Tag Archives: fermenting

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

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!!!

 

 

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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Spring E-Book Bundle Review

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I am madly reading through these e-books, and time is short!  It certainly sounds like a great deal – 30 e-books for $39, which is about £25 for those of us in the UK and approximately €30 in the rest of Europe.

I am very interested in what Matt Stone has to say, in his idiosyncratic style, in ‘Eating for Heat’ about salt and water consumption – it certainly made me sit up and think about what I do regarding hydration.  I particularly liked his insistence that his book is to bring about awareness, and is not to be followed to the letter; instead, he advises, pay attention to how you feel in your body, and act accordingly.  I was a little shocked(!) at some of the foods and drinks he mentioned, but these are not recommendations, just examples of what might be an improvement for some people.  I suppose, when you’re changing your diet, it’s probably wise to move slowly into new habits.  In fact, that is my own experience with starting to eat meat, it’s been a slow process.

Matt and Betsy Jabs’ ‘DIY Natural Household Cleaners’ is full of recipes for household cleaners that are non-toxic, environmentally friendly and cheaper than the chemical products many of us use.  I did this switch a few years ago using a book I was given, and I’m very happy that I did, but my book omitted recipes for the dishwasher and washing machine, so I was very pleased to find some recipes in Matt and Betsy’s e-book.  I’ll definitely be giving them a try.  I liked the advice on adjusting the ingredients to suit the hardness of water, too.

‘The Eczema Cure’ by Emily Bartlett I found interesting – eczema is something we are familiar with in our household.  I’ve been on quite a food journey regarding this alone and this e-book might have saved me trips down some dead ends had it been available a few years ago.  Emily recommends nutrient dense foods, healthy fats and fermented foods and gives recipes for many of these foods.  She also discusses the use of Chinese medicine for healing eczema.

I’ve ‘flicked’ through some of the recipe books too – ‘Indulge and Heal: 40 Treats Without Grains, Dairy, Nuts and Refined Sugar’ by Lauren Geersten, ‘Fast Paleo Top 100 of 2012’ by James Gregory and ‘Afternoon Tea: Grain, Nut, Dairy and Refined Sugar-Free’ by Suzanne Perazzini.  These contain a wealth of tasty looking recipes.  For me, using chocolate or coffee in baking is a no-no, but there are alternative flavours that I use instead, so they’re easily adapted.

I’ll review some more of the 30 over the weekend…

To view more information and to purchase the bundle, please click on this link:  http://villagegreennetwork.com/spring-e-book-bundle/?AFFID=115896

Please note, this is an affiliate link, so if you purchased, I would receive a commission.

 

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!