Homegrown Apple Cider Vinegar Recipe

There is a very old apple tree in my garden, the last of an ancient orchard that was never replanted. When we bought the house we were told that it hadn’t produced any fruit for years but that despite this it gave a splendid show of blossom in the Spring. Our first winter arrived and with it came a freezing blizzard which blew in and settled it’s heavy icy snow crystals on all the trees. Many of them were felled that cold night by the sheer weight of the ice on their boughs. Our old apple tree lost two branches and I thought it would never recover. The next Spring true to form it flowered the most beautiful blossom, but when Autumn came around no apples appeared. As an experiment I planted two apple trees nearby hoping that when they flowered they would cross pollinate and give the tree some new life. To my amazement my plan worked and now several years later my tree is laden with juicy red apples. Read More


How to make Coconut water kefir

At the age of 90, my grandmother emigrated to Hawaii. She lived out the rest of her days on the beautiful island of Maui. It seems an extraordinary move to make at such a ripe old age but if you knew her you would know that it was not out of character. She had a spontaneous and adventurous spirit and hated the idea of being tied down. Nothing pleased her more than to pack a bag and head off at the last minute on an adventure. She was the centre of our world, like the sun, we orbited her. It didn’t matter where she lived, we would have happily gone to the ends of the earth to get one of her hugs. Which is exactly what we did for the final 10 years of her life. Read More


Small Batch Ruby Sauerkraut

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I have just finished the last of a delicious jar of sauerkraut which I made at a fermenting workshop. It was run by Christine McFadden who has a very sucessfull cookery school in her 17th century home in  Dorset. Christine, who is also known as the Dorset Foodie, is a very experienced cook and teacher and has written several cookery books over the years. Her teaching is very clear, precise and reliable and she imparts a lot of practical information on a wide variety of cooking techniques. She lives in Littlebredy, one of the most beautiful villages in England. It is situated between Bridport and Dorchester and lies at the head of the Bride valley. As I made my way to her class I found myself driving through a maze of tiny winding roads and was very thankful to have a sat nav, it felt like I was driving back through time. This is pure Thomas Hardy countryside, an unspoilt green and golden landscape of emerald pastures dotted with yellow buttercups and ancient hedges. Read More


Wild foraging and a Sea Cabbage Salad

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It’s a bit overcast today which is almost a relief after five days of scorching early summer sun. We are heading home after a blissful half term break in Cornwall. It’s wild and untamed here, giving the children a lot of freedom. They can disappear for hours at a time scrambling over the rocks, exploring  the many grassy paths which lead down to the coves where they mess around skimming stones into the sea.

After our last swim we walk back to the house sandy and salty, foraging as we go for a few leaves of wild cabbage which we have been adding to our daily green juice. We pack up the house and empty the fridge and veg box to make one last meal. It’s is almost the best one! Boiled eggs, steamed asparagus, rye bread, Cornish Yarg cheese and a Wild Sea Cabbage salad. Read More


Making Kefir and a Blueberry Smoothie

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Spring is in the air, the English countryside in East Devon is humming with bird song, the trees are suddenly bright with with electric green leaves unfurling from their sleepy brown branches. Blossom from the apple tree is fluttering down like flowery snow covering the ground like a carpet of petals, making everything feel brand new and fresh. There is nothing which connects me more to the here and now and with such gratitude than when England throws off her winter cloak and blesses us with a sunny day. Read More


Surviving Antibiotics: The Ultimate Prebiotic Salad


imageThere is usually a time in everyones life, however health conscious we are, and with the best will in the world, where we are presented with a compelling reason to take antibiotics. The decision to do this, can be a hard one, especially for those of us whose health is already compromised. It can be upsetting and disheartening when you have spent time and energy building up a healthy microbiome only to take antibiotics and feel like you are going back to square one. Read More


Spring Green Kimchi


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Kimchi  is  a traditional Korean dish made from whatever vegetables are in season with the addition of salt and spices and then fermented. It is so popular in Korea that it is eaten with almost every meal and is very much a part of their cultural and national identity.

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It took me a while to convince my husband that kimchi was going to be the new and healthy  addition to our meals. His meal in particular, because unlike me, he has a passion for chilli jam and Jamaican hot sauce. He was quite skeptical at the thought of something new taking the place of these much loved condiments. He has since become a kimchi convert, which makes me happy, knowing that he is eating something not only extremely tasty but with enormous healing potential to boot.

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Forbidden Rice Porridge

imageThe once wild and lawless lands of Cudden Point, where smuggling was a way of life, are situated in the most south western tip of Cornwall. Here lie hidden coves tucked into the edges of the sea and protected by the shelter of  Mounts Bay. This dark and rich landscape, with its secretive history, combined with the treasured black rice of this post, made me think of all the summer holidays I have spent here with my children. The Forbidden black rice of this porridge echoing the colour of the black slate shoreline. Its an exotic and rare ingredient, like smugglers contraband brought in under cover of darkness from far off countries.

IMG_5277Now that my two elder daughters have left home I still meet in this beautiful and mysterious place, with my friend Cathy, her two children, and my son and niece every summer. We spend our time, making memories, and building on customs and traditions that grow as every summer passes. Even at the height of summer it is a demanding and challenging holiday and not one for sissies. A storm can whip up out of nowhere and tear your tent away and even when the sea looks calm, the strong undercurrents in the sea can snatch you out to sea when least expected. The weather can feel quite extreme and dramatic at times, but when the sun is shining and you watch your children gaining confidence as they jump higher off the rocks at each passing year, it is heaven on earth. Read More


Dill sauerkraut 

 


This a very simple and easy sauerkraut to make which doesn’t need any fancy equipment, it can be made in a large kilner type jar and with just a sharp knife and a cutting board. There are also only 3 ingredients, cabbage, salt and dill. Even if you omit the dill it will still be delicious. The addition of dill though gives the finished result a wonderfully clean and fresh taste which I love.

First of all do not be afraid! When I first got interested in the idea of fermenting I was quite nervous, making sauerkraut went against everything that that we are taught about health and safety. The thought of food being left on our kitchen counters for days on end at room temperature was very scary. As long as certain procedures are followed there is nothing to be afraid of. Make sure everything you use is clean. Wash hands, utensils and your jar. Straight out of the dishwasher is good. The salt to cabbage ratio is also important, 3tbs of salt to 5lbs of cabbage. You can halve this amount if you want less. Also the most important thing of all is that your cabbage stays submerged beneath the brine. Use the freshest cabbages, preferably organic. Also remember that preserving vegetables in this way has been practiced for thousands of years. Read More


Nightshades and healing psoriasis

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Nightshades are a family of plants which include tomatoes, white potatoes, aubergine, peppers (all except black pepper), tobacco, goji berries and paprika. They go by the scientific name of solanaceae and includes over 2,800 plants, shrubs and trees. They all share in common alkaloids that are naturally occurring pesticides. These are thought to protect the plants from insects and viruses. It is these compounds which can cause an inflammatory response in the body, especially those who suffer from arthritis, chronic pain or psoriasis. When I first saw the list I couldn’t believe it, my favourite go to meal had always been a baked potato topped with ratatouille and melted cheese, I have often read that you are addicted to your poison, and this was never truer than in my case! Read More