Waste not, want not.

We love food here at The Cultured Club, so much so, we hate to see any of it go to waste.  We try our best of extract as much potential out of every morsel before it ends up in the compost.

Every Autumn we make a beautiful batch of Master Tonic to boost immune systems and ward off any lurgy. It is a potent and spicy infusion of five basic ingredients soaked in unpasteurised apple cider vinegar we get direct from Long Meadow Apple Farm in the Orchard County of Armagh.

At the end of this process I am always left with an abundance of the ingredients vegetable matter. It smells amazing and still holds great nutritional value.  It is a heady mix of onion, garlic, ginger, chilli and horseradish and I just can never bare to banish this flavour bomb to the compost.

Each year I invest a lot of time and energy into dehydrating these ingredients, resulting in a reasonable quantity of this dried powder seasoning which i have in the past used to sprinkle on rice or use in a marinade.  But this time round I have struck gold and I have hit on a condiment I just cannot get enough of, in fact two different condiments I guarantee will blow your mind….. or at least your taste buds!

There a divinely inspired and Iam sure you are going to LOVE them.

Amazing with everything RAYU

THIS creation is for many an occassion. Consisting of the dried master tonic ingredients mixed with some roasted nuts or seeds for extra crunch, it is sumberged a in sesame seed oil with a splash of tamari and a dollop of honey (only if you need some sweet in your life.)  It is spicy, salty, sour, umami, rich, deep and unbelievably satiating.  All that remains is for you to see of yourself.

Order your powder sample

Gochujang, Gochugoing.

A spicy paste used in Korean cooking, made from red chilli peppers, fermented soya beans, rice, and salt. It is similar to miso and is as versatile. I like to use it straight on toast, or stirred into dipping sauces but it is really for you to see what way it gets you going!  Stir it into soups or stews to bring this to the next level. This recipe has it all:

  • 1/3 cup white miso
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup master tonic powder
  • 1/4 cup tamari
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • water to thin if needed.

Pop everything into the blender and whizz it up.

order MAster Tonic powder

Food waste could easily get you down.  I love ferment as the net that catches food that is edging towards the bin.  It has inspired some fab creations for making vinegar from fruit scraps, to digestive bitters with citrus peels.  We freeze all our vegetable scraps to make nutrient rich soup stocks and always explore ways to use over ripe fruits to flavour fermented drinks.  In no way do we wish to preach but researching some tips we have found useful  have really had huge impact on our overall food waste.

  • Shop realistically
  • Don’t over serve
  • Save (and eat) your leftovers
  • Store food correctly
  • Avoid cluttering your fridge
  • Sell by dates are guidelines
  • Be mindful of what you throw out
  • Donate to food banks
  •  FERMENT vegetables
  • Last resort make sure to compost it

Tonic Time

I hear the whisper.
It’s the tilt in the sun.
A drop in temperature.
The dark that falls noticeable earlier.
Autumn is on its way and it is time to brew the MASTER TONIC.


This tonic could raise the dead.

The Master Tonic is a natural anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-parasitic tonic to take through the autumn and winter months of cold and flu season.   As we know, 2020 has already been one hell of a year. Supporting your immune system has never been as important.  So what makes it so potent?

Garlic What doesn’t garlic do? Garlic is believed to be an anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, anti-viral, and anti-fungal, qualities that make it a popular immune-booster.

Ginger famous for both culinary use and healing uses. Ginger is believed to help ward off cold, flu, and infections plus soothe sore throats.  It has been studied for anti-inflammatory properties and anti-nausea properties/

Chilli How much heat can you handle?.  Chillis help with digestion and metabolic rate.  They are a great support for the immune system and act as a natural decongestant. Red & Orange varieties have high levels of vitamins A & C but  any variety of these spicy fingers wake up the body. You can feel them right down to your toes.

Onions are believed to be a great expectorant. They possess a variety of anti-oxidants and are believed to have high levels of quercetin which has been shown to help reduce the risk of upper respiratory infections.

Horseradish If you’ve ever cut into fresh horseradish root, you know the purging effect it has on your sinuses and nasal cavity! Horseradish is incredible for stimulating the immune system. It has a warming effect once you have solidered through the preparation of this eye-watering root.

