Travel bug!

My feet are itching to get out in to the world and explore new adventures again.  Thankfully I have the cure for the common travel bug and this summer we are off on tour to explore the delights Portugal has to offer!

There are many fermentation residencies planned starting with a trip to the woods in the mountain region of Benfieta, where we will preserve paradise.

We will be managing the wild yeasts and bacteria of new environments creating wonderful treats in the sun.  First up will the thirst quenching traditional lemonade.  It is made using a source of live lactobacillus bacteria be it either kefir whey or ginger/turmeric bug.

ginger bug is a culture of beneficial bacteria made from fresh ginger or turmeric root and sugar. It is similar to a sourdough starter for bread.

It is simply a lactic acid culture started from raw organic ginger root (with skin still on) and sugar mixed together in dechlorinated/filtered water. When you “add the ginger bug” to your drink recipe, you’re adding the liquid from this culture after straining out the chopped ginger bits.

Once the ginger bug has been matured to a slightly fizzy state (usually after five days), the strained liquid will be sufficiently saturated with Lactobacillus to start fermenting sugars in whatever you add it to.

Personally, lemons or grapefruits are the favourite choice when creating a delicious traditional probiotic fermented drink.

To keep your efforts you can refrigerate this bug.  The culture will ‘go to sleep’ until you take it out, start feeding it sugar again, and leave it in a warm, dark place covered with a cloth to let it reawaken and turn fizzy again – adding some more water if you need the volume. Once it’s fizzy again, you can use it to ferment a brand new batch of drink of choice.

 

It is fair to issue a warning with fermented probiotic drinks using sugar or honey that one needs to take special care of your teeth and bones.  Whilst the understanding is that the sugar is eaten up, these organisms create  LACTIC ACID which although has a alkalises effect when consumed, it can cause tooth decay  in some individuals, especially children. It is wise to have some sort of a tooth enamel protection strategy.  Mine is a resourceful use of used egg shells, my Chicken Egg Shell Powder!

Enjoy, your thirst will be quenched like never before!


Soil makes ART

I spend a lot of time talking about and tending to the microbes in my gut.  At this stage the idea that gut bacteria affect a person’s health is not revolutionary as more and more people know that these microbes influence digestion, allergies, and metabolism. Thankfully the revival has become almost commonplace and I no longer feel so alone in my bacterial musings.

Yes,  we need to feed our gut with probiotics and wean ourselves off antibiotics viewing this inner terrain as a place of prevention and balance rather than a territory we can sweep clear of any invaders that cause harm.

But of late, around the kitchen table, we have been talking about bacteria and microbes (and all other manner of abundant life) that lives in the soil.

You see the soil is the digestive system of the Earth, as described by Patrick Holden, so we need to feed the soil with good bacteria from compost and farmyard manure and wean it off artificial chemical fertiliser we have been intensively spraying our crops with.

 

The biggest threat we face as a human species is the decline in soil fertility. We are losing soil at a massive rate and won’t have enough soil left to feed the growing world population if we continue to farm the way we do it. We have to stop taking soil for granted and start seeing it as a resource that’s valuable.” Klaus Laitenberger, People4Soil Ireland spokesman

 

There are all kinds of wonderful creatures within, upon which we depend, from protoza and rotifers to mites and beyond and it has been the pleasurable task of my talented husband, Ed Reynolds to translate the research currently being undertaken at Queen’s University on this matter.  Under the lab direction of Dr. Tancredi Caruso, this artistic residency with the Soil Ecological Dept brings soil to life, Soil becomes ART and is teeming with superheros which now need saving.

You can check out the exhibition of work in Belfast Saturday April 22nd in the Girwood Gallery, Belfast.  It is Earth Day so make it matter,  it is in your interest as without healthy soils, there is no future.

“Life on earth as we know it would cease to exist.”

 

You can also join the campaign and get involved with the People4soil campaign.  Over the last half century, Ireland’s soils have come under increasing threat from pesticides, afforestation, land use changes, over-farming, erosion and overgrazing, industry and urbanisation.  People 4 soil are calling on the European Commission to pass a Soil Directive which would safeguard Irish and European soils.

 

Sign the petition HERE

 

 

 

Whilst you cannot eat a plate of dirt (although a little on your carrot is to be encouraged!)  you can eat your fermented foods, teeming with friendly bacteria to keep your own inner terrain healthy.

This year the 2nd Fermentation Festival will take place in The Organic Centre in Rossinver, Co. Leitrim on June 18th.   There is a remarkable line up of speakers, guests and microbes gathering to present the many aspects and delights of fermented foods.

