Summer and salad go hand-in-hand and this offering from Heather Whinney’s Virtually Vegan is a fresh, sweet, figgy take on a summertime staple. Complete with a harissa and mint dressing for an unmatched kick!

Taken from Virtually Vegan by Heather Whinney

Serves 4–6
Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 40 mins

Ingredients
400g/14oz/2 cups dried Puy lentils, rinsed well
a pinch of allspice
2 garlic cloves, grated
about 10 fresh figs
a drizzle of olive oil
200g/7oz coconut pieces
2 celery stalks, trimmed and finely sliced
3 spring onions/scallions, trimmed and finely chopped
1 large handful of land cress or baby spinach leaves
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the dressing
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
1–2 tsp harissa, plus extra for drizzling
1 handful of mint leaves, finely chopped, plus extra to garnish

Method
1 Put the lentils in a pan of salted water and bring to the boil, then turn the heat down and simmer with the lid partially on for about 40 minutes, or until tender. Drain well and leave to one side.
2 While they are cooking, make the dressing. Put the oil and vinegar in a small bowl or jug, whisk and season with salt and pepper, then stir in the harissa and mint. Pour it over the lentils while they are still warm so they soak up the flavours. Add the allspice and garlic and stir well so all the lentils are coated. Taste and season some more if needed.
3 Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas 6.
4 Put the figs in a roasting pan and drizzle over the oil, add the coconut to the pan and roast for about 10–15 minutes until the juices start to just run from the figs and the coconut begins to turn golden. When cool enough to handle, slice the coconut pieces into shards and roughly chop the figs or quarter them. Leave to one side.
5 When the lentils are cool, stir in the celery, spring onions/ scallions and cress or spinach leaves, then add the figs and half the coconut and stir gently. Transfer to a serving bowl, scatter over the remaining coconut shards and mint leaves and drizzle with a little extra harissa oil from the jar to serve.

For non-vegans…
The Moroccan flavours of this salad work well with lamb kebabs, particularly for a barbecue. Alternatively, crumbled feta would make a tasty topping.

Don’t forget to tag us – @nourishbooks – in your recreations! Happy cooking!

Too Good to Waste by Victoria Glass is THE guide to getting the very most out of your food, in the most delicious way possible! So much good food is thrown away when actually, with a bit of creative thinking, you can eat up everything – and enjoy a much more exciting meal for it.  This book is about rethinking what we throw away, and why. By taking this waste-free approach, these recipes are some of the most inventive and innovative that you will ever try, and can show you a whole new way to think about your meals. Start your food waste journey with this delicious recipe!

From Victoria: ‘This is a great way of eating scallops without blowing your budget. The wrappers can be kept chilled for up to 4 days, or frozen for up to 3 months. You can open freeze raw, filled dumplings; just defrost before cooking. Shop-bought wrappers and a gyoza press will turn this labour of love into a speedy supper.’

Taken from Too Good to Waste by Victoria Glass

Serves 6-8

Ingredients

For the pickled brassica stems
a thumb of root ginger, peeled and cut into fine matchsticks
3 spring onions/scallions, cut into fine matchsticks
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tbsp sunflower oil
1 tbsp sesame oil
1½ tbsp mirin
2 tbsp tamari
2 tsp dark soft brown sugar
base of 2 cauliflower or broccoli heads, cut into matchsticks
For the gyoza wrappers
200g/7oz/1½ cups plain/all-purpose flour
⅓ tsp fine sea salt
cornflour/cornstarch, for dusting
For the seafood filling
8 large scallops, finely chopped
8 spring onions/scallions, chopped
3–4 garlic cloves, crushed
a thumb of root ginger, peeled and finely chopped or grated
1 long red chilli, with seeds if you like it hot, finely chopped
2 tbsp tamari soy sauce
2 tbsp sesame oil
2 tsp sugar
1 tbsp sunflower oil
Ponzu Dipping Sauce, to serve

