Lemon Curd with Honey – a nourishing treat!

Here is another Classic – that had escaped my attention until I came acroos Fergus Henderson’s and Justin Piers Gellatly’s “The Complete Nose To Tail” cook book. A Must-Have, like Julia Child’s books!

Lemons

Being blessed with 15 chooks and a rooster, meaning: a constant supply of fresh eggs, 14 bee hives, abundantly producing lemon and lime trees and a love for good butter, what else to make but Lemon Curd?! It has become a staple in our kitchen.

Here it goes:

Lemon Curd with Honey

Prep Time: 10 mins | Cook Time: 10 mins | Servings: 1 litre

Ingredients:

6 lemons, juice and finely grated zest of,  or limes or 4 oranges
200 g unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
410 g honey
6 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 pinch vanilla powder
1 pinch sea salt

Directions:

Place the lemon juice and zest in a large heatproof bowl with the butter and honey. Set the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water, making sure the water doesn’t touch the base of the bowl. Leave until the butter has melted, stirring occasionally, then whisk in the beaten eggs.

Cook in that bowl for about 10 minutes, whisking every 2-3 minutes, until the lemon curd has thickened. Watch the simmering water to make sure it doesn’t boil rapidly or the eggs will curdle.

Once the curd has thickened, strain it through a fine sieve, then fill into clean jars and seal. It will keep for up to 3 months in the fridge.

Have Fun and Enjoy!!!

Lemon Curd

Pflaumenmus – good old style German plum jam

Plum tree

Ever wondered what magic your grandma was putting into those jars when you were growing up? I have.
…and never really investigated until now. Living on the opposite side of the world now – where people hang upside down – no written records could be found either. Not that I would have been able to read my grandmother’s old German handwriting.

Plums in stone pot

What helped was this marvellous hande-made stone pot, which Babak imports from Iran. Google came to the rescue when my neighbours plum tree was dumping a ton of fruit on the lawn. Add New Zealand plums, a faint memory of childhood Bliss, a ‘googled’ a.k.a. ‘researched’ German recipe, and a Persian stone pot and voila! There it is: A perfect plum jam/Pflaumenmus that comes very close to Grandma/Oma Lieselotte’s magic!

Plums with spices

Just in case you don’t have a Persian stone pot, get one! Haha! Of course, you can probably use your ‘Roemertopf’, still remembering its 1970’s glorious days. A good old (and boring) baking dish with lid will highly likely do the trick too.
You can get these pots in Auckland, NZ, from the Wise Cicada in Newmarket or Farro Fresh.

Plums with sugar

The original recipe was with brown sugar. I took the freedom to replace it with organic coconut sugar. Have also ramped up the variety of spices. The apricot kernels are there for some bitterness. I remember the highlight of my grandmother’s ‘Pflaumenmus’ always was the whole walnut in each jar. They were delicious when you opened them after they had months to marinate in plum aroma.

Baked plums

If you have fresh (mold free) walnuts, make sure to bake them with the plums to sterilise them. Remember to fish them out temporarily while you puree the plums with your hand mixer! Back in they go afterwards.

Baked plums

Here we go:

Pflaumenmus / German Plum Jam

★★★★★
Prep Time: 3 hours | Cook Time: 2 hours | Servings: 3 liters | Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients:

3 kg plums, really ripe
200 g organic golden sugar
300 g organic coconut sugar
2 T cinnamon
5 cloves, ground
10 cardamom seeds, ground
1/4 t vanilla powder
1 star anise, ground
3 apricot kernels, whole (alternatively use 3 whole walnuts)
1 pinch sea salt

Finished plum jam

Directions:

