I'd like regular ancestral cooking emails!
From Instagram
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Sourdough spelt pancake spread with chickpeas cooked tuscan-style and topped with a rustic allioli.
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This is my “from scratch” for the 30 day #veryfarmish challenge that I’m co-hosting with @farmandhearth @thebyefamilyfarm and @untamed.nourishment.
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Here’s how it rolled:
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I mixed up the spelt pancake batter, which included some of my soudough stater, yesterday evening and left it out on the counter overnight. An hour or so before dinner, I warmed up the cast iron pan and made the pancakes one by one, frying them in home-made tallow.
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I soaked the dried chickpeas in warm, vinegary water yesterday. I popped all the skins off them this morning. I then boiled them in a lot of water with a pinch of bicarb of soda for 5 minutes. I drained them, put them back in the pan and added new boiling water. I cooked them like this for 2 hours. When they were cloud-soft, in a separate pan I fried some onion, garlic and capers in olive oil, added skinned tomatoes, crushed them and cooked it all down. I tipped in the chickpeas, added copious black pepper and combined well.
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Yesterday, whilst the oven was on, I roasted 6 cloves of garlic. Just before dinner, while the pancakes were cooking, I squeezed the garlic into my mortar, and mixed with olive oil, I added breadcrumbs made from my spelt sourdough that I’d soaked in vinegar for 10 minutes (and squeezed). After a lot of pounding, I added handfuls and handfuls of fresh parsley and pounded like my life depended on it!
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Somehow it all came together. Crispy pancake on the bottom, creamy chickpeas slathered over it and a crisp, garlic/vinegar allioli flavour dollop on the top. I folded mine in half and dug in 🙂
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Writing that all up has made me realise how much work it was! Yet it didn’t seem like anything other than a joy for me. Creation from scratch, like this, is a way for me to feel expressed and to create something unique from seemingly ‘nothing’. When I finally sit at the table to eat with my husband and son a large part of me is super-smiling and fulfilled.

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From Instagram
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One dish meals, especially in the cast iron pan, please me. Courgettes are plentiful here right now, extra-special when they soak up the flavour of local ‘proper’ sausages.
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This leaves me time to focus on other things, including shepherding a beautiful 6-year old through his love of doing stuff in the kitchen. You can see a little video in my stories.
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Happy weekend everyone 🙂

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What is Good Food?
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The knife, in my right hand, hovers above a vastness of smooth, deep red. My left hand, spread wide, comes down onto this mass – a whole beef liver – to hold it steady while I slice thin strips. The … Read More

From Instagram
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Day 3 of the #veryfarmish challenge and I’m choosing ‘alternative’ with some fermented cheese made at home from cashews.
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My son cannot eat dairy. Imagine all the Italian cheeses he sees around here! It’s not the only thing he cannot (currently) eat and sometimes I long for him to have extra-specialness…especially when he literally jumps up and down to be involved in the making of it.
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So, despite wanting as much of the produce that graces our table to be local, sometimes I make an exception. These are organic, fair-trade cashews bought from a local store. We made cheese with a recipe that @lvtrevino passed over the Atlantic to me…there’s a lot of garlic, some fresh and dried herbs and a generous spoon of sauerkraut juice to kick-start the ferment. We left it in the fridge for 5 days before tucking in (high five to a 6-year-old for having that much patience, right?!).
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It was delicious and, as you can see, made his month.

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From Instagram
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At 9pm on the night before we were due to move our entire life from the UK to Italy, the van that was to drive our things hundreds of miles across Europe turned up. We then found out it only had a 3rd of the space we needed. A blow is not the word!
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In that moment, I said goodbye to my two slow cookers. I went almost a year without one and how I missed it!
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My new one is my ‘handy gadget’ for this month’s #veryfarmish challenge.
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Meat stock and bone broth in the slow cooker are a must for me. I put the cooker on when I get up, plop the bones (here beef, some with the wonderful marrow) in, add an onion and a carrot, a dash of vinegar and some salt and pepper and leave it. By evening I have an amazing, life and food-enhancing elixir.
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Interestingly, not all slow cookers are created equal and this new one I have is more my style…it cooks at a much lower temperature which is better for stock.

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From Instagram
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Do you like rye? Have you baked with it? It’s lower in gluten than wheat or spelt and easier to make than a wheat or spelt sourdough because It doesn’t need kneading – the gluten just isn’t activated that way.
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There are a lot of northern and eastern European breads with rye. This month’s #ancestralcookup is based on a Russian recipe. It’s called ‘Borodinsky’ and my version includes toasted malt grains (like ones used in brewing), caraway seeds and molasses.
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You can find the recipe in my profile. If you fancy giving it a go, you won’t be disappointed – it’s cakey, dense, rich, deep, toasty and ages very well. Good bread.

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Wholegrain Rye Borodinsky Sourdough Bread
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This is by far my favourite rye bread. It’s dense, but not too dense. It’s cakey in a really good way. Its flavour is rich and deep, made a touch sweeter by the addition of a little molasses. And some … Read More

From Instagram
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Several times this summer, I’ve literally dreamt about owning a pig. The reality of my home is, however, very different. I love, love, love to cook up regenerative agriculture produce in my kitchen but I live in a 1-bedroom apartment in a town close to the hubbub that is Florence, Italy.
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Still, as my gorgeous new-found IG friends:
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@farmandhearth
@untamed.nourishment
@thebyefamilyfarm
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…keep telling me: You don’t have to live on a farm to be farmish!
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So, the four of us have cooked up:
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The Very Farmish Challenge.
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Some fun sharing for the month of September. The checklist is above, see what takes your fancy, no order necessary, interpreting the prompt in whichever way you like. Follow the hosts and use the hashtag #veryfarmish when you post!
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I’m excited about seeing and reading and learning from everyone who wants to join in.

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From Instagram
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Breaking food habits has often been very revealing to me. I don’t want to give something up, but when I do, I notice what life is like without it. Sometimes, I never go back to it.
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Not true of sourdough pancakes though. Me and them will go a long way I think! I’ve just got back from 3 days away, at lake Trasimeno, 2 hours on the train, with my hubby and son. It was wonderful. I lake swam (I miss swimming since ditching chlorine), I ate lake fish (my idea of local food!) and I sat around a lot.
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And now I’m home, I get to cook up a breakfast pancake again. Yum.
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I’ll try to get some pictures off my camera and share the glorious lake – aka My Happy Place – with you in my stories 🙂

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From Instagram
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The first time I’ve grown beetroots. This is our harvest: leaves and roots. Is one a turnip?!
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I’ve learnt a lot. That hailstones the size of massive olives can ruin most of your leaves and that beetroot seeds are actually a cluster of many seeds and should be thinned out when they shoot (whoops). Here’s to next year’s growing season. Maybe I’ll get enough for a jar of beet kvass then?

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