How to learn a craft? or What does it take to apprentice?

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.
Why?
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.
There is:

  1. Active marketing and an initial sales process, usually with brilliant promises of ease and great gain
  2. You pay up front, once you have convinced yourself that this is what you really need and always desired
  3. You receive the information
  4. End of interaction for now
  5. 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:

  1. Discover your Passion.
  2. Develop it.
  3. Practice, practice, practice – no shortcuts here.
  4. Realisation that you require more training and guidance
  5. Pick a Master in your field, who has accomplished what you strive for
  6. Apply with the Master
  7. Pass the Test and agree on the terms
  8. Apprentice. Study, train and work side by side your Master
  9. Teach others while you learn. It develops your own mastery.

Intl Raw Food Festival 2004

Basically, any learning evolves through 4 phases:

  1. Unconscious Incompetence. We don’t know that we don’t know and go on an ill-prepared kayak trip into a cyclone weather front.
  2. 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 😉
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

Freefall Coach

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!”
Apprentices: “*@$%*#!!!”
– 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:

  • Commitment
  • 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.

Fresh Festival 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
  • Trust
  • Patience
  • Commitment
  • Passion/Drive
  • Stamina and Staying Power
  • Vision
  • Humility
  • Reverence and Respect
  • Gratitude and Love for your Teacher/Master (that will come naturally)
  • Eagerness to learn
  • Faith
  • 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
  • Trust
  • Love
  • Patience
  • Vision and an understanding of your Legacy
  • Letting go
  • Respect
  • 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.

With much Love,
René
Rene

Strawberry Chocolate Torte – a Summer Treat!

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.

Raw Chocolate Strawberry Torte

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.

Orange Chocolate Torte

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
Serves 8

For the crust:

  • 1.5c shredded coconut
  • 1.5c cashews
  • 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.

Strawberry Chocolate Torte

Enjoy!

René
🙂

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.

Kombucha 101

A great blog post on Kombucha and its benefits! Sure you’ll enjoy the read as much as I did.
Rene
🙂

How would you feel if someone told you to drink this:

Welcome to the wonderful, yet sometimes frightening world, of Kombucha.

What exactly IS Kombucha?!?!  Well, according to Synergy, a leading manufacturer…

Kombucha is alternately known as a Chinese tea, a plant, or a mushroom. But it’s not really any of these. It’s a living culture of beneficial microorganisms, and in Kombucha’s case, the whole is infinitely greater than the sum of its parts! Our Kombucha is delicately cultured – some liken it to fermentation – for 30 days. During this period, essential nutrients form like active enzymes, viable probiotics, amino acids, antioxidants and polyphenols. All of these combine to create an elixir that immediately works with the body to restore balance and vitality. Kombucha has been used for hundreds of years throughout the world as a daily health tonic. The culture resembles a light brown, tough, gelatinous disk—and because…

View original post 431 more words

Apple Spice Granola Recipe – a staple in our house

Ever been suspicious of what these supermarket breakfast cereals contain? Often less nutrition than the cardboard boxes they come in.

Here is a time proven raw granola recipe I was introduced to years ago by my good friend and mentor Chad Sarno. Not much tweaking needed to happen since. Some creations are just perfect. Saying that, especially this basic granola recipe is almost crying for some playful changes or addition of ingredients like Maca powder, chia seeds, cacao nibs, Sacha Inchi powder, freeze dried fruit slices etc.. Knock yourself out! 😉

wet nut mix for apple spice granola

Don’t be afraid to substitute or add other nuts and seeds like pumpkin seeds, coconut chips or brazil nuts. Just adjust the amount of date paste to obtain the desired sweetness.

I often use sprouted buckwheat for this recipe as it is a reasonably priced alternative to lot of highly priced nuts, like pecans or walnuts. Buckwheat also dehydrates beautifully into a crispy crunch. I believe the thick ‘slimy’ run-off from the sprouting grains also helps to bind the granola clusters together – similarly to what happens with flax and chia seeds when you soak them.

This brings us to another great little secret wit this recipe. By soaking and sprouting the nuts and seeds and then mixing the wet ingredients with date paste, apples and whatever spices and superfood powders you want to add, you achieve a natural clustered crunchy granola after dehydration. Adding wet and dry ingredients to nuts and seeds before dehydration and then dry the lot together in clusters, bars or any shape, will nicely attach the flavours and hold all other components together.

Now just pop your granola clusters into a bowl, add some banana slices and pour your freshly made almond milk or raw organic Jersey cow’s cream over it and enjoy!

Fresh Fruit Salad with Granola

You are still waiting for the actual recipe, right?!
Here it is:

