Catch your breath

Asthma is primarily an allergic disease — the immune system reacts with inflammation and airway constriction to factors in the environment (pollen, bacteria, viruses, molds, dust, proteins) that it has become sensitized to.

5.4 million people in the UK are currently receiving treatment for asthma:

1.1 million children (1 in 11)

and 4.3 million adults (1 in 12)

It is a pretty sobering thought considering how lethal it can be if an attack is not managed and I was not happy at all when in 2004, as I turned 28 years of age, I was landed with a diagnosis which left me feeling like the weak, wheezing, vulnerable kid in the playground.

Through a series of seemingly unrelated incidents which started with taking an aspirin, I was diagnosed as a full blown asthmatic.  I was in serious trouble if I forgot my inhaler and there were times when the inhaler simply didn’t hit the spot and I would have to seek the nearest doctors surgery for a go on their nebuliser.

From seemingly full health to a managed asthma plan, I loaded up on a serious stock of inhalers (thanks to my fathers line of business!) and a determination that it didn’t have to take over my life.

I was one of 5.4 million people so I was not alone!

But then something very strange happened.

In 2012 I was on a nutritional quest which had followed two intuitive protocols:

  1. I had removed bread from my diet, plus all simple carbohydrates
  2. and I fully implemented the regular consumption of fermented foods into my daily diet.

Kefir, kimchi, sauerkraut of all sorts, kombucha, kvass, traditional probiotic drinks, all in shifting combinations, offering a huge diversity of healthy bacteria.

Quite soon after I noticed that the occurrence of asthma attacks were lessening.   I would find myself in the trigger situations and there was no reaction.  The fear and panic at the thought of going away without taking my inhaler became a blasé affair. The normal irritants could be managed with deep relaxed breathing.

Yesterday (Feb 1st) was Imbolc, a Gaelic traditional festival marking the beginning of spring, whilst this is more a symbolic suggestion, it actually felt decidedly wintry.  It is a festival of the hearth and home, and a celebration of the lengthening days and the early signs of spring. A Spring clean is often customary and well, this is always a work in progress chez moi.

 

In fact this was a classic trigger as house dust would set me off regularly and whilst my cleaning skills leads towards the dust accumulating this too is no longer a problem.

However, yesterday I came across a remnant of my past.  My little magic box of life saving inhalers which came everywhere with me.  Brown ones, many blue ones, a chamber apparatus which would deliver an smooth blast, a little torch for emergency night time flairs and an old photo of asthmatic me, circa 2004!

I have to say that coming across this little memory box has been a reminder of how far one can come and how much can heal.

Whilst I cannot claim that the correlation between fermented foods and my lack of asthma are related, the evidence would suggest that this is MY case. My identity of being an asthmatic is now making its way to the bin as these inhalers all expired in 2012/2013  funnily enough- the last time I took a puff!

We all appreciate a good scientific study to gather the evidence and clearly present the case, as we have appreciated viewing the recent BBC 2  screening of Trust me I am a doctor (Episode 1, Series 6).  This was a delightful episode which focussed on my favourite topic of homemade fermented foods and their bacterial benefits.

The lungs and the gut may seem relatively unrelated, unconnected and understudied for this to hold its weight at a science conference, but all I can offer you is my personal story, an intuitive experiment with outstandingly positive results, asthma free!

Join me for a full sensory investigation into these foods and meet you micobres at one of our courses:

https://www.theculturedclub.com/project/the-sunday-sessions/

 

#guthealth #asthma #probiotics #kimchi #kefir #saurekraut #kombucha #goodbacteria #microbiome #theculturedclubbook

 

 

 

 

 


New Year, New Growth

Lose weight, detox, quit smoking, give up drinking, get fit, spend time with friends, learn something new, enjoy every moment, reduce stress…….empty promises and more stress.

After the imposed hectic nature of Christmas we continue to put pressure on ourselves as the new year rolls in.  We have indulged, and now we must be punished with new diets and a new look.  It is just the first week, where is  the time to just relax?

