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. 🙂

Stir Raw recipe – a simple classic!

Sometimes it is just the brilliant colours of a picture that inspire me to share a recipes. I’m sure you understand. Forgive the mess and enjoy the aliveness! 🙂

This recipe is by my dear friend and raw food mentor, Master Chef Chad Sarno. Such a simple way to make a delicious warm raw meal!!!
If you don’t own a square dehydrator like the Excalibur or Sedona, just put the dish in your oven at about 50°-75°C with the door ajar. Stir it frequently and after 30min it should be ready to be served. Test the food temperature with your little finger!

We made this dish at last week’s ‘Warm Winter Raw Foods – Asian’ class. Very enthusiastically received! Make more of the sauce and keep it in the fridge as an addition to your salads, sprouts or boiled potatoes/kumara!

You can add some lemon grass and kaffir lime leaf if you feel adventurous.
Here it is:

Stir Raw

By Chad Sarno
Serves 4-6

¨      1 c broccoli florets
¨      1 c julienne red bell pepper
¨      1 c red cabbage shredded
¨      1 c carrots julienne thin
¨      1 c portabella mushrooms, cubed and marinated in 3 T olive oil and
2 T tamari sauce
¨      1 c Asian bean sprouts
¨      ½ c cilantro chopped
¨      ½ c basil, fresh and torn
¨      ½ c olive oil
¨      2/3 c orange juice
¨      3 T white miso
¨      2 T tamari sauce
¨      3 T ginger chopped
¨      T garlic minced
¨      ½ T natural sea salt
¨      t cayenne
  1. In large bowl toss the broccoli, bell pepper, cabbage, carrot, marinated portabella mushrooms, Asian bean sprouts, cilantro and basil. Set aside.
  2. In high speed blender, continue to blend the olive oil, orange juice, miso, ginger, garlic, tamari, sea salt and cayenne.
  3. Toss the sauce with the mixture of vegetables. Allow to marinate for about an hour.
  4. Spread on dehydrator sheets and continue to dehydrate at 105°F for 2-3hours. Serve warm.
    Stir Raw, fresh from the dehydrator

Enjoy!

René
🙂

Moroccan Spiced Carrots

Here is a beautiful alternative to the good old carrot, apple, lemon juice and raisin salad, ok ok, beetroot is cool too 🙂

You might have been lucky to see me sampling this salad at Remuera New World this afternoon. If not, here is the recipe. Needless to say that organic is best! New season’s organic carrots are on the shelves now. Go get’em!

Moroccan Spiced CarrotsCarrots with Moroccan Spices

Serves 4

  • 4 carrots, very thinly sliced or grated
  • ¼ cup chopped parsley
  •  ¼ cup chopped walnuts
  •  ¼ cup sultanas
  •  2 Tbsp lemon juice
  •  1 Tbsp olive oil
  •  ¼ cup fresh orange juice
  •  dash ground cumin
  •  dash cayenne pepper
  •  dash cinnamon
  •  ¼ tsp natural sea salt or to taste
  •  fresh ground pepper to taste
  1. Combine the carrots with the lemon and orange juice, olive oil, and sea salt
  2. Massage or toss well.
  3. Add the other ingredients and toss well to combine.

Note: Alternatively to using the individual spices Cayenne pepper, cinnamon, cumin and black pepper I like to use 1/2 tsp of a brilliant North African ‘Ras El Hanout’ spice blend by chef Greg Malouf. His blend contains also cardamom seeds, turmeric, coriander and many others. It just gives this salad an even more exotic and rounded flavour. You can buy this specific spice blend form New World Remuera. The salad is available there too – at the deli counter. Yes I will restock tomorrow – beside doing a Sauerkraut food demo! See you in the afternoon!

'Mandolined' carrots

A good workout on the mandolin

Have fun playing and watch your fingers!

René

🙂

Raw Sauerkraut – my German heritage at its very best!

