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Screen Shot 2016-04-14 at 13.20.25LBF_logo_2016_standalone   LBF

An enjoyable and interesting day at the London Book Fair yesterday, meeting colleagues from the US, customers and friends. Looking forward to working on some of the new books:

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Walking London's Waterways   Screen Shot 2016-04-14 at 13.16.14

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It is quite amazing to hear how popular colouring books continue to be, with thousands being sold every week, and it’s very gratifying that Fox Chapel, with their Design Originals imprint, are leading the pack in the States.

Colouring books dumpbin at LBF_LR

 

 

Orchardista

Just a quick glimpse into my beautiful traditional old cider apple orchard. Most of the trees are on their last legs but it’s a haven for wildlife (actually, a haven for rabbits) and I hope to bring it back to life by planting some replacement trees and giving it a bit of TLC

Snowdrops

Snowdrops in the copse behind the orchard

 

Orchard in April

Orchard in April with celandines

Orchard

Leaves beginning to come out

 

I am very excited because the legendary Sandor Katz is to visit Ireland and the UK later this month. The New York Times has called Sandor ‘one of the unlikely rock stars of the American food scene‘. He is the world’s expert on everything to do with fermentation, whether it’s vegetables, fruits, grains, milk, beans, meats or more…

Sandor Katz

Photo: Sean Minteh

He has inspired countless thousands to rediscover the ancient art of fermentation, and with his award-winning, bestselling book The Art of Fermentation he offers the most comprehensive and definitive guide to do-it-yourself home fermentation ever published.

The Art of Fermentation by Sandor Ellix Katz

Sandor presents the history, concepts, and processes behind fermentation in ways simple enough to guide a reader through their first experience making sauerkraut or yogurt, yet in-depth enough to provide greater understanding and insight for experienced fermentos.

Readers will find detailed information on fermenting vegetables; sugars into alcohol (meads, wines, and ciders); sour tonic beverages; milk; grains and starchy tubers; beers (and other grain-based alcoholic beverages); beans; seeds; fish; meat; and eggs, as well as growing mould cultures, and using fermentation in agriculture, art, energy production and commerce.

If you can catch him at one of these events you will be in for a treat; I can’t wait!

Sandor Ellix Katz UK and Ireland events May 2014

Fri 16-Sun 18 May Ballymaloe LitFest, Ballymaloe Cookery School, Shanagarry, Co. Cork, Ireland 00 353 21 4646785 @ballymaloeLit

Wed 21 May Books for Cooks talk and signing 6-8pm. In association with Slow Food UK Books for Cooks, 4 Blenheim Crescent, London Q11 1NN 020 7221 1992 @booksforcooks or 020 7099 1132 @slowfooduk

Thurs 22 May Weston A Price full day workshop 10am-4.30pm £110 The Bagnall Centre for Integrated Healthcare, Chesham, Bucks, HP5 1PE 07580 141191 @WAPFLondon

Fri 23 May Weston A Price Tasting 6-9pm £25 University of Westminster l Cayley Lecture Theatre, 35 Marylebone Rd, London NW1 5LS 07580 141191 @WAPFLondon

Sun 25 May River Cottage Annual Food Festival talk/demo/signing River Cottage HQ, Park Farm, Trinity Hill Rd, Musbury, Axminster, Devon, EX13 8TB 01297 630322 @rivercottage

Mon 26-Fri 30 May Schumacher College to give course ‘Exploring the Microcosmos – New Paradigms from Microbial Communities’ with Eva Bakkeslett and Stephan Harding The Old Postern, Dartington, Totnes, TQ9 6EA 01803 865934 @schumacherColl

Wed 28 May Schumacher College public event ‘Earth Talk’ The Old Postern, Dartington, Totnes, TQ9 6EA 01803 865934 @schumacherColl

Sat 31 May Embercombe. Sandor giving a one-day fermentation workshop 10am-5pm Embercombe, Higher Ashton, Exeter, EX6 7QQ 01647 252983/5 @embercombe

Mon 2 June Concord institute http://www.concordinstitute.com/

The Art of Fermentation

Wild Fermentation by Sandor Ellix KatzThe Art of Fermentation (RRP £28.99)by Sandor Ellix Katz is a James Beard award winner and was a New York Times bestseller. Wild Fermentation (RRP £17.99) was his first book. They are both available through all good high street and online book retailers.

