Posts from the ‘Food’ category

Vegan Kimchi

13230164_1162222730478637_321146754051828737_nWe’re big fans of the wild ferment and make all sorts of nutritious and delicious veggie and dairy ferments.

I recently came by this particularly enormous and beautiful Chinese cabbage at the local markets. It inspired a flurry of kimchi making, plus a photo shoot to capture its glory for all eternity.

The main difference to our kimchi recipe is that it’s and vegan, here’s how we make it…



Traditionally, kimchi includes fish source or products, this provides a distinct ‘kimchi’ flavour which is incredibly popular. Being vegetarian, we simply leave this out – our ‘base’ ingredients are:


  • Salt – 3 tablespoons
  • Cabbage- 2kg (any type, but chinese cabbage is usually the most desired for kim chi)
  • Ginger (grated)
  • garlic (however much you’d like)
  • chilli (fresh is best, but dried flakes or powder is also great -use as much as you like
  • carrot (we like ours chunky, but you can grate or dice it if you prefer) – use as much as you like
  • **Usually I’ll also add some daikon radish (or other types of radish), but we didn’t have any ready in the garden this time round.

Sometimes we’ll also add additional flavours including mustard seeds, dill seeds, bay leaves – anything that takes our fancy. But we always, always have the above ingredients to form the foundation taste.


The first step is to roughly chop your cabbage into large chunks. Of course, if you prefer, you can dice it finely – it’s all up to your personal preference.

Place it in a large bowl and add the salt, massaging it roughly with your hands to make sure it’s nicely integrated.

Leave it on your kitchen bench over night to let it ‘sweat’, in the morning you’ll see a nice puddle of brine (salty water) has formed at the bottom. Keep all of this for the following step.


The brine ‘puddle’


Chop up all your other ingredients and mix them through your cabbage/brine mix so they’re beautifully integrated.


Gradually pack your fermentation vessel* with your mix, packing it down as you go. This is an important detail as you need to:

(a) Remove any air pockets, and

(b) Squeeze the brine out of the cabbage so it covers the entire mix.

*We happen to have recently purchased a crock pot from local potters, Zsolt Faludi and Nanna Bayer. Until up last month, we simply used glass jars to make all our kimchi and sauerkraut in – which are more than fine for the task. It was just a bit of a life dream to get a large crock pot (this one’s 4 litres). We like some of its design features which include a large ‘lip’ to catch the sometimes overflowing brine and the purpose made clay weights that fit nicely inside the pot to keep the mix down and the brine covering it.



Other options to use for a weight are a small plate or a whole cabbage leaf with a clean stone or glass jar of water on top to hold it down.

img_6221After 24 hours the brine will have risen above your weight and started to bubble (as you can see in our photo below right). This is what you’re looking for – the bubbles tell you the fermentation process is well under way. Your kitchen will also smell like kimchi – aka delicious.

Check your kimchi once-twice daily to make sure the brine stays above the weight, if it isn’t either press it down until the brine rises up, or add a small amount of de-chlorinated water. After 2-3 days start tasting it until you’re happy with the flavour. If you like strong kimchi, leave it for longer, if you prefer a more mild taste you might stop the process after a few days. The speed of which your kimchi ferments also depends on your climate, the hotter your climate, the quicker the fermentation process.

IMG_6223How do you “stop” it? Once you’re happy with the flavour, decant it into some small glass jars (or leave it in the jar it’s in), screw the lid on and place it in the fridge or cool pantry. The cold will ‘stop’ the fermentation process, pausing it so you can enjoy the flavour. Of course, nothing ever really stops and it will still mature very, very slowly in the fridge. It will last for months in your fridge, so you can eat through it at your own pace.

Want more?

