Sourdough-pickled beet (II)

Twenty five days after burying seven beetroots in Mike Knowlden's High Easter sourdough starter, I dredged them out of their purple goo and gave them a scrub. They have battled outbreaks of amazing, gloriously coloured surface moulds, and suffered the fluctuating temperatures of my kitchen on recent sunny mornings. They are soft and squidgy, although the inside remains intact. Their smell is powerfully yeasty, and combined with the muddy and fruity flavour of beetroots, is almost like paint - sharply sour and sweet with a twang of acetone. There is something reminiscent of soap, and associatively they bring to mind some of the more extreme hoppy IPAs around at the moment. They are unsalted, so as not to limit the action of the yeast.  I have put three of them in a pot of live beetroot lactic brine, and I will roast a couple to see how caramelisation affects the sugar remaining post-fermentation.

South London Quinces

Two varieties of quince grown in the gardens of houses within half a mile of each other in South East London. Both are intensely sweet-smelling, the small one with a bright and almost citrussy note and the big scarred one with en ever-so-slight whiff of fermentation, which makes it smell something more like sea buckthorn. The fluff on the big quince must have quite a bit of yeast trapped in it, more so than the smooth one, and I will scrape it off this and a few others to start a quince mead.

Two varieties of quince grown in the gardens of houses within half a mile of each other in South East London. Both are intensely sweet-smelling, the small one with a bright and almost citrussy note and the big scarred one with en ever-so-slight whiff of fermentation, which makes it smell something more like sea buckthorn. The fluff on the big quince must have quite a bit of yeast trapped in it, more so than the smooth one, and I will scrape it off this and a few others to start a quince mead.

A Danish honeycomb and in the second picture, pollen fermented by the bees that lived inside it. Very hard to procure (given to the Nordic Food Lab by a beekeeper) and without much known about it, it is one of the most delicious things I have ever eaten. It has a complex taste which, as you eat it, transforms from sweetness to bitterness to the sour tang of lactic fermentation, and it’s texture is somehow sticky, moist, powdery and dry all at the same time, with a pleasant resistance. Totally compelling