The Top Three: best DIY sites for jam, pickles, kraut and more.....

By Kate Walsh

In this new series, we'll be looking at the best blogs, books, techniques, ingredients and more to give you what you need to know to get back into the kitchen quick smart. 


Punk Domestics

This is an awesome site because it has recipes from literally dozens of other blogs and is arguably building one of the most active preserving communities around. We also heartily subscribe to the view that making your food from scratch is a revolutionary act and pretty damn punk. You’ll find every jam you can think of, dehydrating, vinegars, home brewing, pickling and lots more from home cooks around the world. Warning - this site is a rabbit hole and you could lose an day here so make sure you have a big cup of tea at the ready.

Wild Fermentation
If you are keen to start fermenting, this is where you need to start. Sandor Katz is the king of fermentation and extremely generous with his knowledge. The Art of Fermentation is the bible but the website (we love that it is so old school!!) also has stacks of good info. Grab some cucumbers, some salt, a big jar and get into it!

Food in Jars
Marisa McClellan is a full-time food writer and canning teacher. With two excellent books under her belt and a great site full of techniques, recipes and advice on gear, this lady knows her stuff. Her focus on small batch preserving is awesome because no-one wants to make a tonne of any kind of jam and have a nervous breakdown in the process.


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August Reading List - live from America

By Kate Walsh

In celebration of Real Food decamping to NYC for a month to escape the grey Sydney winter, here is our August Reading list - American style. In this edition, we list our top 10 food sites that are our go-to for news, opinion and analysis of our food system featuring the best of America's food writers.

1. Civil Eats: Naomi Starkman and Paula Crossfield head up a team of over 100 journalists at Civil Eats to bring you a daily news source for critical thought about the American Food System. @CivilEats

2. Mark BittmanWriter on food for New York Times; author of How to Cook Everything. @bittman

3. Micheal Pollan: (of course!) Author of Cooked; Food Rules; In Defense of Food; The Omnivore’s Dilemma; The Botany of Desire; A Place of My Own and Second Nature. Follow him on Twitter for an amazing daily list of articles on food politics. @michaelpollan

4. The FERN: The Food and Environment Reporting Network is an independent, non-profit news organization that produces investigative journalism in the critically underreported areas of food, agriculture, and environmental health. 

5. Corby Kummer: Atlantic senior editor, James Beard Award-winner, author of The Joy of Coffee, Corby is one of the most widely read food journalists in America. @CKummer 

6. The Salt: Who doesnt love NPR - America’s answer to the ABC (without as much funding)? The Salt is their dedicated page for all their food documentaries. With a pinch of skepticism and a dash of fun, The Salt covers food news from the farm to the plate and beyond. 

7. Jane Black: Brooklyn-based food writer and journalist who covers food politics, trends and sustainability issues. @jane_black

8. Grist: another non-profit news service, Grist gets behind the greenwash on all matter to do with food and sustainability. 

9. CNN’s Eatocracy is CNN's Food Blog. Both commentary and recipes this is an awesome site to visit daily. @eatocracy 

10. Tom Philpott: Tom is a really good writer with excellent research skills and a healthy dose of wit. You can find him over at Mother Jones. He is the co-founder of Maverick Farms, a center for sustainable food education in Valle Crucis, North Carolina and was formerly a columnist and editor for the online environmental site Grist and his work on food politics has appeared in Newsweek, Gastronomica, and the Guardian.

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July Reading List

By Kate Walsh


1.Like Grandma Used To Make, Rebecca Sullivan
Before I go on, I need to declare the author of this delightful book is a dear friend of mine. However, I love it so much I just had to include it. Written by Rebecca Sullivan, of  Dirty Girl Kitchen fame, this book is not only full of gorgeous recipes but also lots of handy tips for the householder. Best read wearing a twin set and drinking a nice cup of tea, the book is full of great, easy recipes from another time. Focusing on using seasonal, local and organic ingredients, the recipes are easy to incorporate into your everyday cooking and steer you towards cooking from scratch - think home-made butter, pistachio and rose brittle, roast chook, or lemonade. Not unlike a CWA Cookbook for 2013. What I like most about this book is that it’s one that will actually get dirty from overuse. From the limoncello and boozy eggnog to the myriad of lovely jams and pickles, I’ll be having a crack at most of them.

2.  The OzHarvest Cookbook
OzHarvest is simply bloody good idea. Since 2004, this organisation has delivered over 15 million meals to the homeless and vulnerable in Australia by rescuing restaurant and supermarket food about to be thrown away. But this is not your average non-profit cookbook. The OzHarvest crew have assembled a veritable supergroup of Australian chefs who were given the challenge to submit three recipes using rescued food. The recipes wander across many continents but remain firmly in the realm of comfort food which is great because you might actually cook them. Buy it not only because you are supporting a fantastic cause but because the recipes are excellent. 

3.The Ethicurian Cookbook
In 2010, four friends got hold of the keys of an overgrown Georgian walled garden with a restaurant housed in the glasshouse in Barley Wood in Wrington, Somerset. In just 5 days they overhauled the place and on the sixth day opened the doors of a new restaurant focusing on seasonal and local food made using artisan techniques and championing their local food community. This is not only a book that I wish I had written but basically I just want their life. It certainly looks like they have a rollickingly good time. The book meanders through the seasons and charts their relationship with their garden and the beautiful vegetables it produces. The recipes are divine and focused on heirloom varieties, the styling is stunning and the notes that tell their story well written and engaging. Grab a cup of tea and settle in to be transported to a walled garden far way where a group of four mates are making their dreams come true. As they say, “We rarely leave this beautiful walled garden; it is an absolute paradise.” 

4.The Art of Fermentation, Sandor Katz
Not often is a book called seminal and people really mean it. Well, my friends this is one of those occasions. Sandor Katz is heralded in the USA as the leader of the fermentation craze that is sweeping the nation. This book is a fantastic 101 on all things fermented giving you easy to understand instructions and a fair dose of inspiration to grab a cabbage and get some kimchi on the go. It is quite the missive and covers not just the basics of cultured vegetables but also goes into mead, beer and kombucha and much more. His writing style is really lovely and approachable and I’m sure your copy will be well thumbed in no time. If there is one book to buy on fermenting, this is it. 

5.NY I love you, Daniel Humm and Will Guidara 
For the first year I lived in NYC, I never made it ‘upstate’. I was obsessed with the skyscrapers, lights and yellow taxis not to mention the pastrami, bagels and donuts. But, if you take a drive less than an hour north of NYC you’ll be transported from the gritty urban metropolis to a landscape littered with abandoned red barns, lush apple orchards and roads groaning with farm stalls. This juxtaposition is astounding and is what makes NY state so special. It is this rich agricultural history that chef Daniel Humm and his general manager Will Guidara from the award winning restaurant  Eleven Madison Parkwant to celebrate.  Over 150 recipes that are a little fancy for the home-cook but are beautifully shot and devised with each focusing on a specific ingredient and a farmer who grew it. This book is part of the new wave of cookbooks where the farmers and producers and as much a part of the story as the chef, and for good reason. A perfect coffee table book, spend some time on the couch with it and delve into the beautiful recipes and stories. But beware, you might be booking a ticket before you finish the first recipe. 

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