Apple Spice Granola
Makes 4 cups

  • 1 c pecans or walnut pieces, soaked10-12 hours
  • 1 c almonds, soaked 10-12 hours
  • 1 c sunflower seeds, soaked 10-12 hours
  • 1 c hulled buckwheat, sprouted for 1-2 days
  • 1-2 c date paste
  • 1/2 t vanilla extract
  • 2 T chia seeds
  • 3 apples, diced small
  • 2 T cinnamon, ground
  • 1 T maca powder
  • t natural sea salt
  • 1/2 t lemon juice
  1. Keep the sprouted buckwheat aside. Using the food processor, pulse all other nuts and seeds until coarsely ground. Add in a large bowl to the sprouted buckwheat.
  2. Also using the food processor blend the dates with a small amount of water until it becomes a smooth paste. Dry dates will require soaking over night.
  3. Toss the paste along with the diced apples, chia seeds, maca powder, cinnamon, vanilla extract and salt with the nut mixture. Hand mix well. Adjust flavour with lemon juice.
    wet nut mix for apple spice granola
  4. Continue by crumbling the ‘wet’ granola onto Teflex dehydrator sheets and dehydrate at 145 F for 2 hours. Over the next hours turn the temperature gradually down to 115 F. Turn trays periodically. After 6-8hours flip over and remove Teflex sheets. Dehydrate at 105 F for 12 more hours or until crisp.
    wet granola ready for dehydrator
    This process is important to stop the granola from fermenting during the dehydration process. Not that it would be bad for you, yet the flavour would be slightly different 😉 It would definitely clear up any phytic acid remnants after the soaking and sprouting.

    Spaced granola clusters on dehydrator tray

    Notice the space between the clusters when wet!

  5. Store in sealed glass jars.

4 dehydrator trays of granola

Enjoy!
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

Raw Chocolate Bar Recipe – Finally!

After filling my Facebook page and ‘Timeline’ with tempting pictures of raw chocolate bars I received so many orders that I will have to move to a more empowering strategy. How about you make these beauties yourself and send me a sample?! 😉

Yumberry Chocolate Bear

“Give a man a chocolate bear and you’ll feed him for a day. Teach him…”

Although the recipe listed below has been working well for me over the months you might encounter problems when adding nut flours or fruit powders to your liquid chocolate mix. Sometimes the cacao butter separates when cooling down (especially when adding liquids). To avoid this from happening you can melt just 50% of it and shave the rest with a grater. That will keep the temperature of the whole mix down. That also means your chocolate will solidify quicker. I tried it today. Worked like a Charm! Also the surface of the finished bars seems to be much smoother.

Freeze dried Passionfruit chocolate bars

Be aware that when making raw chocolate you will leave the field of approximates and enter the Sacred Realm of Alchemy. So tread carefully and record your recipe trials and precise amounts!

And here we go with:

Raw Chocolate Bars

Makes enough chocolate to brighten a hairy day
(36 ice cube tray bars and 1-2 teddy bears)

  • 1 lb (454g) raw organic  cacao butter
  • 2 c cacao powder
  • 1.5 c cane sugar/xylitol, ground into a powder
  • 1 t + vanilla powder
  • 1-2 drops lime juice (Not more!)
  • 1-2 drops tamari sauce
  • ¼ c raw cacao nibs, optional
  • 1 t freeze dried fruit powder, optional
  1. Melt the cacao butter carefully in a bowl over hot water. Be careful not to overheat it. Stir continuously! That will yield about 2.25c of liquid.
  2. Transfer to a blender jar and add the remaining ingredients. Mix at high speed till everything is emulsified into a homogenous mixture.
  3. Pour the liquid mixture into chocolate molds or small plastic wrapped tartlet shells. You can drizzle some fruit powder into the mold before pouring the liquid chocolate. Silicone ice cube trays are best.
    Silicone ice cube trays
  4. Drop the cacao nibs into the liquid chocolate. They will float. You can stir them in if you wish.
    Chocolate Buttons
  5. Chill. The quicker the chocolate solidifies the better.
  6. Serve on cold dishes or paper as the chocolate melts easily.

Tip: Variations can be made with different essential oils and essences. Use your imagination! Citrus oils work well, Geranium goes, and even Basil rocks!

Great New Zealand made freeze dried fruit powders and whole fruit here: Fresh As!

Yumberry and Cacao nib bars

Enjoy and Happy Birthday!
René
🙂

PS: While we are on it… To further your raw chocolatier education please do yourself a favour and visit my dear friend Amy Levin’s website www.ooosha.co.uk! She is the ‘Master of Raw Chocolate’ and has a bunch of her best recipes listed on that website. Make sure you try the Textured Mocha Truffles!

Almond Lime Cookie recipe – a versatile sweet raw treat

You would never think these little darlings are raw, would you?!
Trust me, they are 🙂

A cookie jar of Love

Among the White and Dark Chocolate Raspberry Tart and Amy Levin’s Candied Hazelnut Cupcakes with Chocolate Frosting they almost disappeared at last week’s Divine Desserts class. Yet… try them! The flavour and texture is pretty close to marzipan, well worth the effort of hot-soaking, peeling, soaking, dehydrating… Double the batch and have your family help you peel the almonds. They might get a cookie for it 😉

And here is how:

Almond Lime Cookies

Makes about 60 cookies

  • 3 c almonds, hot-soaked, peeled, soaked for 6-8 hours, dehydrated until crisp
  • 4 T agave nectar or light honey like clover
  • 1/4 t natural sea salt or to taste
  • 1 T lime juice
  • 1 t lime zest
  • 2 t vanilla extract
  1. Process all of the almonds in a food processor until coarsely ground.
  2. Add the other ingredients and process into a firm dough.
  3. Form dough into a ball and flatten between two teflex sheets into 0.5cm thickness. With a cookie cutter cut out heart-shaped cookies and place on dehydrator sheet.
  4. Dehydrate at 42° C for 8-12 hours or until crisp.

Enjoy!

René
🙂

A lunchbox full of sweet Love