Method
Put all the pickling-liquid ingredients into a large plastic box and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Toss with the brassica stems, cover and chill, shaking the box every now and then. They will last for up to a week.
Sift the flour and salt into a bowl. Slowly mix in 100ml/3½fl oz/scant ½ cup boiling water to form a dough, stirring with a chopstick. Dust with cornflour/cornstarch and knead for 10 minutes, or until smooth and elastic. Cut in half and roll into two 4cm/1½in thick sausage shapes. Wrap in cling film/plastic wrap and rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.
Unwrap both sausages, dust with cornflour/cornstarch and cut each one into 15 pieces. Cover with a damp cloth. One at a time, shape into a ball, then flatten and roll out to a circle about 3mm/⅛in thick. Use an 8cm/3¼in round cutter to make a perfect circle, if you wish. Keep dusting with cornflour/cornstarch to prevent sticking and cover all the pastry with a damp cloth to stop it from drying out.
Mix the filling ingredients, then leave to stand for 10 minutes. Put a scant teaspoon of filling in the middle of a wrapper. Wet the edges and fold the wrapper over the filling, pleating the edges to seal and expelling the air. Heat the sunflower oil in a wide, heavy-based pan. Fry half the gyoza at a time for a few minutes, or until the bottoms are brown and crisp. Add 3 tablespoons water, cover and steam for 2 minutes. Serve with the pickled brassica stalks and the ponzu dipping sauce.

Go forth, cook and devour! Don’t forget to tag us (@NourishBooks) in your social pics!

Today we’re sharing a much coveted Real Bread: Slow Dough recipe – Cinnamon and Hazelnut Knots! These sweet knots are beloved all over Scandinavia, whip up a batch of 8 using Chris Young’s recipe.

From Chris:
‘Back in early 2010, I spent two nights at Fifteen, the enterprise set up by Jamie Oliver to help train young people who have the passion to work in a high-end restaurant but who have struggled to hold down, or even find, a job. I was there to see what other bakeries could learn about taking on apprentices, and these buns are inspired by a loaf their baker Kenny Rankin showed me how to make, as well as by the spiced, enriched buns found across Scandinavia.’

Taken from Slow Dough: Real Bread

 

Makes: 8 buns
From Mixing to Oven: 4½–6½ hours
Baking Time: 15–20 minutes

Ingredients
Dough:
250g/9oz/1¾ cups white bread flour
100g/3½oz/¾ cup plain/all-purpose flour
140g/5oz/generous 1⁄2 cup buttermilk
40g/1½oz/¼ cup caster/superfine sugar
30g/1oz/2 tbsp butter
10g/2 tsp fresh yeast
1 egg
5g/1 tsp fine/table salt
Filling:
100g/3½oz/1¾ cups fresh white breadcrumbs, very fine
100g/3½oz/heaping ½ cup caster/superfine sugar
100g/3½oz/⅔ cup ground hazelnuts
4g/1½ tsp ground cinnamon
75g/2½oz/scant ½ cup water
icing/confectioners’ sugar, for glazing

Method
1 Mix all of the dough ingredients together thoroughly, then knead until you have a smooth, silky, stretchy dough. Cover and leave at room temperature for 3–5 hours until well risen.
2 Meanwhile, mix the filling ingredients together, adding the water a little at a time until you have a spreadable paste (you may not need it all). Cover and leave in the refrigerator until needed. Line a baking sheet with non-stick baking parchment.
3 Roll the dough out on a lightly floured work surface into a 40x20cm/16x8in rectangle, with the long edges to the sides and a short edge facing you. Spread the filling over the half of the dough nearest to you, then fold the remaining dough towards you to cover this.
4 Cut the dough lengthways into 8 strips, stretching them out to 25–30cm/10–12in long. Take a strip and, holding one end in each hand, twist it to create a rope effect (see below, fig. 1). Holding one end firmly between thumb and forefinger, wrap the rest of the strip around twice (fig. 2), finishing by tucking the end of the strip into the middle of the spiral you have just created (fig. 3). Place on the lined baking sheet and repeat with the remaining strips of dough. Cover and leave to rise for 1 hour.
5 Heat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan/400°F/gas 6. Bake the knots for 10 minutes, then turn the oven down to 180°C/160°C fan/350°F/ gas 4 and continue to bake for a further 5–10 minutes until golden brown. Leave to cool on a wire rack for 5–10 minutes, glazing the knots while still warm by brushing with water and dusting with icing/confectioners’ sugar through a small sieve/strainer

The #midweekmeal veggie burger recipe you’ve been after! Taken from The Part-Time Vegetarian by Nicola Graimes, this plant-based burger takes less than 45 minutes to prep and cook, it’s full of flavour and a firm family favourite. Read on for the full recipe!

