Home made Raspberry Limonade

Raspberry Limonade

The summer is performing at its very best here in New Zealand. Time to brew some refreshing drinks! Yes, beer has been made with freshly harvested stingy nettles earlier this summer, thanks to Amy McComb of Plantrhythms! Want the recipe? Let me know by dropping a comment below!

Back to our low alcoholic treat. I found the inspiration for this one while listening to the audio version of Sandor Ellix Katz’ book: The Art of Fermentation – driving my new pony home to Warkworth from Wellington. 11 hours of fermentation wisdom pouring into my ears while crossing the beautiful North Island of NZ.

German rocket vs...

By the time I got home I was ready for a cool drink and a massage. I’ll leave you to figuring out the details of the massage and provide the recipe for the drink.

This recipe works well year round with organic frozen berries. Any kind of berries will do, as long as they are organically grown. I’ve so far experimented with raspberries, blueberries, blackcurrants, strawberries, acai – all with great results.

Limonade

If you happen to have an abundant supply of fresh berries, you might get away without adding any cultures to start the fermentation process, as there usually are plenty of wild yeasts living on unsprayed berries. I used frozen berries and added the whey from my milk kefir (Vegans beware!), a splash of Kombucha and some Coconut Kefir.

Originally home-made lemonades were made just with whey. Milk Kefir provides a higher percentage of yeast strains that will happily start an alcoholic fermentation, in comparison to for example: Caspian Sea Yoghurt. For any of these cultures, please get in touch with your local Weston A. Price Foundation chapter or drop me a line here. The reasoning with adding more than one starter culture was to get a more vibrant fermentation going fast. In my opinion, it will also provide the limonade with a richer pro-biotic profile.

Be aware that the whey will highly likely introduce some fat to your limonade, specifically if you make your kefir with full fat raw non-homogenised milk, as we do. You can see the that effect in some of the pictures. Whey is the clear liquid separating from the fermented milk solids, see picture below:

Kefir

Yes, you can leave out the kefir whey if you don’t tolerate milk products. In that case I suggest you stick to Kombucha and Coconut Kefir. The coconut kefir that Anita and Terry make in New Zealand (in the same facility that René’s Kombucha is brewed, btw.) is made with the Body Ecology kefir starter. This is a laboratory made dairy-free blend of highly effective pro-biotic cultures.

OK, enough Blurb! If you want to hear more and taste a whole variety of cultured foods and beverages I suggest you check out my Event Calendar, there should be at least one Traditional Cultured Foods demo & degustation class in the pipeline. If not, drop me a line and we’ll see if we can organise one in your area.

Raspberry Limonade

Raspberry Limonade
Makes 3 liters
Ingredients:
250 ml lime juice or lemon juice
1 cup frozen raspberries or other organic berries
20-50 ml whey from kefir
30 ml coconut kefir
30 ml kombucha
1.5 cup coconut sugar
3 l filtered water

Directions:
Stir well in a 3 liter glass jar to dissolve the coconut sugar.
Cover with a cloth and let ferment for 24-48 hours. Stir occasionally.
Filter out the berries and bottle in plastic bottles.
Store in fridge and wait 1-2 days for fizz to build up.
Open carefully.
Enjoy on ice!

Limonade

The plastic bottles are essential!
I know, I know… I’ve made a conscious decision to bottle my Kombucha in glass bottles. Yet plastic bottles allow you to gage the pressure building up inside of them. Glass bottles might explode if not refrigerated! I’m NOT kidding. Be safe! I have had more than one thick-walled glass bottle explode from too much pressure building up inside.
Collect/recycle plastic bottles from a local cafe and then re-use them for your fermented beverage projects!

Have fun and be safe!
PS: Yes, due to the yeasts in the pro-biotic cultures your home-made limonade might have small amounts of natural alcohol in it.

KimChi – more than pepped-up Sauerkraut!

Here is another stunning fermented vegetable recipe. I am pleased to announce it is purely plant-based, so no fish sauce or other ingredients of dubious origin have been used 🙂

KimChiAt first I was concerned that all the spicy ingredients, which are natural anti-biotics would stunt the fermentation process. And yes, it slows the fermentation down a wee bit but not too much – if you leave it out at room temperature like sauerkraut. The batch in the picture above and to the left was made like  sauerkraut and worked out perfectly.

You have the option though to make the KimChi without adding the spicy chili paste to it initially. Let the vegetable mix ferment in peace first and store the chili paste in a thick-walled glass jar (it might burn holes in any fragile vessel *Twinkle*) Once the fermentation has stopped – after 3-4 days, add the chili paste to taste.
The chili paste can be kept indefinitely in the fridge.