Clean the plums, half them and remove the stones.
Toss the plums with the sugars and ground spices.
Put into a stone pot or baking dish and let sit for 2-3 hours to release some of the juice.
To save time you could also boil the plums with sugar and spices in a pot to realease the juice.
If using a stone pot put it into your oven, leave the lid off the pot, but in the oven, so it warms up too. With your oven set to Baking or Fan Baking start with 120°C for 20 minutes. Increase the temperature every 20 minutes by 20°C (total 60 min) until you reach 180°C. Now put the lid on your pot and bake (no fan) for another 60 min at 180°C.
This will allow your stone pot to heat up evenly without running the risk of cracking. The fan in the first hour will allow a good portion of water to evaporate, which makes for a thicker jam.
At the end of the baking time carefully lift out your hot stone pot. Place it on a heat resistant and stable surface. Now puree the plums with a stick blender into a smooth consistency. Remember to fish out the whole walnuts before blending – if you use that variation!
Fill the jam into hot rinsed canning jars. Turn the closed jars onto their lids and let cool down. Having the jars cool upside down will increase the percentage of properly sealed jars drastically – especially when using recycled ones.
Will keep in your pantry until discovered by your family.

Cooling jars

Now get yourself a slice of freshly toasted rye sourdough bread or grain-free almond bread with a decent LAYER of butter (wait a bit or your butter will drip!) a spoon… I’m sure you get my drift.

Enjoy!

Pflaumenmus

Bone Broth a traditional nourishing food

Now, you might be wondering, isn’t this a vegan raw food blog?!

A bowl of Broth

No, it isn’t. Although I’ve been following that diet for five solid years, from 2001 to 2006, I don’t any longer.

Yes, I still teach raw food classes and a full-on Raw Chef Training. Promoting raw food as a ‘lifestyle’ is just not what I do any longer. I firmly believe however in the empowerment that comes from knowledge and skills in the preparation of great food made from organic ingredients. That includes culinary pleasing raw food – especially raw desserts and snacks AND fermented/cultured foods!.

In my own life, my wife Lydia and I are following more or less the recommendations of the Weston A Price Foundation (caffeine is the exception :-)). In my teaching I strongly support their views on nutrition – from personal experience.

It only took me about two years and several lost teeth to eventually listen to my dear doctor, Damian Wojcik in Kamo, Northland. When he recommended to me to start drinking bone broth to improve the state of my dental health I somehow turned deaf. ‘Only’ two abscessed and a few more pulled teeth later I finally gave in and got myself some beef bones from the Kerikeri Butchery. Imagine a raw food chef: hat pulled down into his face, collar up, frequently looking over his shoulder, tip toeing into a butcher’s door. With hushed voice I asked for beef bones – and got given a shopping bag of bloody animal spare parts. Yes, at no cost! You will find that happen frequently too. Bones are not highly priced items at most butcheries.

Nina Flintstone

To my great surprise, Bone Broth (Stock) made a strong impact on my almost constant sweet cravings and low energy levels. These are things of the past. Many other things have changed since then too. I’m drinking a Raspberry milk shake as I am writing this – made from organic raw milk with raw organic egg  yolks… I guess in that regard, I can still call myself a ‘Raw Foodie’ 😉

Lydia was the one who really got passionate about bone broth in the beginning. She bought a crock pot and made sure it was always filled with hot and nourishing stock – she had been a vegan for 24 years by then!!! Imagine being warm and nurtured and feeling it – from the inside. Nothing does that better than a cup of bone broth with a bit of pickle juice from lacto-fermented brine pickles!

Crock pot

I won’t bore you with all the marvellous properties and benefits of bone broth. You’ll find a truck load of valuable information on the Weston A Price Foundation website or by reading Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride’s book: Gut and Psychology Syndrome (GAPS).

Before getting into the culinary territory here a quick glance at some logical connections: Upon her struggle with temporary infertility a smart naturopath suggested to our then raw vegan friend: “If you want eggs, eat eggs!” She listened and is now the proud mom of two strong kids!
In a similar fashion, it strikes me as logical to think: “If I want strong bones and joints…” Before committing to painful and expensive surgical procedures on my joints (knees, hips, spine etc.) I personally would consider gelatine rich stock/bone broth an option.