This year I sat back and observed.  I clocked off work a week before Christmas and dropped right into winter mode: being cosy, resting, making super nourishing food, eatings lots of the aforementioned food and making a few gifts of choice to share the seasonal love. It was my own personal RETREAT and  I made a promise that I would remain in this mode until the winter holidays were completely over and the first week of the new year had passed and the children back to school.

I must admit that to remain on holiday and truly rest has not been easy. There have been plenty of walks which have inspired great thoughts.  However the tsumani of new year enthusiasm drowned me in a wave of guilt.  My fault for swimming into the tide of social media.

 

New years resolutions have never worked for me.  I don’t believe in overnight transformation.  A slow organic shift of thought and action is more sustainable.  I see that as more of a year long project.  All that and a well stocked pantry and you are set for successful meander to reach your goal.

To take the stress out of dietary goals I have learnt to keep things relatively simple.  I follow plate advice from leading nutrition experts such as Robert Verkerk at the Alliance for Natural Health, choosing whole foods simply prepared (with love of course) and flavour loaded with an ALIVE fermented note and a side of the many previously prepped condiments or spice blends.  I have one fridge solely dedicated to ferments and such condiments as pestos, tapenade, mayos etc

A light meal could be as easy as a generous portions of greens, marinated, steamed or sautéed, with a small portion of starchy veg, such as sweet potato paired divinely with The Cultured Clubs favourite miso mayo.  Or a bed of salad with a poached egg, some avocado topped with this lush dukkah.

But here is your new year addiction: The nutrient-dense authentic Argentinian chimichurri!!!!!!!

Best to have healthy addictions than punitive promises.

I CANNOT GET ENOUGH CHIMICHURRI

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 bunch fresh parsley
  • 1 bunch fresh cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon oregano
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 teaspoons red pepper flakes (gochugaru)
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar/kombucha vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Add all ingredients to a food processor/blender and pulse until smooth. If you need to add more oil, add a tablespoon at a time until desired consistency is reached.
  2. Reserve sauce in a jar in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.
Having nutrient dense food available to you makes any mental shift a hell of a lot easier.  Nourishing the body wakens the mind allowing for thoughts made up of positive energy.  There is a direct connection between your mental state and what you have just ate, however no amount of nutrition and healthy eating will benefit you if you are stressed.  The chimicurri is made and I am off to nurture perfecting my positive thoughts for  2017.
Work starts back tomorrow, stress-free, rested and relaxed.
There are workshops and collaborations to be planned, some exciting developments to be prepared  and more bacteria to be made and shared.  I Look forward to seeing you along the way in 2017

 

#Zenwishlist2017

  1. Let go of grudges
  2. Treat everyone with kindness
  3. Regard your problems as challenges
  4. Express gratitude for what you have
  5. Dream BIG
  6. Don’t sweat the small stuff
  7. Speak well of others
  8. Avoid making excuses
  9. Live in the present
  10. Wake up the same time every morning
  11. Don’t compare yourself to others
  12. Surround yourself with positive people
  13. Realise you don’t need approval
  14. Take time to listen
  15. Nurture social relationships
  16. Meditate
  17. Excercise
  18. Live minimally
  19. Establish personal control
  20. Accept what cannot be changed

 


A Cultural Shift for Christmas

It is not easy in our Culture to be healthy and the minute you try, you are met with opposition and disapproval from the tribe who see the turning of your ways as an insult to their choices.   Ok, maybe a bit harsh, but it can be less than encouraging.

However YOUR choices effect at least seven of the closest people around you, so never underestimate the power of your actions.  Be careful of your choices, vote with your pocket and this CAN and WILL change the our culture for the better.

 

Never has this been more apparent than at Christmas.

 

I reckon I have always struggled around this time of year for one reason…….the mindless consumer mania.  It has made as much sense as the last minute gift which is suppose to express how much I care.  Throw kids into the mix and the pressure can seem beyond your control.  Kids we cannot fool, as they have Santa Claus on their side, although how he can discriminate between giving one child the latest iPhone and another a few bits of lego is perhaps something we need to address and Mummy/Daddy/Significant care giver could take the pleasure of gifting those more expensive items? ……………..Just a thought

Anyhow, let’s take the pressure off the ‘gifts for everyone else‘ list!