Taken from The Part-Time Vegetarian by Nicola Graimes

Serves: 4
Preparation time:  15 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes

Ingredients
90g/31⁄4oz/generous 1⁄2 cup red quinoa
400g/14oz can borlotti beans, drained
2 spring onions/scallions, finely chopped
5 sun-dried tomatoes, finely chopped
1⁄2 red pepper, deseeded and diced
1 tsp hot smoked paprika
1 tbsp soy sauce
2 tsp dried oregano flour, for dusting
sunflower oil, for frying
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
rocket/arugula, watercress and spinach
salad, to serve

To finish
3 tbsp sweet chilli sauce
3 tbsp mayonnaise
4 ciabatta rolls or sesame seed buns,
split in half and lightly toasted
3 tomatoes, sliced into rounds
2 handfuls of salad leaves
1 avocado, peeled, pitted and diced

Method
1
Put the quinoa in a saucepan, cover with water and bring to the boil over a high heat. Turn the heat down and simmer for 20 minutes, covered, until very tender (it should be softer in texture than normal), then drain.
2
Meanwhile, mix together the sweet chilli sauce and mayonnaise.
3
Tip the cooked quinoa into a food processor with the borlotti beans and process to a coarse paste, leaving some of the beans almost whole. Spoon the mixture into a bowl and stir in the spring onions/scallions, sun-dried tomatoes, red pepper, smoked paprika, soy sauce and oregano. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
4
Quarter the mixture and shape each portion into a large burger with floured hands, then lightly dust each burger in flour. Heat enough oil to coat the base of a large non-stick frying pan over a medium heat and fry the burgers for 6–8 minutes, turning once, until golden and crisp. (Alternatively, brush with oil and cook on a baking sheet in the oven preheated to 190°C/375°F/Gas 5 for 25 minutes, turning once, until golden and crisp.)
5
To serve, spread each half of the toasted ciabatta rolls with the sweet chilli mayonnaise. Top one half of each roll with the tomato, salad leaves, burger and avocado and then the ciabatta lid. Serve with salad.

Happy cooking! Don’t forget to tag @NourishBooks when you post your creations online.

Taken from Mowgli: Street Food by Nisha Katona, this staple dish is a firm favourite in South Asian households! Full vegan and definitely delicious, read ahead for some words of wisdom from Nisha herself.

From Nisha: “Many Indians are vegan. Aubergine/eggplant is India’s best-loved vegetable and the reason for this, my Maa and I reckon, is because it is the closest many Indians get to that meat texture. We always fry the aubergine before we add our curry spices, unlike in Thai cuisine. This adds a caramelised sweetness to the flesh that does much of the legwork in creating the massive flavours in this dish.”

Taken from Mowgli: Street Food

PREP: 10 MINUTES
COOK: 30 MINUTES
SERVES 4

Ingredients
4 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp panch phoron
1 large dried red chilli
2 large aubergines/eggplants, cut into long, thin 5cm/2 inch slices
¼ tsp ground turmeric
¼ tsp chilli powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp caster/granulated sugar
juice of ¼ lemon
250g/9oz canned chopped tomatoes
1 tablespoon chopped coriander/ cilantro leaves 

Method
1 Put the vegetable oil in a large non-stick frying pan set over a medium-high heat. When hot, add the panch phoron and fry until they start to crackle, then add the red chilli and aubergines and, turning the heat down to low, partially cover and cook for 10 minutes or until the aubergines are golden brown and tender.
2 Stir the ground turmeric, chilli powder, salt, sugar, lemon juice and the canned tomatoes into the aubergine mix and fry for a further 6 minutes until the oil has started to split out of the tomatoes. Garnish with the chopped coriander and serve. 

Happy cooking!
Don’t forget to tag us in your cooking Instas, #NourishBooks!

We’re sharing some bread you’ll just loaf for #RealBreadWeek!

This recipe is included in Slow Dough: Real Bread by Chris Young, it was contributed by Ursi Widemann. Here’s what she said: “I love pretzels! I could eat them every single day . . . maybe it’s because I’m Bavarian”.

