Wednesday, 27 August 2014

the end of summer at the end of the world

We are having a couple of weeks off to catch up with family and do some house stuff.  My mother in law came down on the train for a visit, then we drove her home to N Wales and headed across to Aberdaron for a couple of nights by the sea. It's where Mr Asparagus Pea proposed to me 3 years ago and this washing line featured in the image we used as a wedding invite.

The area is a Welsh speaking stronghold and the signposts drip with the extra vowels that give the language its distinctive look. W gives an 'oo' sound and Y gives an 'uh' - put them together and you get the English W sound. (I guess this sign had English on the other side?!?)

We walked the cliff paths and poked around in rockpools.

The summer seems to be coming to an early end with berries ripening and fungi sprouting.

 We're back home now and there is more pickling underway….

I have discovered two things:
  1. Life is too short to cut carrots into flower shapes (unless that's your job),
  2. I knew I needed one of those special food cover umbrella thingies, I just didn't know why…

Saturday, 16 August 2014


update on batch 2 of my lacto-fermented brine pickles….


4% brine
7 day ferment

zingy, tangy and suitably sour

They're in the fridge now
(making friends with Iestyn, the sourdough starter).

I'll spare you from updates on improvements in our gut health,
but I'm excited about their pro-biotic aliveness.
They'll be going in some salsa verde tonight;
we're having roast lamb.

Now then - what can i ferment next?
I'm thinking carrots and cauliflower...

Saturday, 9 August 2014

pickle update

Update on the first batch of pickles:
Bleeeuurgh - wahaaay too salty!!!!
(But with good flavours developing underneath).
They had to go in the bin…
life's too short to de-salinate a pickle.

Undeterred, I had a quick trawl through the internet for advice about brine strength. 
The first batch was 40g salt to 500ml water - that's 8% brine. 
Batch two is about half that strength.
Watch this space….

Monday, 4 August 2014

pickled snozzcumbers

Last year I was going to pickle cucumbers…
and not just any old pickle,
proper old fashioned brine pickles.
Lacto-fermentation, hell yeah!

Last year I bought Alys Fowler's lovely book,
and read all about how to do it.

Last year the builders arrived at the end of July,
and ripped the kitchen off the back of the house.

But this year…
I'm doing it - look!!!

Cucumbers from the hotbed.
(Siân said they look like the BFG's snozzcumbers).
I love that half the aromatics are from the garden,
including tannin rich vine leaves for pickly crispness.
The previous owners of the house were Italian 
- Grazie Sr Sanna!

We get through loads of brine pickles in this house,
but the store bought ones are pasteurised,
which knocks out all their pro-biotic goodness.

It's Day 3 and there's definitely something happening…
Some bubble-age, a pickly tang in the air,
and a colour change from summer green to gentle olive.

There will be updates 
(for all you pickle fans out there).