And yes, there is a difference between those vegetarian bullion cubes/powders and real bone broth. Often even the organic versions of these soup powders or pastes have a variety of dubious ingredients that can easily contain or camouflage MSG (like: yeast, hydrolyzed protein, spices…), a chemical you don’t want to add to any person’s diet. I personally stopped using these industrial bone broth substitutes. Try a good miso instead!

And here is the recipe you have been looking for.

BONE BROTH

Yield: Approximately 14 servings. This recipe makes approximately 2-4 liters of broth depending on the size of your crock pot.

Ingredients

  • 4 liter of filtered water
  • 1.5 kg of organic grass-fed beef bones, canon bones/leg bones are best and have plenty of marrow. Ask your butcher to cut them into pieces for you so the fit into your crock pot and you can access the marrow! Organic pasture-fed chicken necks and carcasses are inexpensive and also work great.
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 Tbsp of peppercorns
  • 2 Tbsp organic apple cider vinegar, like Bragg’s
  • 1 tsp unrefined sea salt – more or less to taste
  • 2 cloves of fresh garlic or 1 onion cut into quarters, optional
  • 1 whole carrot, optional

Preparation

  1. Brown or roast the bones bones first in a separate pan in the oven. It will caramelize the protein and give your broth a richer flavour. There is usually enough fat on bones to not require extra fat when roasting them. Spread them out on a baking tray and roast at 220°C for 4-5min from one side, turn the bones over and roast for a further 2min from the other side. Make sure NOT to char them!
    Roasted Bones
  2. Place all ingredients in a crock pot and set the heat to HIGH.
  3. Bring the stock to a boil, then reduce the heat setting to LOW.
  4. Allow the stock to cook for a minimum of 8 hours. The longer it cooks, the better (up to 24 hours)!
  5. Strain the stock through a fine mesh metal strainer. Add any meat bits to a soup or eat them as they are.
  6. Place the hot stock into glass jars and seal them for storage in the fridge (for up to a few weeks). Let them cool down on the bench before transferring the jars to your fridge.
  7. The bones can go back into your crock pot for another round – up to 12 times!!! They will release more minerals and gelatine with every round. Just add more apple cider vinegar and sea salt! After a few rounds you might want to add more black pepper corns and a few bay leaves.

You will find that the jars with stock in your fridge turn into a firm jelly. That is caused by the high gelatine content!
If you like, you can skim off any fat that has risen to the top and solidified – consider this “tallow” – and feel free to cook and fry with it or just leave it with your stock for the next soup!

You can drink stock any time of day, before or after meals, or use it as the base for soups and stews! Perfect in any recipe that calls for broth/stock.

Variations

Use any other kind of animal bones you like – chicken, in fact, will take less time due to the smaller pieces. Chicken bones will fall apart after 3-4 rounds.
You can add chopped veggies like carrots, celery and onions for more flavor or variety.
Seaweed, especially Kombu, is a great addition to broth.
For a more smelly, yet gelatine-rich, version a.k.a. fish stock use fish heads! 🙂

For an interesting look at the mineral content of bone broth and the actual mechanism that makes it beneficial for building strong bones and joints have a look at this great article by Kaayla T. Daniel, PhD here!

For an even deeper understanding I suggest you get yourself a copy of “Nourishing Traditions” by Sally Fallon or this little treasure here: ‘Nourishing Broth: An Old-Fashioned Remedy for the Modern World’.

Enjoy and Be Nourished!
René
🙂

Nina cheers!

This is little Nina “Flintstone”. She is living with her dear parents Janaina and Ranieri at http://www.aro-ha.com, where Ranieri is the head chef. 🙂

Wakame Miso Nut Crumble – a perfect salad tune-up!

