I'd like regular ancestral cooking emails!

Every Christmas day, we eat something we’ve never eaten before. . This year, somewhat unusually, I’m creating a simple dish. I’ve started it this morning by putting this cooked, mashed sweet potato in a warm spot to ferment. Whey cubes from the freezer are in there to give it a kick-start. . Tomorrow, I’ll add some ginger left over from ginger beer and some spices. Then I’ll use it to top a mix of pork mince, onion, garlic, cabbage and spices. It’ll all go in the oven and we’ll eat with my favourite Brussels sprouts (which magically appeared from @radiciumane at our local market last night just in time!!) . It’ll be a warm, fermented, spicy alternative ‘shepherds pie’. Never done it before, but I’ve got high hopes! . I wrote an article for @thefermentationschool about our home-made Christmas tradition of eating a new dish every year. You can find the link to it in my linktr.ee (first link in the articles section). . Oh, and I finally got to covering the honey-fermented chestnuts in home-roasted 100% cacao chocolate this morning. Of course, we had to taste-test them. They are possibly the most delicious experiment to come out of my kitchen. Looking forward to snapping some pics and sharing them with you after the holidays. . Much love from my kitchen to yours. Enjoy every moment you can.

Every Christmas day, we eat something we’ve never eaten before.
.
This year, somewhat unusually, I’m creating a simple dish. I’ve started it this morning by putting this cooked, mashed sweet potato in a warm spot to ferment. Whey cubes from the freezer are in there to give it a kick-start.
.
Tomorrow, I’ll add some ginger left over from ginger beer and some spices. Then I’ll use it to top a mix of pork mince, onion, garlic, cabbage and spices. It’ll all go in the oven and we’ll eat with my favourite Brussels sprouts (which magically appeared from @radiciumane at our local market last night just in time!!)
.
It’ll be a warm, fermented, spicy alternative ‘shepherds pie’. Never done it before, but I’ve got high hopes!
.
I wrote an article for @thefermentationschool about our home-made Christmas tradition of eating a new dish every year. You can find the link to it in my linktr.ee (first link in the articles section).
.
Oh, and I finally got to covering the honey-fermented chestnuts in home-roasted 100% cacao chocolate this morning. Of course, we had to taste-test them. They are possibly the most delicious experiment to come out of my kitchen. Looking forward to snapping some pics and sharing them with you after the holidays.
.
Much love from my kitchen to yours. Enjoy every moment you can.

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Grass-fed mutton (thank you @valledelsasso) cooked in the cast iron skillet, accompanied by cavolo nero from #mercatointransizione and milk-kefir-risen spelt bread spread with home-rendered lard. . The kale was generously dolloped with a dressing made from sumac, local vinegar/oil and a lot of grated ginger that had previously made us ginger beer. . And always have a colourful plate at hand for grey days…

Grass-fed mutton (thank you @valledelsasso) cooked in the cast iron skillet, accompanied by cavolo nero from #mercatointransizione and milk-kefir-risen spelt bread spread with home-rendered lard.
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The kale was generously dolloped with a dressing made from sumac, local vinegar/oil and a lot of grated ginger that had previously made us ginger beer.
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And always have a colourful plate at hand for grey days…

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Pumpernickel-style sourdough made with rye grains that had previously given me ancient ale! . I love that after sieving my rustically-fermented rye brew, I can use the ‘waste’ to create something more. Here, I dehydrated the spent grains and added rye sourdough starter, some chocolate barley malt, molasses and salt. After an overnight ferment, it baked up beautifully. . It’s delicious warm with melting butter (but what bread isn’t?!). More pictures in my story today.

Pumpernickel-style sourdough made with rye grains that had previously given me ancient ale!
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I love that after sieving my rustically-fermented rye brew, I can use the ‘waste’ to create something more. Here, I dehydrated the spent grains and added rye sourdough starter, some chocolate barley malt, molasses and salt. After an overnight ferment, it baked up beautifully.
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It’s delicious warm with melting butter (but what bread isn’t?!). More pictures in my story today.

