Three-day fermented, home-nixtamalised corn served warm with a generous lump of 100% cacao melted in, topped with my favourite nut – Brazils. . There are several main varieties of cacao bean, and each has different properties, both in taste and in nutrient profile. A lot of the beans I’ve been able to access as a small-quantity purchaser have been a variety called `Criollo´. I noticed that the chocolate I made from these beans affected my sleep and it mystified me for a while as previously eating the same quantity of Lindt wouldn’t. . Turns out Criollo beans can have up to four times more caffeine than other varieties. . That sent me on a hunt for ethical non-Criollo beans I could buy in small quantities. The variety in the delicious breakfast you see are called Nacional Arriba, and grow only in Ecuador. . And they taste divine :-)

Three-day fermented, home-nixtamalised corn served warm with a generous lump of 100% cacao melted in, topped with my favourite nut – Brazils.
.
There are several main varieties of cacao bean, and each has different properties, both in taste and in nutrient profile. A lot of the beans I’ve been able to access as a small-quantity purchaser have been a variety called `Criollo´. I noticed that the chocolate I made from these beans affected my sleep and it mystified me for a while as previously eating the same quantity of Lindt wouldn’t.
.
Turns out Criollo beans can have up to four times more caffeine than other varieties.
.
That sent me on a hunt for ethical non-Criollo beans I could buy in small quantities. The variety in the delicious breakfast you see are called Nacional Arriba, and grow only in Ecuador.
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And they taste divine 🙂

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Garlic on the left ready for a 6-week stay on my fermenting shelf. Garlic on the right, having done its lacto-fermentation time, on its way to the fridge to be dipped into for our daily cloves. . We are garlics fans in the house. I’ve been astounded reading just how much medicinal power this unassuming bulb has, and how, before the onset of our pharmaceuticals-or-nothing culture it was prescribed by physicians world-wide for so many ills. . There’s a post on my site about all things garlic, including it chocolate-covered. Click on the link in my profile to have a read.

Garlic on the left ready for a 6-week stay on my fermenting shelf. Garlic on the right, having done its lacto-fermentation time, on its way to the fridge to be dipped into for our daily cloves.
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We are garlics fans in the house. I’ve been astounded reading just how much medicinal power this unassuming bulb has, and how, before the onset of our pharmaceuticals-or-nothing culture it was prescribed by physicians world-wide for so many ills.
.
There’s a post on my site about all things garlic, including it chocolate-covered. Click on the link in my profile to have a read.

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This is a spelt bread risen solely with the power of the liquid that’s created when I wild ferment oats into the Scottish Sowans. . I mixed up my oat residue (check my Sowans story highlight if you’ve not seen this in my feed before) with ample water and left the bacteria and yeasts on the grain to do their thing. Once it tasted tart (7 days) I used the water – botanical liquid – to, over 2 days, build a ‘starter’. . I’m pretty impressed that my Sowans managed to raise a 50% wholegrain spelt loaf all by itself.

This is a spelt bread risen solely with the power of the liquid that’s created when I wild ferment oats into the Scottish Sowans.
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I mixed up my oat residue (check my Sowans story highlight if you’ve not seen this in my feed before) with ample water and left the bacteria and yeasts on the grain to do their thing. Once it tasted tart (7 days) I used the water – botanical liquid – to, over 2 days, build a ‘starter’.
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I’m pretty impressed that my Sowans managed to raise a 50% wholegrain spelt loaf all by itself.

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I have just started reading a book by the (as I am finding out, amazing) Stephen Harrod Buhner called Sacred and Herbal Healing Beers. . Who’d put the words ‘healing’ and ‘beer’ together? Not me, certainly, until just a few months ago. The beer I grew up with, as I am learning, is *so* far removed from beer as it was just a few centuries ago. . Then it was made at home, mostly by women. . Then it was the drink of both kings and paupers. . Then it was made from local grains. . Then, very often, the leftovers were used to make bread (you can see mine here in the background). . Then, herbs were expertly added, knowledge of just what healing they could bring bound up in the blood and bones of the communities who made it. . And now? Would anyone in the mainstream even imagine that this used to be the norm? . I can feel another mission coming on!

I have just started reading a book by the (as I am finding out, amazing) Stephen Harrod Buhner called Sacred and Herbal Healing Beers.
.
Who’d put the words ‘healing’ and ‘beer’ together? Not me, certainly, until just a few months ago. The beer I grew up with, as I am learning, is *so* far removed from beer as it was just a few centuries ago.
.
Then it was made at home, mostly by women.
.
Then it was the drink of both kings and paupers.
.
Then it was made from local grains.
.
Then, very often, the leftovers were used to make bread (you can see mine here in the background).
.
Then, herbs were expertly added, knowledge of just what healing they could bring bound up in the blood and bones of the communities who made it.
.
And now? Would anyone in the mainstream even imagine that this used to be the norm?
.
I can feel another mission coming on!

