Soft Ewe’s Torta On Rye, Oat & Hemp Knackerbrood With Sun-Dried Lacto-Plums

knackerbrood with cheese and sour lacto-plum

If nine-tenths of taste is smell why is it that amazing tasting cheese can often smell so disgustingly bad? This year’s 34th National Cheese And Wine Fair hosted in our diminutive City Of Trujillo was no less odorous than usual. It was, however a day longer, starting mid-week to mark the May-Day holiday.

Conscious of the dairy industry’s damaging effects on the environment but being dedicated cheese lovers we opt for a middle way of goat and ewe’s cheeses from small independent producers, the cost and the caloires taking care of how much and often

Queijaria Monte Da Vinha – Portuguese ewe’s cheeses from Trujillo’s National cheese – and wine – fair
Continue reading “Soft Ewe’s Torta On Rye, Oat & Hemp Knackerbrood With Sun-Dried Lacto-Plums”

Vegan Sour Tamales – With Pumpkin-Seed, Tomatillo & Courgette Filling

fermented Sour Michoacan Tamales With Tomatillo Salsa And Pumpkin Seed

Vegan Sour Tamales – Corn At Its Best!

The usual thing with tamal dough is to chill it, something which greatly helps it pass the float-test, a sure sign that the end result will be light and fluffy. Sour tamales, on the contrary, are allowed to rest in warm place to ferment.

Nixtamalization, or lime-treatment of corn has great nutritional benefits. The alkaline lime (calcium hydroxide) breaks down the indigestible outer husk releasing essential amino acids and vitamins. Enter fermentation to fully open the door to nutrients not otherwise available. This is maize at its very best. Continue reading “Vegan Sour Tamales – With Pumpkin-Seed, Tomatillo & Courgette Filling”

Pizza Tamalera: Gluten-Free Maize Crust Pizza


Polenta-based pizza is nothing new. And quite delicious, though many would argue whether it’s a pizza at all. The question seems to me academic. What is not academic is that nixtamal or lime-treated corn is not polenta! Nixtamalized corn has more protein, more vitamins – especially vit B3 (niacin), essentially unavailable in untreated corn – and of course exrtra calcium from the lime. It also has a more intense flavour – the flavour of maize. Continue reading “Pizza Tamalera: Gluten-Free Maize Crust Pizza”

Basic Dough For Tamales

white-maize in a bowl


Getting tortillas right from raw ingredients took about 100 go’s. The process is labour intensive so Mexicans buy them ready-made or use masa-harina for instant results. Without the benefit of a personal tutor I had only trial-and-error to guide me. Of course I got there in the end!

Tamales are much easier. Mexican cooks make tamales, and I got that hands-on tutorial (thanks, Maria and Yolanda – you know who you are!). Continue reading “Basic Dough For Tamales”

Mexican Tamales

corn-husk and banana leaf wrapped Mexican corn tamales

The tamal is recorded at least as far back as 5000 BC. Tamales may have evolved from other nixtamal-based items, such as tortillas, out of the need for soldiers and warriors to have access to pre-perared food in the many wars between between pre-hispanic peoples.

Tamales are essentially corn dumplings, filled with meat, fish, vegetables, even insects or their eggs, wrapped in corn husks, or in more tropical regions plantain or avocado leaves, then cooked in a variety of ways. There are savoury and sweet tamales, filled and unfilled (blind), open (unwarapped) and closed, steamed, boiled, roasted, fried, even fermented tamales. the range is potentially endless Continue reading “Mexican Tamales”

Quick Injera AKA Lahoh

ethiopian injera with vegan side dishes

Here we use yeast for breads you can make in minutes rather than days.

If you can,  buy a sourdough starter. Or make your own. It’ll only take you three days! Put a cupful of flour in a bowl with a cup and half of tepid water and half a teaspoon of instant dry yeast. Mix well and leave, covered but not sealed, for three days. Initially there’ll be lots of frothy activity – eventually the mixture settles and a brownish liquid form on top. Ready.

The throusand hole crepe is in fact popular throughout North Africa. Continue reading “Quick Injera AKA Lahoh”

Instant Injera

Ethiopian Injera on a skillet

I’ve deliberately left out the dish’s nationality as I don’t know how an Ethiopian cook would react to the suggestion of making a non-sour-dough version of their ancestral dish. Indian cooks give this treatment to some of their traditionally fermented dishes like Dosa or Dhokla without a blink. Granted, we’re not in India, but it is quick. And tasty. Continue reading “Instant Injera”

Teff Injera: naturally fermented sourdough bread

fermented ethiopian injera bread with 3 condiments

It’s hard to describe the flavour of Injera. It is sour, but that wouldn’t begin to describe the unique complexity of this, one of the world’s great breads.

Made from Teff, a non-gluten, high-protein grain native to Ethiopia  and Eritrea traditional Injera ferments for 3-5 days and nights, to become a probiotic wonder bursting with goodness as well as flavour. Sounds long winded? Just remember you’ve delegated the task of creating sourdough to lactic-acid bacteria while you get on with other things.

And if you can’t get hold of Teff I’ve eaten great “njera” made from buckwheat and millet, both also gluten-free.  You can  even use wheat! A step too far? Not at all. Officially you’d be eating another bread popular to the region, lahoh. But what’s in a name?

Continue reading “Teff Injera: naturally fermented sourdough bread”

Injera: Ethiopia’s Thousand-Hole Pancake With Vegan Accompaniments

making injera

Britain is still gripped in a suffocating heatwave. Here is Spain tempratures are higher  but in Trujillo you wouldn’t think so – the air is dry so you barely sweat – you do, but it evaporates to keep you cool, the slightest breaze, though hot,  feels refreshing, and night-time temperatures are 25C degrees lower than by day! Locals are calling this a cool summer, though 40C is forcast for next week when summer proper is due to arrive. Can’t wait…

I love fermenting grains in the hot weather and two of my many number-one favourites are Ethiopian teff Injera and Ghanaian maize Kenkey.  The Injera battter prepared, I now need to wait 3-4 days (5 in the winter) for it to ferment.  Once accomplished  I’ll let you in on the secret. And as usual I’ll suggest alternative grains and how to cheat for instant results. Continue reading “Injera: Ethiopia’s Thousand-Hole Pancake With Vegan Accompaniments”