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Fermented Gingerbread

I’ve been making a rye spice bread with sourdough discard for many years – I based my version on a recipe I found for Pain d’Epices, the historical French spice bread. After many years of baking this up, I decided … Read More

I’ve just flaked some whole oats, and here I’m sieving them to remove the crumbly, dusty bits. I’ll use those crumbly bits (you can just see them in the bowl underneath) to make sowans, the Scottish oat ferment. I’ll then use the oats remaining in the sieve for fermented porridge (more pics in my stories today showing the method). . Can you tell I love oats? Whether it’s simple porridge or delicious sowans, they are a staple in my kitchen. Always have been. I don’t know if it’s linked to the fact that my genealogy is northern European, or whether it’s just that oats taste great and are so satisfying (they’ve got more fat than most grains, so fill you up for longer). . If you’re interested in getting started with oat fermentation check out the video linked in my profile, where I walk you through how to fermented rolled oats. . Know someone who’d love to do some adventurous oat fermentation over the holidays? I have a course on sowans, the Scottish oat ferment over at @thefermentationschool and they have a fab Christmas offer: 20% off all gifted courses. Check out the video on their home page and use the code GIFTLEARNING.

I’ve just flaked some whole oats, and here I’m sieving them to remove the crumbly, dusty bits. I’ll use those crumbly bits (you can just see them in the bowl underneath) to make sowans, the Scottish oat ferment. I’ll then use the oats remaining in the sieve for fermented porridge (more pics in my stories today showing the method).
.
Can you tell I love oats? Whether it’s simple porridge or delicious sowans, they are a staple in my kitchen. Always have been. I don’t know if it’s linked to the fact that my genealogy is northern European, or whether it’s just that oats taste great and are so satisfying (they’ve got more fat than most grains, so fill you up for longer).
.
If you’re interested in getting started with oat fermentation check out the video linked in my profile, where I walk you through how to fermented rolled oats.
.
Know someone who’d love to do some adventurous oat fermentation over the holidays? I have a course on sowans, the Scottish oat ferment over at @thefermentationschool and they have a fab Christmas offer: 20% off all gifted courses. Check out the video on their home page and use the code GIFTLEARNING.

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Sorghum and millet sourdough. Lectin and gluten free and without any of those kinda-unknown ingredients that a lot of gluten-free breads have. . It’s taken me quite some months to get to this recipe. I’ve been fighting crumbliness all the way. But finally, I’m happy to share my bake. . We eat this bread most evenings. I love it as it gives my digestive system a break from heavier grains, whilst also granting me something ready and bready for my supper. . 425g sorghum (we ground ours at home but you could use flour) 75g millet (as above!) 120g sorghum or millet starter (if you want info on how to make this, DM me) 50g ground linseed (may be called flax seed where you live!) 8g salt 380-425ml non-chlorinated water (see below) . Mix the sorghum and millet flours with the salt and ground linseed. Add the water to the peaking sourdough starter and combine. Pour the starter/water into the dry ingredients and mix well. Use enough water to make a firm batter – it shouldn’t pour out of the tin, but blob loosely out! . Leave somewhere warm for 5-6 hours; until you can see/smell active fermentation. Then pile the mix into a well-greased and floured or lined and greased (the bread has a tendency to stick so don’t ignore this part!) tin. Cover the leave to ferment for a further 1-2 hours. . You’ll need to cook this in a covered environment. Some options are to place the tin on a baking tray/pizza stone and cover with an upturned bowl, tent the loaf tin really well with foil, or use a loaf tin with a lid. . Cook at 210C for 15 minutes and then turn down to 190C for 45 minutes. The loaf should feel firm when pressed and have an internal temperature of higher than 95C. . This loaf will last 4-5 days. If it gets too dry, it’ll come to life again by frying it in a generous amount of fat (in fact, this is a good thing to do with it full stop!) . Let me know if you bake it :-)

Sorghum and millet sourdough. Lectin and gluten free and without any of those kinda-unknown ingredients that a lot of gluten-free breads have.
.
It’s taken me quite some months to get to this recipe. I’ve been fighting crumbliness all the way. But finally, I’m happy to share my bake.
.
We eat this bread most evenings. I love it as it gives my digestive system a break from heavier grains, whilst also granting me something ready and bready for my supper.
.
425g sorghum (we ground ours at home but you could use flour)
75g millet (as above!)
120g sorghum or millet starter (if you want info on how to make this, DM me)
50g ground linseed (may be called flax seed where you live!)
8g salt
380-425ml non-chlorinated water (see below)
.
Mix the sorghum and millet flours with the salt and ground linseed. Add the water to the peaking sourdough starter and combine. Pour the starter/water into the dry ingredients and mix well. Use enough water to make a firm batter – it shouldn’t pour out of the tin, but blob loosely out!
.
Leave somewhere warm for 5-6 hours; until you can see/smell active fermentation. Then pile the mix into a well-greased and floured or lined and greased (the bread has a tendency to stick so don’t ignore this part!) tin. Cover the leave to ferment for a further 1-2 hours.
.
You’ll need to cook this in a covered environment. Some options are to place the tin on a baking tray/pizza stone and cover with an upturned bowl, tent the loaf tin really well with foil, or use a loaf tin with a lid.
.
Cook at 210C for 15 minutes and then turn down to 190C for 45 minutes. The loaf should feel firm when pressed and have an internal temperature of higher than 95C.
.
This loaf will last 4-5 days. If it gets too dry, it’ll come to life again by frying it in a generous amount of fat (in fact, this is a good thing to do with it full stop!)
.
Let me know if you bake it 🙂