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Cold roast pork belly from @valledelsasso. We’ve been to the farm where these animals live and I’m proud to support Flavio in the work that he does. . Sourdough bread made from left-over spelt grain that I previously used to ferment beer. It’s spread with the onion-scented fat/dripping mix from the bottom of the roast pork pan. . Salad from leaves bought at our local farmers’ market, jazzed up with herbs from the garden: Mint, parsley, tarragon, wild fennel, oregano and pineapple sage (I’m nurturing quite a collection!). . Off camera: small glass of spelt beer (made to a 5,000-year old process) . Behind the camera: a very grateful and contented Mumma.

Cold roast pork belly from @valledelsasso. We’ve been to the farm where these animals live and I’m proud to support Flavio in the work that he does.
.
Sourdough bread made from left-over spelt grain that I previously used to ferment beer. It’s spread with the onion-scented fat/dripping mix from the bottom of the roast pork pan.
.
Salad from leaves bought at our local farmers’ market, jazzed up with herbs from the garden: Mint, parsley, tarragon, wild fennel, oregano and pineapple sage (I’m nurturing quite a collection!).
.
Off camera: small glass of spelt beer (made to a 5,000-year old process)
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Behind the camera: a very grateful and contented Mumma.

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I did it! I made my first authentic mesoamerican ancestral cacao drink, from scratch! . This is Pozol. It’s corn that I nixtamalised and ground, then fermented for 2 days. I mixed that with cacao that I sourced from a family-run co-operative in Ecuador. . My husband, who tries all my experiments truly loved this. He described it as ‘fantastic’. The corn lends it sweetness, a floral taste and thickness; the cacao such depth, bitterness and kick. . The mesoamerican original cultivators and worshippers of these two amazing plants – corn and cacao – knew what they were doing with this drink! . So grateful for the rabbit-hole that the 700-page ‘The Secret Life of Chocolate’ has sent me down. Leaning about how indigenous new world communities interacted with corn and cacao is enriching my life greatly. . If you want to know more about the book, I talk about it on the latest @ancestralkitchenpodcast with @farmandhearth. And I’m thinking we need a whole episode dedicated to chocolate in the future! . There will be some more pictures of my process in my story today – saved to my Chocolate highlight if you’re here later.

I did it! I made my first authentic mesoamerican ancestral cacao drink, from scratch!
.
This is Pozol. It’s corn that I nixtamalised and ground, then fermented for 2 days. I mixed that with cacao that I sourced from a family-run co-operative in Ecuador.
.
My husband, who tries all my experiments truly loved this. He described it as ‘fantastic’. The corn lends it sweetness, a floral taste and thickness; the cacao such depth, bitterness and kick.
.
The mesoamerican original cultivators and worshippers of these two amazing plants – corn and cacao – knew what they were doing with this drink!
.
So grateful for the rabbit-hole that the 700-page ‘The Secret Life of Chocolate’ has sent me down. Leaning about how indigenous new world communities interacted with corn and cacao is enriching my life greatly.
.
If you want to know more about the book, I talk about it on the latest @ancestralkitchenpodcast with @farmandhearth. And I’m thinking we need a whole episode dedicated to chocolate in the future!
.
There will be some more pictures of my process in my story today – saved to my Chocolate highlight if you’re here later.

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Yesterday was my birthday. Not quite sure how I got to 46. I’m still 20 something in my head…and in the kitchen. Anyone else feel like that? . For the fun of it, I decided to cook something I’d never cooked before: calzone, folded pizza. . I used the sourdough spelt pizza recipe that you can find in my profile. I filled it with sausage from @valledelsasso, onions, mushrooms and sage from the garden. . Check my story for Gabriel’s reaction and a steamy pic of the inside! . Rest of the food day was just as tasty. Super-soured oat porridge for breakfast which fizzed – I love it with miso, linseed and zingy olive oil. And supper was lectin-free millet and sorghum sourdough with eggs from @valdisieveintransizione market scrambled in lard (again from Flavio’s pigs). . Coincidentally (or maybe not so, syncronicities abound in my world beliefs) we made a big decision yesterday about our future. It was and is scary. My hubby said *all* things worth anything are scary. I think of all my changes – losing weight, leaving corporate, choosing to try for a baby naturally despite doctor’s tell me I’d never get pregnant, moving countries and I agree. . I can’t get rid of the fear, but I can sit down at the table with the two people I love most in the world and eat pizza :-)

