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:
Servings: 3 | Difficulty: Easy
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
15 ml cream
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.
OK ok, you’ve seen several recipes for spreads, jams and curds to put on bread. Here is the very carrier, a simple straight forward Spelt Sourdough bread.
I’ve found the recipe in Andrew Whitley’s book: Bread Matters. A very good book if you feel like getting serious about baking your own traditional breads. After baking rye sourdough breads as described by Sandor Ellix Katz with varying results over the past years, this spelt bread seems to work every single time. The other benefit is the short and simple fermentation process here. Normally the making of rye sourdough bread will take three fermentation steps over up to 24 hours. For a good working 100% rye sourdough bread recipe visit my dear friend and colleague’s, Rani Silva, website!
This easy spelt sourdough recipe here only requires a one step fermentation of 12 hours.
Once you’ve tried this recipe a few times and have bought the above mentioned book, you might consider the purchase of a grain mill. After years of slogging with a hand-operated Jupiter one, I’m now blessed with a Hawo’s Queen 2 electrical mill. Thanks Mum and Santa! 🙂
The difference it makes to have freshly ground flour for baking sourdough bread is tremendous! Apparently, most of the vital nutrients in grains oxidise and break down very shortly after the milling into flour.
Due to the sourdough fermentation the spelt and its gluten seem to be well digestible even by people like my dear wife, Lydia, who is normally very sensitive to gluten.
For this bread you will require a rye flour sourdough starter. Yes: rye. If you don’t have ‘weird’ friends who keep such a pet in their fridge or your house sitter threw your 300 year old sourdough starter out… (like Lydia managed to do once ;-)), make your own!
It should only take you 4-5 days in a warm spot (28-30°C) in your kitchen. A sourdough starter relies on the wild yeasts present on the grains/flour and in your kitchen environment. Each grain (wheat, spelt, rye, rice, barley…) and locality will develop a different sourdough culture, depending on the yeasts present.
Start with 25 g rye wholemeal flour and 50 g of warm (40°C) water. Stir it well. Keep it in a plastic tub with a simple lid that snaps into place or can easily flip open when pressure builds inside.
Each day add 25 g rye flour and 50 g or warm water, stir and return to its warm spot.
On day 4 your starter should start bubbling and taste lightly sour/fruity.
You can start using it in recipes now or keep it in the fridge until you need it. Then pull it out to warm to room temperature and add 1/2 cup or rye flour and 1/2 cup of warm water. Stir it well and wait til it starts bubbling again. This can take 8-12 hours. You are now ready to use your starter in a recipe like the one below by Andrew Whitley.
I suggest you double this recipe and bake two breads at a time. These loaves have a tendency to disappear rather fast. Should you have too much, just slice one loaf after a day or two and freeze it for later toasting and use.
50 g seeds, optional (Sunflower-, Pumpkin-, Sesame-, Poppy seeds…)
To make the bread, disperse your refreshed rye sourdough starter and salt with a whisk in the water and then mix in the ﬂour and seeds. Knead to develop the gluten and adjust the moisture so that the dough is very soft.
Any structure that you create by tight moulding will largely subside during a long proof, so do not expect a ﬁne-domed top to a loaf such as this.
Dough in tins before rising
Place the dough in a greased and flour dusted loaf tin, cover it with a loose plastic bag and leave to rise. Do not put the tin in an especially warm place unless you want to hurry the process along. At an average kitchen temperature of about 20°C, this dough should rise in 10-12 hours. In winter I tend to put it onto the cupboard shelf above the crock pot with our continuous bone broth.
The risen dough in the tins
Bake in a hot oven at 230°C, reducing the temperature to 200°C after 10 minutes or so. Bake at 200°C for another 30 min for a total baking time of 40 min.
The finished bread
Since all the flour in this loaf has been fermented for a long period, the crumb will be markedly sticky immediately after baking, so it is better to leave it for a day before cutting it. Its keeping quality, however, is remarkable. Even better, the science suggests that a long rise with lactic acid bacteria from the rye sourdough starter and its unique micro-biom will neutralise almost all the phytic acid present in the wholemeal flour bran, making important minerals such as iron, magnesium, calcium and zinc more available to your body than they would be in an ordinary yeasted wholemeal bread.
