The best thing since sliced bread. (no not NHS bread)
Okay, so I know you are all thinking I am obsessed with food blogging now, I can’t stop writing about it. Fear not, I am genuinely over NHS food.
I wanted to share the best thing about this amazing hospital, yes, the Costa is good, if you like caffeine and cake, clearly my Costa points card is on pause at the moment. It’s the fortnightly food market that is situated outside the main entrance every other Wednesday.
Matt and I love food markets, when I say love, we love, we love buying loose tea and coffee beans for machine at home. Jasmin Tea, Rooibos, Green, Chai, I’m obsessed. We love buying homemade jams, pickles and spreads for the cupboard and cheese, cheese is the ultimate. At Christmas this year we headed to Moseley Farmers Market, just outside Birmingham. We like a Saturday morning there stocking up from time to time, something really liberating about buying your goods from different people who are just good old organic, fresh food providers direct from source. We made the mistake of seeing the regular French guy, (sorry French guy I don’t know you’re name) for some Christmas cheese, £86 later we were on our way home with a rare bit of French Comté, the biggest slab of brie you had ever seen in cling film, (and yes he said in his lovely French accent, ‘I never refrigerate the brie, it should be soft and sweaty, I don’t care what you brits say about health hygiene it stays this way on my stall’). And the nicest slab of truffle cheese you ever had seen, okay so we over did it on cheese, have you ever smelt truffles in cheese though? its like crack cheese, I spent all of the festive period with my nose in the bag in the fridge, too expensive to eat, so I just sniffed. Not to mention at this point I was about four weeks pregnant, here’s me in the hospital worrying about having too much medication and it affecting miss baby Williams, yet the brie might have done her in back then. Oops !
Anyway, to find out that a slice of the Moseley / Kings Heath market brigade roll up on a Wednesday made me so happy that I have to say hats off to the QE. A little bit of normality, walking round a stall and paying for products with actual cash after three weeks was like someone had given me my life back, dramatic as it sounds I was in heaven. Okay, I don’t normally shop in my ASDA George pyjamas and John Lewis slippers that Dad bought me, nor do I normally have to drag around the food bag, or the drip on wheels. But it was okay, I have a rucksack. Okay I definitely do not shop with a rucksack, I’m more a Mulberry kinda working girl, but the North Face, ‘Vault’ blue number I took to South Africa was robust enough for life’s essentials – anaesthetic gel, gloves, toilet wipes, water, you know all the life’s essentials when you are popping down the shop with a broken bowel.
At this point I wasn’t eating at all, so browsing the stalls was hard, but I managed to pick up some crohns diet helpers, some homemade jam for my NHS rice pudding and a little home made bottle of squash; ginger and lemon – perfect to aid digestion and it hasn’t come out of the NHS kitchens of hell. Matt got the bonus of a chilli stuffed home made sausage roll – who wouldn’t love me for that purchase?! Shame it smelt my room out for five hours until he arrive and consumed. No Frebreze spray was a match for that lump of meat!
So there was one little stall that caught my eye, a little gem in the corner. The Happy Gut Hut.
Alyn, a local trader specialises in brewing his own naturally fermented foods with live native cultures for happy tummies. A colourful stall filled with bottles of home brew Kombucha.
Now for those who have never heard of Kombucha it’s an amazing drink, the Chinese call the ‘elixir of life’, its fermented and has loads of goodness in it to help with all sorts of nasty diseases, and out of balance tums. Alyn makes his own different fruity flavours and sells bottles on his stall at the markets, great for me I hear you say, but steady, it’s very fermented, sweet and fizzy, tasty but not quite right for my consumption yet. However, for those in remission with inflammatory bowel disease I highly recommend you give Kombucha a go. Those reading this who are healthy, give it a try, you can also find it in Holland and Barrett. Anything naturally fermented is a great pro biotic, here are some links to read, I won’t regurgitate ! Try some, wherever you are. Its great I will start sipping it again when I can, and if you are local to the Birmingham markets then pick up a bottle.
What I was really after was another type of fermented goodness a little bit more suited to the situation ! Kefir Milk.
So after an introduction and a chat with Alyn he happens to brew his own at home and sell. Just what my tummy needs, soft milky goodness. I have wanted to drink Kefir for a long time, but to be honest I haven’t known where to start and working full-time the idea of brewing my own was taxing. (me and Matt made sloe gin over Christmas thanks to a lovely moving in present that our friends Fi and Sheep bought us. Turning the sloe gin every couple of days was too much for me, okay you got me I basically didn’t do anything!) I’m better at only one fermented food. Saurkraut. make my own all the time to put on sandwiches or as a side with meals, one cabbage, a sprinkle of salt in a Kilner jar, fridge and turn let it ferment. I have had one bad boy ready now for 8 weeks so looking forward to getting home to that one !
Unfortunately there was no Kefir Milk for sale that day, but we met up again this week and I am getting a little special bottle to the ward at some point to start sipping. Why not bring the world to me 🙂 thanks Alyn ! You can follow him on Facebook: thehappyguthut
Sucessful piggy went to market.