Here comes the recipe. It is the shortened form of a very thorough description I found years ago on this website: www.treelight.com/health/nutrition/UltimateKimchi.html

KimChi
Makes 3-4l of KimChi

Vegetables

  • 1 head cabbage, shredded finely
  • 3 carrots, shredded
  • 2 cucumbers or zucchini, shredded
  • 3 heads broccoli, shredded
  • 1 apple, diced
  • 2 small oranges, juiced
  • 2 t sea salt (more if needed)
  • 1T Apple Cider Vinegar
  • ¼ c Sesame seeds
Chili Paste

  • 3.5 red onions
  • 1 head of garlic
  • 1 small hand ginger
  • 4 soft flesh pieces of preserved lemons, optional
  • 2T Apple Cider Vinegar
  • fresh or frozen chilies, amount according to desired heat
  • ½ t natural sea salt
  • 1T toasted sesame oil, to cover the finished product when storing in a glass jar
  1. Prepare the vegetables by massaging with sea salt like Sauerkraut. Add diced apple, orange juice, sesame seeds and Apple Cider Vinegar and mix well.
  2. Prepare chili paste in a blender and balance flavours. Keep the toasted sesame oil aside for later!
  3. Now mix some of the chili paste with the vegetable mixture and massage with your hands. Test flavour and add more if desired. Keep left over chili paste in a glass jar. Cover top with a layer of toasted sesame oil to prevent oxidization and store in fridge.
  4. This Kimchi can be eaten immediately. Stored in the fridge in a sealed glass jar it will develop a stronger flavour over time and even ferment. Alternatively weigh the top down as when making Sauerkraut (cover top with plastic bag to keep the bugs out!) and leave it sitting in a bowl to catch any bubbling liquids that might escape the jar (see picture below!) on your kitchen counter or in your hot water closet for a week or so. Then take the weight and cover off. Seal the jar with a lid and transfer to fridge.

KimChi bowlAlternatively ferment Kimchi vegetables first, like in the Sauerkraut recipe. After 3-4 days you can add the chili paste and transfer the jar into your fridge.

What else can I say but:
‘Best of Success!’

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!!!

Water Kefir – explosive life force in a bottle

Here is the latest addition to my fermented product offerings. I’m still experimenting with certain variations. So take the recipes here as a launching pad. Should you require water kefir crystals/grains to get started please get in touch here. I just received an e-mail from Darlene in the Sacramento, CA area offering to ship live water kefir grains. Anyone on her continent I’m happy to put you in touch for a supply. She will send them all over America.

Water kefir crystals - surplus

A quick word about sugar based ferments (Water Kefir and Kombucha) – not approved by anyone but common sense. As good as these beverages are in boosting our intestinal happiness and gut flora, they are based on the fermentation of sugar and create not only a rich pro-biotic tonic. The liquid will also contain sugars and a small amount of alcohol. Dealing with certain dis-eases like cancer, sugar and alcohol are two of the least things you want to consume. Cancer cells feed on sugar!!!

I am not a dietitian or badge-wearing nutritionist, use your discerning mind and understanding here. And by all means listen to well-informed people like this one: Jerry Brunetti! Other easy fermented foods without the use of sugar are Sauerkraut, raw milk yoghurt (get in touch for raw milk sources in Auckland, NZ!), milk kefir, cabbage rejuvelac, brined pickles etc.

Attend my ‘Fermented Foods’ workshops or pay Sandor Ellix Katz a visit and buy his book ‘Wild Fermentation’!

Water kefir linup

f.l.t.r.: bottled water kefir, sauerkraut, Kombucha, water kefir – fermenting (dried mango slices)

So here we go:

Water Kefir

  • 9 T kefir crystals
  • 4 T of golden raw organic sugar
  • 1 lemon, cut in half
  • 1 dried fig or two dried organic apricots
  • 1 sea shell
  • Enough cold drinking water to fill the jar
  1. Place all ingredients in a 1.5 liter glass jar. Leave on the bench for 24 hours.
  2. Strain off the fermented water kefir into bottles and leave on the bench for another 24 hours to mature. Serve chilled.
  3. Replace the lemon halves with fresh ones. After 2-3 days/cycles replace the fig/apricots. Add new sugar and water for the next cycle.
Water Kefir jar

you can see the lemon, pineapple slices, vanilla pod, sea shell…

Here is another recipe from my fellow ‘fermentationista’ Lee:

Water Kefir the Lee-way

  • 1 cup boiled water (to dissolve the sugar, molasses and baking soda)
  • 1/2 C organic sugar
  • 1 tsp organic black strap molasses
  • 1/8 tsp baking soda
    Mix together to dissolve.
  • 5 cups cold water (we’re on tank water)
  • 1/2 C water kefir grains
  • Slice of lemon (I remove the peel because I can’t find organic lemons yet)
  • 100 grms (or to taste) fresh ginger sliced.

