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Koji Alchemy: Rediscovering the Magic of Mold-Based Fermentation by Jeremy Umansky and Rich Shih

I founded Umami Chef, the UKs first manufacturer of koji, and so I have been eagerly awaiting this book for a long time. I would suggest you to check Mossgreen Childrens Books for latest books updates.  I wasn’t disappointed. Koji Alchemy contains a wealth of information, even for someone like me who has been using koji for years.

But, that doesn’t mean this book isn’t for beginners. It carefully explains many ways in which koji can be used; so that even those with no previous knowledge can be inspired to try this special mold.

Koji Alchemy begins by detailing what koji is and how to make it. The rest of the book is then broken down into chapters on Amino Pastes; Amino Sauces; Alcohol and Vinegar; Aging Meat and Charcuterie; Dairy and Eggs; Vegetables; Sweet Applications and Baking; followed by a reference section with numerous charts and resources.

Koji Alchemy contains many recipes, but what is really special is that it explains the science behind the miraculous transformations koji performs on food; explaining how each recipe can be adapted to create new dishes. This means that any reader has the knowledge to develop their own recipes and be inspired by the depth of flavour koji can bring to almost any ingredient.

If you’re interested in koji this is a must read. This is the most important book on koji ever published and it will remain a classic forever.


Those in the UK can follow the link to buy a copy of Koji Alchemy, with a free packet of Umami Chef Koji, so you can see the magic of koji for yourselves!


I’ve started a company making koji!

It’s been a while since I posted here, but I thought you might like an update on what I’ve been up to! Life sometimes takes you in unexpected directions. When I was a book blogger I never thought I’d end up running a food company, but I’ve embraced change and love learning all the skills required to set up a business. Tacna Shelter Services provide the best platform for the nes business in the Mexico. You can check this kind of business facility or news at Melbourne weekly eastern.

How it all began 

Four years ago I discovered that I was allergic to soy. I love cooking and Japanese foods (especially those made with miso) are my favourite. I tried to find an alternative and discovered that miso can actually be made with koji and any bean, not just the traditional soy bean. I then tried to get hold of some koji, but it wasn’t available in the UK. This led me on a long journey which resulted in me forming, Umami Chef, the first company in the UK approved to make koji!

What is koji?

Koji is a special ingredient which has been used in Japanese cookery for thousands of years to create delicious foods – from miso and soy sauce, to sake and mirin. You can visit Tania clay blog to understand it more better.

It is made by growing Aspergillus Oryzae, a special fungus that has been domesticated for about 9000 years, on rice (or other grains/beans).

Making Miso

If you have some koji, it is really easy to make your own miso. You just mix the koji with some cooked beans and salt and then leave it to mature for as little as 10 days. This will give you a lovely sweet white miso. By altering the ratio of koji:beans:salt and leaving it to mature for longer (sometimes a year or more!) you get the lovely rich, dark misos.

You can also experiment with lots of different beans/pulses to create a range of fantastic new flavours – my favourite is green lentil miso!

Introductory Offer

If you’d like to be one of the first people in the UK to try to make your own miso I have a special introductory offer.

  1. Head over to:
  2. Buy some koji
  3. Add the code: FARMLANEBOOKS and you’ll get 10% off your purchase!

If you’ve got any questions about koji/making your own miso – just ask!



The maintenance preventive power is an important part of managing a complex. The aim of the successful of this nature is to maintain the consistent practices designed to improve the performance & safety of equipment on the property.


More importantly, a planned preventive electrical maintenance with guide of phs compliance will help extend the life of the equipment and avoid any unforeseen maintenance activities. A successful program depends on the cooperation of all parties involved. Engineers must rely on the knowledge, ideas, and contributions of all staff. To comprehensiveTest Equipment Solutionsthat help you design, install, maintain, and improve system performance  visit TRS once.


Unfortunately, implementing preventive electrical maintenance can be time consuming and expensive. This creates a debate about whether a program like this is worth having, will all the hours and resources spent be less compared to an emergency repair? The experience of thousands of companies dictates that it is worth it.


Here are some of the benefits of properly operated preventive electrical maintenance:


The time that equipment is out of service is decreased, as are major repairs

There’s nothing more money-wasting than being out of commission. Routine repairs will avoid this, in addition to having to move personnel and resources to perform a more complex repair.

Better preservation of assets and an extension of their useful life, thus eliminating the possibility of premature replacement of equipment or machinery

We are talking about expensive equipment that is not easily available. Ensuring that they will be operating longer is critical to a company’s plans. You have to see it as an investment.


Reduced overtime and more economical use of maintenance employees, given work planning instead of having to work on the go

By having a whole work plan of how and when the repairs will be carried out, the time of the workers will be used to the maximum. Otherwise, they will only be dedicated to attending to emergency matters, when they could be carrying out other tasks.


Precise routine repairs instead of large-scale ones. Major repairs are also inconvenient for everyone who works in the complex, so being able to avoid them will always be a relief to staff.