Another day with the same salad? Healthy snacks nowhere to find?
There is help! If you have a dehydrator or kind-of-modern oven this recipe will brighten your day!

Wakame Miso Nut Crumble
Makes about 4-5 dehydrator trays

  • 400g Almonds, soaked over night
  • 300g Pumpkin seeds, soaked over night
  • 300g Sunflower seeds, soaked over night
  • 300g Sesame seeds, soaked over night
  • ½ c chia seeds
  • 25g dried Wakame sea weed (1 bag), crushed and soaked for 2 hours
  • 3 T Tamari sauce
  • 4 T Brown Rice Miso
  • 1 T Honey or coconut flower nectar
  • 3 cloves of Garlic, minced (Microplane)
  • 2 t natural sea salt
  • ½ t mild chili powder
  • 1 lemon, juice
  • 1 lime, juice
  1. Rinse the soaked nuts and seeds. In a food processor pulse the almonds and pumpkin seeds into a coarse crumbly texture.
  2. Combine everything in a large mixing bowl and stir well. Let it sit for a while for the seaweed and chia seeds to soak up some of the moisture of the mix. That will help sticking things together when dry.
  3. Spread loosely onto Teflex sheets so that enough air can flow through the clusters and the wet mix does not touch the tray above.
  4. Start dehydrating at around 145°F, turn down gradually to 115°F and eventually to 105°F. If you have an Excalibur dehydrator make sure to rotate the trays horizontally from time to time and also rotate from the centre out to the top and bottom rack.
    Should the oven be your only gadget, set the temperature on low: 50°C, turn the fan on, leave the door slightly ajar and go for it! Yes, a few baking trays will do.
    Dehydrate till crisp and completely dry.
  5. Enjoy as crumble over your salads or as individual snack.

Miso Wakame Crumble dry

Miso is one of the few soy-based foods I would actually use. Tamari is the run-off/whey from the Miso production.

Enjoy!
René
🙂

Turmeric, Cauliflower and Carrot Brine Pickles

Have you ever wondered how those delicious pickled cucumbers or vegies were made when you grew up? I certainly did.
If you happen to ask any chef about pickles, they will highly likely start talking about vinegar, sugar etc. The art of preserving and enhancing vegetables with a salt brine, creating a lactic fermentation process is almost forgotten.

Large jar

Thank Heavens and himself for Sandor Ellix Katz’ book: ‘Wild Fermentation’!!! It reconnected me with more than one traditional way of preserving and enhancing food.

These brine pickles have become an absolute staple in our kitchen. And here we go:

Cauliflower and Turmeric Brine Pickle
adapted from Sandor Ellix Katz’ recipe for Sour Pickles
Time frame 1 – 4 weeks
Will make enough to fill a 4.5l jar/crock pot.

