wholegrain loaf. I’ll snap a pic later and post so you can see.
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Quite a few people have said they are interested in trying this loaf themselves. The good thing about it is that you don’t have to have a sourdough starter. I’ve made a little file in my brain entitled ‘figure out how to explain how to make the kefir loaf’ 🙂

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I’m making Kefir Bread. That is a long-fermented loaf leavened solely with milk kefir. Here is the first part – a mix of 50g goat milk kefir/50g wholegrain spelt flour. It’s like a sourdough starter (but without the days of preparation). I’ve left it in a warm place for just over a day and it’s done this. . Next will come more wholegrain spelt flour, salt, a little honey and some water. And again a warm place. . I’ll show you the loaf when it’s done. It is a recipe I worked on for a long time in the UK, but this is the first time I’ve made it here in Italy, with Italian spelt. Fingers crossed.

I’m making Kefir Bread. That is a long-fermented loaf leavened solely with milk kefir. Here is the first part – a mix of 50g goat milk kefir/50g wholegrain spelt flour. It’s like a sourdough starter (but without the days of preparation). I’ve left it in a warm place for just over a day and it’s done this.
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Next will come more wholegrain spelt flour, salt, a little honey and some water. And again a warm place.
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I’ll show you the loaf when it’s done. It is a recipe I worked on for a long time in the UK, but this is the first time I’ve made it here in Italy, with Italian spelt. Fingers crossed.

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My Birthday Borscht! This includes home-made beet kvass, chicken stock, beef stock, beef, lots of cabbage and lots of beets. I ate it with foraged dill (quite a feat, considering lockdown!), fermented ginger carrots and a chunky slice of wholegrain spelt sourdough covered in goat butter. . Thanks @darra.goldstein for the recipe. It helped make turning 45 very special.

My Birthday Borscht! This includes home-made beet kvass, chicken stock, beef stock, beef, lots of cabbage and lots of beets. I ate it with foraged dill (quite a feat, considering lockdown!), fermented ginger carrots and a chunky slice of wholegrain spelt sourdough covered in goat butter.
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Thanks @darra.goldstein for the recipe. It helped make turning 45 very special.

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Identifying food intolerances and restricting can be a super-hard thing to do. My son, now 6, has had them since birth. We’ve been on an incredible journey to work with these, and our own, health issues. . It is, however, just this restriction plus a generous dollop of passion that has guided me in my kitchen creativity. . Here’s what came out for lunch: Left-overs Bread ‘Lasagne’ . Restriction – no tomatoes or dairy for my son for a few weeks as we fine-tune his responses to stuff. . Passion – I’ve been really fired up recently about bread waste (the UK throws out 40% of the bread that it buys). . I fried up some onions, mushrooms, garlic and red pepper. I added left-over chicken, red wine and some capers. I created a ‘lasagne’ with layers of this mix alternated with sourdough bread. I covered the lot in ample chicken stock. I baked for 40 minutes. Whilst baking I whizzed up some fresh basil, parsley, garlic, nutritional yeast and cashews into a ‘pesto’. . It was amazing and, I hardly ever say this, perhaps even better cold. . And my son doesn’t feel like he’s restricting at all :-)

Identifying food intolerances and restricting can be a super-hard thing to do. My son, now 6, has had them since birth. We’ve been on an incredible journey to work with these, and our own, health issues.
.
It is, however, just this restriction plus a generous dollop of passion that has guided me in my kitchen creativity.
.
Here’s what came out for lunch: Left-overs Bread ‘Lasagne’
.
Restriction – no tomatoes or dairy for my son for a few weeks as we fine-tune his responses to stuff.
.
Passion – I’ve been really fired up recently about bread waste (the UK throws out 40% of the bread that it buys).
.
I fried up some onions, mushrooms, garlic and red pepper. I added left-over chicken, red wine and some capers. I created a ‘lasagne’ with layers of this mix alternated with sourdough bread. I covered the lot in ample chicken stock. I baked for 40 minutes. Whilst baking I whizzed up some fresh basil, parsley, garlic, nutritional yeast and cashews into a ‘pesto’.
.
It was amazing and, I hardly ever say this, perhaps even better cold.
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And my son doesn’t feel like he’s restricting at all 🙂

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I am well and truly a cat person….but I haven’t had a cat for over a decade. We’ve moved too much. Fingers crossed – now we are back in Italy, my soul’s home – we might be able to give a home to one soon. For now, my sourdough starter semi-takes its place! I carry it around with me, giving it priority, finding it the warmest place in the house. . Here it is with me as I cooked courgettes in yesterday. The heat from the cast iron pan helped give it the boost it needed to be ready to raise some sourdough pizza. . Keeping a sourdough starter warm if your house isn’t is hard. There are plenty of ways to do it though – check out my article How To Keep Your Sourdough Starter Warm (get to it by clicking on the link in my profile) if you’re curious or need help. . And if you want to share cat pictures or tales with me, I can live vicariously through your cat-ownership for now :-)

I am well and truly a cat person….but I haven’t had a cat for over a decade. We’ve moved too much. Fingers crossed – now we are back in Italy, my soul’s home – we might be able to give a home to one soon. For now, my sourdough starter semi-takes its place! I carry it around with me, giving it priority, finding it the warmest place in the house.
.
Here it is with me as I cooked courgettes in yesterday. The heat from the cast iron pan helped give it the boost it needed to be ready to raise some sourdough pizza.
.
Keeping a sourdough starter warm if your house isn’t is hard. There are plenty of ways to do it though – check out my article How To Keep Your Sourdough Starter Warm (get to it by clicking on the link in my profile) if you’re curious or need help.
.
And if you want to share cat pictures or tales with me, I can live vicariously through your cat-ownership for now 🙂

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May I introduce spleen crostini? It’s new to my acquaintance, but I think it’ll become a firm friend. It is (I am not joking) really good! . We we offered the pig spleen free by our local farm when we were buying liver. I searched the internet for how to cook it. I should have guessed, being in Italy, where offal has been prized traditionally, there’d be a traditional recipe making it heavenly. I was really happy to find @julskitchen telling me what to do. . I mixed it up a bit – onions, garlic and carrots, no celery. White wine not red. Some spare chicken stock. No tomato paste. Lots of oregano. The bread we served it on is the soda bread from this month’s #ancestralcookup that I toasted then smothered in lard. The spleen tastes smooth and delicate, much less strong than liver. . I sent a photo to our farmer. Food like this is connecting – to the animal whose life it was, to the farmer, to the food cycle, to creativity, to tradition. I love it.

May I introduce spleen crostini? It’s new to my acquaintance, but I think it’ll become a firm friend. It is (I am not joking) really good!
.
We we offered the pig spleen free by our local farm when we were buying liver. I searched the internet for how to cook it. I should have guessed, being in Italy, where offal has been prized traditionally, there’d be a traditional recipe making it heavenly. I was really happy to find @julskitchen telling me what to do.
.
I mixed it up a bit – onions, garlic and carrots, no celery. White wine not red. Some spare chicken stock. No tomato paste. Lots of oregano. The bread we served it on is the soda bread from this month’s #ancestralcookup that I toasted then smothered in lard. The spleen tastes smooth and delicate, much less strong than liver.
.
I sent a photo to our farmer. Food like this is connecting – to the animal whose life it was, to the farmer, to the food cycle, to creativity, to tradition. I love it.

Read More