I love giving, anyone who knows me well, knows you cannot leave my house without having something bestowed upon you. This is in no way a Scrooge mentality.  It is the insanity of this time of year is perfectly captured and articulated by George Monibot in an article from 2012 which you can read here: On the 12th day of Christmas your gifts will be junk.

 

Read it, Think about it!  Ask the questions about the system which is supplying your demands!  A Cultural Shift, it is all I want for Christmas. (And my children’s future!)

 

Stepping off the consumer treadmill can be daunting.  It’s a vulnerable place…..I know!  Suck it up, be the light and Feck it, as they say!  Old patterns die a very loud death and there is always room for continual growth.

 

So here are my Top 10 solutions which I feel might just enlighten OR at least taste good.  Gifts made with love hold way more value!  Gifts made by hand are filled with LOVE.  After you have spent a fortune on quality ingredients,(NOTE:buying organic is particularly important when purchasing spices) plus invested your time, you will have something to be proud to gift.  If you are creatively minded, there is another wonderful world of labelling, wrapping, musing, so let your philosophy flow through you as you gift something truly unique.

For the Flavour Seekers in your life: (recipes in the clickable titles)

Dukkah  An Egyptian spice blend.

Furikake  Japanese Rice seasoning.

Immunity Spice Blend  Good on everything.

Miso Eggs  Like you have never experienced before.

Asian Dipping Sauce  Also good with everything.

Master Tonic  Your ultimate flu shot.

Miso Mayo  It can go an everything else that doesn’t have have dipping sauce smothering it!

For the want of a better world

Probiotic Toothpaste  A little different but surprisingly shiny results.

Facial scrub (from Susan Jane White)  Completely lickable!

For the Seasonal Table

Cranberry relish  No Christmas dinner should be without it.

Christmas Kraut  It will make the day after more interesting.

Orange, Ginger & Turmeric Kraut  It will bring a little sunshine to your plate.

 

All (as in most) recipes are from The Cultured Club recently published book on Fermented foods and Fabulously Funky Recipes available on Amazon and in all major book stores.

 

The Cultured Club by Dearbhla Reynolds, published by Gill

 

P.S.  If you get the time I recommend you take it to get to know that difference between Tongue Taste Vs Hand Taste as perfectly described by my food hero Michael Pollan.  It will make the joy of your gift even more special.


A ‘Cultured’ Lifestyle

During Roman times, sauerkraut was eaten because of its health giving properties.

In ancient India it was not uncommon to enjoy a pre-dinner drink of lassi.

Koreans have being consuming kimchi for years while other Asian cultures eat pickled fermentations of cabbage, turnips, cucumbers and carrots.

From kefir (fermented milk) to sauerkraut (fermented cabbage), miso paste (fermented soybean) and Korean kimchi (fermented vegetables), a love affair of live cultured food and drink has begun as health-conscious consumers seek products to deliver the long list of benefits fermented foods extol.

The Cultured Club™ has been carefully crafting a range of Fabulously Funky Ferments™ products which loyal customers testify as being “full of flavour” , “the best in town” and “the liveliest on the palate”.

These hand crafted artisan foods are superior in taste and flavour due to the small scale production and our customers have grown to trust the direct connection and assured quality of the product. We pride ourselves on quality, authenticity, local, home-made, small scale and naturally fermented.

However The Cultured Club™ is expanding and the demand for product is growing and we simply cannot meet the need.  As a company of integrity, we do not wish to capitalise by an upscale, instead we wish to offer the opportunity for those with a passion for fermented foods to be part of this growing brand, so we have a special offer available to the right producers.

 

 

If you have ever thought of earning some money from producing food, we are franchising our products, and as the global trend for fermented foods is one of the hottest markets for the coming years, NOW is the ideal time for you to start your own fermented business from home trading under the growing brand of The Cultured Club

Consumption of fermented foods can be traced back thousands of years, if not longer,  these are amongst the safest foods on the planet but it seems in 2016, buoyed by consumers’ heightened awareness of the negative perceptions of processed foods, fermented foods are to establish themselves as a major food trend.

The franchise will offer you all you need to get started in your own production.