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The kitchen is potentially a crucible for learning *so* much more than how to create good food. . It’s tempting to collapse in a heap of ‘Why can’t I just…’ when things don’t go to plan, but the truth is that we can take every failure, every finger maceration, every ‘experiment’, every puddle of spilt milk and use it to as an opportunity to look at life, and ourselves, differently. . The prep for today’s Zoom fermented gingerbread bake up has been one of those opportunties for me. This picture might look perfect, but trust me, it’s not. It’s dry. It’s not spicy enough. It took 10 hours to rise! . Version two was too wet. Attempt three was much better. Number four (to be mixed when I stop typing this!) will hopefully be another improvement. . @kitchencounterculture, @zerowastechef, @elliemarkovitch and I will be sharing our creations and, as @kitchencounterculture puts it, ‘rethinking perfect’ out in the virtual world at 2pm CET today! . There’s still time to join us. The link is in my profile. If you haven’t mixed up a dough, don’t worry. Mix it now, or come along and prep yourself for being able to get it done before Christmas.

The kitchen is potentially a crucible for learning *so* much more than how to create good food.
.
It’s tempting to collapse in a heap of ‘Why can’t I just…’ when things don’t go to plan, but the truth is that we can take every failure, every finger maceration, every ‘experiment’, every puddle of spilt milk and use it to as an opportunity to look at life, and ourselves, differently.
.
The prep for today’s Zoom fermented gingerbread bake up has been one of those opportunties for me. This picture might look perfect, but trust me, it’s not. It’s dry. It’s not spicy enough. It took 10 hours to rise!
.
Version two was too wet. Attempt three was much better. Number four (to be mixed when I stop typing this!) will hopefully be another improvement.
.
@kitchencounterculture, @zerowastechef, @elliemarkovitch and I will be sharing our creations and, as @kitchencounterculture puts it, ‘rethinking perfect’ out in the virtual world at 2pm CET today!
.
There’s still time to join us. The link is in my profile. If you haven’t mixed up a dough, don’t worry. Mix it now, or come along and prep yourself for being able to get it done before Christmas.

Read More

There is an amazing spice shop in Florence. I went there to buy mace (macis in Italian) and came back with a lot of other goodies, including this sumac. . This is the first time I’ve ever worked with sumac and so far, I love it. I’ve put it in a mutton stew, in lentils and with some cavolo nero. . Do you like sumac? How do you use it?

There is an amazing spice shop in Florence. I went there to buy mace (macis in Italian) and came back with a lot of other goodies, including this sumac.
.
This is the first time I’ve ever worked with sumac and so far, I love it. I’ve put it in a mutton stew, in lentils and with some cavolo nero.
.
Do you like sumac? How do you use it?

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Magical home-roasted single-origin cacao doing a dance in some magical home-brewed ancient rye ale. . I use the word magical because drinking this (and using the left-overs from the brewing in pancakes and breads) does something to me that feels other-worldly. It’s not the alcohol (promise!)…there’s not much of that in it. It’s the connection; connection to the ingredients, the creation, the process and the sharing. . Truth is, I don’t need beer (or cacao) to do this. I can get that feeling with some parsley grown in a container in my garden. . Not that I’d give up the beer you understand… :-)

Magical home-roasted single-origin cacao doing a dance in some magical home-brewed ancient rye ale.
.
I use the word magical because drinking this (and using the left-overs from the brewing in pancakes and breads) does something to me that feels other-worldly. It’s not the alcohol (promise!)…there’s not much of that in it. It’s the connection; connection to the ingredients, the creation, the process and the sharing.
.
Truth is, I don’t need beer (or cacao) to do this. I can get that feeling with some parsley grown in a container in my garden.
.
Not that I’d give up the beer you understand… 🙂

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