Order your tonic today.
Traditional Master Tonic.
 This infusion will be made from the 5 basic ingredients mentioned above.
Extra Spicy.
This infusion will have a greater abundance of chills and horseradish for those who like it hot
Extra Fruity
This infusion will feature Rosemary and Elderberry, offering a smoother tonic for those shy of the spice..
order a bottle.






For daily immune support drink 25ml per day.

Feeling under the weather?  Take 3-5 times per day.

Suitable for use during pregnancy and safe for children.








For daily immune support drink 25ml-30ml per day.
Feeling under the weather?  Take 3-5 times per day.
Suitable for use during pregnancy and safe for children 

Disclaimer: The information included in this post is intended for educational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. None of the opinions expressed here are meant to diagnose or treat any disease or illness. You should always consult your healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for your own situation or if you have any questions regarding a medical condition or treatment plan. 

The secret to SAUCY

Sauces are essential to cuisines. They can play many roles.  Even when some of our dishes only have a few elements on the plate, the sauce can actually be one of the focal points.  

At least that is how it is for me.  I have mastered the art of simple cooking which allows the sauces to steal the show, bringing a new flavour and accentuating the simplicity of the other ingredients.  Furthermore, the sauce is where i like to hide all those unique vibrant flavours  and sour notes which fermented foods offer, whilst delivering a healthy dose of probiotic goodness to the meal. Sweet, Sour, Salty all combine to give texture, balance and satisfaction to any meal.

Who loves a chilli sauce? Sweet, sour, salty, spicy smoothed out with a creamy finish.

My mother was a cookery teacher and when I was a little girl she shared her wisdom and skill in the kitchen with me…mostly passed on by osmosis.  One of the first things she taught me were THE MOTHER SAUCES which form the foundations of many other sauces and dishes. Mastering these sauces gave such scope.  The kitchen was a playground of flavour and possibility.  Still the joy of playing prevails even though I am older in years.  Making simple food elevate with a well balanced sauce has been an enjoyable pursuit of recent years.

With fermented foods a firm fixture in my culinary regime, the use of these fermented pantry staples allows for continual experiments.  I have experienced so deeply the nutritional and healing qualities of these foods and their transformational effects.  Not only will they rock your taste buds but they will elevate your health.

In the many years of working with fermented foods, I have witnessed a host of reactions. From those who cannot get enough, like me, it is an instant affair, to those who will give it a curious try but the romance never blooms. “An acquired taste” they may say.  But the most curious group of all  is the group were this notion, this sourness, is a travesty.

WELL , I have a secret.  I have been working on a recipe collection of SAUCES for a while BECAUSE they possess a unique flavour and harnessing unlocks some unforgettable tastes.

It was in tribute to my late mother that the inspiration of this book first flowed forth, wishing to honour the skill she instilled in me.  This endeavour has been met with wavering enthusiasm as the year that followed her death, Cancer would slowly, yet agressively, steal away my lovely sister-in-law and friend, too young and too soon.

It is always a balance of watering your own patch and wanting to help water someone elses.  To soothe, I would make some more kimchi satay, knowing this is what makes the world a better place, well dinner at least and life would ebb and flow with various degrees of inertia.  I would put some chimichurri on my pizza (yes, you must try it!) and preserve yet another jar of lemons or garlic.

And then the world went on pause, I felt an overwhelming sense of reevaluation.  Finally we all had TIME. Time to FERMENT thoughts AND supplies.  Time to play too.

Grief was not done with me yet and soon after lock down, my father passed away, to be honest, I temporarily lost a bit of me too.  A little winded by grief and lacking the zest one needs to share or even care, I shelved this project once again.

However, these foods saved me. They heal. They preserve and their effervescence cannot be contained.  I found a way to blend it all together to get back to my SAUCY LIFE.

Life (and dinner) would be very bland without the things that bring joy. So with a double serving of admiration and love, I finally have something I am delighted to share with you.

Six EASY fermented staples.

Twenty Six Special SAUCES

A Cultural adventure.

A Culinary Explosion

Make the TIME.

Make the choice.

Have some FUN.

Share the FUNK

SAUCY is a new ebook by author Dearbhla Reynolds making fermented foods an adventure in flavour, fun and good gut health.