It will include:

  • Standardised recipes
  • Individual HACCP plans
  • Print ready label PDFs
  • Instructional videos on how to make and support as you get established.

This affordable Franchise will guarantee you an impressive range of unique foods with a strong customer following.

Registration of interest from those wishing to join The Cultured Club will be opening soon  for approval in the next fortnight, with a Franchise ready for purchase early November.

Once your application is approved, your franchise will be Recipe, Location and Brand specific producing homemade foods for your community.

This is processing the natural way.

Further details will be posted on the Fabulously Funky Ferments page.

Share this post and we will fill the world with kimchi, or at least your neighbourhood.

 

 


Are you serious? Five course Fermenting

Whilst fermented foods are gaining attention, some of your have embraced them with relative ease.  And rightly so, they are delicious.

For others, there may be a period of adjustment, as the new ecosystem in your gut settles down.

But five courses of the stuff?  You have got to be kidding.

 

Firstly let explain, Fermented foods are a food group, a lost food group therefore it features on the plate alongside other foods.    It is NOT five courses of ONLY ferments, that would be wrong.

Five course fermenting is a new series of workshops to be presented quarterly by The Cultured Club.  The intention is to illustrate how these foods can appear on the plate in an interesting way, beyond a serving of kraut or kimchi.  You get idea now?

Each course will demonstrate a simple fermentation technique and how it can be worked into a dish.  In some cases in a way that you might not even know you were eating fermented foods.

We are deep in preparation for our workshop happening this weekend, as you will see the menu showcases some fermented foods paired with other great flavours.  All courses are vegetarian.

Fumbally Stables in Dublin, 15th Oct, 12pm-5pm.  There may be a seat left at the table if you are quick.

 

Kimchi Pancakes with dipping sauce

Eggs 2 ways

Beet kvass egg, miso mayo, dukkah  & miso egg, dashi, furikake

beetroot kimchi, skordalia, cauliflower rice, pumpkin seeds, seaweed

Fermented cabbage leaf, mushroom filling, celeriac, apple, kale crisps

Apple & goji berry compote, coconut yoghurt, buckwheat crunchies


Drown it in something yummy.

It is MONDAY, the list is long and a busy week lies ahead.  The ‘BABY’ goes onto the shelves of all major book stores this Friday, October 14th.  Surreal in its beauty and very real in the dreaming.

I am prepping for a tasting extravaganza at The Fumbally Stables on Saturday and there may be a seat left at the table if you check HERE.

Whilst I am at the Fumbally, my book will also be on the Northern Irish stand at the Gluten free Festival in Croke Park on October 15th & 16th.  We will be giving away some tickets to the festival on the Facebook page  over the week.

I would love to think that I keep all the balls in the air effortlessly, I generally fail miserably, mostly in the housework, general domestic bliss area.  When life is busy, meal times are not the treasured calm, nurturing experience you might want them to be.  They can be poorly planned and creatively uninspired.  Thankfully there is always a jar or two of something Fabulously funky in the fridge!

I do appreciate that this is not my average week and that most of time things move at my own pace but to help at time like these my little trick is to drown something bland in something amazing.

From very early, my kids had a liking for the savoury taste of soy sauce (we now use either tamari or liquid amino, the gluten free version of soy sauce), seaweeds, miso, sesame, you can taste it?  Sushi is their favourite snack.

I have a particular persuasion for Asian foods be it indian sweeping all the way across to Japan. Currently this is in the form of any kind of dipping/drowing sauce, as I can get away with a lot by simply cooking up something simple, ( rice and some veg)  and pouring as much of this goodness on top.  If I have the time I will even make something to dip into it.  Ok it is not fermented but this week is different and I can only try my best.

I will tripling this recipe at least and making a big batch today:

1 spring onion, chopped
1 fermented garlic clove, grated
3 tbsp tamari
1 tbsp sesame oil
2 tsp gochugaru chilli flakes
2 tsp black or white sesame seeds,

toasted 1/2 tsp raw honey
1/2 tsp kombucha vinegar

Combine all the ingredients in a small bowl. It will keep well for three days in the fridge.

 


Do you want to know a secret?

I have always been attracted to the obscure.

