Sorrel Soup

Here is a recipe that will feature in our first Primal Seasons Spring Workshop this October. I’ve found it in Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s fabulous book: The River Cottage Year. It’s in the April chapter.

The sorrel I found in our garden, purposefully planted in the wettest area of our pumpkin patch. So far only the chickens and our sheep were interested in it. That changed tonight when I made this marvelous soup.

Be warned! This is a very filling meal. I had multiplied the recipe to accommodate a dear friend who had joined us for dinner. That was unnecessary, we found out. Hence I changed the “Serves” from 2 to 3.

So here it is:

Primal Seasons Sorrel Soup

Sorrel Soup

★★★★★

Servings: 3 | Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients:

75-100g fresh sorrel, a few good handfuls

50 g butter

1 onion, finely chopped

1 large leek, finely sliced

2 medium carrots, chopped

600 ml good chicken stock

2 T long grain rice, well rinsed

15 ml double cream

salt

pepper

To finish:

3 eggs

15 ml cream

Directions:

Wash the sorrel well and trim off any particularly coarse stalks.

Melt a knob of butter (25 g) in a saucepan over a low heat and add the onion, leek and carrots.

Sweat gently for about 5 minutes, so the vegetables are slightly softened but not coloured.

Add the chicken stock and the long grain rice. Bring to the boil and simmer until the rice is completely tender, about 15 min.

Ladle the soup into a blender, adding the raw sorrel, the remaining butter and the double cream. Blend until completely smooth (depending on the capacity of your blender, you may have to do this in two batches).

Return the soup to the pan, reheat thoroughly without boiling and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper.

To finish: The perfect poached egg

Poach the eggs one at a time.

Break each egg (which should be at room temperature) into a cup, being careful not to break the yolk.

Bring a small pan of lightly salted water to the boil. When it is boiling rapidly, stir fast with a large spoon to create a vortex.

Pour the egg into the centre of the vortex, place the lid on the pan and turn off the heat. Leave for exactly 2 minutes.

Serve the soup in a warmed bowl with the drained poached egg in the centre and an extra little blob of cream beside it.

Source: The River Cottage Year, p. 94

Enjoy!

Better pictures will follow. Promised!sorrel-soup

 

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. 🙂