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There was a time when bread was off the menu.  It was an inventive time of crackers made with seeds and fauxdough made with flax meal and nuts.  All delicious of course BUT there is nothing that beats the deeply satisfying taste of flour, water, salt and time.  

My hubby became the baker, making friends with wild yeasts, falling in love with the science behind gluten and perfecting his folding techniques, all in search of the perfect crumb and that happy feeling of a fresh loaf from the oven first thing in the morning.

More than happy to leave him to his exclusive relationship with the dough I found it rather amusing that my first job in OX restaurant is to make the bread.  From baking none to ten a day to be served in a mitchelin star restaurant, the love affair has captivated me too and it is now our joint pursuit and pleasure to spread the love.  If not this at least something worthy of spreading some butter on ❤️

JOIN Us for a sourdough workshop

We are scheduling our dates for 2020 and hope that you can join us.

As it is the season to be jolly, bread has to be up there with one of the simplest and jolliest things going!  We are offering GIFT VOUCHERs for you to surprise your nearest and dearest with.  All gift vouchers can be posted out if ordered before December 20th.


It is the gift that will keep giving, at least a loaf or two. Stretch someones creative muscles and tune up their artistic side.

ORDER your Gift VOUCHER £25 (inc p+p)

Autumn, What does it mean to you?

The lines between our seasons, I will admit, are blurred here on the emerald isle swaying between warm wet to colder wet and some wind BUT least I rant, Autumn is a wonderful month.

It is the time to harvest all the brightly coloured cultivated or wild foods.

YES, for me, Autumn is time of both harvest and of preparation as we know what Winter brings.  It is a time to build up our immunity and breathe into the season, knowing that we will be strong enough to take whatever Winter brings.

As much as I love the carefree nature of summer, I think Autumn is my season.  As summer ends I feel the exhaustion of its giddy ways.  Autumn brings a warmth and a chance to slow down a little, to be content and give ourselves some extra attention.

It is Master Tonic time.


It is elderberry immune elixir time.


And it is time for grounding warming foods include all the root vegetables, the hard winter squashes like butternut and pumpkin. Everything with spices like ginger, garlic, onion, black pepper, coriander, cumin,  cardamon, cinnamon, Garam Masala, or middle eastern blends like Ras El Hanout or Bharat.


Enjoying an evening walk is a sweet way to take in the seasonal changes which are all but subtle at this time of year.  Make sure to bring a basket or bag to collect something delightful from the hedgerows and bushes.


Elderberry Elixir


4 cups fresh elderberries (or 2 cups dried)

4 cups cold water (filtered)

2-3 tsp. dried or fresh ginger

1 cinnamon stick

1 cup raw, local honey (or organic maple syrup or agave for a vegan/infant-friendly recipe). Double the amount of sweetener to increase shelf life

1 cup vodka or brandy (optional to increase shelf life)



  1. Combine berries and spices with cold water in a pot and bring to a boil.
  2. Reduce heat and allow to simmer 30 to 40 min. (syrup should reduce by ⅓)
  3. Remove from heat and let it soak for 1 hour.
  4. Mash mixture to get the most goodness out of the berries
  5. Strain using a funnel or a strainer and doubled cheesecloth or undyed cotton muslin bag and squeeze out liquid (careful, liquid can still be hot!). Discard the pulp in compost.
  1. Once liquid has cooled to just above room temperature, add honey and stir to incorporate.
  2. If using vodka or brandy, add here and stir until well combined.
  3. Bottle in sterilized glass jar.
  4. If you are feeling extra clever you can use this exilir and turn it into dummies by


The Magic of Medicinal Mushrooms

Fascinating Fungi

Mushrooms — which are fungi, not plants — have recently been shown to have a positive effect on cognitive function. Adding them to your diet may be one of the simplest ways to support your brain health.

In September of 2018 I was fortunate to meet Sir Roger Philips, one of Britain’s foremost experts on wild food. He has written many books, including the essential illustrated mycological encyclopedia.  Once met, never forgotten, there is no-one quite like Rodger Philips, He is as fascinating as the subject matter he writes about and to forget him would most certainly be a suggestion of cognitive decline.  Pictured is a small section of his guided forage walk around Haywarden Estate in Chester, after which he demonstarted many muchroom recipes over the open camp fire. The love of mushrooms was intensified and I patiently await for mushroom season to return.


