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My baby bump

I have been inspired to approach my pregnancy and parenthood by a wonderful organisation that I came across last year, who celebrate traditional diets and have helped in my recovery from Candida.  Following my diagnosis last year with Candida Albicans and embarking on a detox and overhaul of my diet to regain my health, I was told about the Weston A Price Foundation (WAPF).

I’ve been through so many ‘foodie phases’ since my Uni days: eating lots of Asian food; exploring ‘health’ foods; buying organic, then local; being obsessed by buying recipe books and watching cooking programmes; growing my own (which has stuck), and many others I’m sure I’ve forgotten.

Raw French butter
Raw French butter

Looking back on this I see how lost and confused I was in this vast world of food opportunities and how I was just desperately seeking something that clicked for me.  A way of eating and cooking that just felt right, and natural.

When I started to read about the WAPF everything just seemed to fall into place for me.  Here was this organisation encouraging and teaching all about traditional foods and cooking – it was like someone had designed a guide based on what I was feeling inside about food.  In a funny sort of way it just seemed so much simpler and less complicated than all the other food ways I’d experimented with before.

And I trusted it.  I didn’t worry that in a few months, or years, I’d be told “sorry, that advice we gave you to eat that, well it’s wrong, stop eating it.”

Soaked and dehydrated nuts for yoghurt topping
Soaked and dehydrated nuts for yoghurt topping

Last year Mr Rigg and I had been talking about starting a family, but I’d just been feeling so unwell in myself that it wasn’t until I started to heal the effects of my Candida that I thought I could really consider it.

I was seeing fantastic benefits from the detox I was doing, but I was concerned that I was cutting out some major food groups that I felt I needed to be eating in order to be getting a balanced diet. I just didn’t feel it would be right to try and get pregnant as I currently was.

Me and Mr Rigg
Me and Mr Rigg

I saw all the benefits of detoxing and cleansing my body, or allowing it a chance to heal, but I desperately felt I needed things like dairy back into my diet in order to be in a positive place for my body to create and grow a baby.

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Breakfast of homemade soaked granola and raw milk

Recently I’ve been trying to wean us off cereals – by wean, I mean I’ve just stopped buying it, which for poor Mr Rigg has meant going cold turkey on cereals at breakfast.

If you’re interested why I’m keen to steer away from cereals it’s because I’ve come to realise that there isn’t much good in them, despite what they like to tell us on their TV adverts.

Soaked granola with seeds, nuts and dried fruit

We had this lovely recipe for granola that we used to make, which was delicious both with milk and yoghurt.  The only problem is that I’ve also developed an interest in how grains were traditionally prepared, and how they used to be soaked before drying.

This is because things like grains and nuts and seeds have enzyme inhibitors in them, which unless soaked first, prevent us from absorbing all the goodness in them like vitamins and minerals.

Honey nut and seed granola

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Hot chocolate ice cream sauce

Today I’m sharing this recipe for homemade hot chocolate ice cream sauce because my sister Izzy tweeted how much she wanted a bowl of ice cream with chocolate sauce (and we’ve been eating it this week), and because it’s rather scrummy.

We’ve tried a number of different ways of making chocolate sauce for ice cream, so this is probably a combination of a number of those, but for now in our house it will be known at Mr Rigg’s chocolate sauce, because he makes it. The other night I was tasked with making it whilst Mr Rigg washed up, so I got a lesson on how it’s made and decided to document it to share with you all too.

Hot Chocolate Ice Cream Sauce

First, take 50g of milk chocolate and break it into a saucepan.

Milk chocolate

Next, add 50g of dark chocolate (at least 70%) and add it to the milk chocolate.  We used Green & Black’s organic chocolate.

Dark chocolate

Add a knob of butter to the pan (there is no specific weight measurement for this, sorry, we just to it by eye – it’s probably golf ball sized) and put it over a gentle heat.

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Homemade maple syrup hot chocolate

For the past couple of months I have been avoiding sugar for health reasons, even natural sugars (honey, fruit juices, maple syrup) as best as possible.  I am now able to eat smaller amount and I’m enjoying the adventure of trying out alternatives to previously enjoyed sweet treats.