  • 2-3 heads of organic cauliflower, cut to small florets, stalks peeled and diced
  • 1kg organic carrots, sliced into thin ‘coins’
  • 500g fresh turmeric.
  • 3-5 heads of garlic, peeled, cloves cut in half
  • ½ t Grape tannin powder (home brewing supply shops). Or a handful fresh grape-, cherry-, oak-, and/or horseradish leaves (if available).
  • 20+ black peppercorns
  • 1T black mustard seeds
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 2 sprigs of curry leaves, optional
  • 6 T sea salt and 2 liters filtered water (keep ratio to 3T salt/liter of water, if more liquid is required!)
  • 2-3 cabbage leaves, outer
  1. Chop cauliflower into small florets. Peel the stems and dice. Using a mandolin, grate/cut Turmeric into small matchsticks.
  2. In a large bowl mix all the vegetables, turmeric and garlic. Keep a few cloves of garlic aside to put on top of the finished crock. Keep cabbage leaves aside.
  3. Dissolve the sea salt (6T/90ml) in 2 liters of water to create a brine solution. Stir until salt is thoroughly dissolved.
    This concentration works well in most applications: 3T sea salt/1 liter water
  4. Clean the crock, then place at the bottom of it some of the mustard seeds, fresh grape leaves and a pinch of black peppercorns.
  5. Place the mixed vegetables in the crock. Disperse some more of the black mustard seeds, bay leaves and black pepper throughout. Finish with the remaining garlic cloves on the top.
  6. Pour brine over the vegetables. Fill the jar/crock almost to the top. Put folded cabbage leaves on the very top of the mix and press down. The cabbage leaves should be partially covered by the brine. Now put lid in place and close the crock/jar.
    Cabbage leaves on top
    The jar in the picture has been fermenting for a week or so. You can see that some of the brine has been forced out by the fermentation. You can top that up with fresh brine (3T sea salt/liter of water)
  7. If the crock pot does not have a tight fitting lid or you are using a traditional Sauerkraut crock pot, place a clean plate over the vegetables  then weigh it down with a jug filled with water or a boiled rock. If the brine doesn’t cover the weighed-down plate, add more brine mixed at the same ratio of just under 1 T sea salt to each cup of water.
  8. Cover the crock with a cloth to keep out dust and flies and store it in a cool place.
  9. Check the crock every day. Skim any mold from the surface, but don’t worry if you can’t get it all. If there’s mold, be sure to rinse the plate and weight. Taste the pickles after a few days.

10. Enjoy the pickles as they continue to ferment. Continue to check the crock/jar every day.

11. Eventually, after one to four weeks (depending on the temperature), the pickles will be fully sour. Continue to enjoy them, moving them to the fridge to slow down fermentation.

The same recipe works to create different colours, e.g. with zucchini (add tannin to keep crisp!!!), beetroot, carrots and garlic. This will be a deep purple pickle! Experiment with greens too! Silver beet pickles beautifully!

Purple Pickles

Feel free to play with other spices too! Ginger, coriander seeds, juniper berries etc.

Cauliflower Turmeric

This one was made at the last Raw Chef Training Level 1 http://wp.me/P1RysK-5F

I find it not necessary to weigh down the top of the pickles etc.. It is usually fine to fill the jar to the top with vegies and brine and then just seal the lid, put the jar into a bowl to ferment – to catch the brine that gets squeezed out during fermentation.

For metal lids I use a double sheet of cling film over the top of the jar before putting on the lid. That prevents the salt brine from corroding the lid.

Pickles

Enjoy your pickles as a side dish, vegetable part of your meal or a yummy snack between meals!

René
🙂

PS: Yes, we’ll make these kind of pickles at the Raw Chef Trainings, Level 1.

Strawberry Chocolate Torte – a Summer Treat!

It’s summer! – at least for us on the Southern half of this planet 🙂

That means an abundance of local, fresh, ripe fruit, especially berries! What better to do than to whip up a yummy chocolate torte with it?! Make sure you use organic or spray-free berries though, as the ‘conventionally’ grown ones can hold a lot of pesticides.

Raw Chocolate Strawberry Torte

Should you happen to not dwell on the strawberry side of the globe this torte is easily made with orange slices, bananas or even pears. For a more decadent crust feel free to replace the shredded coconut with macadamia nuts and make sure to sprinkle some bits over the top! B.T.W. the torte below was made in a spring form.

Orange Chocolate Torte

This recipe was introduced to me by my dear friend Matt Samuelson in 2004 and has been a staple in my dessert repertoire ever since.

And here we go!

