Monthly Archives: December 2012

Sauerkraut

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So, there are loads of tasty sweet treats around for all those celebrations.  Here’s something to bring a little balance.  This recipe won’t be ready for at least 4 weeks though, so in the meantime you can buy good quality sauerkraut at your local health food shop – make sure it’s unpasteurised though, otherwise the valuable probiotics will have been destroyed.  Once you’ve done this recipe once, it’s possible to have a constant supply, so long as you replenish your stocks whilst still consuming what’s ready.

Ingredients

1 red or white cabbage

2 tbsps sea salt

1 tbsp caraway seeds or juniper berries (optional)

filtered water

Also needed are sterile jars with plastic-lined lids.  (Clean the jars in warm soapy water, rinse and dry.  Place them upright on a tray in a cold oven.  Turn oven to about 130°C/Gas Mark 1/2 or 250°F for about 10-15 mins.  Remove and LET COOL before filling with sauerkraut.  Sterilise the lids by putting them in a heatproof bowl or jug, pour in boiling water and leave to stand for about 30 mins.)

Method

Shred or grate the cabbage.  I use my food processor for this.  Place in a large mixing bowl and add the sea salt.  Add optional seeds or berries.  Mix well.  Spoon into COLD sterile jars, press down, but leave a space at the top of about 2.5cm.  Add filtered water so that the cabbage is completely covered, but there is still at least 2cm left at the top of the jar.  (I once filled my jars too full and woke up one morning to purple striped walls in my kitchen as the juices had bubbled out of the (sealed) jars and dribbled from the shelf to the counter-top!  Fortunately this was a week or so before work started on my new kitchen!

Label the jars – contents and date.  Leave them in a warm place to ferment for several weeks.  After about 4 weeks open one and have a taste.  If you like it, start to enjoy a little sauerkraut with any meals you fancy.  If you don’t like it, leave it for a couple more weeks before testing again.

When I first started doing this I was unsure about what was good and not good, but I got more confident as I progressed.  I’ve had some failures, but not many and it’s most often down to not following sterilising instructions fully.  If it’s got a vibrant colour, is crisp and tastes good then it’s a success.  If the colour is dull and it feels and looks mushy, then it’s probably best to skip the taste test and compost it!  Ditto if you find mould.  Happy fermenting!

More soup to warm you…

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I tried this yesterday.  It was quick and easy to make.  We ate (drank?) it on our way home from the theatre and my daughter kept coming back for more.  It had a delicate flavour, and felt very satisfying.

Leek and Fennel Soup

Ingredients

3 leeks

1 fennel bulb

garlic (my usual 3 cloves)

6 cups chicken stock (homemade)

Sea salt – be generous

Pepper

Coconut oil

Method

Roughly slice the leek and fennel.  Fry for a few minutes to seal.  Add stock, salt and garlic, bring to the boil and simmer for 10-15 minutes.  Blitz with a hand blender.  Adjust the seasoning.  Hey presto, it’s ready!

Special Drink

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As so many of my friends are unwell with various winter ailments, I thought I’d post this lovely warming, soothing and healing drink that my daughters call Special Drink!

Ingredients

Rather unusually for me these are in imperial measures, but that’s how I was given the recipe many years ago by a friend in Bristol.

1 pint water

1 tsp coriander seeds

1″ piece of cinnamon stick

1″ piece of root ginger, sliced

4 cloves

about 1/4 a lemon

Bring to the boil and simmer for 10 mins.

When it’s cooled to your ideal drinking temperature, add honey to taste.

When we have this I usually increase the quantities (mostly triple) and keep what’s not needed immediately in a flask.

And for those of you who are as fit as a fiddle, don’t worry, you can still enjoy this as it’s a great winter warmer after being out in the cold, or a comfort drink for those moments when that’s just what you need!

Pumpkin Soup

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It’s getting a bit late in the season for this, but I felt inspired the other day to share my pumpkin soup recipe – which is usually made with squash actually, but squash soup doesn’t have the same ring to it!

Ingredients

squash or pumpkin – obviously! My favourites  for this recipe are Crown Prince and Butternut.

1 onion

garlic – I use 3 cloves

coconut oil – for frying the onion, best for this purpose imo

3-6 cups stock – homemade chicken or veg stock preferably

salt

Optional ingredients (choose one, some or all)

about a teaspoon of:

fennel

ginger

cumin and coriander

Half a pack of creamed coconut

1 cup red lentils (these should be pre-soaked for at least 7 hours in 3 cups of warm acidulated water – use whey, cider vinegar, lemon or lime juice, or live natural yogurt)

Method

Slice the pumpkin or squash in half, remove the seeds with a spoon, place on a roasting dish and roast at 180°C/Gas Mark 4/350°F.  This can be done hours or the day before you make the rest of the soup.  But if you’re in a hurry, peel and cube the pumpkin and add to the pan after the next stage.

Fry the roughly chopped onion for a few minutes.  Add the raw pumpkin now if following the quick version.

If using fennel/ginger/cumin and coriander, add now.

Add the stock – more for thin soup or if adding lentils, less for thicker soup, salt and crushed garlic.

Now add the roasted pumpkin or squash and creamed coconut.  If adding lentils, drain and rinse them first.

Bring to boil and simmer for about 10 minutes or 20 if the pumpkin was raw when added.

Remove from the heat and whizz with a hand blender.