I could have gone easier on myself and followed a more attractive cleaning eating menu of  health bursting smoothies and the like.  Or I could have just done as was expected and walked into a career in Pharmacy.  But Oh no, not me, I have to take it to the extreme, along an unchartered path and completely, wholeheartedly find myself deep in a crock of fermenting food embracing a more “cultured” lifestyle.

 

I have seen you whince, I have heard every joke, noted every raised eyebrow, rolled my eyes at every excuse and laughed at every reason to dismiss these foods….most of the time offered out of blind ignorance to their unbelievable qualities of these foods and their ‘awakening’ of taste.

 

I get it, there is nothing that sounds sexy about sauerkraut, SCOBYs and bacteria.  Nor does the smell of kimchi, kefir or kombucha invite you into all their charms.

 

Well here is a little secret.

Today I went on a day trip to the science lab at Queen’s University, Belfast, with my bacteria.  Under the guidance of Dr. Tancredi Caruso, I discovered there is a whole lot of goodness in these foods which will turn you right on!  (I knew this of course, but seeing it there right in front of me was a proud moment.)

We took the tiniest drop of the juice of a favourite ferment at present:  Whole sweet heart cabbages which were brined 5 months ago (pictured to the left and above).  The leaves are used to make wraps for various dishes, a favourite detailed in The Cultured Club book.

 

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This tiny little drop of what would be considered ‘pickled brine’ was placed on a slide.  There was no staining needed to highlight the bacteria (technical info that I didn’t quite know the theory on) and as it came into focus, through the eye of the lens, there dancing in front of me, I could see these ‘living foods’ buzzing, teeming and vibrating with life.

The magnification, if you can imagine was 1mm, then amplify it x 400.

 

 

The slide was linked to a computer screen so we could marvel at the activity.  Something warm and giddy happened as I watched the abundance of bacteria and the busy vibration, reproduction (yes, some were asexually reproducing on screen) and movement unfold.

There IS something incredibly attractive about these foods and I could not only see the life force in what I eat but I could see how these foods make me feel when i eat them.  

When you eat these living, fermented foods, you feel the ‘life’ they impart.  These are high vibrational foods which have gone through a process of “lactofermentation”. This is where natural bacteria feed on the sugar and starch in the food creating lactic acid and you can clearly see them continually buzz around.  There is a giddy knowing that you are taking something real into your body.  Now that is more tempting than their names might suggest and a new way of thinking about food.

So this is my secret and one I am delighted to share and you can join me to discover more whilst seeking out your own personal, experiential and enlightened path to wellness.

If you would like to see the video then have a look through the lens here

Grab a jar, mix up some brine and chop(or not) your vegetables and add a little party to your food

HOW TO FERMENT A WHOLE  CABBAGE

 

Throughout Eastern Europe, fermented cabbage leaves are used to make a traditional dish called sarma – or golabki in Polish, golubtsy in Russian, malfoof in Arabic, krautwickel in German or töltött káposzta in Hungarian. It’s a word of Turkish origin meaning food wrapped in leaves, just in case you’re wondering!

MAKES 1 X 2-LITRE JAR

You will need:

1 sweetheart cabbage approx.

2-3 tbsp sea salt

filtered water

1 Remove the core of the cabbage and fill the space where the core was with salt (this is generally about 2-3 tablespoons of salt, but you might need a little more or less).

2 Place the cabbage in a clean 2-litre jar. Sweetheart cabbages are rather small so they fit nicely in a jar, but it may be necessary to gently peel off some of the loose outer leaves. If that’s the case, place them in the bottom of the jar as you do so. Once you have jarred your cabbage, fill the jar with filtered water to within 2.5cm of the rim.

3 Allow to ferment for at least two months at room temperature, until it’s soft and tart, then transfer to the fridge and store for up to six months. These leaves can then be chopped into a dinner salad or used to make the stuffed cabbage rolls.

Get giddy with your creations!

Dearbhla x

 

The Cultured Club book, published by Gill Books, will be available on all book stores from October 14th.You can pre-order your copy here

 

 

 


Ireland’s First Fermentation Festival

The excitement is bubbly, fizzy and appropriately energising for this the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere after a hugely successful Fermentation Festival out west in the Organic Centre in Rossinver, Co. Leitrim.  It was the first giddy gathering of what is sure to be an annual event co-ordinated and hosted by Hans & Gaby Wieland.