Yesterday was my birthday. Not quite sure how I got to 46. I’m still 20 something in my head…and in the kitchen. Anyone else feel like that?
.
For the fun of it, I decided to cook something I’d never cooked before: calzone, folded pizza.
.
I used the sourdough spelt pizza recipe that you can find in my profile. I filled it with sausage from @valledelsasso, onions, mushrooms and sage from the garden.
.
Check my story for Gabriel’s reaction and a steamy pic of the inside!
.
Rest of the food day was just as tasty. Super-soured oat porridge for breakfast which fizzed – I love it with miso, linseed and zingy olive oil. And supper was lectin-free millet and sorghum sourdough with eggs from @valdisieveintransizione market scrambled in lard (again from Flavio’s pigs).
.
Coincidentally (or maybe not so, syncronicities abound in my world beliefs) we made a big decision yesterday about our future. It was and is scary. My hubby said *all* things worth anything are scary. I think of all my changes – losing weight, leaving corporate, choosing to try for a baby naturally despite doctor’s tell me I’d never get pregnant, moving countries and I agree.
.
I can’t get rid of the fear, but I can sit down at the table with the two people I love most in the world and eat pizza 🙂

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Where I get my food from is extremely important to me. That translates to effort on my part to find things that I can feel good about in my kitchen. . What you see here is the result of my latest bout of research. The cacao beans at the bottom are organic and come from a co-operative of farmers in Nicaragua. The solid-looking stuff at the top is cacao liquor (fermented, roasted and ground nibs) from family-run farms in Ecuador. . It’s not been easy for me to find ‘transparent’ cacao; cacao where I can see the growers, the makers, the co-operatives. I am just little me in my apartment kitchen, I’m not an expert and I can’t buy 75kg bags of beans (the normal size of a bag of cacao!). But I care about it *greatly*. . What’s most exciting about these two cacao options (which I’ll use to make ancestral drinks and 100% cacao chocolate for my family) is that I can buy them in smaller packages (yes!) and also the top one, the liquor, was processed in country, not by a company in the US or Amsterdam. The more value-added processes that can be done by the communities who grow the produce, the more wealth stays where it should; with the experts and the ones who work hard to produce the product. . I’d love for everyone to buy their chocolate like this.

Where I get my food from is extremely important to me. That translates to effort on my part to find things that I can feel good about in my kitchen.
.
What you see here is the result of my latest bout of research. The cacao beans at the bottom are organic and come from a co-operative of farmers in Nicaragua. The solid-looking stuff at the top is cacao liquor (fermented, roasted and ground nibs) from family-run farms in Ecuador.
.
It’s not been easy for me to find ‘transparent’ cacao; cacao where I can see the growers, the makers, the co-operatives. I am just little me in my apartment kitchen, I’m not an expert and I can’t buy 75kg bags of beans (the normal size of a bag of cacao!). But I care about it *greatly*.
.
What’s most exciting about these two cacao options (which I’ll use to make ancestral drinks and 100% cacao chocolate for my family) is that I can buy them in smaller packages (yes!) and also the top one, the liquor, was processed in country, not by a company in the US or Amsterdam. The more value-added processes that can be done by the communities who grow the produce, the more wealth stays where it should; with the experts and the ones who work hard to produce the product.
.
I’d love for everyone to buy their chocolate like this.

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What do books mean to you and your kitchen creativity? . For me they are *such* joy. To have in my hands someone else’s passion. To witness the words they’ve crafted; the journey they’ve been on. And to let that permeate and inspire me. . In today’s podcast, I talk about three that are inspiring me right now: . The Secret Life of Chocolate by @nocturnalherbalist Wild Fermentation by @sandorkraut Naturally Fermented Bread by @morgancarsandbread . And then Andrea talks about three of her all-time favourites. . You can listen by finding Ancestral Kitchen Podcast on your podcast provider, or you can stream from my site – the link’s in my profile. . We want to record more episodes on books. Let me know what you’re reading, what you love having on your shelf and what’s your go-to. I’d love to natter about it :-)

What do books mean to you and your kitchen creativity?
.
For me they are *such* joy. To have in my hands someone else’s passion. To witness the words they’ve crafted; the journey they’ve been on. And to let that permeate and inspire me.
.
In today’s podcast, I talk about three that are inspiring me right now:
.
The Secret Life of Chocolate by @nocturnalherbalist
Wild Fermentation by @sandorkraut
Naturally Fermented Bread by @morgancarsandbread
.
And then Andrea talks about three of her all-time favourites.
.
You can listen by finding Ancestral Kitchen Podcast on your podcast provider, or you can stream from my site – the link’s in my profile.
.
We want to record more episodes on books. Let me know what you’re reading, what you love having on your shelf and what’s your go-to. I’d love to natter about it 🙂

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#6 – Six Books We Love!

“The best books are ones that spin you off on a path; imbue you with passion”

And these 6 do! Listen to hear Andrea and I talk about 3 books each. Hers are some of her favourites; mine are the ones I’m reading now. … Read More