Apr 172014
 

Hop Shoot All you need is a few hop plants (humulus lupulus), some malt and sugar, water and the help of Andy Hamilton.

At the end of the summer, we had loads of the female flowers which are the hops on our plants. So we stripped them and dried them on a rack on top of the woodburner. I vacuum packed them to keep them fresh until I was ready to brew.

In the new year I got out my copy of Andy Hamilton’s Booze for Free and Buhner’s Sacred and Herbal Healing Beers. They are both excellent books that I highly recommend if you would like to use foraged produce to make alcoholic drinks. And who wouldn’t want to? ;)

Hop beer recipe

I diverged slightly from Andy’s recipe. This was partly intention and partly stupidity. I substituted some of the white granulated sugar for molasses sugar. This was to make a darker beer with a deeper taste. I also used 1.5kg of malt extract instead of 1kg. Next time I’ll read the can properly…  Andy was very helpful on Twitter because he helped me by recommending which type of malt extract to use. Cheers Andy.

Ingredients

13 litres water
1.5kg Cooper’s Amber Malt Extract
55g dried hops
500g granulated sugar
250g molasses sugar
5g ale yeast

This made 12 litres of beer.

Method

You’ll need a big saucepan, I used the maslin pan I make jam in.

Take 6 litres of the water and add the malt extract and sugars. Simmer for 30 minutes. Add the hops in a large muslin bag and simmer for another 30 minutes. Take out the hop bag and compost the hops. Your compost heap will love them. Tip the brew into a fermenting vessel and add the rest of the water and leave to cool to room temperature. I measured the specific gravity at 1060. This is higher than Andy’s recipe because of the extra 500g of malt extract.

Leave the liquid covered to cool until the next day and then add the yeast. Sprinkle in the ale yeast in and stir well. Cover and leave to ferment. I put my vessel on a seed propagator to maintain a 20°C+ temperature.

Leave to ferment until the specific gravity approaches 1000 and is steady. With mine, the SG settled at 1010. This gave me a beer of about 7% ABV (alcohol by volume).

Siphon the beer off the sediment into a barrel or beer bottles. Add 1tsp of sugar per litre of liquid to provide a secondary fermentation to give some fizz to the brew. Leave for 10 days to ferment and settle.
Hop Beer in GlassThis made a good dark beer with a grand malty taste with a touch of hop bitterness. It tasted a lot like Theakston’s Old Peculiar. That was easy :)

Watch out for more country beer recipes…

What’s your favourite beer?

 Posted by at 11:16
Apr 112014
 

Wild garlic slawSpring is a joy not least because of the re-emergence of the wild garlic.

There’s lots of publicity in the UK at the moment about eating more vegetables. I’ve been having fun concocting meals where I replace the normal carbohydrate element (potatoes, pasta, rice etc) with tasty veg. In this recipe, I added a big hit of toasted seeds and nuts for added crunch, taste and nutrients.

Wild garlic slaw recipe

I served this slaw with a chicken & tomato sauté. It could easily be a great breakfast, healthy lunch or snack as well as an accompanying vegetable. I suggested to my son it could be a great Uni meal made in big quantity and used to dip into to save time for studying ;)

Ingredients

Vary these to suit what you have available and to suit your taste. I fancy this with some fresh ginger, chilli and coriander leaf next. You could use raw or confit garlic instead of the wild garlic. Other leaves such as chard, spinach or mustard would be nice too.

10 wild garlic leaves (use flowers too if they are there)
10 stems of Egyptian walking onion (or use the tops of spring onions or finely sliced red onion)
1 large carrot, cut into fine strips
2 or 3 big handfuls of shredded white cabbage
2 tbsp sesame seeds, toasted
45 ml sweet redcurrant vinegar (or use cider or rice vinegar and add a tsp of caster sugar)
135 ml of olive oil
125ml (1/2 cup) sunflower seeds, toasted
125ml (1/2 cup) blanched almonds, toasted and roughly chopped
Sea salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste

Method

Slice the wild garlic across into very fine strips. Chop the onion stems into small rounds of about 3mm.

Mix the carrot, white cabbage, wild garlic and onion together into a salad bowl.

Dressing bottleMix the vinegar and olive oil together and add some salt & pepper to taste. I use a recycled maple syrup container to do this. I’ve put markings on for my 1:3 vinegar to oil ratio on it. I can then shake it up to emulsify the dressing and squirt a controlled amount on  salads. I keep any left over in the fridge.

