Author Archives: YourFoodYourLife

About YourFoodYourLife

Sharing some nutritious food ideas that work for me.

Fermenting Workshops!

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Here are the details of my upcoming workshops!  If you’re in the London area, why don’t you come along?

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Fermented foods are vital to our health and their value is generally underestimated, but is currently undergoing a revival in popularity as more and more realise how essential they are.

In the workshops, we will look at why people in all parts of the world have fermented for millennia.  We will discuss why this process is so good for all-round health.  You will prepare some ferments to take home and watch mature after which you can start to enjoy them.  It is my intention that you will leave the workshop with the confidence and know-how to continue creating ferments at home.

If you would like to book, please click here

If you would like to find out more before booking, please contact me here

Quick Food Tips

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I have made a video!  It’s very short, and the first in a series of Quick Food Tips.  It’s not going to win any awards, but I hope that over time the various flaws will become areas that improve.  But the info will be useful if you’re not already aware of it!  Enjoy it and leave a comment!

Gut Matters – my new ebook!

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Well, I may not have posted as often as I’d hoped, but I’ve been squirreling away, working on my ebook!  This is a concise guide to soaking grains and pulses so that you get the most from them.  It’s called “Gut Matters:  Soaking Grains for Improved Digestion and Enhanced Nutrition”  and it’ll be launched towards the end of this month.

It explains why we should be soaking our grains and the benefits of doing so, and has some handy tables and recipes so you know exactly what to do.

All seeds contain phytic acid that protects them whilst they wait for the optimum time for germination – the seed contains alot of nutrition to nourish the seedling as it grows, and this is the nutrition we want to access too.  But it remains locked in if we don’t pre-treat the seed before cooking and eating.  Of course this doesn’t just apply to grains – pulses, nuts and seeds like pumpkin and sunflower seeds also need to be soaked.

So how do we know all this?  Well, there isn’t a host of scientific evidence, although there is a little, but for the most part, the evidence is in the health of the traditional groups from around the world who have practised soaking and fermenting grains and other seeds for millenia.  And for me, there is the story of improved digestion for me and my family, literally, overnight.

My family and I now really enjoy fermented grains more than soaked grains, and much more than those that haven’t been soaked at all.  Fermented grains are much easier to digest, and presumably that also means more of their nutrients are bioavailable.  With baking, the results, in my opinion, are superior to baking with unsoaked flour, as the end product is deliciously moist!  In “Gut Matters” as well as some sweet treat recipes, there are instructions for adapting recipes, so you don’t have to give up old favourites.

Remembering to soak your grains requires a bit of a mindshift, and for that reason I offer support in the form of coaching calls  just to get you started.  But either way, it just requires a bit more planning than you might be accustomed to.  And although it takes hours or even days to soak or ferment grains, these are not labour-intensive!  It takes just a minute or so to prepare the grains and leave them aside to soak, then once the required time has passed, cooking or baking takes no longer than usual.

You can pre-buy “Gut Matters” by contacting me in the comments below.

Deptford Kimchi

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Deptford Kimchi

This recipe is my interpretation of Sandor Elix Katz’s Fruit Kimchi, in Wild Fermentation (p 50). I call it Deptford Kimchi because I bought the exotic fruit on Deptford High Street, where there are many shops that reflect the ethnic diversity of the area. The ingredients are a list of possibilities, with a few must-haves: the basis of the recipe is cabbage, and as long as there is some spice it will be kimchi, and including fruit will make it fruit kimchi.

As for quantities, the balance of fruit and veg is about 50:50.  This ferment needs to be consumed much faster than all-vegetable ferments – because of the fruit, the sugar begins to turn to alcohol, which is a stage on from what we want.  Therefore, I use 1/2 a cabbage and eat it within a week after fermenting.  If you have more to share it with, by all means double the quantities.

Here goes:

1/2 white cabbage

1/2 an onion and/or 1/2 a leek – for variety, take some from the top and some from the bottom

1/2 a pepper (optional)

A selection of fruit, for example, mango, papaya, grapefruit, orange, lemon, lime, ugli fruit, dragon fruit, physalis, grapes, pineapple, fresh or dried figs, fresh or dried dates, pomegranite, sharon fruit, you get the idea!

Note – I haven’t tried banana in this recipe but it hasn’t done well in water kefir.  And I’m wondering what melon would be like, so will try it and let you know.

A few cloves of garlic and/or a chunk of ginger, sliced or grated and/or 1 chilli, chopped

Other spices such as peppercorns, cumin seeds, coriander seeds, star anise, cinnamon sticks – all optional

Unsalted cashew or other nuts (optional)

2-3 tbsp sea salt

 

Shred or grate the cabbage in a food processor.

Slice the remaining vegetables.

Chop the fruit – this enables you to have a selection of fruit in a serving, but you might prefer to have wedges or slices of fruit – experiment!