Pretzels are usually dipped in a solution of sodium hydroxide (lye) prior to baking, which gives them their characteristic taste and shiny brown skin. As food-grade sodium hydroxide can be hard to obtain and is hazardous to handle, this recipe uses bicarbonate of soda/baking soda instead, which gets you safely toward a similar result.

 

Taken from Slow Dough: Real Bread

 

Makes: 12
From mixing to oven: 12–16 hours
Baking time: 15–20 minutes

Ingredients
For the pre-ferment:
125g/4½oz/¾ cup plus 2 tbsp wholemeal/wholewheat bread flour
20g/1½ tbsp rye sourdough starter
100g/3½oz/½ cup minus 1 tbsp water
For the dough:
375g/13oz/223 cups white bread flour
25g/1oz/2 tbsp butter
8g/1½ tsp fine/table salt
160g/5¾oz/23 cup water
For dipping:
1kg/2lb 4oz/4¼ cups water
20g/heaping 1½ tbsp bicarbonate of soda/baking soda
For the topping:
coarse sea salt flakes or crystals, or you could use sesame seeds, poppy seeds or caraway seeds

Method
1
Mix the pre-ferment ingredients together, cover and leave at room temperature for 8–12 hours until bubbly.
2 Mix the dough ingredients with the pre-ferment, and knead until you have a firm but supple dough: tighter than usual, but if it really is too stiff to work, add a little more water. Put the dough into a bowl, cover and leave to rise at room temperature for a further 3 hours, giving the dough a single fold halfway through this time.
3 Divide the dough into 12 equal-size pieces (65g/2¼oz), roll into balls, cover and leave for 20 minutes, then roll each piece into a strand about 25cm/10in long that tapers at the ends with a little belly in the middle. Bend each strand into a “U” shape, cross one side over the other about halfway up, give it a twist where they cross, then fold the ends up to meet the bend of the U and press down gently to fix in place. Cover the dough and leave to prove for 45–60 minutes.
4 Line a baking sheet with non-stick baking parchment and heat the oven to 230°C/210°C fan/450°F/gas 8. Meanwhile, bring the water to the boil in a large pan and add the bicarbonate of soda/baking soda. Drop the pretzels into the boiling liquid 2 or 3 at a time for 20 seconds, lift out with a slotted spoon and place onto the baking sheet. Immediately sprinkle with the topping of your choice while the dough is still tacky. Slash the dough at its fattest part and bake for 15–20 minutes until deep brown.

Happy baking! Don’t forget to tag us in your posts – #NourishBooks AND #RealBreadWeek!

This season of The Great British Bake Off might be over but (!) we’re still feeling the ache to bake! Also, you know, who doesn’t need cake on a Tuesday afternoon? We’re going for this decadent Cardamom Custard Tart from crowd favourite Mowgli Street Food by Nisha Katona, it’s one for the ages.

        Cardamom Custard Tart from Mowgli Street Food

 

From Nisha: ‘This is such a great variation on the comfort food of our grandmothers’ generation. Cardamom works tremendously well in any dishes that are milk based; the aromatic oils in the spice seem to bring custards alive. The other spices you need to play with – omit or enhance as your taste demands – but it is the sprinkle of cardamom at the end that wakes the pudding up in eastern climes.’

 

Ingredients

For the pastry:

145g/5oz/generous ½ cup cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes

250g/9oz/1⅔ cups plain/all-purpose flour

¼ tsp ground cloves

⅛ tsp ground ginger

¼ tsp ground cinnamon

¼ tsp nutmeg

110g/3¾oz/½ cup caster/granulated sugar

1 egg, beaten

1 tbsp full-cream/whole milk

For the custard:

250ml/9fl oz/1 cup double/heavy cream

250ml/9fl oz/1 cup full-cream/ whole milk

1 vanilla pod/bean, split

8 large egg yolks

100g/3½oz/scant ½ cup caster/granulated sugar

2 green cardamom pods, crushed

2.5cm/1 inch piece of fresh root ginger, peeled

1 whole nutmeg

1 clove

2 black peppercorns

1 small bay leaf

3 sprigs of fresh thyme

¼ tsp rosewater

⅛ tsp ground turmeric

1 tbsp ground cardamom, plus extra to sprinkle

 