Pour enough dressing on the veg so they are well coated without being drowned. Give the ingredients a good toss. Have a taste and correct seasoning if you need to.

Sprinkle the seeds on the slaw and mix. Serve.

It’s as easy as that.

What’s your favourite seeds and nuts for slaws?

 

You might also like:Wild garlic mash, warm chickweed salad & seafood
Wild garlic and smoked salmon carbonara
Wild garlic and homemade ricotta pasta

 Posted by at 11:05
Apr 092014
 

Ottoman Lamb with Sultan's DelightOne of the easiest ways you can make your meal planning easier, cook more frugally and seasonally is to make a major ingredient go further. Here I show you how I used a £20 joint of local Welsh lamb leg to make three different meals for the three of us.

I’ve cooked a lot of Diana Henry lately. Well, not literally. But I’ve used her new book A Change of Appetite and her 2002 book Crazy Water Pickled Lemons as inspirations. I’m going to review A Change of Appetite in detail soon. Suffice to say, it’s bold, imaginative and may change your views about what to cook and eat.

Roast Ottoman Lamb with Sultan’s Pleasure

Diana has a fab recipe for Ottoman Lamb with Sultan’s Pleasure. This appears here in The Telegraph.

I cooked the dish as per the recipe except I used dry sherry for the red wine (it’s what I had to hand). Also, I didn’t drain off the marinade which was delightfully thick as I made it with full fat Greek yoghurt. I couldn’t bear to throw it with all those lovely flavours in.

I served the dish with wholemeal roti (like chapatis or tortilla wraps – I  made a dozen from my recipe in The Permaculture Kitchen) and fresh Nine Star perennial cauliflower with kale shoots from the garden dressed in a thick anchovy vinaigrette. It was scrummy and felt very decadent. As you can see from the pic above, I served the lamb  slightly pink.

Pulled lamb wraps with sauteed veg

The next day, I had the lamb, six roti, some of the Sultan’s Delight and half the cauliflower (uncooked) left over. I popped the lamb in the oven for another three hours on a low heat, covered with some water in the pan. It cooked so it was falling apart. I sautéed the cauliflower florets with some purple sprouting broccoli and red onion strips.

Nine Star perennial cauliflowerI shredded the lamb and mixed it with some of the roasting juices, and gently reheated the Sultan’s Delight. I blitzed the roti in the microwave for a couple of minutes. We then made up wraps with the shredded lamb on a bed of ‘Delight‘ with the veg on the side. So, so good. We all wanted more, but had no more room. I’d not wasted any ingredients and the meal was ready in a trice.

So now I just had some of the shredded lamb in its juices left.

Lamb with pak choy, flowers and brown rice

I picked some pak choy that was going to flower from the garden along with some turnip tops in the same condition. So I had flowers and some big leaves. I cut the ribs from the pak choy leaves and cut these into chunks. I shredded a couple of carrots and put these with the ribs. I roughly shredded the leaves and put these to one side with the flower tops.

I cooked some wholemeal basmati rice.

I stir fried the carrot shreds with the pak choy ribs, then added the lamb & juices and brought this to a simmer. Then I added the leaves and flowers and covered the pan. I covered this to simmer & steam the leaves and flowers.

I then served the lamb and veg mix on top of the wholemeal rice. Another very quick and frugal meal which was healthy and seasonal.

While you may not have precisely the ingredients I have to hand, I hope this shows how you can use a major ingredient with a little imagination to make the best use of it. Also how you can prepare these follow-on meals quickly to save time in a busy week. And finally, how seasonal veg make a key contribution to your diet.

Would you like to see more of my multi-day meals? Do you have favourites of your own? Please let me know in the comments.

 Posted by at 10:55
Mar 252014
 

My book being packedMy book had been printed!

I went with Debs yesterday to Cambrian Printers to see The Permaculture Kitchen being bound. The team there were brilliant. They were all very friendly and happy to explain to me what they were doing and how the machines worked. I was impressed by their calm professionalism despite a day that had started early at 6am.

The insides had all been printed and collated and the covers were printed too. I saw the insides being stitched together in a very complex machine that must have taken ages to set up correctly. The publishers decided to stitch the book so that it could be laid flat. If it was just glued into the covers, it would soon fall apart which is not what you want from a kitchen book.

Then the covers and insides were collated and glued in a massive machine – coming out of the end to be checked and packed.

The pallets of books are now on their way from the printer to the publisher. They will send me some and distribute the others to Green Shopping, Amazon and other sellers.