I am tripping over words to get through to the thoughts as they are abundant, in a way, like a overly excited bottle of fermented goodness, ready to explode out of the bottle before making it to your mouth. Captured in a bottle, this feeling would be everyones Monday Morning Tonic.

The immense sharing, the enthusiastic presentations, the depth of knowledge and the life-affirming experience has been immense.  If this was your first interaction with ‘THAT’ fermented feeling I can only imagine the overwhelm you must be experiencing today.  We were a pretty excitable bunch.

 

We gathered from the North, the South, the East and the West of our Island to express our passion, experience and knowledge of this ‘forgotten’ skill.  Thankfully a revival is in full swing now, good things take their time to become a new social norm.  They grow organically because they cannot be forced and I am delighted that I am no longer alone with my crazy, hissing kitchen and subtle, yet intentional food anarchy.

Already I can imagine the explosion of interest and offerings for next year, there are many giddy folk I am sure will be part of the fermentation fever.

In the meantime, I have a sourdough starter from Dimitar Dosev of My Strandhill Bakery to introduce with to our own starter.  I have a wonderfully medicinal Turmeric and Ginger apple cider vinegar cultivated by April Danann of Rebel Foods in Skibereen, Co.Cork.
herbal kefirs13450908_647354612088784_5941487508545874999_nI have a belly full of wonderful herbal kefir concoctions from Gaby Wieland and all kinds of Kombuchas from Hans Wieland Fermentation bar.

 

I have this inspiring read to keep me right from Oonagh Monahan- Money for Jam. It is a wealth of information to channel and preserve the passion involved in these wonderful foods into a successful small business.

bookMore small scale fermentation businesses, yes please!

Live fermented foods disappeared from our diets for many reasons.  One plausible reason is due to the commercialisation of the food industry which favoured pickling in vinegar, a much cheaper and stable process. These pickled foods are the product of high heat and pressure which destroys nutrients and do not in any way enhance health.

So perhaps every large town should have its fermentation expert, producing and providing live, probiotic foods for their communities?  Imagine the epidemic of wellness and joyful neighbours?  These are the thoughts one leaves a festival with!

 

Other inspirations included Paul Monaghan from FEED restaurant in Sligo, who will feature my fabulously funky purple beet kvass eggs in his restaurant. Probably someones lunch as I type.  I am honoured!

JP Mc Mahon and his culinary creativity, bringing fermentation to the plate and the palate of those lucky to dine in his fabulous fine dining restaurant Aniar in Galway.  This will have to be a stop on my annual west coast adventures this year.

13507222_647604505397128_2446871617164157683_n I am beyond delighted that I get to take home the freshly harvested seaweed collected yesterday morning by the hands of a master.  This will feature on The Cultured Clubs Tasting Table experience this weekend in Helen’s Bay Organic Gardens and is making its way into seaweed falafels today.

See more on that here.  No doubt the excitement will exude into this food prep this week.

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Dr. Prannie Rhatigan is huge inspiration for food, foraging and creatively using an abundant food source in this part of the world. Her lifetime experience of harvesting, cooking and gardening organically with sea vegetables has been published as a extremely handy (and clever) pocket size, key chain guide for when you are strolling the coast.  It will definitely be coming with me next month on my holidays out west.

So with much thanks to Hans & Gaby Wieland for hosting this wonderful event.  We have consolidated the Irish contingent of SCOBYs thriving of the shared passion from reviving these foods. No doubt we will continue to thrive and next year we will welcome more ‘Fermentistas’ to the festival from near and far.

In the meantime, I have a book to launch on the topic.  It will be out in September with Gill books.  There will be a launch in Dublin and one in Belfast to honour the first Cultured Club members who started this journey with me way back in 2012.  I feel beyond inspired to make that a nation wide tour, so stay tuned,  I anticipate similar excitement and giddiness all round.


The Culture of Culture.

As I wait for my soul to catch up with the fact that my body has flown across 11 time zones, I can indulge in the dreamtime state that is jet lag to reflect upon the journey we have been on before it seems like a distant memory.