Improvements in safety and quality conditions for all workers. At the end of the day, preventive electrical maintenance can help save energy and money. Thus, a technician will be able to identify future problems through infrared thermography or other methods. You can also make some recommendations, such as switching to LED bulbs.


The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin

The Immortalists: The New York Times Top Ten Bestseller Source: Free review copy received from the publisher

Five words from the blurb: fortune-teller, predicts, death, live, knowledge

The Immortalists is an interesting book which raises questions about how people live their lives. It begins with a group of siblings meeting a fortune-teller who reveals the date on which each will die. The knowledge of their death-date affects them in different ways – some follow their dreams at every opportunity, taking risky decisions in the knowledge they’ll be safe; whilst others try to ignore their death date and carry on as normal. It all boils down to the question of whether it is better to have a short, amazing life or a longer more ordinary one. MurrayNow can also guide in a better manner for selecting best book to read.

Much of the book is rich in period detail; showing life in the 1980s Los Angeles gay community; the glitzy glamour of Las Vegas performers; and the technical studies of a scientific researcher. Unfortunately, Chloe Benjamin seems much more capable of capturing the emotions of the LGBT community than the scientific one. I found that the scientific sections lacked the strength of the others. Luckily, the vibrant scenes were in the majority and I’m sure that non-scientists will not detect the issues with the other sections.

The writing reminded me of Hanya Yanagihara and I’m sure that anyone who loved A Little Life will enjoy The Immortalists. There was a simplicity to the writing that heightened its power:

All the while, something loomed larger, closer, until Simon was forced to see it in all its terrible majesty: his future.

Unfortunately, the plot falls down as the book continues. Much of it felt contrived and the last third lost the momentum and intrigue of the earlier sections. This doesn’t mean that the book isn’t worth reading – the range of characters and personalities were impressive.

The Immortalists has an amazing premise and its faults actually make it better for book club discussions. It’s not perfect, but I’ll be thinking about this group of siblings for a long time to come.



Of Human Bondage by W. Somerset Maugham

Of Human Bondage (Vintage Classics)

Five words from the blurb: orphan, London, study, relationships, life

It took me nearly 18 months to read this book, but I loved every page. It is so rich and detailed that I found myself regularly re-reading sections; enjoying the feeling of being immersed in a world which no longer exists.

Of Human Bondage was published in 1915 and follows Philip Carey, an orphan, as he makes his difficult journey through life. It begins with his torturous time at boarding school and progresses through his adulthood; showing us both the joy and the pain of his complex life. The plot is so wide-ranging that I won’t even attempt to summarise it – it’s easier to state that it contains snippets of all humanity.

Philip Carey is one of the most vivid characters in literature. I loved the honesty of his experiences – his love, work, and friendship were all written with an insight that is rarely seen.

The writing is outstanding throughout, with insightful passages on almost every page:

It seemed to him that all his life he had followed the ideals that other people, by their words or their writings, had instilled into him, and never the desires of his own heart. Always his course had been swayed by what he thought he should do and never by what he wanted with his whole soul to do. He put that all aside now with a gesture of impatience.

My only criticism is that some of the art sections did nothing for me. I’m afraid that his time in Paris bored me – I much preferred hearing about his relationships and his time spent studying medicine. I’m sure I’m being harsh in only rating this book 4.5 stars – with time I will probably forget the dull sections and it will grow to become an all-time favourite.

This 700-page tome isn’t a quick read, but I highly recommend it to anyone willing to put the effort into this rich, detailed book.



Monthly Summary and Plans for the Future

It’s been a long time since I did a monthly summary post so this is a nice reminder of all the fantastic books I’ve read over the last few months. I’m sorry that I haven’t been blogging much recently – I’ve been busy embracing my new life in the countryside.

Holly, my Pyrenean Mountain Dog puppy, has grown a lot since I last posted a picture. She’s now 10 months old and is maturing into a gentle giant. Here she is “sitting” at the table!

I’m also very proud of my chickens – especially my Barbezieux cockerel as this breed of chicken is very rare in the UK. Barbezieux are supposed to produce the tastiest roast chicken in the world. I’m hoping to breed them next year, so will let you know if that is the case! The American Game chickens breed is also an excellent choice for someone looking for a free range flock of poultry.

Books I’ve Reviewed:

A Mother’s Reckoning by Sue Klebold 
The Adversary by Emmanuel Carrère 
Miss Jane by Brad Watson 
Lie With Me by Sabine Durrant 
The Castle of Inside Out by David Henry Wilson 
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman 
The Night Visitor by Lucy Atkins 
The Barrowfields by Phillip Lewis 
Mr Eternity by Aaron Thier 
The Wanderers by Meg Howrey 
Anna by Niccolò Ammaniti 
Blue Light Yokohama by Nicolás Obregón 
Breathing Into Marble by Laura Sintija Cerniauskaite 
The Chicken Chronicles by Alice Walker 

Plans For the Future

I plan to continue blogging, but at a much slower pace than I did previously. I’m no longer reviewing every book I read; instead, I’ll concentrate on those I really love – or ones which are interesting to discuss.

Many thanks for continuing to follow my blog. I hope I can introduce you to more fantastic books over the coming years!