So. If you would like to buy a signed copy, head over to The Permaculture Kitchen section of this web site. I have PayPal set up to take orders, as soon as the books are with me I will start to send them out to you. You will also see the full copies of the testimonials I’ve received from some highly respected names in food.

I’ve also made a sub-section of resources for the book. In the book I say that there will be videos to help with bread making and they are there as promised. I’ve also included my video on how to make mayonnaise with a stick blender. If you’d like anything else from the book explained or illustrated, just let me know in the comments to the Resources page and I’ll do my best to help.

I will be at the Edible Garden Show on Saturday to sign copies and give a talk. It’d be great to see you there if you can make it.

Finally, I wanted to say thank you to all of you who have supported me through getting this book published. I really appreciate it. This is quite an adventure :)

 Posted by at 14:15
Mar 172014
 

The Permaculture Kitchen front & back cover
We have made lots of exciting progress on my book since my last post.

We’ve finished the design, layout and proofing of the book. The whole shebang went to Cambrian Printers in Aberystwyth on Friday to be printed. The pages have been printed, they now need to be cut to size, folded, stitched together and bound into the covers. Hopefully, it’ll finally be made up by this time next week. That’s very exciting for me (and for you I hope). I’ll do my best to get to the printers and take some pictures of the final stages if I can. It’ll take a little while after it’s bound for Amazon and others to have stock in their warehouses.

Book launch at the Edible Garden Show

We’ll be launching The Permaculture Kitchen at the Edible Garden Show at Alexandra Palace in North London on Saturday March 29th. I’ve been asked to do a talk and Q&A in the Expert’s Theatre from 15:10. I’ll be around the show before this and after to sign books at the Permaculture Magazine stand. Do come and say hello, it’d be great for me to see you there. Continue reading »

 Posted by at 11:13
Mar 112014
 

Kombucha sourdough bread finished loaves & crumbThis successful experiment could revolutionise my baking. It means that I can bake sourdough bread in 24 hours without the need to keep an active leaven refreshed.

The bread is gloriously moist and chewy as sourdough should be. This has a big malty wholemeal taste with a rich, crisp crust. It’s not at all sharp or tangy, I know I can make a more ‘sour’ loaf if I use an overnight fridge retard to extend the fermentation time.

If you’d like to find out what I did and how to make this bread, please read on.
Continue reading »

 Posted by at 12:25
Feb 222014
 

Finished bottle of currant champagneIf you want a fizz that tastes spectacular, this recipe is for you. In under a month you get the full bright fruity taste of currants with a mildly mouth puckering tart-tannin background. The aroma is the wonderful woodland smell of crushed currant leaves. All this surrounded with lively & youthful fizz. I’m delighted with this discovery.

In truth, I had a freezer full of a mix of red, black and white currants. And I needed the space. In the spring, we enjoy the taste of quickly made elderflower ‘champagne’, so I thought I could experiment and do a similar thing with the currants.

It worked. And some.

To find out how easy this is to make (and other fruit ‘champagnes’), please read on.
Continue reading »

 Posted by at 15:55
Feb 112014
 

Three-cornered leek deliveryThis box arrived courtesy of a very generous Lindsay on Twitter. Lindsay has a wonderful surfeit of these in Devon and needed an ID for it. She also wanted to be rid of some and so one thing led to another.

Allium triquetrum flowers

Allium triquetrum flowers by Kenpie WikiMedia Commons

It’s allium triquetrum or three-cornered leek (aka three-cornered garlic). It’s so called because of the cross-section of the leaf. Wild garlic (allium ursinum, ramsons) has a broader, flatter leaf and is only just poking out of the ground now. Like wild garlic, it has white flowers.

It’s a mediterranean plant which has naturalised in the south-west of England and prefers a moist but well-drained soil. It will spread by division and seeds extensively. It’s treated as a weed and invasive species in many places. It’s an offence to plant in the wild in England & Wales.

It tastes like a grassy leek or garlic with a lingering aftertaste. It’s not as pungent as garlic or as spicy as chives.

So I felt I had to come up with some culinary treatments for it. Read on for the details…
Continue reading »

 Posted by at 18:13
Feb 032014
 

The Permaculture Kitchen by Carl Legge CoverWell my first book is nearly printed. That’s the proper cover design above. Read on to find out whose hands they are ;)

I hope you like it and that loads of people find it useful.The Permaculture Kitchen shows you how to cook no faff, seasonal & sustainable food with what your garden or seasonal produce seller has available.