I feel grateful for the opportunity I have recently had to travel back to Australia with my family in tow. It has only been 8 years of longing to be reunited with some dear friends there and to relax into the warm glow of the southern skies.  Ok, it is more like a harsh, burning sun, but when you come from Ireland, any suggestion of blue sky is welcome!

The energy from the sun inspires me naturally towards a healthier way of life, so taking up the role of resident fermentation expert and chef on a sustainability project really was a dream come true.  Eating whole, real food is joyful, abundant and true.

What better place to experiment with those recipes I have been dreaming up in my mind than on a willing and hungry audience of like-minded folk.

ferments

And so the kitchen journey began, with jars of Kimchi, Salsa, Sauerkraut, Dilly beans, Radishes, Carrots, Broccoli stems, Kombuchas, Jun, Kvass, whey drinks, ginger bugs, switchel and kefir all fermenting away in the sun, to be worked in and out of every meal.

All three weeks of Breakfast, Lunch and dinner, with rarely a meal repeated, was a creative flow of giddy, bubbling, foodie imaginings with lots of meal plans scribbled, as below,  not only keeping everyone fed, but keeping me challenged and  interested.

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Breakfasts including:

  • Banana polenta with LSA, vanilla kefir, maple syrup.
  • Buckwheat Porridge with apples, greek yoghurt, nuts, honey,
  • Over-night summer oats with berries, tahini, Kefir, seeds, maple syrup
  • Millet, buckwheat & chia, porridge with banana, coconut flakes, walnuts, goji berries and moringa
  • Rice porridge with carrot, apple, raisin, ginger, lemon, nuts, honey

Lunches featuring all manner of fermented goodness hidden in various ways:

  • Kimchi pancakes with broccoli satay salad
  • Chilled BeetKvass & Saurekraut soup with Nut & Seed Bread
  • Raw Falafels, Cauliflower tabboleuh, fermented Radish and eggplant
  • Watermelon Gazpacho served Purple eggs & Fermented Mayonnaise
  • Buckwheat crepes, Bean slaw, fermented red pepper dip, fermented mayonnaise
  • Chilled Avocado and fermented cucumber soup with beetroot burger and spinach dip

Various dinners abundant in energy giving goodness including:

  • Moroccan tagine & herby quinoa
  • Chocolate chilli with buckwheat crepes
  • Lentil & sweet potato salad with fermented eggs and dilly beans
  • Laksa, enough said!
  • Curry with Indian Socca and fermented relish
  • KIMCHI, KIMCHI, KIMCHI everywhere with all kinds of salads.

That is just an idea.  Three weeks of food, a menu free from gluten, diary, refined sugar, full of energy, probiotics and love and relatively no waste.  Fermentation fits beautiful into the sustainable dream, whether you are trying to achieve that in the house you build, the garden you grow or the food you eat. It awakens your connection to your body and to the earth. It feeds your life whilst respecting every living thing and the planet we share.

Could I do it again? Yes, in a heart beat.

Could I open a restaurant? I don’t think I have enough hours in the day.

Could I detail all the recipes for you?  Hell yeah, I am just about too and the book will be available SOON.

 

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I forgot to mention what happened to all the fermented drinks on the go.

Depsite the milk kefir, which made its appearance mostly at breakfast or as a savoury salad dressing,  mid-morning refreshments were a necessary part of the day.  Kombuchas, Traditional lemonades, ‘Fizzy grapefruitade’ orangeade, lemon & limeade (all made with kefir whey), Ginger bug drinks and the hugely thirst quenching and “hip” SWTICHEL, as illustrated, hydrated the team.

This was a kitchen of abundance and filled with jars and bottles displaying different projects feeding the bodys and minds of inspiring folk.  Every bite of good food is an invitation to be healthy, happy and whole again. If truth has a taste, is it alive.

If you would have me, I’d glady come to a sustainability project to spread bacterial goodness with you.

Dearbhla  www.theculturedclub.com


 

“Every meal a surprise of different flavours, colours and textures.  Guaranteed a meal full of nutrients, life and love- everything your body needs.”