  • Get to know Sandor Katz’s and his work.
  • This November 26th (2016), we’re running our annual Fermentation Fest where we’ll teach you how to make your own kimchi, tempeh, yoghurt and so much more. CLICK HERE for more information and to register.
  • We make our own eduction tea towels – including one about how to make sauerkraut – you can check it out HERE. 
  • You can contact Zsolt Faludi and Nanna Bayer to order your own crock pot (and other great fermenting vessels) here:
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Home-made Non-Alcoholic Ginger Beer

Home-made ginger beer is an old favorite that’s easy to make and super yum for your taste buds.  This is an “alcoholic” type ferment, although with this particular recipe the idea is that it’s considered non-acoholic, saying this – it’s very hard to not have *any* alcohol content, so please be aware of this.
This liquid ferment uses a “sourdough” type of culture called “the mother” which you can make yourself. A word of caution – this brew has a reputation for blowing up bottles, the reason being is to make the drink sweet you have to put un-fermented sugar in the bottle.  The yeasts in the brew continue fermenting to create bubbles (CO2) and will eventually create *so much pressure* that the bottles can blow.  The solution is to make a batch for a special event and then drink it all then, do not let it linger on your shelves.
So how do you make it? Here’s our much loved recipe – enjoy!
Starting the “Mother”

  • Teaspoon yeast
  • Teaspoon of sugar
  • Teaspoon of ginger powder
  • 1 cup of water

In a glass jar, mix these ingredients together and cover with a cheesecloth or a loose fitting lid.  Every day add an additional teaspoon of sugar and teaspoon of ginger, after around 1 week it’ll be ready to use. You’ll be able to tell as it’ll be fizzy (you’ll see little bubbles) and smell incredible.

IMG_5104The mother – she smells *amazing*


To make 10 Liters of ginger beer

  • 250g grated fresh ginger
  • 100g dry ginger
  • Teaspoon of chili flakes
  • Teaspoon of peppercorns
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • Desert spoon of cloves
  • 1 kg sugar
  • 10 liters of water
  • 6 lemons



  • Make 3 liters of tea with all ingredients, except sugar and lemon.
  • Boil for 1 hour and let cool.
  • Dissolve in the sugar and add the juice of 6 lemons – add another 7 litres to this brew to bring it up to around 10 liters.
  • Once it’s cooled down, add the mother. In terms of how much of it you add, you can put 90% of the liquid (almost one cup). You can then add more water and keep feeding it to keep it going for the next batch (if you choose).
  • Bottle into old soft drink or beer bottles, we prefer glass bottles.
  • It will be ready in 2 days and it’s best to drink it all within 7 days.
  • Invite mates over and drink!

This simple ferment is just so wonderful on a range of levels. Not only do they taste great, making your own cuts out the need for fizzy drinks from the shop – another thing you can do to reduce hanging out in the supermarket  – enjoy!




Pasta From Scratch

Despite what some people think, making pasta is actually really really easy. All you need is egg and flour, sure you can add herbs and spices, but you don’t need to. I love making it because yes, it tastes good but also because it’s plastic free, no packaging at all – which is how food should be. Here’s how we do it at home.

Crack some eggs into a bowl, use as many eggs as there are people who’ll be eating – we’ve got two people eating, so we use two eggs.


Roughly mix them up.


Start adding flour and mixing it in until you have a good dough consistency. We don’t use actual measurements, just keep adding until it feels right. We mostly use white or wholemeal wheat flour (sometimes a mix of spelt and buckwheat), however you can use most – some gluten free flour will have trouble and fall apart, there a re lots of recipes out there, like this one.



Towards the end of the mixing, ditch your mixing tool and use your hands to finish it off.


Make sure there’s a nice layer of flour on it so it’s not sticky to touch.


Wrap it in a plastic bag and pop it in a cool place or the fridge for at least 20 minutes. You can actually leave it there for days if you like, it’s simply helping it to ‘become one’ so it stays together nicely for the next steps.


I got given a pasta machine around 10 years ago for a birthday present – it’s tops. We use it to make pasta (surprise, surprise), lasagna sheets and ravioli. However, you don’t need it, you can use a rolling pin (or a bottle of wine if you haven’t got one of those) and a knife.


Get your dough out of the fridge and shape it into a sausage and then cut it into pieces to make it easy to roll out.



Using just your hands, roughly massage each piece into a basic small oval.


Now you’re ready to pop it through the pasta machine (or roll it out), start at the ‘thickest’ setting to give them the once over. You can then jump straight to the thickness you want to make it as thick or thin as you desire. I never go to the thinnest layer as it can sometimes fall apart (depending on your flour).


IMG_4111My long and strong sheets and little Frida in the background, wondering when I’m going to go play with her.