So there you have it! Feel free to post your success stories or accidents below!
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
Now, you might be wondering, isn’t this a vegan raw food blog?!
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.
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!
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.
Yield: Approximately 14 servings. This recipe makes approximately 2-4 liters of broth depending on the size of your crock pot.
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
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!
Place all ingredients in a crock pot and set the heat to HIGH.
Bring the stock to a boil, then reduce the heat setting to LOW.
Allow the stock to cook for a minimum of 8 hours. The longer it cooks, the better (up to 24 hours)!
Strain the stock through a fine mesh metal strainer. Add any meat bits to a soup or eat them as they are.
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.
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.
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!
I’m going to blame this one on Sandor Ellix Katz and his infectious Passion for the realm of fermented food and drink. I have to say, I’ve caught the ‘Bug’! If you think my liquid fermentation experiments started and ended with this recipe here, you are wrong.
Even my beloved wife Lydia is now drinking beer – the herbal home-brewed kind!
While I’m writing this a 20l can of Lemon Balm and Nettle Beer is happily bubbling in our kitchen, see below! Give it a week and then a few more in bottles and our New Years Bubbles will be ready! If you happen to be at Prana on New Years you might be lucky to catch a sample drop of it 🙂
It came to my utter surprise and DELIGHT that one could make beer from any medicinal herb or flower growing around one’s house and garden. The fermentation process actually enhances many of the medicinal properties of plants. For a marvelous introduction to the subject, I urge you to demand this book from Santa: Sacred and Herbal Healing Beers, by Stephen Harrod Buhner.
I’m not talking of the ‘buy-your-cousin-a-beer-making-kit-for-Christmas’ type of beer. These beers, and meads here, do not require hops or any other German purity standards. Simply put, these are sweet herbal teas fermented by beer yeast. Making tea isn’t that hard, is it?! Neither is brewing your own beer!
In basic terms, the difference in making beer or mead is in the choice of sweetener. While I often use organic golden sugar, malt extract or coconut sugar for my herbal beers, it is honey only for meads. For an elaborate exploration of the mead subject I can recommend the reading of: The Compleat Meadmaker, by Ken Schramm. That is advanced reading though, AFTER you’ve made a few batches 😉
One issue I perceive with most people’s perception of fermentation is the fear of getting the ‘wrong’ bugs multiplying and of dying a mysterious death from it. Your chances of having that happen to you are a million times higher in a hospital near you than from your own alcoholic fermentation experiments!
So stick to the simple rule of ‘cleanliness yes! sterility no!’
On that note: I strongly believe in ‘Simple is Best’, so I bought only one packet of beer yeast ever and just keep the yeast sludge from each brew for the next, beer or mead. Over time this will, in my arrogant opinion, accumulate a much stronger variety of yeasts (with wild additions from your home environment) than any store-bought package will ever supply.
You’ll probably get more refined and sublime flavours from your isolated industrial yeasts, yet self-sufficiency has its benefits too 🙂
What is said above, in terms of simplicity, carries through this whole post. Do not get to hung up in the finest details of beer brewing, yeast and temperature control. Rather start playing in this new (actually: ancient!) medium and allow mother nature to guide you. That will come with a few messed up batches. I’d rather risk that than allowing chlorine bleach into our house.
I could wax on about the finer details and different experiences, yet I feel at this point, you are actually ready to get cranking yourself.
So get your hands on some brewing equipment! At a very minimum that should be:
a 20l food grade plastic bucket with lid (recycled coconut oil/mayonnaise buckets from your local health food shop/supermarket deli)
a 20l food grade plastic jerry can with srew cap and tap (recycled bulk dish soap or vinegar container from your local health food shop. Rinse well and extensively!) This will be your fermenter, see picture above!
an air lock or just some cling wrap with a rubber band
a bunch of clean recycled wine or juice bottles with screw cap
I assume you have a large stainless steel pot or water kettle
This recipe here was inspired by our orange tree going nuts with flowers (the one behind the bottles in the picture across the top of this page). To lighten its load a bit I picked a decent amount of them, juiced some tangelos from the tree behind our house, took the Auckland city honey from Marie-Christine’s bee keeper husband and went ahead. No orange blossoms in your garden or pantry? Leave them out or substitute with anything else, like fresh turmeric, tulsi tea, fennel flowers… get inspired!