“Every meal unique and beautifully presented.  Each ingredient lovingly sculpted, raw, fermented, blended deliciousness that tantalises the tastebuds and gives the stomach a big hug”

“Noting wasted but resourcefully crafted to create a new delicious healthy meal”

 


The joys of Christmas

Christmas is a coming and the goose is getting fat and I bet the goose is feeling the burden of Christmas!

But this is not a rant about what we choose to eat, it is about repackaging the whole deal!

The traditions with integrity I get and I love the fact that the yuletide cheer lightens up the darkest time of the year, (I shall refrain from diverging into the details of the source of the tradition) BUT, I always get a little fretful around this time as the pre christmas pressure to buy meaningless STUFF clashes with a deep sense that really there is nothing we need.

Don’t get me wrong, I love giving things to people.  Mostly it is edible and usually something I am sure of sharing, as it is made with carefully selected ingredients.  Whether it is appreciated, it has been made with LOVE.

My Children have yet to write their letter to Santa ( ages 7 and nearly 4 years old) and what I have noticed that it is an inconceivable notion even to them.  I don’t push the idea of the big man in the sleigh, nor use his arrival as a threat over their behaviour, but deciding what you want from him, well, they just don’t understand the boundlessness of it all.

So, how do we repackage this notion of giving?.  I love it when a deep inner logic which I struggle to express is articulated so specifically, so boldly and so intelligently than I could ever give justice to. I read an article this morning entitled ‘The Gift of Death‘  and it has stayed with me every minute of today.

“We are screwing the planet to make solar-powered bath thermometers and desktop crazy golfers.
People in eastern Congo are massacred to facilitate smart phone upgrades of ever diminishing marginal utility(3). Forests are felled to make “personalised heart-shaped wooden cheese board sets”. Rivers are poisoned to manufacture talking fish. This is pathological consumption: a world-consuming epidemic of collective madness, rendered so normal by advertising and the media that we scarcely notice what has happened to us.”  George Monbiot.

You can read the whole article here and I would urge you to do so.

A pathological system we all play a part in to show our nearest and dearest how much we care!   I don’t want to spoil your Christmas, so if you would like to know more I encourage you to take the time to watch THIS:The story of stuff! 

We know none of it makes sense!  I remember deciding one Christmas to “buy” a goat for each one of my nephews one Christmas! They wanted the goat of course and the concept of it going to a family in the developing world was lost and I was banished to the ‘Weird Auntie’ corner forever!

I would stand by it though still and encourage ‘being present’ and the giving of the quackiest, alternative gifts with a positive story behind them!  Hope my family are game.

Give a concept, give a thought, give inspiration, give a skill, give an experience, give them something to talk about, goodness knows we are seriously avoiding the real  issues.

Of course you could give them a gift voucher to The Cultured Club to open the door to a lost skill which also aims to #wasteless.  It is not that I want your money, if we all bartered I’d be thrilled.  Therefore we can all contribute to changing this crazy system.

Just incase anyone wants to take me up an a barter, here is my WISH LIST

  • yoga classes
  • a massage (or any other alternative therapy which will continue to attract more positivity in my life)
  • A colonic session, just to totally clear out (TMI)
  • Your computer knowledge: esp web related or photoshop/graphic design
  • Photography expertise & some photos
  • Video expertise & some footage
  • Graphic printing abilities.
  • Gardening experitse.
  • Some plants.
  • A dinner invite & good company (These offers decreased since I started playing with my food.)
  • Shelves, yes shelves, I can never have enough shelves, (the jars needs somewhere to live.)
  • An inspired music collection to work to, relax to, dance to!
  • SPACE: to teach, to meet, to rest, to gather, to co-create.
  • Your love of house cleaning (I am a reluctant housewifey)
  • Babysitting offers
  • Your support
  • Your encouragement
  • OH, and an open ended invite to enjoy your holiday home in Spain/Italy/whenever there is sun!

All of it ………………..priceless!


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About

The Cultured Club is dedicated to reviving this lost tradition and bringing the control of our health into our own kitchens.
'Let food be thy medicine and thy medicine be food' is a hard philosophy to live by when we are so removed from the food we eat.

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