Fire Cider and Wildfire Thomas

Fire Cider is a powerful tonic for combating flu and cold symptoms it can also be a fantastic pick-me-up if you are feeling run down. It is a traditional herbal folk remedy invented by the renowned herbalist Rosemary Gladstar in the 1970’s this is a beautiful video of her making Fire Cider. She was a pioneer in making food and herbs into medicine that could easily be made in anyone’s kitchen.

Immune strengthening roots, vegetables, fruits and herbs are steeped in apple cider vinegar. Go here for a recipe.  You can also use kombutcha vinegar if you have it. This is a flexible recipe that you can make your own by adding other herbs and spices of your choice such as star anise, echinacea, thyme and turmeric. Read More


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


Weekday Tarka Dal


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Sometimes I dream of a soft buttery comforting dal, and I remember how many years ago, when my first daughter Lily was born, we moved to a part of London far away from where I had grown up. This was mostly to do with the fact that as young parents it was an area of London where we could afford to buy our first home. Back then it was the ghetto, now it is a very cool and fashionable area!

I found myself alone with a young baby in a strange part of town where I didn’t know anyone. None of my friends had even thought about settling down let alone starting a family. To keep myself busy I would go for long walks pushing the pram hoping to escape the grey and dirty streets of East London. One day I found myself in Ridly Road Market in Dalston, and it was in complete contrast. This was a vibrant and eclectic multi-cultural community selling traditional and exotic fruits and vegetables on old fashioned barrows. I would lose myself for hours wondering around in a visual and sensual rapture inhaling the smells of fresh warm bagels and spices. Read More


Ghee is Golden



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Walking with my Father in the countryside as a young child was always a complete joy, sometimes he would crouch down to my height pick a Buttercup and put it under my chin to see if I liked butter. The glow from the shiny petals would reflect a golden yellow light on my skin which would mean I did! Who doesn’t? Of course as a child, I thought this was pure magic in that wondrous way that children ‘believe’. Like when my Grandmother would make the snapdragons talk in the garden by squeezing their petals together and the many times I would gather rose petals with my sister to make potions, which only worked if you truly ‘believed’ in magic. These were wonderful rituals and traditions which I passed on to my own children when they were growing up. 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


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