Fermented Foods – nourishing traditions re-discovered

[Please be aware that this is an old post from 2012 in preparation for one of my still very popular ‘Traditional Cultured Foods’ workshops!]

Have you ever pondered the miracle of digestion?

How is it that we can eat certain foods and in a matter of, literally, seconds we feel a surge of energy? While at other times we eat things for comfort yet we feel horrible shortly after.

How come?

You have probably heard the term ‘gut flora’ before. Did you know that our intestinal tract, where most of the digestion and assimilation of food happens, contains Trillions of micro-organisms? These little critters outnumber our human body cells by a factor of 10! Means 90% of the cells and the genetic material we contain in our body is our gut flora!!!

In an ideal world our bodies live in perfect symbiosis with these friendly micro-organisms. They even take charge of the health of our gut lining and the cells it consists of. While we in return are supposed to provide a healthy nourishing living environment for them.

So where shall we look first to improve our state of health and wellbeing?

Right! Our GUT FLORA 🙂

Unfortunately most of us have a less than optimal cultural mix in our digestive tract. Many environmental factors, the contraceptive pill, anti-biotics, alcohol, stress, etc. can devastate the healthy and beneficial bacteria in our gut. This opportunity is used by toxic and foreign bacteria to populate our gut. That means the percentage of beneficial bacteria can drop dramatically with severe health implications. For a more complete explanation please inform yourself on Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride’s website, her books on  GAPS (Gut and Psychology Syndrome) and many youtube videos.

Fermented foods variety

One key factor in one’s nutrition on the way to restored wellbeing is Fermented Foods. Our ancestor’s diet consisted of a variety of fermented foods and beverages. Through the commercialisation of the world’s ‘food’ supply many of these traditional fermented foods are not any longer part of everybody’s diet. Fermenting food was a prime way of preserving food and simultaneously increased its digestibility and nutritional profile. That’s how our symbiotic relationship with our beneficial gut flora evolved. We are meant to consume fermented foods on a regular basis!

A glass of Kombucha

Kombucha with Curry Cashews

The Weston A. Price Foundation is doing excellent work in educating the public about this important factor in our nutrition. And so am I 🙂

We have secured the beautiful Mahurangi West Hall as our regular venue for one-day workshops and raw food chef trainings. It is a historical building, in the most scenic setting, newly renovated with all the creature comforts (including our dear, yet superfluous dishwasher).

Mahurangi West Hall

So what’s on the menu? Shortened as of today, 18.8.2012!

  • Sauerkraut, of course!
  • Coconut yoghurt
  • Sour Beets and other fermented vegetable

    Sour Beets

    Sour Beets

  • Kim Chi
  • Natto
  • Kombucha

    A glass of Kombucha

    Kombucha

  • Water kefir

    Water Kefir

    Water Kefir

  • Kefir (dairy) and yoghurt from organic milk
  • wild-fermented sourdough

    Sourdough

    Sourdough

  • Gundru from Nepal/Tibet

    Gundru

    Gundru

  • Cider
  • Chinese Pickles
  • Japanese Nuka Bran Pickles
  • Quinoa Chicha
  • and more… What is crossed out we’ll deal with in future workshops!

This will be a very interactive workshop, balancing demo with hands-on preparation. You will take home the absolute confidence that fermented foods are easy to make and can be a regular staple in your diet.
As always, samples of all our organic food and the full recipe booklet is included. We will have a late lunch at the end of the workshop sampling our creations.

The workshop starts at 10am. We will be finished by 3pm.
That will give you enough time in the morning to visit the Matakana Market and get your knives sharpened there by Mike. 🙂

To ensure a very private atmosphere and an optimal learning environment this class is limited to only 12 students.
We are receiving bookings already. This workshop is going to be sold out shortly.

Your investment is $300+gst for the half day, including an organic lunch and samples as well as the comprehensive recipe booklet.

For bookings please refer to our Event Calendar page.

Bookings are essential for this workshop! Your payment confirms your booking. Due to the high demand and limited space we are not able to hold spaces which are not paid for in advance.

Feel free to get in touch with questions and booking requests here.

OK, I’ll better get back to all those bubbling vessels in our kitchen and hot water cupboard 😉 This is the most Fun I have had in preparing a workshop. I’m determined to pass that Joy on to you!

See you on August 25th for a nourishing Fermented Foods workshop!