And here is your recipe:
Orange Blossom Mead
360 grams fresh orange blossoms
1.2 liters tangelo or orange juice, freshly squeezed
4 liters raw honey (5.9 kg )
3 tangelos, outer rind only
3 bags of organic black tea
200 ml lime juice
16 liters hot water
Put flowers and tangelo rind in a gauze bag. Place together with tangelo juice and honey into a 20 liter bucket.
Add hot water and stir well to dissolve the honey. Keep temperature at or below 70°C!
Now add black tea bags and let cool down. Once cooled to room temperature take out the bags with the flowers and tea and add beer yeast.
Transfer to your 20l jerry can and let ferment at room temperature for 7-10 days. Taste it occasionally!
Once the intense bubbling/fermentation has ceased bottle directly from the tap of your fermenter, without additional sugar in the bottles (this will be a still drink). Let the bottles sit undisturbed in a dark and cool place to have the yeast settle and the mead mature.
Ready to drink right then! Alcohol probably 8-10% or more 🙂
Keep the yeast sediment from your fermenter with some liquid in a 1 liter plastic container in your fridge till you are ready for another batch of beer or mead.
The mead will get more dry and clear as it sits in the bottle. More flavour overtones will develop over the months to come. Store the bottles in a dark and relatively cool place. I have my collection under our house (no frost where we live).
Should you notice considerable pressure building up in your bottles (bulging lids and the odd exploding bottle), put them in your fridge before opening carefully upside down, over a glass in the sink, to catch the foam, and slowly release the content into your glass. Be safe! 😉
DO NOT SHAKE your finished mead bottles! The sediment is yeast and is best left alone.
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 🙂
At 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.
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
Prepare the vegetables by massaging with sea salt like Sauerkraut. Add diced apple, orange juice, sesame seeds and Apple Cider Vinegar and mix well.
Prepare chili paste in a blender and balance flavours. Keep the toasted sesame oil aside for later!
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.
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.
Alternatively 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.
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
Rinse the soaked nuts and seeds. In a food processor pulse the almonds and pumpkin seeds into a coarse crumbly texture.
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.
Spread loosely onto Teflex sheets so that enough air can flow through the clusters and the wet mix does not touch the tray above.
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.
Enjoy as crumble over your salads or as individual snack.
Miso is one of the few soy-based foods I would actually use. Tamari is the run-off/whey from the Miso production.
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.
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
Chop cauliflower into small florets. Peel the stems and dice. Using a mandolin, grate/cut Turmeric into small matchsticks.
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.
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
Clean the crock, then place at the bottom of it some of the mustard seeds, fresh grape leaves and a pinch of black peppercorns.
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.
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.
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)
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.
Cover the crock with a cloth to keep out dust and flies and store it in a cool place.
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!
Feel free to play with other spices too! Ginger, coriander seeds, juniper berries etc.
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.
Enjoy your pickles as a side dish, vegetable part of your meal or a yummy snack between meals!
Funny title for a food related blog, you might think. I agree, yet it’s not that weird.
Why are you here reading this? Right, you want to learn, expand your horizon. You were maybe looking for that ONE recipe out there that finally tells you how to use fresh turmeric. You are willing to go out of your way for new knowledge that will improve the quality of your life.
If I’m wrong I probably lost you by now 😉
That’s however not the kind of learning I mean with ‘apprenticing’ or ‘apprenticeship’. These days online courses, webinars and home study courses are all the hype.
In my arrogant opinion: because they are easy to market and have a low commitment level from the student (both in terms of financial- and time- investment as well as showing up to the actual course).
Usually in the end, your online education provider will send you a certificate that you can display on your website or hand you a few e-book files that you are now allowed to sell with your name on.