Method

  1. Start by making the pastry. Rub the cold butter into the flour and ground spices with your fingertips until it starts to resemble breadcrumbs. Add the sugar, egg and milk and gently bring together until it forms a smooth dough.
  2. 2  Lightly flour your work surface and roll the pastry out to a thickness of 3–4mm/⅛–¼ inch, then line a 20cm/8 inch tart pan, leaving about 3cm/11⁄4 inches of pastry overhanging the edge of the pan. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  3. Preheat your oven to 180°C/350°F/gas 4. Take your pastry case out of the refrigerator, prick all over with a fork and line with baking parchment, then fill with baking beads. Blind bake for 20 minutes, then remove the baking beads and parchment and bake for a further 15 minutes or until it is golden brown. Remove from the oven and lower the temperature to 140°C/275°F/gas 1.
  4. To make the custard, put the cream, milk and vanilla pod in a medium saucepan set over a medium heat and bring up to the boil. In a mixing bowl, beat the egg yolks with the sugar until pale white, then pour a little of the hot cream mixture over the egg yolks and mix well. Pour this back into the saucepan, then add the rest of the custard ingredients. Reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring continuously, for a further 5 minutes. Strain the custard into a pouring jug and skim off any froth or bubbles.
  5. Carefully pour the custard into the case, then place the tart case on a shelf in the middle of your oven. Bake for 40–45 minutes or until just set – there should still be a slight wobble to the custard as it’s removed from the oven.
  6. Trim off the overhanging edges, then leave to cool completely. Finish with a sprinkle of ground cardamom just before serving.

Happy baking! Tag us (@NourishBooks, #NourishBooks) on social media, we’d love to see your creations.

A very Happy (almost) Thanksgiving to our American followers! If you’re on the lookout for a vegan celebration meal, look no further than Rose Elliot’s Complete Vegan by @roseelliot.mbe. Rose’s recipe for this nut roast is pleasantly festive, making it a perfect, seasonal addition to a plant-based Thanksgiving spread! Save the recipe for Christmas too, you’d be nutty not to 😉 ⠀

Crank’s Nut Roast from Rose Elliot’s Complete Vegan (2019)

 

Serves 4

Ingredients

2 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for greasing
1 medium onion, finely chopped
225g (8oz/scant 2 cups) mixed nuts (cashews, hazelnuts, almonds, peanuts, walnuts)
100g (3 and a 1/2oz) soft wholemeal bread, crustsremoved
2 tsp Marmite (yeast extract)
300ml (10fl oz/1 and a 1⁄4 cups) hot vegetable stock (bouillon)
2 tsp mixed dried herbs
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Method

Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4. Grease a shallow casserole dish, 20-cm (8-in) cake tin (pan) or a large loaf tin (pan).

Heat the olive oil in a frying pan (skillet) over a low-medium heat, add the onion and fry for 10 minutes, until translucent.

Meanwhile, put the nuts and bread into a food processor and process until fine.

Dissolve the Marmite (yeast extract) in the hot vegetable stock and add to the breadcrumb mixture along with the mixed herbs to form a soft mixture. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Tip the nut mixture into the prepared dish or tin and bake for 30 minutes until golden brown.

Let stand for 5 minutes before slicing.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving no matter where you are or what you get up to! Give @nourishbooks and @roseelliot.mbe a follow for more vegan and plant-based foodspiration.

Join us in celebrating #WorldVeganMonth this November! It’s been amazing to see how far the vegan movement has come over the years; here at Nourish, we have made it our mission to aid and assist the movement, by publishing the ideal accompanying vegan guidebooks to help you join in and celebrate.

Take the Living on the Veg! quiz to get matched with the Nourish cookbook that will be your #WorldVeganMonth companion – share your results with us on social media using the #LivingontheVeg hashtag!

Shine Brighter Every Day by Danah Mor is available now! Read on for an exclusive excerpt…

 

No Food Is Forbidden, Unless Your Body Says So

When it comes to nutrition and our health, I like to keep it as simple as possible, to understand the science and the facts, and then make my own conclusions by listening to my body when it reacts with foods or chemicals.