Strawberry Chocolate Torte
Serves 8

For the crust:

  • 1.5c shredded coconut
  • 1.5c cashews
  • 4-6 Medjool dates, pitted
  • Pinch cayenne pepper

For the filling:

  • 3 avocados, peeled, pit removed
  • 1T vanilla extract
  • 5T organic cocoa powder, raw if you prefer
  • 1/2c Rapadura, raw cane sugar
  • a few drops lemon or lime juice
  • 1 punnet (500g) fresh strawberries, thinly sliced
  • To make the crust, in a food processor grind the shredded coconut into a fine powder. Add the cashews and cayenne pepper. Continue processing to a coarse meal.
  • Add the pitted dates and homogenize until the texture resembles a graham cracker crust. Mixture should be loose and crumbly, yet hold together when pressed tightly.
  • Press the crust into a 9 inch ungreased pie plate. Press firmly to get the crust to hold together. Place it in the freezer or refrigerator to set up while making the filling.
  • To make the filling: place the avocados, vanilla, cocoa and Rapadura in a food processor with the “S” blade and homogenize until completely smooth. Make sure to add a little splash of lemon or lime juice! It will nicely balance the flavours in your chocolate. (Just don’t tell anyone! ;-))
  • To assemble: Divide the filling into 3 equal parts. Spread a thin layer of filling on top of the crust. Next, place a layer of strawberries on the filling. Spread another layer of chocolate filling on top of the strawberries, and then layer more strawberries, another layer of filling and the remainder of the berries.
  • Refrigerate for at least one hour prior to serving.

Be sure to use a very sharp knife, yes VERY sharp!, when cutting this torte. The strawberries have a tendency to slide all over the place when cut with a dull knife.

Strawberry Chocolate Torte

Enjoy!

René
🙂

Apple Spice Granola Recipe – a staple in our house

Ever been suspicious of what these supermarket breakfast cereals contain? Often less nutrition than the cardboard boxes they come in.

Here is a time proven raw granola recipe I was introduced to years ago by my good friend and mentor Chad Sarno. Not much tweaking needed to happen since. Some creations are just perfect. Saying that, especially this basic granola recipe is almost crying for some playful changes or addition of ingredients like Maca powder, chia seeds, cacao nibs, Sacha Inchi powder, freeze dried fruit slices etc.. Knock yourself out! 😉

wet nut mix for apple spice granola

Don’t be afraid to substitute or add other nuts and seeds like pumpkin seeds, coconut chips or brazil nuts. Just adjust the amount of date paste to obtain the desired sweetness.

I often use sprouted buckwheat for this recipe as it is a reasonably priced alternative to lot of highly priced nuts, like pecans or walnuts. Buckwheat also dehydrates beautifully into a crispy crunch. I believe the thick ‘slimy’ run-off from the sprouting grains also helps to bind the granola clusters together – similarly to what happens with flax and chia seeds when you soak them.

This brings us to another great little secret wit this recipe. By soaking and sprouting the nuts and seeds and then mixing the wet ingredients with date paste, apples and whatever spices and superfood powders you want to add, you achieve a natural clustered crunchy granola after dehydration. Adding wet and dry ingredients to nuts and seeds before dehydration and then dry the lot together in clusters, bars or any shape, will nicely attach the flavours and hold all other components together.

Now just pop your granola clusters into a bowl, add some banana slices and pour your freshly made almond milk or raw organic Jersey cow’s cream over it and enjoy!

Fresh Fruit Salad with Granola

You are still waiting for the actual recipe, right?!
Here it is:

Apple Spice Granola
Makes 4 cups

  • 1 c pecans or walnut pieces, soaked10-12 hours
  • 1 c almonds, soaked 10-12 hours
  • 1 c sunflower seeds, soaked 10-12 hours
  • 1 c hulled buckwheat, sprouted for 1-2 days
  • 1-2 c date paste
  • 1/2 t vanilla extract
  • 2 T chia seeds
  • 3 apples, diced small
  • 2 T cinnamon, ground
  • 1 T maca powder
  • t natural sea salt
  • 1/2 t lemon juice
  1. Keep the sprouted buckwheat aside. Using the food processor, pulse all other nuts and seeds until coarsely ground. Add in a large bowl to the sprouted buckwheat.
  2. Also using the food processor blend the dates with a small amount of water until it becomes a smooth paste. Dry dates will require soaking over night.
  3. Toss the paste along with the diced apples, chia seeds, maca powder, cinnamon, vanilla extract and salt with the nut mixture. Hand mix well. Adjust flavour with lemon juice.
    wet nut mix for apple spice granola
  4. Continue by crumbling the ‘wet’ granola onto Teflex dehydrator sheets and dehydrate at 145 F for 2 hours. Over the next hours turn the temperature gradually down to 115 F. Turn trays periodically. After 6-8hours flip over and remove Teflex sheets. Dehydrate at 105 F for 12 more hours or until crisp.
    wet granola ready for dehydrator
    This process is important to stop the granola from fermenting during the dehydration process. Not that it would be bad for you, yet the flavour would be slightly different 😉 It would definitely clear up any phytic acid remnants after the soaking and sprouting.

    Spaced granola clusters on dehydrator tray

    Notice the space between the clusters when wet!

  5. Store in sealed glass jars.

4 dehydrator trays of granola

Enjoy!
René
🙂

Grain-free Almond Bread recipe – GAPS

Here is my latest creation, still warm and fresh from the oven: a sweet almond bread that follows the guidelines of the ‘Gut and Psychology Syndrome’ nutritional program.

Freshly baked Almond Bread

I am thrilled about the healing potential of this approach: Autism, Dyslexia, ADD, ADHD, Bi-Polar, Leaky Gut, Auto-immune conditions etc.. Please read up for yourself on Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride’s website: www.gaps.me!

Lydia and I have been experimenting lately with all kinds of fermented raw milk products, like Kefir, Yoghurt, Sour Cream and Viili. With a steady supply of local grass-fed raw buffalo milk and cream (check out the picture below!) and organic jersey cow cream. A true joy!

Stocks and Broth from different organic sources and game have become another staple in our diet. So much that I will be teaching a half-day workshop on it in Mahurangi West on September 29th, 2012. Check out the details here. If you or one of your family members falls into the GAPS symptom category go ahead and book you space by contacting us here or directly on our Events page.

A bowl of Broth

Yet here is the recipe for the ultimate pleasing sweet almond bread for anyone (your kids included) on the GAPS nutritional program. Please check the allowed foods for the phase you are currently in!

Almond Bread sliced

Sweet Almond Banana Bread

  • 750ml/3c organic almond flour
  • 1/4c homemade yoghurt (we use raw buffalo milk)
  • 3 eggs, from pastured hens or ducks
  • pinch of natural sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon of raw organic honey, local is best!
  • 1/4t organic vanilla powder
  • 2 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 2T Kombucha, optional
  • 1T chia seeds
  1. Whisk the eggs. While whisking add the yoghurt, then the honey, vanilla powder, salt and kombucha.
  2. With a fork mash the bananas into the mixture.
  3. Now mix in the almond flour with a whisk or fork until the dough resembles the consistency of a porridge.
  4. Let sit for 30min to 1hour. Cover with a tea towel.
  5. Grease a bread tin with butter or coconut oil, line with baking paper and fill with the dough. Smooth the top with a spoon or rubber spatula and sprinkle with the chia seeds.
  6. Pre-heat the oven to 150°C, then bake the almond bread on one of the low rails for 1 hour at 150°C. To check if the bread is finished baking, poke a wooden skewer into the middle of the bread. No dough should stick on it when you pull it out.
  7. Let the bread cool down in the tin, then lift out and carefully remove the paper. Let it sit upside down on a rack to allow excess moisture to evaporate.
  8. Keep wrapped in a cotton towel, so the bread can breathe.
  9. Enjoy with buffalo cream! 😉

Thick Buffalo Cream!!!

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

Chocolate Müsli Slice – a glutenfree and vegan Power Snack

A lovely chocolate treat!

