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By Dominika Darlak

Illustrations by Rhia Cook

I have a strong passion for food. I like to cook at home for myself, my partner, friends, and family. Anything from Chinese, Indian, European, especially Polish dishes, as I am from Poland. I think that my love for Pierogi, Bigos, and freshly baked sourdough bread will never die. Not to mention a deep-fried Snickers, Lorne sausage or Clootie Dumpling! I share my heart between Poland and Scotland.

What has changed since the lockdown began is that I cook even more, as I have more time now. I experiment with different recipes, for which I did not have time before. Staying most of the time at home made me change a few eating habits, such as eating slower, focusing more on the food in my mouth, enjoying and celebrating it more, not rushing like before. I choose organic products when I can; eat more vegetables and fruit, and definitely less sweets and red meat.

This part might sound blah disgusting for some, but I started doing my own fermented food. It is very good for healthy guts apparently. It is more popular in Eastern Europe and Asia than it is in the UK and America. I feel like it is underestimated, as it can be very tasty and used in many different ways, such as added to soups, salads, homemade hummus. I was fermenting cucumbers and cabbage in the past, but while in lockdown I started fermenting beetroots.

You just need to peel the beetroot, chop them, add filtered or previously boiled cooled water with a tablespoon of dissolved salt for around 750 ml of water. (Tap water contains too much chlorine, which would kill the bacteria, which we want to grow!) You can also add some bay leaves, garlic, peppercorns. Screw the lids on the jars, leave in room temperature for about a week until the foam starts appearing on top. You can drink the juice, it has a lot of health benefits including an immune boost. It can also help to normalise the stomach Ph if drunk on an empty stomach before breakfast and lunch. You can also pour all the juice to an empty container and do just the brine of salty water to pour over the beetroot once again


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