For more information about Sandor Katz’s visit to the UK and Ireland, contact Susie Hallam

With National Butchers’ Week coming up at the end of the month (24th-30th March), it is a pleasure for me to be working on this fascinating guide to the craft of butchery to be published by Chelsea Green on the 27th. In fact the book explains the whole journey that our meat makes, from farm to table, and is a bit of an eye-opener for anyone who cares about how their meat is sourced.

Published by Chelsea Green

The Gourmet Butcher’s Guide to Meat

In The Gourmet Butcher’s Guide to Meat master butcher Cole Ward aims to revive the traditional culinary art of butchery – an often overlooked but vitally important aspect of the farm-to-table movement.

The most comprehensive guide available to the complete process of meat production, the book will be invaluable to small-scale butchers, to chefs who want to broaden their skills, to farmers and smallholders, to the many who attend butchery courses, and to anyone who cares about how their meat is sourced.

The book features two master British butchers: Balson Bros, Bridport, Dorset – Britain’s oldest family butcher (as featured in BBCTV’s Hidden Histories series), and MacDonald Bros, Pitlochry, Scotland, owned and run by the MacDonald family since 1928.

“A good butcher is an ethical professional who knows the provenance of his or her meats,” Ward writes. “I want to give everyone an understanding and appreciation of my craft and its culinary artists, and I want to celebrate and support struggling small farmers and quality-meat producers. So my mission is nothing less than to bring back culinary butchery—a craft that we must never lose.”

A major benefit of the book is the enclosed CD that contains over 800 step-by-step photos demonstrating how to cut up a side of beef, a side of pork, a whole lamb and a chicken.

Author of The Gourmet Butcher's Guide to Meat

Cole Ward (photo: Karen Coshof)

Cole Ward is a master butcher based in Vermont, USA, who combines hands-on butchery with teaching his craft at culinary academies, colleges and agricultural and sustainable-living conferences.

Karen Coshof is a photographer and film producer specializing in environmental subjects.

National Butchers’ Week UK: 24th-30th March 2014

The Gourmet Butcher’s Guide to Meat by Cole Ward and Karen Coshof is published by Chelsea Green, RRP £35.99 including CD with 800 images, and is available through all good high street and online booksellers.

Recipe: Ginger Beer

Ginger is a spice perfect for autumn weather. Its fragrance can perk up everything from chai tea to apple pie. This humble root can also add a gentle kick of heat to stir-fries or soups.

The natural yeasts in the root can also be used to kick start a bubbly ginger beer. Give it a try!

The following recipe is from Wild Fermentation: The Flavour, Nutrition and Craft of Live-Culture Foods by Sandor Katz. Published by Chelsea Green, the book is available through all good high street and online retailers, RRP £17.99

rootginger

glass

This Caribbean-style soft drink uses a “ginger bug” to start the fermentation. I got this idea from Sally Fallon’s Nourishing Traditions. The ginger bug is simply water, sugar and grated ginger, which starts actively fermenting within a couple of days. This easy starter can be used as yeast in any alcohol ferment, or to start a sourdough.

This ginger beer is a soft drink, fermented just enough to create carbonation but not enough to contribute any appreciable level of alcohol. If the ginger is mild, kids love it.

