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.

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

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

Chocolate Müsli Slice – a glutenfree and vegan Power Snack

A lovely chocolate treat!

Be warned, this one will be a staple in your power snack repertoire. A thoroughly nourishing and satisfying chocolate treat. The basic recipe below is not fully raw as presented here, due to the use of 72% dark chocolate. I like to use the vegan Whittaker’s’Dark Ghana’. ‘Green & Blacks’ works as well. By all means, go ahead and make your own raw chocolate topping!
Oh, have I not posted that recipe yet?! Hang in there, it will pop up shortly 😉

When I am making this Chocolate Müsli slice I always make more of the dry crust mix than I will need for one standard baking tray. I store it in a sealed container till the next batch is due. That way I only have to add date paste, mix it thoroughly, press it into a paper lined tray and pour the chocolate.

And yes, the recipe below is not suggesting for the nuts and seeds to be soaked and dehydrated. For better digestion and utilization of all nutrients feel free to soak and dehydrate the sunflower- and pumpkin seeds as well as the almonds.
It is ESSENTIAL to dehydrate the nuts and seeds completely dry after soaking them over night. The base of the Müsli slice is held together by the moisture being evenly distributed throughout the crust.

And here is the recipe. Enjoy!

Chocolate Müsli Slice

Makes approx. three standard baking trays with 64 pieces each

  • 7c sunflower seeds, ground into coarse meal
  • 5c pumpkin seeds, ground into coarse meal
  • 10c dried finely shredded coconut
  • 4c almonds, ground into coarse meal
  • 2c cashew pieces, ground into a coarse meal
  • 4c chia seed flour
  • 3c cranberries
  • 2c sultanas
  • 3-6c smooth date paste, depending on moisture level
  • 9 x 250g bars of Whittaker’s 72% Dark Ghana chocolate (750g per tray)
  1. In a large tub hand-mix all dry ingredients well.
  2. Put a pot with 1-2cups of water to the boil, place a stainless steel bowl on the rim of the pot so it completely covers it. Break 3 bars (750g) of the dark chocolate into the bowl. Turn the heat down to a minimum once the water boils. Stir the chocolate occasionally until it is completely melted.
  3. While the chocolate is melting take 12c of the dry müsli mixture and hand-mix 1-2 cups of date paste in until everything sticks well together and is evenly moist and covered with date paste.
  4. Line a standard baking tray (approx. 2cm deep) with one sheet of baking paper. Now press the moist müsli mixture evenly into the tray.
  5. When the chocolate is completely melted pour it over the compacted müsli in the baking tray. Make sure you dry off the bowl underneath beforehand to avoid water dripping into your molten chocolate! Tap the tray lightly on the work bench to distribute the chocolate evenly and to make the surface level. Use a cranked spatula to help spread the chocolate, if necessary.

    Freshly poured chocolate

    Can you smell the freshly poured chocolate?!

  6. Place the tray in the fridge (walk-in coolers are handy here! ;-)) to let the chocolate solidify. Check frequently for the chocolate surface to turn matt. Do not wait till the chocolate is thoroughly chilled through. It will be too brittle to cut. A very sharp and thin (Asian) chef’s knife helps!
    Solid chocolate on top
  7. Once the chocolate surface has turned evenly matt and is sufficiently solid to cut, carefully, while holding on to the paper, slide the chocolate-covered müsli block onto a large cutting board. Cut into 64 equal pieces and stack them into a tight-sealing container with baking paper between the layers.
    Scored chocolate top
    Return to chiller overnight. The chocolate will solidify and the moisture in the müsli mix will spread evenly through all ingredients, making them hold together better.
    The cut chocolate muesli slice

Caution!

  • Do not touch the chocolate surface after it is poured!!! Your fingerprints will remain visible.
  • From the time of cutting into individual pieces till serving the individual müsli slices should stay refrigerated. Alterations in temperature will cause moisture in the air to condense on the chocolate coating. This ultimately leads to bright brown spots on it and makes it look unsightly and old.

The final result!

Enjoy!

René
🙂

PS: Yes, this might be one of the recipes featured at one of my next demo classes!

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

Help!!!

at recent chef training with Anna

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

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

Yes?

