Chef/Author Interviews | 31 August 2016Behind the scenes of Ferment, Pickle, Dry Share article facebook twitter google pinterest Ferment, Pickle, Dry: Ancient Methods, Modern Meals does what it says on the cover. Simon Poffley and Gaba Smolinska-Poffley’s new book offers a simple and exciting guide to fermenting, drying and pickling food – then shows you how to transform your newly preserved ingredients into fabulous dishes. The duo behind The Fermentarium are passionate about growing, preserving and cooking using traditional techniques. Simon teaches sourdough bread baking and is also the founder of the Left Bank Brewery and Gaba’s interest in foraging and preserving seasonal produce is rooted in her native Poland. From fermenting failures to the inspiration behind the book we find out more from Simon and Gaba. What was the inspiration behind the book and how was it deciding what to include? We wanted to bring the wonder of fermentation and the great benefits of preserving methods to a wider audience. We love promoting fermentation and sharing our experiences. How long have you been creating food in this way for? Simon has been brewing beer and baking bread for nearly twenty years. Gaba learnt many different preserving methods from her parents and grandparents in the countryside in Poland. How long have you been running your classes for? We have been running bread-making classes for over five years and started doing lactic fermentation courses two years ago. Kimchi – photography by Kim Lightbody Have you noticed an increase in popularity in these classes? There has been a growing interest in fermentation especially in kimchi, sauerkraut, kombucha and kefir over the last couple of years. What would you say is your favourite technique – fermenting, pickling or drying? Fermenting is our favourite of the methods as it is probiotic, live and wild, but we also love experimenting with all three methods and using different techniques to create exciting new results. Recently we have been drying different fermented foods to make interesting salts. What is your favourite food to either ferment, pickle or dry and why? Gaba’s favourite preserved foods are: Dried kale, first glazed in an apple cider vinegar, honey and chilli dressing. Fermented and pickled celery and carrots which make a good alternative to veggie sticks Dried pink fermented turnip to snack on or to sprinkle on salads and stews. Simon’s favourites are: Kimchi Milk kefir, it is bubbly and refreshing Pickled plums are extraordinary! Any food that you have tried to ferment, pickle or dry and it just hasn’t worked? We are experimenting a lot and some of the things we did went really badly. Our attempt at pickling whole baby aubergines was disappointing, and dried yam didn’t really work on any level. Do you think fermenting is important, why? Fermenting is important because: It is probiotic, it gives us a big burst of good microbes It opens the door to a huge swathe of new tastes and textures It links us not only to the past and to the old methods but to other cultures around the world. Any plans for the rest of this year? More classes? We are planning more classes and intend to run workshops on bean and koji ferments and dairy ferments. We would like to run courses outside of London as well, we want to explore further to create new and exciting dishes. Ferment, Pickle, Dry by Simon Poffley and Gaba Smolinska-Poffley, is out 1 September. Order your copy here and happy fermenting, pickling or drying! Publisher: Frances Lincoln Photography: Kim Lightbody Share article facebook twitter google pinterest If you have any comments on this article please contact us or get in touch via social media.