I left it ferment for about 2.5 days before bottling it and the grains have now doubled!

Notes:
I must admit that it’s not my original recipe. I did make adjustments.

It originally said a couple of dried figs but I’m not keen on dried fruit. Also a piece of eggshell, which I omitted because it is for minerals but we’re on tank water so I thought that should be enough.
LOL, also it said 1/3 – 1/2 Cups sugar but I’ve done 1/2 each time. It really does seem to be a good recipe for growing them.”
End of Quote.

Feel free to experiment further. Lee’s cultures definitely proliferate quicker. I had a phase when I added exhausted vanilla beans from vanilla essence bottles to the mix, and dried pineapple slices and replace the sugar with my home-made quince and guava syrup (see pictures!) The resulting flavour was marvelous yet the little crystals did not thrive.

Water Kefir

A last word to the packaging. This is where the heading of this post originates from. It seems to be necessary to refrigerate the finished product. I’m normally using bail-top bottles for water kefir. They usually allow you 3 seconds to pour the drink before the liquid starts foaming up and rushes out the bottle neck. We lately had several bottles which had rested at room temperature for longer than a day. These did not allow ANY time to pour the liquid. Once we flipped the lid, the surrounding area – us included – was dripping wet with water kefir. Very Funny! 😉

Water Kefir bottles

So be careful when opening your bottles or do not close them tightly in the first place. The remaining sugar is still being transformed into carbon dioxide and alcohol. A safe way of handling the problem can be old fashioned corks from emptied wine bottles. They will blow off when the pressure in the bottle increases. Still no guarantee against water kefir showers 😉

Good Luck and have FUN!!!

René
😉

Water kefir linup

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

Fermented Foods – a pro-biotic feast!

Ever wondered how to keep your immune system and your digestion happy and powerful at the same time?

Here is your answer: Pro-biotic cultures in your food.

They come in many delicious disguises like: Kombucha, Sauerkraut, KimChi, Coconut Yoghurt, Cabbage Rejuvelac, Natto, nut cheeses and a few others.

A glowingly vibrant cabbage

And here is the good news! We’ll be teaching a raw food demo class about and with these friendly little helpers on Thursday, April 26th, 2012.

The demo will mainly deal with the preparation, cultivation, care and culinary use of the first five in the list above – and we will easily fill 2.5 hours with doing that 🙂

This class will give you the knowledge, tools and techniques to maintain high levels of natural pro-biotic cultures in your diet. While supporting your overall well-being it will simultaneously add a whole new dimension to your culinary repertoire.

Mark this date in your calendar and book your space today!

Thursday, April 26th, 7 – 9.30pm,
Wise Cicada Cafe, 23 Crowhurst Street, Newmarket
Auckland, New Zealand

Investment: $60 – including all samples and comprehensive recipe booklet
Our demo classes are limited to 20 students only.
Bookings are essential!

Reserve your place today by contacting us here!
…or by ringing René on 027 555 1622.

See you there or before!

René

🙂

PS: We will have both cultures and finished products for sale at the class.

Surprising alternative to cole slaw – Cabbage Cranberry Salad

Here is a delicious winter recipe with a surprisingly easy preparation and brilliant flavour combination. The cranberries add a lovely sweet and bitter contrast to the salad.

You might have seen me demonstrating and sampling this salad at New World in Remuera, Auckland. Stay tuned, there is more good stuff to come!

Cabbage SaladCabbage Cranberry Salad
Serves 6

¨        1 head of green cabbage, finely chopped, center removed

¨        ½ tsp natural sea salt (to taste)

¨        2 Tbsp grape seed oil

¨        1 avocado, seeded and peeled – optional for a creamier dressing

¨        ½ lemon, juiced or 1Tbsp organic apple cider vinegar

¨        ½ cup dried cranberries

  1. Combine all ingredients in a big mixing bowl and massage well by using your hands in order to soften the cabbage.
  2. Pause and let the salad rest for 5 min before massaging it to final softness. The cabbage should start to release liquid. Together with the finely distributed avocado this will make your dressing and also soften the dried cranberries.

Variations: Play with other vegetables from the cabbage family! Broccoli and kale work well. You can also add carrots and beetroot.

Substitute the cranberries with sultanas or dried and minced apricot. To soften cabbage and other hardy vegetables by massaging you will need natural salt. Acid and oil will help to soften the vegetables too and to distribute the flavours.

Happy massaging!

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