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.

 Posted by at 15:25
Jan 202014
 

Wine barm bread sliced
It’s funny how things spread.

My twitter pal Jessica read the earlier post on how to use a cider barm to make sourdough bread. Serendipity is a wonderful thing as Jessica was racking wine that day. So Jessica contacted me on Twitter…

Jessica Bread Tweet

And so Jessica did. I’m very grateful to Jessica who sent the pictures she took and the recipe notes for her bread so I may share it more widely. Continue reading »

 Posted by at 17:22
Jan 042014
 

Beautiful cider barm sourdough bread

In the last post you saw how Julia Moore used a sourdough levain to start to make cider. Here the circle is completed as the sediment from the racked cider is used to ferment a sourdough.

There’s a tradition of using the foam of a beer ferment or the brewing leftovers to make a ‘Barm Bread’.

Here’s a BBC ‘Food Programme’ piece about Barm Bread which explains the method and some history.

So when Julia told me she was going to make bread with her cider leftovers, I was pretty confident she’d have a good result. Julia is ‘barmy’ but not at all silly!

Here’s Julia’s recipe in her own words. Continue reading »

 Posted by at 15:35
Jan 012014
 

image_2

When I saw on twitter that my Twitter chum Julia Moore had:

Decided adding culture to some of our freshly pressed apples would be one experiment too far

I was intrigued and showed her my Bouza bread beer experiment post. Despite my references to ‘vomit’, Julia changed her mind and took up the challenge.

I’m so pleased Julia did this and her guest post below charts her progress. A second post will show how she used the remains from the cider fermentation to make a cider barm bread.

Julia says:

I hope this little experiment encourages someone else to have an idea and then just have a go 🙂

Precisely the attitude I promote on this blog! To find out more, please read on… Continue reading »

 Posted by at 11:19
Dec 242013
 

Bookshelf

My friend (and newly qualified Ethnobotanist) Emma Cooper has started a virtual book club. More about Emma’s studies later, as we were a case study in Emma’s thesis.

Her idea is that participants will read a set book every other month and we then discuss this online.

For more details about how this will work and how to take part, please visit Emma’s blog post.

The first book for January 2014 is Buffalo Bird Woman’s Garden by Gilbert Livingstone Wilson. It describes native American Indian agricultural practices of the Hidatsas (meaning ‘willows’) as recounted to him by the mother of his interpreter, Maxi’diwiac.

I very much look forward to reading the book and hope some of my blog readers will join in on Emma’s blog.

To help I have converted the free file of the book on the University of Pennsylvania web site into a pdf file which you can download.
Click on the link to open in a new tab you can then save to your hard drive.
Or right mouse click and ‘Save Link As’ to save the book to your hard drive.

Buffalo Bird Woman’s Garden pdf

 Posted by at 12:06
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