Active marketing and an initial sales process, usually with brilliant promises of ease and great gain
You pay up front, once you have convinced yourself that this is what you really need and always desired
You receive the information
End of interaction for now
You remain on their e-mail list to be continuously marketed to
What’s wrong with that? Nothing! I might do it myself one day 🙂
It has, however, NOTHING to do with learning a craft.
Have you ever started a new sports discipline?
How long did it take you to stand up on that surfboard, ride that horse/bicycle/motorbike…?
It took me 5 years in bicycle racing (started at age 10), 3 years in whitewater kayaking and 4 years on motorbikes to attain a level of unconscious competency. Same in my professional life: first mechanical engineering, then raw food chefing and teaching, network marketing, now traditional nutrient-dense foods. Coaching next.
A common progression for learning a new discipline in life is:
Discover your Passion.
Practice, practice, practice – no shortcuts here.
Realisation that you require more training and guidance
Pick a Master in your field, who has accomplished what you strive for
Apply with the Master
Pass the Test and agree on the terms
Apprentice. Study, train and work side by side your Master
Teach others while you learn. It develops your own mastery.
Basically, any learning evolves through 4 phases:
Unconscious Incompetence. We don’t know that we don’t know and go on an ill-prepared kayak trip into a cyclone weather front.
Conscious Incompetence. We now know that we don’t know. Ring the ‘Coastguard’, get rescued, become a member and apologise to our dear partner who knew all along that this was crazy 😉
Conscious Competence. We learn study and practice and now know that we know. We have the right gear, are practicing our paddling and rescue skills and are gaining confidence.
Unconscious Competence. We don’t even know that we know. Our subconscious mind has taken over. Think of driving your car now vs. when you first started driving!
In my experience, from teaching hundreds of people in sports as well as the culinary field, many of us operate in the first category: Unconscious Incompetence. We think we like something, attend a seminar, webinar, food demo and usually get some great entertainment out of it. Once back home we might give it a shot to do what we saw the lecturer do.
Now HERE is the chance for real learning! If we DON’T succeed, we might throw the towel in and call it ‘too hard‘, OR we get intrigued and switch into Conscious Incompetence with a keenness to learn and to find out how.
This state, B.T.W., is not automatically maintained! You can easily fool yourself and think: ‘Aah, now I know!’, ‘I could have done that myself.’
Trust me, until you are actually doing it yourself, you won’t!
For me this is usually the stage when I engage with a Master in my field of interest – by default when apprenticing as a machine builder in 1985 at the BWF in East Berlin; with Master Chef Chad Sarno in 2003 and lately with Sally Anderson.
Now what’s required at this point? – you might ask. First of all an empty glass. You might have heard the Bruce Lee story and how he prepared his students to teach his excellence in martial arts. Stop reading until you have watched this video below with John Kanary at least twice!
Have you ever had a small school kid lecturing you with incorrect facts about something you had attained mastery in? Funny isn’t it?! Yet a waste of your time trying to re-educate the little one – until he is willing to let go of what he thinks he knows.
So the first step in asking a Master to teach you is to let go of what you think you know. The next step will highly likely be a test. In my mechanical engineering apprenticeship it went like this:
Master: “Who wants to really get to know a turning lathe?”
Apprentices: “Me!”, “Me!”, “Please, can I?!”
Master: “Sure. There is a broom and shovel, rags are over there, and the dirty turning lathe is right here. Start cleaning it!”
– and we learned! 🙂
In kitchens it often involves peeling potatoes or chopping onions. Similar scenario, just more tears.
Why? Because the person teaching is extremely happy to share her/his knowledge with keen students. Yet, the way to test anyone on their keenness to learn is to test their commitment to excellence in an easy field first.
Do yourself a favour and order this book: ‘Don’t Try This At Home! Culinary Catastrophes from the World’s Greatest Chefs‘ by Kimberley Witherspoon and Andrew Friedman!
In there you will find a story of a young New York chef who had recently found herself a job at a Seattle restaurant. Her boss was a Master in French patisserie (correct me if I’m wrong!) and she was keen to be taught by him. Yet he refused to teach her his craft until she took sweeping the kitchen floors seriously. For how could he teach her excellence in a craft that required a very high skill level if she showed NO excellence whatsoever at a task that required no skills?!!!