Be warned, this one will be a staple in your power snack repertoire. A thoroughly nourishing and satisfying chocolate treat. The basic recipe below is not fully raw as presented here, due to the use of 72% dark chocolate. I like to use the vegan Whittaker’s’Dark Ghana’. ‘Green & Blacks’ works as well. By all means, go ahead and make your own raw chocolate topping!
Oh, have I not posted that recipe yet?! Hang in there, it will pop up shortly 😉

When I am making this Chocolate Müsli slice I always make more of the dry crust mix than I will need for one standard baking tray. I store it in a sealed container till the next batch is due. That way I only have to add date paste, mix it thoroughly, press it into a paper lined tray and pour the chocolate.

And yes, the recipe below is not suggesting for the nuts and seeds to be soaked and dehydrated. For better digestion and utilization of all nutrients feel free to soak and dehydrate the sunflower- and pumpkin seeds as well as the almonds.
It is ESSENTIAL to dehydrate the nuts and seeds completely dry after soaking them over night. The base of the Müsli slice is held together by the moisture being evenly distributed throughout the crust.

And here is the recipe. Enjoy!

Chocolate Müsli Slice

Makes approx. three standard baking trays with 64 pieces each

  • 7c sunflower seeds, ground into coarse meal
  • 5c pumpkin seeds, ground into coarse meal
  • 10c dried finely shredded coconut
  • 4c almonds, ground into coarse meal
  • 2c cashew pieces, ground into a coarse meal
  • 4c chia seed flour
  • 3c cranberries
  • 2c sultanas
  • 3-6c smooth date paste, depending on moisture level
  • 9 x 250g bars of Whittaker’s 72% Dark Ghana chocolate (750g per tray)
  1. In a large tub hand-mix all dry ingredients well.
  2. Put a pot with 1-2cups of water to the boil, place a stainless steel bowl on the rim of the pot so it completely covers it. Break 3 bars (750g) of the dark chocolate into the bowl. Turn the heat down to a minimum once the water boils. Stir the chocolate occasionally until it is completely melted.
  3. While the chocolate is melting take 12c of the dry müsli mixture and hand-mix 1-2 cups of date paste in until everything sticks well together and is evenly moist and covered with date paste.
  4. Line a standard baking tray (approx. 2cm deep) with one sheet of baking paper. Now press the moist müsli mixture evenly into the tray.
  5. When the chocolate is completely melted pour it over the compacted müsli in the baking tray. Make sure you dry off the bowl underneath beforehand to avoid water dripping into your molten chocolate! Tap the tray lightly on the work bench to distribute the chocolate evenly and to make the surface level. Use a cranked spatula to help spread the chocolate, if necessary.

    Freshly poured chocolate

    Can you smell the freshly poured chocolate?!

  6. Place the tray in the fridge (walk-in coolers are handy here! ;-)) to let the chocolate solidify. Check frequently for the chocolate surface to turn matt. Do not wait till the chocolate is thoroughly chilled through. It will be too brittle to cut. A very sharp and thin (Asian) chef’s knife helps!
    Solid chocolate on top
  7. Once the chocolate surface has turned evenly matt and is sufficiently solid to cut, carefully, while holding on to the paper, slide the chocolate-covered müsli block onto a large cutting board. Cut into 64 equal pieces and stack them into a tight-sealing container with baking paper between the layers.
    Scored chocolate top
    Return to chiller overnight. The chocolate will solidify and the moisture in the müsli mix will spread evenly through all ingredients, making them hold together better.
    The cut chocolate muesli slice

Caution!

  • Do not touch the chocolate surface after it is poured!!! Your fingerprints will remain visible.
  • From the time of cutting into individual pieces till serving the individual müsli slices should stay refrigerated. Alterations in temperature will cause moisture in the air to condense on the chocolate coating. This ultimately leads to bright brown spots on it and makes it look unsightly and old.

The final result!

Enjoy!

René
🙂

PS: Yes, this might be one of the recipes featured at one of my next demo classes!