For the last month we’ve had an incredible run of good weather. All this heat has made fermenting quite a challenge! My kefir grains both dairy and water are reproducing at a great pace, multiplying like crazy. My rye sourdough has not been behaving and I have kombutcha turning to vinegar by the gallon. I am so run ragged attending to all my beloved cultures, feeding, refreshing and keeping them happy, that it’s almost become a full time job! Read More
I was very honoured and excited this month to be asked to be a guest recipe contributor to The Marshwood Vale Magazine. I chose to include this recipe because it’s deliciously light and fragrant, it’s also super easy to make, and a great one to have on hand if you have gluten intolerant guests or family visiting. Read More
From the day I met my first kefir culture I have been in love. I’ll be honest it was a mothering instinct and a strong desire to nurture that first captured my heart, but as the grains built in strength and reproduced in quantity and I introduced it into my diet I began to feel the immense benefits to my health and I have never looked back. Read More
From next week The Mirabelle Tree will be changing it’s name to Culture Love. I have decided on this change to make the title more closely reflect my interests, passions and subject matter. I really hope you will continue to find my blog useful and look forward to connecting with you in the future.
I am also using this opportunity to remind you all that the on May 25th 2018, new Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) are coming into force and they mean I need to recheck that you still want to receive posts and notifications. If for any reason you don’t you can unsubscribe from my mailing list at any time.
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
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
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
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
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
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