Mushrooms are packed with numerous vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that provide outstanding health benefits.


“A number of edible mushrooms have been shown to contain rare and exotic compounds that exhibit positive effects on brain cells both in vitro and in vivo … In short, these mushrooms may be regarded as functional foods for the mitigation of neurodegenerative diseases,” researchers wrote in the Journal of Medicinal Food.


Should you share our fascination of fungi and the man health benefits they impart, consider joining us for a Special Event at our Cultured HQ on May 4th where we explore the magic of the medicinal mushroom.  We will be joined by holistic nutritional counsellor, Barbara Faibish, to guide us through her favourite medicinal mushrooms and her favourite ways to eat these gifts of nature. 

For more information CHECK HERE.

More than squeezing your lemons!

The saliva glands are watering because they are so good, not just because of their nutritional superpowers but because the fermentation process transforms the lemon peel’s bitterness into a unique taste that will amaze you.

Rich in probiotics
A liver detoxifier (the peel contains d-limonene which helps liver detox)
An immune booster (through the high content of vitamin C)

What’s not to love? We have a great habit of squeezing our lemons and then throwing the best bit out.

Preserved lemons are traditioanl to North African and Middle Eastern cuisines.  Used as a highly flavorful condiment to brighten up pretty much any dish.

But have you skipped by them not quite sure what to do with them?

To use in cooking, just rinse the preserved lemon, remove the seeds and use the rind and/or pulp in your recipe. Chop up and add to salad dressings.

Of course that just scratches the surface, there are many a culinary trick from tapenade to tonic, with this exquisite umami flavour.

Preserved Lemons Saturday 13th April @TheCulturedClub

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About one year ago, The Cultured Club presented its first ever specialised workshop honouring the joy that is Kimchi @ BelFeast.

Kimchi is the Korean name for preserved vegetables seasoned with spices and traditionally fermented seafood. We like to use a bit of seaweed instead.

It forms an essential part of Korean meals, meaning they eat it with everything, transcending class and regional differences.

We enjoyed apple kimchi, pear kimchi, cucumber kimchi, onion kimchi, raddichio kimchi, some of which i still think i have and of course some kimchi kimchi.  Since then we have made pumpkin & aubergine kimchi,  turnip kimchi….. is there anything you cannot kimchi?

In korea, there are regional differences, hundred of them, and the specific methods and ingredients used are considered an important family heritage, typically transmitted from a mother-in-law to her newly married daughter-in-law.

But there is one custom we particularly love and it is the collective practice of Kimjang!!

Korean families will set aside a weekend for Kimjang (김장), the annual kimchi-making.

Kimjang is special. It’s the time of year when families make the beloved and versatile pogi kimchi (포기김치) to be eaten year-round. This reaffirms Korean identity and is an excellent opportunity for strengthening family cooperation. Kimjang is also an important reminder for many Koreans that human communities need to live in harmony with nature.

Preparation follows a yearly cycle. In spring, households procure shrimp, anchovy and other seafood for salting and fermenting. In summer, they buy sea salt for the brine. In late summer, red chilli peppers are dried and ground into powder. Late autumn is Kimjang season, when communities collectively make and share large quantities of kimchi to ensure that every household has enough to sustain it through the long, harsh winter.  Innovative skills and creative ideas are shared and accumulated during the custom of exchanging kimchi among households.

We can take this as inspiration and create our own, right?  It is time, the year has passed and I feel the need to get some kimchi on!

Kimjang 김장




I am a bit of a smitten kitten about these weeds.  Every single part of this plant is both edible and medicinal, from the flower to the root.  It is high in many essntial vitamins and minerals and wonderful for digestion and detoxing the liver.

We have made the pesto with the leaves and created a variety of digestive bitters with the root, but new to our foraging regime is the gathering of the bright sunny flowers to create a dandelion infused oil and later a dandelion balm.

Dandelion oil is a medicinal oil made by infusing the flowers of the dandelion plant.  Applied topically it is a wonderful salve to relieve achy, sore muscles and joints, swollen breasts and tense backs and necks. 


So easy is it to do, you will be rushing out to pick those flowers.  Just leave some for the bees.