TIMEFRAME: 2 to 3 weeks

INGREDIENTS (for 4 litres):

  • 8 cm or more fresh root ginger
  • 400 gm sugar
  • 2 lemons
  • Water

PROCESS:

1. Start the “ginger bug”: Add 2 teaspoons (10 ml) grated ginger (skin and all) and 2 teaspoons (10 ml) sugar to 250 ml of water. Stir well and leave in a warm place, covered with cheesecloth to allow free circulation of air while keeping flies out. Add this amount of ginger and sugar every day or two and stir, until the bug starts bubbling, in 2 days to about a week.

2. Make the ginger beer any time after the bug becomes active. (If you wait more than a couple of days, keep feeding the bug fresh ginger and sugar every 2 days.) Boil 2 litres of water. Add about 5 cm of root ginger, grated, for a mild ginger flavour (up to 15 cm for an intense ginger flavour) and 375 ml sugar. Boil this mixture for about 15 minutes. Cool.

3. Once the ginger-sugar-water mixture has cooled, strain the ginger out and add the juice of the lemons and the strained ginger bug. (If you intend to make this process an ongoing rhythm, reserve a few tablespoons of the active bug as a starter and replenish it with additional water, grated ginger and sugar.) Add enough water to make 4 litres.

     4.  Bottle in sealable bottles: Recycle plastic soda bottles with screw tops; rubber gasket “bail-top” bottles that some premium beers use; sealable juice jugs; or capped beer bottles. Leave bottles to ferment in a warm place for about 2 weeks.

5. Cool before opening. When you open your ginger beer, be prepared with a glass, since carbonation can be strong and force liquid to rush out of the bottle!

Chelsea Green Publishing

Apple Day

To all cider makers on Apple Day, this book should go on your Christmas lists.  Andrew Lea of the Whittenham Hill Cider Portal has said of it:

“Will be valuable to anyone in the cider-making world. It’s aimed at the hobbyist, but even those working on a larger scale should find plenty of value here… Physically, the book is beautifully presented and a delight to read. Inspirational!”

The New Cider Maker's Handbook by Claude Jolicoeur

To make the very best cider—whether for yourself, your family, and friends or for market—you first need a deep understanding of the processes involved, and the art and science behind them.  The New Cider Maker’s Handbook is here to help. Author Claude Jolicoeur is an internationally known, award-winning cider maker with an inquiring, scientific mind. His book combines the best of traditional knowledge and techniques with up-to-date, scientifically based practices to provide today’s cider makers with all the tools they need to produce high-quality ciders.

The New Cider Maker's Handbook

The New Cider Maker’s Handbook is available through Green Shopping at £28 with free p&p in the UK. (RRP £32.99).

 

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In celebration of Zero Waste Week (2-8th September) I made this casserole – well, it turned into more of a pie – adapted from this one from Rae Strauss for ‘Accidental savoury bread and butter’. There are masses more recipes and ideas for saving food waste on the Zero Waste Week website.

  • Line bottom and sides of a pie dish – I actually used two small ones – with left-over bread slices, buttered with olive oil spread.
  • Dig out an onion from bottom of veggie drawer and slice
  • Fry in a bit of olive oil until soft
  • Then add selection of whatever other veg you might have left over, chopped. Mine were:
  1. half each of slightly shrivelled red, yellow and green peppers, i.e. three halves
  2. 2 cloves of garlic
  3. the remains of a tin of red kidney beans from the fridge
  4. a few slices of beetroot from the bottom of a jar
  5. a couple of tomatoes
  6. half a large tired mushroom
  • Season the mixture and fry on low heat for about 15 minutes until everything is nice and soft
  • Put the mixture into the pie dish/dishes
  • Beat four eggs and mix with some milk
  • Pour over the mixture in the dishes. It gets soaked in and disappears.
  • Grate cheese leftovers (mine were dry knob of cheddar and similar of parmesan) and sprinkle fairly generously over the top
  • Cook in medium hot oven (180 degrees) for about 15-20 mins until firm-ish to touch

The result was a bit like a thick omelette with nice crispy bread surround. Enjoy with salad!