You need to make sure you add more flour onto each sheet before you work with them so they’re never sticky, otherwise they can easily clog up the pasta machine and rip easily. You can now choose your style of pasta (flat or skinny worm is what I call the options) and pop the sheets through as below.


Perhaps the best hot tip I ever learned was that from here you can just throw them in a bowl of flour (so they don’t stick together). You don’t need to sting up clothes lines everywhere in your house to dry your pasta. This was a bit revolutionary for me and adds to the easiness of the whole process.



Usually I cook it straight away, however if you need to dry it out for later, just throw it out onto something like a cake rack so air can flow around it to dry it evenly. Once completely dry, you can pop it in a paper bag (so it can breath) and store it for a few weeks and probably months in cooler climates (it never lasts that long for me).


When you do cook it, make sure you hang about. Unlike stuff from the shop, it’ll only take a couple of minutes in boiling water so don’t walk away from the stove, otherwise you’ll end up with something resembling clag glue.


And as you can imagine, it tastes bucket-loads better than anything you’ll buy from the shop… Enjoy!


Mashua: AKA Perennial Nasturtium

Nasturtiums are my favourite plant ever – one of my earliest memories is of drinking rain drops out of their leaves (cause that’s how the fairies did it) and they’ve really stuck with me ever since. As I grew older I loved the fact the you can eat the leaves, flowers and make ‘poor man capers’ out of the seed pods, plus they’re a great living mulch in the garden, attract beneficial insects and easy on the eye.

Over the years I’ve planted them in pretty much every house I’ve lived in and these days I have a giant mural of them on our bathroom wall. I even took it to the next level and requested that Anton (my now husband) sew my wedding dress so it depicted a nasturtium patch… And he did – it’s amazing, as is he. So when I found out that there’s a perennial nasturtium (called mashua) only less than a year ago – well, I got excited.

Mashua-PhotosImage from here

It’s official name is Mashua (Tropaeolum tuberosum) and it was traditionally grown in South America as a root crop. That’s right people, you can eat the leaves, flower AND TUBERS. I know, amazing.

While it is a perennial, it’s sensitive to frost and cold so will die back in winter and grow fresh plants from new tubers in spring. So late winter is the time to pull it up, subdivide all those tubers for eating and/or growing.


It grows rampantly as a climber or ground cover and the flowers and leaves are similar to the common nasturtium plant, but have their own twist.

mashua-Pilifera-plant-1024x767Image from here

IMG_3939The leaves die back as the cold sets in with winter

As this was the first time we grew the plant, we just watched to see what would happen. They spread out under our fruit trees, had a half hearted go at flowering (it was a bit cold) and then slowly started to shut down and go ‘green/brown’ as winter set in.


In recent weeks we started weeding the orchard and noticed a plethora of tubers at the base of each plant. Up until then, we didn’t realise that (a) they had such prolific tuber production and, (b) you could eat them. It was a happy day of discoveries that one. So far we’ve only tried eating them roasted (just like potatoes), sadly we weren’t in love with their taste, but will keep trying different recipes until we are.



And they’re beautiful, don’t you think? We’ve currently got a big bowl of them in our house and each friend who comes through leaves with at least one in their pocket to have a go in their own gardens. Plus we’ve sent some over to the Hobart City Farm to grow in their perennial beds. Gotta spread the love round.



We’re feeling a bit ‘mashua rich’ at the moment – all this loot came  from one plant.


From what we can gather, mashua generally grows in a temperate climate and, like seed potatoes you can cut each one into smaller bits, with each one becoming its own plant. If you do this, just make sure each piece has at least two eyes (the dimply depressions) on it and that you harden them off so the cut can dry out and form a callus.

Where can you get your own mashua plant?

If you’re lucky enough to be in Tasmania, visit Provenance Growers at the Hobart Farm Gate Market and they’ll sort you out. If you’re in the US, I found this fantastic mob called Cultivariable who stock it, plus a million other great, lesser known food plants.

Good articles & blogs


Growing & Loving Oca

Do you know oca (oxalis tuberosa) yet? It’s one of our current favourite root vegies and is commonly known as New Zealand (NZ) yam, however it’s real origins stem back to the Southern Andes. NZ seems to have a thing for adopting foods and calling them their own, think kiwi fruit which actually comes form China where it’s called the Chinese gooseberry. And just for the record feijoas, which NZ folk grow with great vengeance are actually from South America. To be fair oca was introduced to NZ way back in 1860‘ish, so it’s been around for a while on this side of the world.


As you can see above – there are quite a few varieties, some common and some you’ll probably never see in real life.

How to grow them

Generally you plant oca in Spring in cool climates, however we didn’t get ours in until mid Summer and they still worked just fine. Similar to potatoes you pop oca tubers in the ground and wait for them to stick their heads up. You can gradually mound earth around the plant (again, like potatoes) to increase the size of the tubers, or you can just let it grow and still achieve a good harvest.


Interestingly, tuber development is light-dependant. When daylight hours drop (in Winter), the tuber formation begins. We actually checked on our oca crop in late Autumn and there was nothing going on under the soil – lots of leaf, but not one little tuber was spotted. However around two months later they’ve magically appeared – it’s so crowded under each plant with stacks of tubers, it’s a pretty impressive little plant.

How do you know when to harvest?

Like potatoes, when the leaves start to die back it means the tubers are reading to be harvested. It’s good to know that oca is more perishable than potatoes, but if properly handled can be stored at room temperature for some months.


Oca crop dieing back meaning the tubers are ready to be harvested.


Remember to store the biggest, fattest, healthiest tubers for propagation for next season. You can do this in a bucket of dry sand or sawdust or in a cool dark and dry place.

We store ours in a couple of places, sure most go into one of our cool dark cupboards, but we also have a big bowl of them on our kitchen bench. Mainly so we can access theme quickly for easy eating – we find that doing this for a short period doesn’t affect them at all, i,e, they can handle of bit of sunlight… Which potatoes can’t.


How to eat them?

Well apparently the internet tells me that some people like to eat them raw – I took a bite of one and didn’t spit it out, but didn’t go back for more. I prefer to roast them (like potatoes) where they transform into a creamy, yummy thing – just try them and you’ll see what I mean.

This nifty little plant is super low maintenance, easy to grow as no pests seem to both it and can be included into your vegetable patch or food forest without any bother at all. Give it a go!

You can read more about oca over at Temperate Climate Permaculture, Greenharvest and Thompson and Morgan.


Meet Mrytus

Our young Myrtus Ugni plants are on fire in our garden at the moment. They are all beauty and bursts of pink sherbet.


Originating from South America, these plants also go by the name of Chilean Guava and, more recently, Tazzi Berries – Tasmania’s attempt of claiming them as our own. Before having our own, we would make annual visits to the local retirement home where they’re in abundance as a popular landscaping plant. Most people plant them as an ornamental not realising these little berries are full of edible delight.


These tough plants can be grown in full sun to partial shade, thrive in good soil, but are charging on in a pretty crappy area of our garden. They’re planted in full sun on the edge of a dry bank where the soil is a combo of heavy clay top soil, plus a bit of sub soil mixed in thanks to excavations. After an initial period of regular watering we don’t do anything for them anymore – they’re just getting on with it. Our kind of plant.


We chose to plant them in this particular spot so they can also function as a living hedge, preventing people from slipping down a fairly steep bank. Left unattended, their average height is somewhere around 1.7 metres, but apparently they can get up to 3m in super prime conditions. We’ll be pruning them to around 1m high and .5m wide, keeping them nice and compact in a tight space.


As you can see above, the path is really narrow as we’re all about maximising growing space. We made it just wide enough to wedge a small baby in…

IMG_2827  To make sure they can hang out and admire the natural beauty life has to offer.


The one ‘downside’ (which isn’t a massive downside) is that the fruit is tiny, meaning the harvest is slow and that you tend to eat more than you actually put in the bowl. But we don’t mind. We might if were trying to farm them, but on a backyard scale they’re just fine.

IMG_2818We really enjoy using plants for multiple functions, sure they give us good food, but they’re also being a living fence and providing entertainment for small babes – what a clever plant.


Urban Living At Its Greatest

Meet Fin and Cara, they’re rad.

We met these two on our first Permaculture Design Course (in Good Life’s name) back in 2013 and have loved bumping into them around the place – they’re doers these two, and rather talented ones at that. Fin is one of the gardeners at The Agrarian Kitchen (and makes a mean homebrew) and Cara works as a school gardener and a graphic designer and can do pretty much anything as far as I can tell.

I paid a visit to their tiny rental home recently in central Hobart as word has got out about what they were up to. Not only do they have a beautiful multi layered garden in their own rental home, they also have a mini market garden AND they have a little shop out the front of their place where they sell homegrown produce, preserves and flowers. Oh the greatness!

IMG_2410Cara and Fin flanked by citrus trees, worm farm, scarlet runner beans, grapes, cucumbers, herbs, chillis and more


These two moved into the house a few months back – their landlord (another old student of ours) used to live here and planted a lot of fruit trees so these guys are now reaping the rewards of his work and taking it to the next level with adding a pumping vegetable garden in every nook and cranny they can find.

IMG_2407Annual and perennial crops (and these two lovely humans) live super closely side by side in harmony


Clotheslines aren’t safe around these folk – they become structures on which to grow edibles such as beans (above) and tomatoes (below). They definitely have their priorities straight…


IMG_2379Walking around Fin and Cara’s garden is like a treasure hunt as you get to find surprises like little worm farms hiding beneath the critus tree.

As well as selling vegies, flowers, herbs and preserves, Fin and Cara sell compost worm kits (online through gumtree) for people to kickstart their compost and garden. I know – they’re on fire aren’t they.

10353724_799478036826454_6638145003553653910_nFin sorting his worm castings from the worm farm


Then, out the back and around the corner of the garden is a small hot house used for propagating all their plants…


And then there’s their kitchen – which is as tiny, spunky and productive as their gardens. Despite its smallness, it’s massively alive with ferments, preserves and good vibes – gotta have those vibes.


10980756_799478130159778_5110270482523560480_nSauerkraut in action

Now, in addition to this wonderful garden – Cara and Fin have also got busy and made a mini market garden at their friends place in the next suburb over. This is where they keep their chickens and grow bulk crops. Check it out…




Finally, there’s their shop! This is where they sell all their excess produce and bring joy to everyone who gets to walk past it.


This sweet-as shop sells all their latest produce from their two gardens plus any preserves or excess seedlings they have. There’s a simple ‘honesty box’ where people can pop in their cash and pick up their goods which means Fin and Cara don’t actually need to stand on the footpath all day, every day. You usually see this type of thing out the front of farms in the country – we love that they’re doing it in down town Hobart. Legends.

IMG_2405  IMG_2402 IMG_2399

IMG_2397It happened to be Valentines Day when I dropped in – so the flower side of things was particularly pumping.

You can drop in and check out their shop anytime, it’s on the corner of York and Gosvenor St, Sandy Bay. If you’re lucky enough to actually see Fin and/or Cara while you’re there, be sure to given them a high 5 for making good stuff happen.

*PS – On a tangent – if you ever need some super funky graphic design work done – Cara’s your woman, she’s a very multi talented lass this one. Track her down through they’re compost worm add here.

**PPS – Thanks to Cara for letting us use some of her photos – all the good ones are hers. In fact if you ever need a photographer – ask Cara.


Experiments In Cheese Making

So we have a little baby, right – and at the moment I have so much breast milk I have to occasionally express it to avoid my boob’s exploding.  Once I got over the social norms which imply it’s weird to consume your own breast milk (heaven forbid) I’ve been drinking some, adding some to yoghurt (which is based on cows milk) and this morning thought I’d experiment with making 100% breast milk cheese – as you do early on a Monday morning.

I used the same old ‘farm cheese’ recipe I always follow (in my head) when making cheese with cows milk as it’s super quick, easy and tasty. Here’s how I do it…

The first step is to bring the milk up to just before boiling point – around 80 degrees.


Then, take it off the heat and add either lemon or apple cider vinegar. How much, you ask? I start with small amounts (i.e. half a lemon) and then add more until I see the milk curdle – which means the curd and whey separate which looks like milky snot globs forming amongst watering substance. Nice description, I know.

IMG_2294Alas, the 100% breast milk just did not want to curdle, I added more lemon, and then a touch of apple cider vinegar to see if that would make any difference. But it was beginning to taste super sour, so I surrendered to the fact that perhaps cheese made from 100% breast milk doesn’t work.

Some research suggests that breast milk has only 2.5% protein when compared to cows around 8% and goats 8.7%.  Apparently breast milk also has a bit more fat than the others but not my much.  When making cheese it is the proteins that react to form the characteristic curds.  The more protein the thicker the curd and higher the cheese yield.

In the name of a good science experiment, I also made a small batch of 70% cows milk and 30% breast milk cheese to compare the two. Below you can see cow/brest milk on the left which has been heated to 80 degrees and had 1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar added to it (I ran out of lemons). Straight away it has curdled, which is what you want. Compare this to the 100% breast milk mix on the right where I had put the juice from a whole lemon and a few teaspoons of vinegar into it with a whole lot of nothing happening.

A bit more research reveals a chef called Daniel Angerer caused a bit of a stir making cheese and blogging about it  in 2010.  His recipe involves a 50% cow and 50% breast milk mix.  He also uses true rennet (derived from animals) rather than an acidulant – like lemon juice. You can also use vegetarian rennet made with microbes or from thistle plants, microbial rennet is usually fermented from bacteria but can also be genetically modified. You can can vegetable rennet online from websites like this one – I’m sure there are others as well.

IMG_2298Cows milk on the left and breast milk on the right


The next step in cheese making is to strain the curdled mix through some cheese cloth – I put mine into a colander with a pot beneath it to catch the whey.


You can simply leave it here while is slowly drains, or you can hang the cheesecloth up (as below) to begin shaping it.


Before you walk away and let it drain, you can choose to add flavours at this point. I’ve added salt, pepper and thyme – which is herb of the moment in our house right now.


Just pop in your flavours of choice and mix them through


If you don’t hang it up, I encourage you to ‘press’ it with a bit of weight to speed up the draining process and to form a firm shape. I do something different every time, this morning I used a collection of bowls and plates to form my highly sophisticated press. IMG_2313

5 minutes later (I’m impatient) you have a soft mold of cheese ready to rock and roll. Of course you can leave it longer to get a firmer cheese, but technically you can eat it straight away.


But what happened to the pot of failed breast milk cheese? I used it to cook a batch of brown rice – in the past I’ve also used it as a base for making a curry or stew instead of stock or water. It’s a pretty amazing resource which has major health giving properties and there’s no way I’m tipping it down the sink.

You can read more about the benefits of breast milk on the Australian Breastfeeding Association. 


Comfrey Fritters

The official line on eating comfrey is that you should not eat it as it could cause you serious harm if eaten in large amounts (you can read all about comfrey here). So the following article is written based on personal experience and not as a recommendation. If concerned, you should go and talk with a professional medical health person before you go there. That’s my disclaimer. Now… Lets get into why I love eating comfrey and how!

I grew up on a small herb farm where we ate lots of strange and unusual plants, including comfrey. Every time we were sick, our folks would make us the ‘green drink’ which was based on whizzed up dandelion and comfrey leaves and juiced carrots and apples. It was amazing how effective this brew was and while we didn’t exactly LOVE the drink at the time, it really did have some major health giving properties – like seriously.

So when someone (I can’t actually remember who) showed me how to make comfrey fritters around 14 years ago, I was 200% into it.

IMG_2194The comfrey I use is the Russian comfrey (Symphytum × uplandicum), which is the most common variety around. While it loves growing in well drained, friable soil – it can also thrive in steep, compact, crappy soils – like ours. Each winter it dies back and each summer it comes back bigger and better – our kind of plant.

IMG_2195When I’m harvesting comfrey to make fritters I pick the small – medium sized leaves as they fit better into the fry pan, plus they’re nice and fresh.


Using any type of flour you like, make a batter of flour and water. You can also add in some flavours such as salt, paprika or herbs to taste at this point to add some extra flair. In terms of how much flour and water, just add water to your flour until you have a nice “slurry” – don’t make it too thick as you’ll end up eating dough – you want the comfrey leaf to shine through and dominate the culinary experience.


Dunk each leaf into your batter, making sure that there’s solid coverage of the batter over the whole leaf.


Fry them up in some olive oil (or other oil if you prefer) in a hot pan for approximately 5 minutes or until they turn golden brown’ish. A good trick is to leave their little stems on as it makes it easy to turn them over and pick them up.


And voila! They’re ready in no time at all – which is the best amount of time when cooking. You can eat them as they are or add them to a dinner of veggies, grains or anything that takes your fancy.


You can also get tricky and roll them up (as shown below) – this makes for easier eating, plus they look pretty. There’s also no reason why you couldn’t put some tasty morsels inside the rolls – I’m thinking kim chi, but it could be anything your heart (aka taste buds) desire.


I’m a firm believer that eating broadly and freely is good for you, meaning it’s ok to eat outside the box (if that makes sense). Don’t get me wrong, you most definitely should not ONLY eat comfrey (or any other one thing), but I do think that most things in moderation is not only ok, but probably really good for you.

Want to read more about comfrey?

The Slowpoke wrote a fab blog about its many uses here


Beautiful, Edible Family Traditions: AKA Pepparkakor

We don’t really do Christmas at our house, but we’re increasingly falling in love with family traditions which happen to occur on/around Christmas day. For me, Christmas is intrinsically  linked with mangoes (I grew up in sunny QLD) and playing cricket – for at least 6 hours with all the surrounding neighbours. For Anton, it’s making a hell of lot of pepparkakor biscuits. Anton’s family is half Swedish and adopted this tradition from his dad’s mob. It’s a simple biscuit which reminds me of ginger biscuits, but it is its own thing and the best part is that you ALWAYS make them in the shape of love hearts. So naturally I think they’re the best biscuit ever.


When I ask Anton what his earliest memory of pepparkakor is – he simply says that they were always there (around Christmas). It marked that time of the year – summer, Christmas and pepparkakor all go together. Every year Ros (his mum) would make (and still does) a major batch of this tasty treats to snack on over the festive season. There’s something really wonderful about these traditions that are passed down between generations, across continents and cultures. It’s a special way of keeping age old skills and stories alive. Love that.

IMG_1934Anton even has a special cloth he uses when he makes pepparkakor woven by his grandmother, Signe Wikstrom (pronounced Vikstrom) with her initials on it.

When I had my first Christmas with Anton’s family there was constantly a full bowl of pepparkakor on the table for the week leading up to the big day and after, if we hadn’t eaten them all. They don’t just make a dozen or so, they make hundreds – it’s quite impressive – all those edible love hearts – here’s a recipe straight from Ros to the world…

Pepparkakor Recipe: Enough to make 300

FYI there are two things you need to know about this Swedish recipe:

1) 1deciliter (dl) = around a third of cup

2) Ros says you should go easy on the flour at first as it’s easy to add it later and a nuisance if you add too much.


  • 100g butter
  • 3dl thick cream
  • 3dl golden syrup or treacle (maple syrup s too runny)
  • 2 1/2dl brown sugar
  • 2 1/2dl white sugar
  • 2tbsp cinnamon
  • 1tbsp ginger powder
  • 1/2tbsp ground cloves
  • cardemum to taste – a few pinches
  • 2 to 2 1/2 litres of plain flour
  • 2tbsp carb soda

IMG_1938The dough is left to sit overnight to let it rest


  • Warm butter until it’s melted
  • Stir well and add whipped cream, white sugar, brown sugar, syrup and spices.
  • Stir well for about 15-20 minutes.
  • Mix the bicarb with a bit of flour – add flour until right consistency and save rest of the flour for later.
  • Cover and leave overnight. We actually left ours for a week while we renovated the kitchen and came back to it later
  • Roll the dough out super thin and get your love heart on in a major way to cut out a few hundred of them
  • Lay out in trays and bake in “good oven temperature” around 220, as long as it’s HOT. We do around 210 degrees in our oven.

They only take around 5 minutes to cook, so you have to hang around and get a major production chain going on with one person making them and one person popping them in and out of the oven.


IMG_1948Anton in action – there’s no stopping him once he gets going


The kitchen is a source of so many traditions, useful skills and family stories. I love learning and integrating new traditions into my life that have such a long lineage and which also happen to taste super fine.

Happy Festive Season to you all, may it be lined with traditions from long ago or which you’re creating right now and may they be ones which please your head, heart, hands and belly. XX

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