Fill your glass jar half full with the flowers.  (It is advised to let htem dry off on a towel for about an hour before adding them to oil). Add enough oil to completely cover the flower – up to the brim.  Let it steep for two weeks.  After two weeks, strain the oil and get ready to melt some beeswax and coconut oil.

-220g of infused dandelion oil

-26g coconut oil

-26g of beeswax 

Melt the beeswax and coconut oil over a bain marie.  Then add the infused dandelion oil, mising them together.  Carefully pour into a jar. Allow the salve to cool.  Use liberally to relieve those aches and pains of a busy day.


A YEAR at the CLUB

Why would you  join the CLUB?

Imagine yourself a year from now.  Then imagine all the times you have thought about making sauerkraut but just never got round to it. 

We believe that nothing changes until what you do every day changes and we appreciate how hard it can be to establish the routine. 

The study of fermentation has mapped out on an extraordinary journey.  It is a daily part of my life which has also lead for undeniable improvements in my health and well being.    I have atttempted to share with you over many years, whether by hosting workshops, talks or writing a book….yet still there is so much more to learn.  There are so many corners to explore, to engage with, to tease out, to relearn and most of all to experience together.  After teaching for seven years, it felt right to have some fun.  To run things differently and to share in the excitement  these foods deserve and the postive and undeniable changes they can make in ones life.  And so we have become a CLUB.  A real space where you can gather and ferment and learn, and taste and experience all the wonders of these foods for yourself, with other folk who like to ferment too.

IT is a brave move, a radical move, to offer something of such benefit and expertise at such a reasonable price.  But we have been lucky and for the limtied time we can offer this opportunity we would like to share it with you.  Have a glance at the fun which awaits on our 12 month programme.  You can come and go as you please, you can do it all or just some of it.  The CLUB is here for you and remember, if you change a little, you will change ALOT.


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SPRING is a time of new potential, lightness and growth.  We can emerge from the darkness of winter, shaking off the deep, contemplative weight of the previous months. 

It is one of the best times of year to do a cleanse or an appropriate fast, paying attention to foods which are vibrant and cleansing

In this season the programme of events will focus on the Liver and Gall bladder, offering a fresh palate to choose from and fermentation techniques and foods to work with to promote a gentle detox.

Practical sessions making Kombucha ( March),  Preserved lemons (April) and Milk Kefir (May) will feature as part of the learning.

We will also explore the tastes of these foods where we aim to bring you new flavours and experiences with fermented foods and seasonal eating. 











Summer and it is time to celebrate!

Light, fizzy and fresh, all washed down with bubbly drinks of joy.

We deserve to indulge in the effervescence of life and learning how to capture our own wild bacterias and yeast is an essential part of our fermentation knowlegde.   During this season we will be focussing on amazing thrist quenching PROBIOTIC drinks to create in your kitchen along with the most delicious ways to preserve the abundnace of food growing.  From Salsas to Cucumber pickles we will have vibrant probiotic foods for you.  Not forgetting the endless condiments we can create to compliment the BBQ.













Perhaps the season for FERMENTATION

An ancient tradiotnal practice coming from a need to preserve the food from the harvest.


With a look at the foods most needing our attention for presrvation we will introduce techniques of food fermentation focussing on those which will not only create the friendly bacteria for our intestines, but prepare our immnue system for the seasons changes.













Design is Everything

It is the season to rest, rest and look inward.
It is also the season we must pay special attention to our immune system and our kidneys and this season we will explore the many ways we can support ourselves through the challenges of this season.














The Cultured CLUB aims to bring you:

  • The best in knowledge sharing on the topic of fermentation, so you may learn at a comfortable pace without feeling overwhelmed. 

  • Safe techniques so you may confidentally ferment your own probiotic goodness at home.

  • The comfort and welcome to enjoy a space to gather with like minds and benefit from the connection with others.

  • The opportunity to collaborate and bring something to the table should you wish.

  • The knowledge to change a little, so you will inevitably change a lot.

  • The immeasurable joy in feeling good!

We hope you can join us for the fun!
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The Cultured Club is dedicated to reviving this lost tradition and bringing the control of our health into our own kitchens.
'Let food be thy medicine and thy medicine be food' is a hard philosophy to live by when we are so removed from the food we eat.

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