One of my absolute favourite things is hot chocolate – I have long enjoyed a mug of Green’s & Black hot chocolate, and at the start of the year the luxurious treat of Montezuma’s hot chocolate, which is made with real shavings of chocolate.  But both of these, despite being great options to conventional hot chocolate mixtures, still contain sugar.

Homemade sugar free hot chocolate

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Homemade kefir

Have you heard of kefir?  I hadn’t until a couple of months ago and now here I am attempting to make my own.  That makes it sound like there’s a lot of hard work on my behalf, but there isn’t really – the kefir grains work their magic without a lot of intervention from me.

I ordered my kefir grains online from Kefir Heaven, this is what they say about kefir if you’re not sure what it is: “In a nutshell, a kefir grain is a gelatinous, convoluted particle obtained from fermented milk.”

And why am I making my own kefir?  Well, it makes a very good for you kind of yoghurt (I’m sure kefir experts might say that’s not quite right), but somehow these little glue-like grains do something magical to milk to produce a thick yoghurt like mixture that’s full of beneficial probiotic bacteria.

Kefir grains in raw milk

So this morning my kefir grains arrived from Kefir Heaven, carefully packaged up and with instructions for me to follow to ensure my grains get the best start in life.  All I needed was a clean jar with a lid and 200ml milk (I used some of my raw Jersey milk).

To start with, all I have to do is carefully remove the grains and the tiny bit of milk they’re in from their plastic pouch, pop them into a clean jar, pour over the milk and seal the lid.

Making kefir

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Raw French butter

At school and University I was never any good at writing about things I cared passionately about, I always got lower grades for those essays, and did better in ones where I didn’t feel an emotional investment in what I was writing about.  So I fear that as I write now I’m it’s going to all be a bit of mess – so I’ll try and keep it to the point!

I have been eagerly awaiting a box today, a box that contains three litres of real milk.  Real milk, raw milk, unpasteurised milk, whatever you want to call it, this milk came straight from John’s Jerseys in Herefordshire without any fuss or tinkering with into a bottle and to my doorstep.

Raw Jersey milk

For those of you sweet enough to read what I share regularly, you may recall that I’ve mentioned some health issues I’ve had in the past few months. Whilst I still don’t feel in a position to write about them just yet, they have set me on the most exciting journey to ‘real food’.

I have done so much reading and learning recently and I am thoroughly enjoying it, soaking up everything I can.  In my searching I came across a fantastic shop down in Alsager, Cheshire (not to far from us) called The Real Food Company.  I took a drive there last week and spent nearly two hours in what is a pretty small shop chatting to one of the shop assistants and coming away with a basketful of goodies.

Raw French salted butter

I am particularly interested (and excited) about raw dairy at the moment. Through a recommendation from some friends at Aspen House B&B I decided to order some raw Jersey milk from John’s Jerseys, and from The Real Food Company I also bought raw butter (imported from France – raw butter, is, to coin a term a friend uses, “as rare as hen’s teeth”) and raw yoghurt.

That raw butter is extraordinarily tasty, especially the salted version which I could quite happily lick off a knife (don’t tell my mum!).  I’m also going to try using some of the raw milk to make my own yoghurt, using the raw yoghurt I bought to get me started.

Anyway, I really wanted to share my excited about these new discoveries, and hope to share some of my attempts at making yoghurt (it doesn’t sound too difficult) and other bits and pieces I have in mind to try.

We’ve been eating the raw butter on lightly toasted Biga bread (18 hour fermented from Tortoise Bakery) topped with a smear of amber coloured French honey…

Biga bread with raw butter and honey

Has anyone else tried raw milk, butter or yoghurt?

A couple of weeks ago I was lucky enough to be invited to the National Trust’s Fine Farm Produce Awards in London.  Before the evening event I spent the afternoon wandering around Borough Market – a place I’ve heard lots about, always wanted to go, but have never been.

Here’s what I found…

Loving the window full of pickled onions

I could have bought so much cheese home but I would have been unpopular on the train home!

Beautiful breads but with London prices

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Eat the Earth

I love food, especially locally grown and seasonal food. This is my place to share my food finds and the food I like to eat.

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