So it is often at the bottom we start in any new craft. It is a test of our commitment to completion (Excellence). Once the Master sees that the student is willing to do what it takes to learn, then the next door opens. It is a rite of passage of some sort.
Think of it! It will have taken any Master in their field long years of practice, often disastrous mistakes, hard learning to accomplish their level of game – and they are still learning!
Would you be spilling out all your hard-learned experience to that school kid, trying to lecture you with incorrect facts?
Hell No! You are looking for an empty glass and a willing mind who treasures your wisdom.
What a Master is looking for in an apprentice is:
Dedication to walking it out in their own life
Someone who will carry their Legacy forward
Someone they can TRUST their secrets and wisdom to
At this point the real apprenticeship starts. The terms will be clear. How long, how often, how much – most apprenticeships are free B.T.W. (but that’s another blog post :-)). Just know, Wisdom/Teaching is always a GIFT, regardless the price or fee.
Prove yourself to be worthy of receiving it!
I had a Master of mechanical engineering at the IWF of the TU Berlin, Reinhard Preiss, who took a long time to open his heart, but once I was in, I was considered family. We had a great relationship! I still look up to his level of excellence and attention to detail! Yet, our relationship was enriched by a great human interaction, a trust that had developed by me being diligent under his cautious eyes. I had earned it.
Now it is on the student to be a ‘sponge’, an ’empty vessel’, to absorb as much of the Master’s experience, knowledge and wisdom as possible. This is often not done by lecturing, but by working alongside each other, by sharing the space, solving a task together. It is the VIBRATION of Excellence that is taught!
Now, since we are on a culinary playing field… What does it take to work with a master here?
Travel! Volunteer! Work with the people who have gone before you! Approach them in a humble manner and ask if you can be of service and help them! Bring your own sharp knives and know how to use them.
Again, this does not have to cost you more than your travel and accommodation. That’s how I studied and worked with Chad Sarno from 2002-2005.
When you are with your Master/Mentor these are the qualities most suited to acquiring what she/he has got and you want:
Courage to be open and let go
Stamina and Staying Power
Reverence and Respect
Gratitude and Love for your Teacher/Master (that will come naturally)
Eagerness to learn
The application of what you learn in your own practice
If you come to an accomplished chef to learn new recipes you are wasting your time.
Get yourself a recipe book and start playing!
When you are with them you will learn a new way of being with food. That’s what is taught!
When back in your own kitchen you are now Consciously Competent and will have to PRACTICE, PLAY, CREATE and TEACH! Nothing will shortcut your 10000 hours to mastery and Unconscious Competence but doing it (read ‘Outliers, The Story of Success’ by Malcolm Gladwell!)!
It comes down to the question I first heard from Artemis Limpert: “Are you willing to be bad for long enough to become good?” – Are you???
Just don’t rock up at a Master’s door not practicing in your own life what you came to learn here! Takeaways are just not an option when you want to become a chef. Sorry!
Work your field! Every day! Be in the kitchen, cater, teach, invite your friends for dinner! Again: 10000 hours.
In the traditional way of how a craft was passed on in the guilds of Europe an apprentice, once considered being skilled enough to have finished his/her apprenticeship, was given a task to prove his/her skill level (Gesellenstueck). Passing the test they were now considered a skilled worker (again the concept of Conscious Competence).
To achieve the title of ‘Master’ in that tradition requires to complete an even more complex task, to prove all one’s skills: the Master Piece.
Once you have reached that level of Mastery, you will highly likely have developed these essential qualities of a good Master and are fit to train others:
Excellence – the commitment to completion
Vision and an understanding of your Legacy
A commitment to your student’s success – a stance for their very own Greatness
Does that resonate? It has been on my heart for a while. I trust it will be understood on a heart level too.
What I have written here applies not so much to individual classes and workshops I offer, yet to the craft of ‘Culinary Arts and Education’. Should you consider to attend my Raw Chef Trainings to further your education I will however appreciate your understanding of the above.
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.
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.
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
For the crust:
1.5c shredded coconut
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.