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

Demo class at Wise Cicada

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

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

Teaching at Green Expo

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

The raw BBQ Man

The raw vegan BBQ Man?

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

With great anticipation and much Love,

René
🙂

Chef training lecture

Superfoods 201 – the next chapter

Join us for our next journey into the mysterious realm of Superfoods. We are talking – in my humble opinion – about foods with high nutrient content and density that may positively affect our wellbeing, health and performance. Walking through any well stocked health food store, you will recognise them by their unusual names (at least in our Western understanding) and also their intriguingly high price tags – compared to the standard fare, we have become so used to.

Yum Berries

Many of these foods are sourced from pristine environments like the Himalayan mountains (Goji berries) and the Amazon rainforest – hence their ‘unusual’ names. These plants and their fruits and roots are oftentimes not farmed but wild-harvested which explains their high content in nutrients (non-depleted soils) and also the higher price compared to other foods.

Maqui berries

Foods in this category are Goji berries, Acai, Maca, Noni, Maqui, Suma, Sacha Inchi, Camu Camu, Chia seeds and many more. Many of these are supplied and distributed by companies like Matakana Superfoods. On their website you will also find much detailed information about the different Superfood products.

Superberries Maqui, Yum, Acai, Goji

Among the more ‘common’ superfoods are blueberries, young coconuts, apple cider vinegar, cacao, turmeric, green tea, wheatgrass, sprouts etc.

And yes, we are offering you another class around these preciously packed nutrient-rich foods. Exploring the ones we have not touched on in our last class on the subject, Superfoods 101. To name a few: Maqui, Yum, Mangosteen as well as some old friends like Maca and Cacao.

Superfood pralines

Coming up this
Tuesday, May 1st, 2012, 7-9.30pm
at the Wise Cicada Cafe in Newmarket, Auckland, New Zealand

Your investment: NZD60
including all samples and the complete recipe booklet of the class.

This class will be centered around a systematic approach to using Superfoods in you daily diet. What (powder, berries) can you incorporate where (your green smoothie, almond milk) and how – for maximum benefit to your wellbeing, health and performance. With a bit of good luck we will have Kevin from Matakana Superfoods with us to introduce a few of his products and to answer your questions about the different power foods.

Seats are limited to 20 students. Book your space today!

Ring René to book on: 027 555 1622 or contact us here.

Alternatively go right ahead and confirm your booking by paying the course fee through our PayPal portal by clicking on the button below.

PayPal Buy Now

Looking forward to seeing you on Tuesday!
Warm regards,

René

🙂

PS: We still have room at New Zealand’s first hands-on Raw Chef Training, Level 1. I have extended the Early Bird rate till Monday, April 30, 2012. Book your space Now!

Rene teaching

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

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

Magnificent Birthday Cake

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

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

Chad's Red Radish and Microgreen Salad

Level 1 has been taught from

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

Next one coming up now, click here!

These are the topics we will cover:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Warm regards,

René
🙂

Dry it, you will like it! A comprehensive class on dehydrated raw foods.

Yes, we are teaching a

Dehydrated Foods Class
Wednesday, April 11th, 7 – 9.30pm,
Wise Cicada Cafe, 23 Crowhurst Street, Newmarket
Auckland, New Zealand

Join us and come along!

The investment is $60/person including all samples (I’m working on them :-)) and a comprehensive recipe booklet.

Selection of Dehydrated Raw Foods

Our menu for the night will include a basic flaxseed cracker recipe, breakfast granola and a lovely raw porridge, spiced nuts and seeds (great savoury snacks this time!), pizza crusts, wraps and an idea for trail bars. And what do you do with all that pulp from making almond milk??? Precisely! We’ll deal with that one too 😉

If you have a dehydrator and you want to use it more come along!

If you are thinking of getting one come along too! René will share some advice on what to look for in a good dehydrator.

Either way, you will come out of this class with more confidence and knowledge around dehydrated raw foods.

Spaces are limited to 20 people and bookings are essential.
Book your space today!

You can contact us directly to book your place, either by clicking here and leaving us a note or by ringing René directly on 0275551622.

We are looking forward to having some good fun together!

Happy Easter,

René

🙂

PS: More classes are coming up. Please see our Teaching page!