Much Love,
René
🙂

Water Kefir, Kombucha, Curry Cashews

Raw Chocolate Bar Recipe – Finally!

After filling my Facebook page and ‘Timeline’ with tempting pictures of raw chocolate bars I received so many orders that I will have to move to a more empowering strategy. How about you make these beauties yourself and send me a sample?! 😉

Yumberry Chocolate Bear

“Give a man a chocolate bear and you’ll feed him for a day. Teach him…”

Although the recipe listed below has been working well for me over the months you might encounter problems when adding nut flours or fruit powders to your liquid chocolate mix. Sometimes the cacao butter separates when cooling down (especially when adding liquids). To avoid this from happening you can melt just 50% of it and shave the rest with a grater. That will keep the temperature of the whole mix down. That also means your chocolate will solidify quicker. I tried it today. Worked like a Charm! Also the surface of the finished bars seems to be much smoother.

Freeze dried Passionfruit chocolate bars

Be aware that when making raw chocolate you will leave the field of approximates and enter the Sacred Realm of Alchemy. So tread carefully and record your recipe trials and precise amounts!

And here we go with:

Raw Chocolate Bars

Makes enough chocolate to brighten a hairy day
(36 ice cube tray bars and 1-2 teddy bears)

  • 1 lb (454g) raw organic  cacao butter
  • 2 c cacao powder
  • 1.5 c cane sugar/xylitol, ground into a powder
  • 1 t + vanilla powder
  • 1-2 drops lime juice (Not more!)
  • 1-2 drops tamari sauce
  • ¼ c raw cacao nibs, optional
  • 1 t freeze dried fruit powder, optional
  1. Melt the cacao butter carefully in a bowl over hot water. Be careful not to overheat it. Stir continuously! That will yield about 2.25c of liquid.
  2. Transfer to a blender jar and add the remaining ingredients. Mix at high speed till everything is emulsified into a homogenous mixture.
  3. Pour the liquid mixture into chocolate molds or small plastic wrapped tartlet shells. You can drizzle some fruit powder into the mold before pouring the liquid chocolate. Silicone ice cube trays are best.
    Silicone ice cube trays
  4. Drop the cacao nibs into the liquid chocolate. They will float. You can stir them in if you wish.
    Chocolate Buttons
  5. Chill. The quicker the chocolate solidifies the better.
  6. Serve on cold dishes or paper as the chocolate melts easily.

Tip: Variations can be made with different essential oils and essences. Use your imagination! Citrus oils work well, Geranium goes, and even Basil rocks!

Great New Zealand made freeze dried fruit powders and whole fruit here: Fresh As!

Yumberry and Cacao nib bars

Enjoy and Happy Birthday!
René
🙂

PS: While we are on it… To further your raw chocolatier education please do yourself a favour and visit my dear friend Amy Levin’s website www.ooosha.co.uk! She is the ‘Master of Raw Chocolate’ and has a bunch of her best recipes listed on that website. Make sure you try the Textured Mocha Truffles!

Almond Lime Cookie recipe – a versatile sweet raw treat

You would never think these little darlings are raw, would you?!
Trust me, they are 🙂

A cookie jar of Love

Among the White and Dark Chocolate Raspberry Tart and Amy Levin’s Candied Hazelnut Cupcakes with Chocolate Frosting they almost disappeared at last week’s Divine Desserts class. Yet… try them! The flavour and texture is pretty close to marzipan, well worth the effort of hot-soaking, peeling, soaking, dehydrating… Double the batch and have your family help you peel the almonds. They might get a cookie for it 😉

And here is how:

Almond Lime Cookies

Makes about 60 cookies

  • 3 c almonds, hot-soaked, peeled, soaked for 6-8 hours, dehydrated until crisp
  • 4 T agave nectar or light honey like clover
  • 1/4 t natural sea salt or to taste
  • 1 T lime juice
  • 1 t lime zest
  • 2 t vanilla extract
  1. Process all of the almonds in a food processor until coarsely ground.
  2. Add the other ingredients and process into a firm dough.
  3. Form dough into a ball and flatten between two teflex sheets into 0.5cm thickness. With a cookie cutter cut out heart-shaped cookies and place on dehydrator sheet.
  4. Dehydrate at 42° C for 8-12 hours or until crisp.

Enjoy!

René
🙂

A lunchbox full of sweet Love