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Very easy Sourdough starters with bread recipe ( available in wholewheat too )

Sourdough Has been making a come back in the last few years and rightly so, in the history of toast there was never a better bread for it!

whilst I’m perfecting my own recipe, take a look at this one:

Very easy Sourdough starters with bread recipe ( available in wholewheat too ).


Now you can print your pot plants…

I have been offline for a while, alas another house move and Christmas rolled into one makes for a hectic schedule, but now I am back and will try to keep my posts regular this time (promise!)

I have previously posted my views on 3D printing and this next item is a fantastic example of how we can incorporate nature into the designed world, and above all it made me smile. So here is a quick video from a trio of students from Slovenia who definitely on the right track;



Autumn Nettle beer, to keep you warm as the nights draw in…

This recipe has been the source of a lot of amusement in our house but I quite like it, its More of an ale with a good hearty flavour to it. However it does seem to be a bit Marmite like, in the way some of my friends hate it whilst others enjoy it.

I have modified a recipe I found by the wonderful John Wright, as I found his recipe a little too homebrewy and adding the ginger give a lovely tang to the brew.

So for those of you are feeling adventurous here is the recipe:

  • 1KG of Nettle tops (you don’t want the whole nettle or your brew will be too bitter)
  • 5 litres of water
  • 400g of organic Honey
  • juice of 2 Lemons
  • 50g cream of Tartar
  • about 1/2 an inch of root Ginger
  • 1 sachet of English ale yeast
  • 1 sachet of beer finings


Take the Nettles and clean them thoroughly, you don’t want any errant creepy crawlies spoiling your brew. place them in a large pan with the water and boil for 10 minutes, add the ginger and boil for another 5 minutes.

Remove from the heat and strain the liquor from the Nettles. ?You can retain the nettles for making delicious Nettle pasta, my recipe of which I will be publishing later on.

Add the Honey , Cream of Tartar and the Lemon juice to the liquor and leave to cool, you want the brew to be at around room temperature before you add the yeast.

Once at room temperature add the yeast and the finings, they may need to be activated before use so make sure to read the packet first.

Having added the yeast and finings, place in a sterile food safe bucket and leave for 3 days. After 3 days siphon off the beer into bottles or demi-johns and keep at room temperature for 2 weeks. Ageing the brew does seem to refine the flavour so maybe add a few extra weeks to mature.

NB. when siphoning beer off into bottles, make sure you don’t disturb the sediment at the bottom of the bucket as this may hamper the final flavour.

So have a go, you never know, you might make something delicious!!

Urban Aquaponics

This last week has been bristling with videos of new innovationas coming from design studios all over the globe and this one caught my eye.

Aqualibrium is a new kickstarter project that has been successfully crowd funded and released as a way urbanites can grow their own food, in limited space at home. I don’t think it will work for all properties, especially the average two up two down here in the UK but I believe with a little ingenuity it might take off here in Blighty.

As you can see it works on the symbiotic relationship between fish and plants, the plants benefit from the fishes waste and the fish benefit from their waste being filtered out by the plants. Simple but effective.

Although it does bear a passing resemblance to a cat litter tray I think this is a cool little idea and definitely worth watching out for it, when it becomes available here in the UK.


Pearly Whites….

After the recent success of my homemade moisturiser, I decided to look in to toothpaste.

Now, most people use a toothpaste of some sort or other, but very few people will actually know what is in it. There is one ingredient that is present in most brands is SLS, yes Sodium Laureth Sulphate. I have spoken at length about the problems with SLS but in the case of toothpaste it has been attributed to causing apthous ulcers. Recent research into SLS has also shown it to be carcinogenic and a possible cause for some types of mouth and throat cancer.

Another ingredient which is often the main active ingredient in most branded and generic toothpaste is fluoride. Before people start thinking that I’m starting to sound like general Ripper from Dr Strangelove, harping on about fluoridation and precious bodily fluids bear with me. Fluoride is a compound of fluorine and Sodium fluoride is generally the compound used in toothpaste and fluoridated water. Fluoride does occur naturally in some water sources and generally natural levels have minimal effects on the eco-system. The problems arise when extra fluoride finds its way into water courses, this happens as it is very difficult to remove once it has been dissolved in water. extra fluoride can cause problems in the wild; it causes a condition called “Flouride intoxication” in fish and amphibians, this condition is fatal and also effects eggs laid in the water.

Here in the UK we have fluoridated water, this has been been the case for a very long time and it is primarily for the purpose of improving dental health amongst the populous. all in all there is very little we can do about it. but toothpaste is a different story, is Fluoride necessary? well in short no. The action of brushing is far more important than what toothpaste you use and after some fairly hefty reading into the subject I am unconvinced that the pros of Fluoride out-weigh the cons.

So I began looking for alternatives and there are plenty available, most are marketed simply as non-fluoride or alternatives to normal toothpaste, my only major problem with them is the price. Some are exorbitant; the most expensive coming in at £14 a tube (+ postage naturally). I have tried an aloe based gel toothpaste and it definitely worked but I found the flavour frankly a bit rank. so back on Google for a bit of research.

Most of the home made alternatives I have come across are improvised pastes or powders containing Sodium Bicarbonate. Bicarb has a long history in dental care and only has one drawback; it’s abrasiveness. normal toothpaste is also abrasive but long term use of a powder to brush teeth could lead to thinning enamel, therefore for those who have sensitive teeth who are looking for an alternative I would recommend one of the gel based alternatives available. For those with non-sensitive teeth a bicarb based toothpaste is perfectly acceptable. Another interesting ingredient is coconut oil, it is mildly anti-bacterial and has been used as a toothpaste in south-east Asia for centuries. So I decided to modify a recipe I found online; the original recipe was a mix of coconut oil, Bicarb and charcoal powder. after thinking for a second about my girlfriend’s possible facial reaction to black Bicarb flavoured toothpaste I thought that replacing the charcoal with Bentonite and adding some Peppermint oil and some Stevia powder for sweetness.

the recipe is as follows; 2 tbsp of Coconut oil, 1 tsp of Bicarb, 1 tsp of Bentonite, 1/2 tsp of Stevia powder and 1/2 tsp peppermint oil.

The resulting toothpaste is actually good, its not too abrasive thanks to the lubricating quality of the Coconut oil and the peppermint actually makes it taste pretty good. I have increased the amount of peppermint in the recipe as the first batch I made could have done with being a bit mintier but the Stevia and Peppermint oil quantities can be altered according to taste. And seeing as it doesn’t contain any nasty ingredients you can be sure you wont be damaging any natural environments.