Put the fruit and veg into a large mixing bowl, add the nuts, garlic cloves/ginger/chilli, any other spices you’re using and the salt.

Mix gently, taking care with the fruit.

Transfer to a 1-1.5 litre kilner jar or other fermenting vessel.

Press the kimchi down to eliminate pockets of air, top up with filtered water, ensuring the water is about 2.5 cm/1″ above the level of the fruit and veg.

There are several options for keeping the kimchi beneath the top of the water.

1.  Press it down every day.

2.  Fill a food-grade plastic bag with water, tie a knot in the top and place on top of the kimchi.

3.  As 2.  above, but replace the water with clean stones, or a combination of water and stones.

4.  If your vessel has a wide enough mouth, insert a plate and hold it down with clean stones.

Leave the kimchi at room temperature for 1 week, I usually place my ferments on a tray initially just in case there is leakage.

Consume within one week – which really isn’t difficult!!!

 

 

Corn Cakes and Oat Cakes

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I used to love the convenience of ricecakes, corncakes and other crisp bread products – until I discovered that the baking method, called extrusion (cooking quickly at extremely high temperatures), denatures them, that is, they are stripped of their nutrients (1, 2, 3)

However, my children say these corn cakes taste better than the packaged crispy varieties!

Here’s the recipe:

2 cups organic maize meal

1 cup yogurt

1 pastured egg

sea salt

Mix the maize meal and yogurt together and leave covered in a warm place overnight or longer.*

Beat the egg and mix it with the soaked corn and salt to taste.

Form into balls and press onto a greased baking tray.

Bake at 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4 for 15-20 minutes, until just starting to go brown – if left longer they become too hard.  They should bend like a cake and break rather than snap like a biscuit.

To make oatcakes is even simpler.  Substitute rolled oats for maize meal and leave out the egg.  Soak for 7 hours or longer.

*I haven’t managed to find out how long corn should be soaked – some South American tribes used to soak corn for several weeks!  Sally Fallon recommends soaking it in lime water for 7 hours, after which she adds yogurt or another acid and soaks for a further 12-24 hours.  Traditionally corn is soaked in lime.  At first I thought this was lime juice, but it’s actually a pickling lime that isn’t readily available in the UK.  I have found it on ebay and amazon, but haven’t tried it yet as I’d like to research more about the source first.  The main benefit of soaking corn in lime water is that it releases vitamin B3.  But this only becomes an issue if corn is a staple in the diet (Sally Fallon, Nourishing Traditions, p 454)

References

(1) Sally Fallon, Nourishing Traditions                                                                                                                           (2)http://www.westonaprice.org/health-topics/dirty-secrets-of-the-food-processing-industry/           (3)http://www.answers.com/topic/rice-cake-1 (I tried to check the references for this article but none of the links work.  I’ll update this information if I get any further)

Deptfordwives Vingatge and Christmas Craft Fair

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It’s been a long time since I posted here!

However, here I am again, to spread the word about the Deptfordwives Vintage and Christmas Craft Fair.  I will have a fermenting stall at this fair on 14th and 15th December.  If you’re in the area, come along and make a ferment to take home!  There will be loads of other stalls including jewellery, “vintage classy items” (!), pottery, local art, leather work…

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Dairy-free, sugar-free ‘Chocolate’ Mousse

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It’s about time I added a dessert recipe to this blog, don’t you think!  I used to make a delicious mousse that included double cream, but one of my daughters finds the cream difficult to tolerate, so I have replaced it with avocado… The rest of us sometimes add a dollop of raw cream. Pictured above are the two versions of this that I serve – one with and one without egg white. This is a great way to get children eating raw eggs and avocado.

Ingredients (serves a family of 4)

1 avocado

2-3 (truly) free-range, organic eggs

1 banana (optional)

1-2 tsp raw honey, as local as you can get

half a vanilla pod

1-2 tsp carob powder (some brands have a more bitter taste, so the honey may need to be adjusted too)

A little sea salt  (this is purely for added minerals

Method

Separate the eggs – whites into a glass bowl, yolks into something tall.  Sometimes I use more yolks for added yellow goodness, for example 3 or 4 yolks and 2 whites, and save the remaining whites for making meringues or macaroons.  Scoop the avocado in with the yolks, add the carob powder, honey, optional banana, vanilla seeds (or replace with vanilla essence) and salt.

Using a hand blender (immersion blender for US readers!) whizz up the egg yolk and avo mixture till it’s really smooth.  I start it off on the lowest setting and then use the Turbo button. Taste and adjust the flavours if necessary.  Next whisk the egg whites till they stand in stiff peaks.  Finally fold the two mixtures together.  One of my daughters dislikes the airy texture of the mousse when it’s mixed with the egg whites, so I dish her mousse from the avocado mixture before combining the two.