Friday, April 27, 2018

Not much about knitting today, because very little knitting has been done. Most of what I have to say concerns gut health.

Helen and I went to Homebase yesterday to get bedding plants for my doorstep. It was a bit too early in the season, but we got a few. Then we went to Waitrose for this and that, and by the time I got home I was prostrate. I was more cautious today – intervals of mild activity sandwiched among intervals in bed. All right as far as it went, but I didn’t get out – and this is not a time of year for staying in.

In the interests of gut health, I ordered some kefir yesterday (=fermented goat’s milk). It arrived today, with commendable promptness, but with a warning that it is likely to explode like champagne when opened. One is advised to leave it in the refrigerator overnight to calm down.

I also decided to take the bull by the horns and make some kimchi, after weeks of hesitation. So I ordered the necessary equipment and the not-readily-available ingredients, and watched some more Youtube. All the videos made by Koreans include a sort of porridge made with rice flour and water, which you stir into the spice mixture before adding it to the vegetables. None of the westerners include this step. I don’t have any rice flour but could easily get some. Peggy?

As soon as I had ordered all that stuff, I heard from Cathy who said that they ate a lot of Korean food when they lived in Beijing, and that James is a great kimchi fan. (She is less enthusiastic but likes kimchi pancakes.) Now in London, they order it from Mr Kimchi via Amazon. It is freshly made, and like my kefir, explosive.

Everybody will be here next weekend (Bank Holiday weekend) for an early celebration of Rachel’s 60th birthday. My tools and ingredients are not likely to be here in time for me to make a batch and let it age and let James try it.


I finished the Norigami ribbing, very mindful of your remark, Mary, that it would go from “just under” to “too long” in the twinkling of an eye. Now I have a row-count which I can employ when I’m doing the ribbing for the sleeves. I’ve started the body.

The temptation is to go on, but I think this is the moment when I must re-start the Calcutta Cup vest.


  1. I have to take antibiotics all the time because I also take something to suppress my immune system. I have recently discovered kefir. I bought a packet of "starter" (actually three sachets in the packet) and it is dead easy. I've had a brew on the go for several weeks. Today I followed instructions to drain off the whey and found myself with a small helping of delicious delicate creamy cheese. I mentioned the kefir, and also live yoghurt, to the consultant at the hospital clinic and she rhought it was a good idea. Kimchi is to be my next experiment.
    Hope you feel well soon; I always reply that I'm feeling "improved" rather than "better" unless I'm really well again!
    PS my friend's doctor calls the stronger antibiotics "domestos" because they "kill all known germs"!

  2. We sometimes go to a Korean grocery and have noticed that kimchi isn’t made with just cabbage. On our last visit I noticed one made with green onions.

  3. When I was quite young a family friend came home from living in Korea. He described Kimchi, and told about it being buried in a crock in the yard. Perhaps this is not a critical step...

  4. Kombucha is also wonderful to re-establish happy gut bacteria. Most grocers carry it now, in the refrigerator case. It is quite lively and can be made at home as well.

  5. The only time I've ever made kimchi was when I was living in Sweden and my mother visited me and I was desperate. It was a pain to make and we couldn't find the right ingredients really. The traditional way is to bury it in a special crock, but I've never actually seen that done. Koreans in the US often have a separate fridge for kimchi, of which there are many different kinds. Buying it online sounds dangerous! If it broke or leaked your relationship with your postie (is that what you call them over there?) would be forever altered, and not for the better. Maybe just buy probiotics?