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.

2012 in Review and new Events Calendar for 2013

Happy New Year Everyone!
May it be a vibrantly healthy and peacefully conscious one for all of us!!!
Thank you for your loyal readership and support in 2012. Below a little statistic summary of the most popular posts from last year. I promise to keep it up in 2013. There is quite a bit in the pipeline 😉 Stay tuned!

My events calendar for the first part of 2013 is posted here. Have a look!
I will have a few dates available to facilitate demo classes and workshops on our way through Europe and Canada from June to August 2013. Please get in touch early so we can align our schedule.

Warm regards and my best wishes,
René
🙂
The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

4,329 films were submitted to the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. This blog had 16,000 views in 2012. If each view were a film, this blog would power 4 Film Festivals

Click here to see the complete report.

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!

Raw “Chef” or what?! Your Feedback requested!

Help!!!

at recent chef training with Anna

This is not a recipe post – for a change, and neither is it a class announcement. However, classes and teaching it is – my Passion!
My dear friend Sanjiv Deva of Total Business Solutions, after studying my business plan, pointed out to me that I’m sending mixed messages. Right he is!
Nowhere in my planning attempts was there talk about ‘real’ chef work. Coming out of mechanical engineering that might not surprise you. It did surprise me however when Sanjiv pointed it out.
What comes up a lot when describing my business and calling is: education, inspiration, teaching, raised consciousness, entertainment, health awareness, culinary education… You get my drift.

So, if there is no catering, cooking, baking, feeding people – means: no chefing, what is it???

Yes?

What does one call a person who enjoys inspiring others to explore unknown culinary territory, that comes with the side effects of increased energy, wellbeing and fun? …and puts the responsibility for peoples’ health and food choices back to where it belongs: to the people themselves.

Demo class at Wise Cicada

This is a serious request for your, dear readers’, input.

Initial attempts: raw food teacher, culinary educator, living foods consultant… all sound a bit klutzy.

Teaching at Green Expo

So with my main service being raw food demo classes and hands-on trainings and workshops for lovely mainstream people as well as freaks like you and me ;-), what shall I call myself, apart from René Archner???

The raw BBQ Man

The raw vegan BBQ Man?

There is plenty of space below ↓ for your constructive comments. Asking for ‘baptism by fire’…

With great anticipation and much Love,

René
🙂

Chef training lecture

Raw Food Chef Training – Level 1, a first in New Zealand!

Are you ready for this?
New Zealand’s first Raw Chef Training!

Magnificent Birthday Cake

After many requests for this kind of teaching we decided to offer a very involving hands-on workshop setting over a long weekend. If you are keen to embark on a committed journey into the culinary world of raw foods then this training is for you. This will be the first raw food chef training in New Zealand.

We will offer this training in several stages over long weekends, so even if you have to travel from the South Island or Australia it will be easy to fit it into your schedule. For our local students we also offer to participate in the catering of a five course raw gourmet meal to apply their newly learned skills shortly after the weekend training.

Chad's Red Radish and Microgreen Salad

Level 1 has been taught from

Friday May 25th to Sunday May 27th, 2012
at Eden Valley Lodge in Albany, Auckland, New Zealand.

Next one coming up now, click here!

These are the topics we will cover:

  • Fri pm: Basics of raw foods, the practice of simple and delicious meals for the whole family, kitchen setup and basic skills.
    Afternoon Tea and Dinner
    Cream of Zucchini Soup
  • Sat: menu planning, breakfasts, salads, lunch and dinners, simple desserts
    Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
    Rawdezvous Cafe display
  • Sun: ethnic cuisine, healing aspects of raw food, sprouting, juicing and fermented foods, dehydrated snacks
    Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
    Raw Food Sushi
  • One or two weeks after: A five-course dinner catered by you and other graduates for 20 guests at the Wise Cicada Café
    Raw Gourmet Fine Dining

Full recipe book, all meals and follow-up support included.

The next Raw Chef Training, Level 1 education is coming up on the first weekend in December 2012. For more information click here.

The seats at this hands-on training are limited to 12 students to assure the maximum learning for everyone. We are receiving bookings as you are reading this.
Get in touch to reserve your space!

You can either ring René on +64 (0)27 555 1622 or e-mail us through our ‘Contact’ page here.

I am looking forward to your booking and a great training.

Warm regards,

René
🙂