There is no forbidden food,
unless your body says so. We can eat anything we want as long as
our bodies agree. We just need to learn to understand how our bodies communicate. The secret to vitality
is not being obsessed with what you eat or how often you exercise. It’s about getting in tune with yourself and your environment. Most of us are so disconnected from ourselves and nature that we don’t recognize a stomach ache as the body signaling a problem, we don’t know what vegetables grow in which season, how milk or meat really gets into our supermarket, or where our liver is located.

We need to re-tune our mindset and understand that we are an expression from the inside out
and not from the outside in. If our mindset is in tune with nature, we naturally make new choices without feeling restricted. Changing the way we think is the only way we can positively change our lives. When we change our perspective, we suddenly have new desires, different cravings; we no longer want the same things, and making positive choices becomes effortless. I’ve lived through this, and I can tell you how much better it is than forcing a new diet or lifestyle upon yourself. We might have to put in a bit of effort to achieve a new way of thinking, a new mindset, but then it becomes natural, even fun.

If your mindset is in harmony with your essence, you will make new choices naturally without having to sacrifice what you think you need. Instead, you choose what you want. How do we know what we truly want? The connection between our body and our spirit is the foundation of life. Our mindset can allow or interfere with this connection. When our personality is in alignment with our spirit, that is authentic empowerment. The capacity to listen and foster the connection between these two is a secret for true inner joy and happiness.

I have always heard a clear voice in me that sounded humble, generous and real. Then all the other voices invaded my head – what my parents, teachers, sports coaches, and anyone that came into my life thought they should tell me about how to live or even how to listen to myself. Now it’s hard to know which voice is really me. It may be the hardest thing to re-learn, because so much noise has invaded our bodies that it can be hard to know when it’s really us speaking. But taking care of our body relies on our ability to listen to ourselves.

When I was studying Ayurvedic medicine at university in London, we were constantly reminded that our modern medical system separates the body from the mind (forget the spirit). In Ayurvedic medicine, the body, mind and spirit are inter- connected. How you think and express yourself is reflected in your physical body. How you eat and act is reflected in your spirit and mood. Ideally your spirit should shine and be expressed all through your body and into your choices and actions. In every consultation with a client, I often speak about food last because, first of all, food isn’t everything.

Awareness and knowledge are the basis of conscious choice- making. Without awareness and the capacity to think, question, reflect, and make our choices, are we any more than puppets? The decisions you make and actions you take are the means by which you evolve. Each moment, you choose the intentions that will shape your experiences and where you focus your attention.

I’m so excited to share a drop of the wisdom and knowledge of Ayurveda with you, one of the oldest medical systems that exists. Ayurveda, the science of life, introduced me to a world I didn’t know existed; a world of peace and harmony for health and vitality. It is far more appealing to me than the Western medical and nutritional world that seems so obsessive. Ayurveda gave me insight and knowledge that allowed me to see and understand life from a point of view that simplifies and answers so many questions. Considered the mother of medicine, Ayurveda is more than 10,000 years old. It’s a holistic science that takes the whole person into consideration: body, mind and spirit. Every part of our body is connected. Our thoughts and emotions can affect our digestion, just as our physical sensations can affect our mind. If everything is interconnected, our bodies can constantly speak to us through physical signs. It was through the study of Ayurvedic medicine that I learned how important it is to listen to my body, especially when it comes to food, digestion and lifestyle – and how I understood the connection between food and mood. Ayurveda celebrates our bio-individuality, that everybody

 is unique, so we have to learn what diet and lifestyle best fits us.

So, the real secret to vitality is understanding your body’s language and improving your communication with it – on every level.

***

Shine Brighter Every Day is available now.

So you’ve got a little bit of time, and you’d like to make some bread. You love sourdough, but everyone talks about these mysterious ‘sourdough starters’ and you don’t have one of those.

Well, fear not! It is actually very simple to make a sourdough starter, and Chris Young, author of Slow Dough: Real Bread is here to talk you through it. All you’ll need is a bit of patience.

A plastic container with a lid is convenient for storage because if your starter gets frisky, the lid
will simply pop off, whereas a glass jar with a screwtop or metal clip seal could crack or shatter. The amount of flour you use isn’t important so we’ve started small, as instructions that tell you to throw portions of your starter away just seem wasteful. Please keep to the 1:1 ratio, though.