What is it about?

My approach is to help you start your meal planning thinking about the ingredients and time you have to hand first. I couple this with some foundation principles and basic techniques to help you cook loads of different variations of meals. So the recipes (there are lots) illustrate the principles and techniques. I’ve included loads of  ideas for variations of flavours, ingredients and methods. I also give you suggestions for how you can use leftovers to save you time and energy.

Close to publishing

It’s been a long process and the project has changed a lot since I started writing what was to be a black & white e-book. We’re now producing a 176-page book with colour pictures along with the e-versions of it.

We’re currently fine tuning the last bits of the design and I hope it’ll be published in April. If you’d like first-hand information about the book’s release and offers and events, please fill in the form at the end of this post.

Whose hands?

The Permaculture Kitchen Cover ShootI did the photoshoot for the book with Hayley in September. We spent two very full days at home while I cooked loads of the recipes from the book for Hayley to style & shoot.

We had loads of strawberries still around and Hayley & Debs created the evocative cover image in Debs’ hands.

Given all the work Debs does in the garden and with the animals, ‘Debs the Hand Model’ was unexpected for both of us ;) It really does symbolise for me the ethos of the book: Love food, love people, love the planet.

The inside scoop for you

I’m very excited by this as you can imagine.

On the off-chance that you may be a little excited too, I’ve created a small form for you to fill in to get the most up to date information about the book’s progress and my events. I won’t give your information to anyone else, I promise.

 Posted by at 18:20
Jan 232014
 

Seedy Penpal Parcel January 2014

Our Seedy Penpals exchange has got off to a grand start this year. I received this very thoughtful & generous parcel above from Lorraine last week.

Squash seeds

Lorraine sent us four different squash varieties from US seed supplier Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Co.

  • Pattison Golden Mabre Scallop (summer squash)
  • Gelber Englischer Custard (summer squash)
  • Marina Di Chioggia (winter squash)
  • Blue Hubbard (winter squash)

We’ve been perennial squash growers here with mixed success. We’ll make a concerted effort with these to keep them very well fed and watered and hope the summer weather is kind to us.

Aubergine & Chillies

We love growing different chilli varieties and Lorraine sent us two we haven’t tried before:

Plus aubergine Black Beauty that Lorraine had over-ordered. We’ve had limited success with aubergine here with bad summers. When we lived down south, we had good crops – so fingers crossed.

We’ve just acquired a load of sash windows from a local friend (via Twitter) who is having them replaced. We’ll use these to build a super cold frame to house these gems. Hopefully the aubergines will be especially happy with them. More of this in later posts.

Brassicas

Lorraine sent us:

  • Cabbage: heritage variety Wheelers Imperial
  • Mustard – giant red
  • Mustard – komatsuna
  • Nasturtium – organic mixed, for companion planting.

It’ll be interesting to try the cabbage which we can grow for spring greens and hearts.

MustardsPT-1
We’re big fans of mustards. We grow them over winter in our big polytunnel where they produce leaves for salads and cooked veg over the winter and great shoots in the spring. The different colours and leaf shapes add welcome variety in the dark days. The mustard seeds she sent are some passed on from her earlier seedy penpal Jenny – so the connection continues.

The nasturtiums are always welcome. Apart from being great companion and bee plants they’re a great edible too. The leaves, flowers and flower buds and seed pods are all edible and delightfully peppery. So we’ll be munching on those for sure and I’ll post some recipes for them during the year.

Onion & dahlias

Tussy Mussy made 2 Jan 2014Lorraine sent us some Senshyu Yellow seeds. These are an overwintering Japanese type for autumn sowing. This is brilliant, as we’ve decided to do all our onions this way and to concentrate on varieties that we can’t buy or are more expensive to get.

And to help with our plans to have more perennial flowers for cutting and using in Debs’ tussie mussies, Lorraine sent us some great dahlia tubers. We’ll have to be patient until we can see what colours we have. I’m instructed that I’m not allowed to eat them :(

Ingredients

Lastly, as Lorraine is well aware of my culinary proclivities, we’re the lucky recipients of two lots of dried chillies from Lorraine’s own garden. They smell great and I’m keen to use them soon.

All round a really great Seedy Penpal package. To see Lorraine’s side of the story, see her Slow January blog post.

If you’d like to join the scheme, read the conditions and sign up here.

 Posted by at 15:25
%d bloggers like this: