Wild mead

Mead, sometimes referred to as honey wine, may not be a popular fermented drink any longer but it is one of the most ancient ones and it’s very easy to make.  It is made by fermenting honey with water, usually with some flavouring added. Depending on the concentration of honey in the water, and on how the fermentation in managed, mead can be sweet or dry,  still or sparkling. Dry mead will usually be more alcoholic (up to 20%), as all the sugar in the honey is fermented, and if you bottle the brew before the fermentation is completed you will end up with a fizzy drink as the CO² from the fermentation is trapped in the bottle.
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Kombucha

kumbucha with lemon vervena leaves
Stefanie’s kombucha with fresh mint flavouring, just bottled

Our love affair with fermented food is forever deepening and growing stronger!

In the early days, it was just sourdough bread, and gallons of elderflower champagne in June.  Then, in 2005, I discovered lacto fermented vegetables while woofing in the South of France and there was no turning back. After many jars of sauerkraut and kimchi, the arrival of our  two milking sheep at Macalla farm in 2009 presented us with yet more fermentation opportunities—in the form of yoghurt, cheese and kefir.

The recent visit to our farm by Dan from Australia, another serious fermentation aficionado, expanded our fermentation repertoire even further as he brought with him to the island some live Kombucha. Read more

The Art of Lacto-fermentation

lacto fermented food

It first occurred with samphire, this only-locally-known marshplucked food became haute-cuisine overnight, in fact timbales lain with samphire sprigs in chic London restaurants are now so commonplace they are nearly passé. Then nettles: not just in soups, but in gnocchi, in vinaigrettes, and before long, the likes of sautéed foie-gras and roasted veal sweetbreads were being served on a bed of wilted Dorset nettles. Then game: woodcock on toast, head still on, beak spiking through body, became the sexiest starter. Now, with the latest rustic DIY trends, nudging into foodspeak is lacto-fermentation. It may sound horribly Heston Blumenthal, but lacto-fermentation is not only simple, but a highly nutritious, tasty, ethical and low-energy way of preserving vegetables and dealing with autumnal garden gluts. Read more