Daily: days one to five (ish)

30g/1oz/3½ tbsp rye flour

30g/1oz/2 tbsp water (at about 20°C/68ºF)

On each of the first five days, put equal amounts of flour and water into your container, mix, close and leave at room temperature (about 20°C/68°F) for 24 hours between each addition.

For the first few days, the mixture might seem lifeless and could smell vinegary or even a bit “off”. Don’t worry about this, as it should soon start bubbling and the smell will develop into something yeasty and maybe even floral. 

Day six (ish)

Once your starter is bubbling up nicely, you can use some to bake a loaf of Real Bread. Typically, this might be anything from four to seven days after you started, but could take a little longer. If it’s not bubbling by day six, keep repeating the daily flour and water addition until it is. Don’t worry if you end up with a layer of brownish liquid. This is just gravity working its magic and is normal. Either stir it back into your starter or pour it off. If your starter hasn’t been used for a while, the second option is probably better as the liquid (sometimes known as “hooch”) will have started to become alcoholic, which can slow the starter down and may also lead to less desirable flavours in your bread.

Caring for Your Starter

• Each time you use some of the starter, simply replace with an equivalent quantity of flour and water – this is usually known as feeding or refreshing. You also need to refresh on the day before a baking session.

• When refreshing, feel free to experiment with different ratios and total amounts of flour to water: a looser starter will ferment more quickly than a stiff one; refreshing more often or adding a large refreshment will dilute the taste and acidity.

• It’s a living thing (well, technically billions of living things) so get to know it. The acidity, flavour, aromas and speed at which starters work vary, so learn what’s normal for yours.

• Give it a name. You can’t call yourself a proper sourdough nut if you don’t – though I know some people strongly disagree with me on this one!

• Forget it. Unlike other members of your household, your starter will be forgiving of neglect. Though it will be happy to help you bake bread once a week or even daily, your starter can be left untouched at the back for the refrigerator for weeks or even months. The yeast and bacteria populations will decline over time but enough will live on in a dormant state. The longer you leave it, the longer it’ll take to “wake up” though and it might need a few days of refreshments before it’s up to full vigour.

• Unless you are using your starter every single day, keep it in the fridge, which will slow it down and reduce the frequency at which you need to refresh it. You just need to remember to take it out and refresh it the day before you intend to make a loaf.

 

To Convert Your Starter to Wheat

Although you can use the rye starter for wheat breads, you might prefer to convert it by replacing the rye flour in refreshments with wheat flour (white or wholemeal/wholewheat) until it is all wheat. Alternatively, you can use wheat flour from the word go: again, wholemeal/wholewheat will give you a better chance of success. Whether you keep separate rye, white wheat, wholemeal/wholegrain wheat, and even other starters on the go, or just one, is up to you.

Slow Dough: Real Bread is available now as an ebook or in hardback

Enter the competition HERE for a chance to win 1 of 10 copies of The Right Bite by Jackie Lynch – your survival guide to eating healthily on the go. The giveaway ends on Thursday, May 26.

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Bran muffin or chocolate chip? Which wine is likely to add the most inches to your waistline red, white or sparkling? And if you re dying for a pizza, how can you keep the damage to a minimum?

The Right Bite is a practical guide to help people navigate the minefields of everyday eating and make healthy choices when nutritious food is not easily available – such as in coffee shops, office lunches or the cinema.

It’s easy to follow a healthy diet when you’re in control of your shopping list and the contents of your fridge. But as soon as you step outside the front door, it can get a lot more complicated. Walk into a coffee shop, a bar or the cinema, and making the right decision can be a lot more challenging and confusing.

The Right Bite is here to help – with accessible, practical advice for all those everyday occasions, you can make the smart choice even when healthy options are limited. Each chapter focuses on a different eating environment – from Breakfast on the Go to Working Lunches, Takeaway Food, Pubs, Picnics, Barbeques and the Cinema.

For each situation The Right Bite then explores the type of foods likely to be available and compares them, explaining the main health pitfalls and highlighting top picks. A ham and cheese croissant is a better option in a coffee shop than a skinny muffin for example! The Right Bite explains why, providing useful insights with a down-to-earth approach. Packed with design features and small enough to slip in your handbag, this is the one-stop guide for anyone wanting to eat healthily in the real world.