I'd like regular ancestral cooking emails!
From Instagram
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It’s easy to think, when you see someone, that they have always been that way.
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Yet so many of us hold stories of change.
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People who I meet these days can barely imagine that I’ve looked any different to how I do now. When they find out that I used to carry twice the weight I do now, they can’t believe it.
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After over a year of podcasting, @farmandhearth and I decided it was time to talk about my 140lb/10 stone/65kg weight loss. It wasn’t easy to distill a childhood of being the fat kid, the 18-month journey to lose the weight, the decade of determination and fat avoidance lest I regain and the embracing of ancestral foods that has seen my need for restraint ending. But we tried!!
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I sincerely hope that, whatever your own relationship with food, my sharing inspires, softens and informs you. And that it strengthens your belief in the possible.
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You can subscribe to the podcast by searching for @ancestralkitchenpodcast in your app, or you can listen via the link in my profile.
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Please do let me know what you think. And please do share this episode with anyone you think would enjoy listening. 🙂

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From Instagram
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Making lardo using what’s around me, as those who walked this land before me would have done for many, many years.
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Bay leaves, a present from our veg grower. Juniper berries, long-used in Italian curing. Garlic, locally-grown. Rosemary from the garden. Salt from Sardinia. Pig back fat from Flavio @valledelsasso.
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The only thing that’s not Italian, but has been coming here via spice routes for centuries, is the black pepper
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I use the @rivercottagehq recipe from @lambposts’s book. Instead of wrapping the fat in plastic, I use baking paper. Once covered in the cure, the fat will go into the meat drawer in my fridge (I have no place to hang) with water-filled olive oil bottles on top of it to weigh it down. It’ll stay there for months – last time it was about 3…this time I might go for more.
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Another pic in my story today and I’ve got a highlight titled ‘curing’ if you want to see more.

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Pane con Ciccioli – Lard Crackling Sourdough Bread
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There’s a wealth of fat-enriched breads in many cuisines because we’ve known, for a very long time, that fat and bread are so good together. The Italian recipe litany, where this bread originates, is no exception! Fat-enriched breads were particularly … Read More

From Instagram
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I *love* drizzling an abundance of olive oil on my pizza after it has come out of the oven.
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@farmandhearth and I just recorded an @ancestralkitchenpodcast on fats. Talking about them reminded me of the first time I experienced fresh, made-with-love, local olive oil here in Italy.
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It was a world away from the sad jar of oil that sat in my Mum’s UK kitchen cupboard when I was growing up. The local one was green, it was cloudy and man, it was peppery!
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And that makes sense. The olive trees are here in Italy, not in the UK. The fruit can go from tree to press to bottle to my pizza without having to involve miles of transportation and months of sitting on shelves.
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It was clear when Andrea and I talked for the podcast that we both overwhelmingly use the fats that are around us geographically. As would have 99% of those who came before us. Fat transportation and marketing is a very recent part of our food history.
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The episode will come out at the beginning of June. Meantime, whether you want to put butter, tallow, lard or olive oil on your pizza, there’s a recipe for this sourdough spelt base in my profile.
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Thanks to @tibiona.italia for the flour, @fontedeiserri for the raw grass-fed cow’s milk mozzarella, @vicaspontassieve for the olive oil and #mercatointransizione for a lot of the other toppings!

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From Instagram
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Here’s yesterday’s rye sourdough – yes, I’ve managed to leave it 24 hours without cutting/eating in order to benefit from the flavour-deepening that happens in rye breads in the day after they are baked.
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Now I get to tuck in. I’m thinking some butter first, then some left over chicken from the roast at the weekend.
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Next week, I’m planning to film the making of this bread from start to finish (lots of camera pointing at my hands action!). I’m including it in my upcoming course, Rye Sourdough: Mastering the Basics. I’m hoping that the course will be up at @thefermentationschool in early June.

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Getting Clear On Your Why
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Download the Getting Clear on Your Why 2-page .pdf that is the patreon-exclusive accompaniment to Ancestral Kitchen Podcast #31 here. Thank you for your patronage, enjoy and let Andrea & I know what you think!

From Instagram
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Experiments aren’t always pretty…especially half way through. This feels like a good motto for in and outside the kitchen! It’s played out here in my wet-cured lard that’s 6 weeks into it’s process.
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Lardo is the cured version of lard. It’s famously dry cured, traditionally in marble basins. But I read about another type hailing from northern Italy that is cured in salt water. Piecing together a process from various documents, I decided to have a go…and here’s where we are 6 weeks in.
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The mix has seen some of the flavourings and fat rise to the top. It smells OK and all looks good under the plastic ring that I’m using to hold the fat under the salt water.
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Still, I’m waiting….perhaps another month. Then I might try some.
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There’s a little film in my story today. I had to get down on my knees in our porch (the only place I could find to store this) to film it!

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From Instagram
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Sausage on a bed of broth-cooked sorghum topped with a tomato sauce made with lardo.
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Sausage from Flavio @valledelsasso just around the corner.
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Broth-cooked sorghum has been a staple in my kitchen since I found it was grown in Italy. So many people I talk to do not know what sorghum is. It’s gluten and lectin-free, it’s tasty and still has a bite when cooked and you can use it like you would rice (or here as you would pasta) in a dish. (There’s a recent @ancestralkitchenpodcast episode on broth if you want more stock inspiration).
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Pig fat was the traditional base for tomato sauce in Italy until very recently. I used lardo (which is cured – there are some pictures of how I cured my own in my story highlights). It imparts such lush texture and deep flavour to the end result that I’m not going back to olive oil.
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I’m doing this sauce again later in the week to get more photos for my upcoming #wapf article on Italian fats through history.
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Have you made tomato sauce with pig fat, lard or lardo?

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From Instagram
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I’ve just started reading ‘A Strangeness in my Mind’, a novel that centers around a boza-seller who works the streets of Istanbul. It is deepening my understanding and appreciation of this drink, boza, that I make every week in my kitchen.
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It’s fermented. It’s probiotic. It’s gluten-free and dairy-free. It’s ever-so-slightly alcoholic (a by-product of the yeast fermentation). It’s bubbly. It’s sweet. It’s sour.
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And it has a very long and rich history in Turkey and beyond. Men and boys used to wander the streets of Istanbul every evening with jugs of this hanging off milkmaid-style planks over their shoulders. They called out “boooozzaaa” to let people know they were there and very often people living on the 3rd/4th floors would lower a basket on a piece of string from their windows to receive their drink.
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There aren’t many boza-sellers left in Istanbul now (stronger, industrially-produced drinks have taken over), although there are still some historic boza bars were people can buy this drink.
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Two years ago I went on a quest to figure out how to make this drink at home, using wild fermentation (i.e. no store-bought yeast). Now, learning more about its provenance, I feel privileged to be able to recreate an historic, much-loved beverage in my kitchen and feed it to my family.
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If you’d like to bring this drink to life in your own home, check the link halfway down my linktr.ee page that’ll take you to the course I have created.

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