This recipe has become a staple in our kitchen and pantry. Once made the sauerkraut will last for months. That’s what it originally was made for – to preserve the cabbage harvest over the winter months. With a little bit of help from the Lactobacillus acidophilus that lives naturally on cabbage. It turns the fermenting cabbage into a pro-biotic feast. Your intestines will love you for the support of friendly bacteria. In fact sauerkraut and other fermented cabbage products (more posts to come) have been a major part of our own rejuvenative diet. Ask your naturopath or colon therapist for their opinion on friendly bacteria from sauerkraut!

Raw SauerkrautHere we go with the culinary fun:

Sauerkraut

makes about 3cups to 1liter

¨        1 head cabbage, shredded finely

¨        2 t natural sea salt

¨        ¼ cup minced fresh dill or 1 T dried

¨        1 apple, peeled, cored and diced

  1. Massage the cabbage with the salt until the liquid starts to release.
  2. Let the cabbage rest for 10 minutes and massage it again. Repeat as often as necessary until the cabbage is very juicy. Add the remaining ingredients.
  3. Pack the mixture firmly into a large glass jar, crock, or bowl. Press the cabbage down until the liquid rises above it approximately 0.5cm.
  4. If you are using a large jar for your kraut, place a weight on top of the cabbage, such as a jar filled with water or a plastic bag filled with filtered water (see picture). Make sure to cover the jar with another plastic bag to keep any critters out. Place the jar in a bowl to catch any overflow of sauerkraut juice. collect the juice in a jar in your fridge and back to the finished kraut.Sauerkraut covered with bag
  5. Allow the kraut to ferment in your kitchen for at least 3 days (see note). We line the jars up in the window (no direct sun though).
  6. Once the kraut is ready, store it in airtight glass jars in the refrigerator. It will keep for several months.

Note: Kraut may be fermented for up to14 days, depending upon the desired degree of sourness.

Have fun experimenting with Sauerkraut! You can make variations with red cabbage, kale, add grated carrots, parsnips, broccoli etc.. It still is a great way to preserve a temporary over supply of vegetables.

Sauerkraut jarIf you plan on adding any spicy foods like garlic or chilies to your sauerkraut wait till it is properly fermented. Garlic, chilies, ginger etc. are nature’s anti-biotics and will actually delay the fermentation process by inhibiting the lactobacillus acidophilus bacteria – for a while at least.

Other flavour options apart from dill are juniper berries and caraway (a spice I still hold some traumatic childhood memories of :-)).

Use your clean hands to massage the kraut! Go full out! Deep tissue, not Bowen 😉 The natural bacteria on your hands will be good for the fermentation process too. Just avoid those nasty alcohol-based desinfectants. ‘Dr. Bronners’ soaps will do – for a mild peppermint flavour in your Sauerkraut – just kidding.

The jar you see in the picture is a former olive or capers jar from our local deli. They hold 2 liters of anything (obviously :-)) and make great storage vessels for your pantry. We keep all of our nuts, seeds, spices, flour, crackers etc. in them.

Happy fermenting!

RenéSauerkraut fermenting on our window sill

International Delights – Raw Food Class Tuesday 20 September

Allow us to announce the remaining 5 spaces at our brand new “International Delights” raw food class this coming Tuesday. We have not taught this class before and have no clue what it will be about…

Haha! Just joking!

The recipes include the following:

  • ·         Berry Bliss Breakfast smoothie,
  • ·         Bonbon Sauce dressing,
  • ·         Greek Dolmades,
  • ·         a heavenly raw Minestrone soup,
  • ·         Mexican style cabbage with
  • ·         cashew sour cream,
  • ·         Salsa Picante and
  • ·         Whole Lava Love.

We’ll finish the feast with

  • ·         a blissful Lemon Macaroon Cheesecake Tart (the very cheesecake that’s selling at the Wise Cicada café – currently in blue Grape and Cherry flavour)

So, if you are game let’s play!!!

As always, this is a hands-on class with a feast in the end.

We are looking forward to having a Blast together.

Start 6pm – 9.30pm

Please contact us to reserve your space.

Yum Yum!