Closer to home, The Cultured Club will be presenting another afternoon of Fabulously Funky Ferments on Sunday 30th April.  The tasting plate awaits your palate to illustrate how easy it is to have a happy gut.  Details on the website

“Despite all our achievements

we owe our existence

to a six-inch layer of topsoil

and the fact that it rains”


Something incredible is on offer

I cannot begin to express the rollercoaster of the past few months.  I am so grateful for all your feedback as you leaf through the pages of The Cultured Club, Fabulously Funky Ferments book.

Now what?  Suffice to say that is accounts for stretches of quiet interspersed with the joy of sharing.

I have been battling the standard-procedure of society, the suggestion that growth would mean following the normal business model.  I hear your requests, I feel frustrated I cannot meet your demand nor force a square peg into the big circle before me.

I have edged forward tentatively and realised my biggest enemy is FEAR and I am breaking those chains that keep me tied to the belief that I must do as others do.

I cannot help that I see the world from a different perspective, and although my thinking is indeed DIFFERENT, I see it as great possibility for change and the opportunity to reconnect a broken culture.

Something special is on offer: And it is based on SYMBIOSIS.

This is not about the model of business growth and projected sales, it is inspired by the direction of nature of these very foods and it if a focus of collaborating, of sharing, of helping, of togetherness and re-establishing community.

At this foundation it is about enabling and strengthening healthy and organic eating and making this as widely accessible and available as possible.

It is promoting a slower life and slow food, conscious consumerism and getting to know who is producing your food. The small farmer and the small producer are relevant to the whole chain of production, delivering something of value.

Food production is one of the basic fundamentals of our society. If we change our mindset, our eating habit and our way of consuming, we are creating a new market.

We are taking a bold step with a view to enable your community to have access to these wonderful foods and offering the opportunity to establish The Cultured Club, Fabulously Funky Ferments™ in your area.

WE are enabling you to start up as an independent food producer of the artisan, small batch w0nder foods, under the  trusted brand of The Cultured Club.

 

  • If you have a passion for Fermented foods.
  • If you believe in healthy eating and slow food
  • If you wish to service your community, build community and create inspired networks
  • If you wish to be part of an engaging movement and a fulfilling job
  • Whatever time you have to dedicate, get in touch and register your interest HERE

 

We will be launching ten licensing agreements as part of our pilot program in April 2017 and currently we are accepting expressions of interest.

I have been waiting to share this for some time, We are a Club after all.

Dearbhla x

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Tickled pink pancakes

Every year I have to remind myself of this tradition of eating pancakes on Pancake Tuesday.  Why do we do it again?  Somehow I feel I have a responsibility to give my children valid reasons to justify why we do certain things…….sometimes!

To be honest, in this case, it is just an excuse to get stuck into a stack of pancakes for dinner, who doesn’t love them?.

Traditionally Pancake Tuesday is a Christian custom marking the start of Lent, a period of time for fasting and all sorts of abstinence, so hence a day to use up food that could not be eaten during this time.

With the latter in mind, I often spy a jar of beet kvass in my pantry which I have decided needs using up TODAY.  What better way than throwing it at a pancake batter to give me a neon disc to complete my daily rainbow eating targets!

These are really worth the detour from the plain pancake batter, although in saying that there is no such thing anymore as a plain batter, because so many wonderful gluten free, paleo, dairy free options are within our kitchen repertoire now.

This one is made with buckwheat flour and it will be the basis of my lunch today.

I always go for savoury,it is personal choice every since I said goodbye to sugar BUT if sweet is your thing, I can imagine this served with a few shaving of cheese and a drizzle of honey would rival any pancake pile dripping in maple syrup.

 

Buckwheat Beet Pancakes

Makes 6-8 pancakes

Ingredients

  •  1 cup (240ml) beet kvass (beet juice can be used instead)
  • 2 eggs
  • 6 oz/1⅓ cups (175g) buckwheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • a little coconut oil, for frying

Suggested serving

  • hummus
  • cheese & honey
  • avocado & saurekraut
  • arugula & sprout
  • chimichurri
  • or simply, a squeeze of lemon juice

Method

1. Put the beet juice and eggs in a blender add the buckwheat flour, cumin, and salt and blend, then add olive oil until the mixture is smooth. Allow the mixture to stand for about 15 minutes at room temperature to thicken slightly ( I left mine overnight and it was perfect consistency)

2. To cook the pancakes, heat a pan over a medium-high heat and rub a little coconut oil over the pan. Pour about ¼ cup (60ml) of the batter into the pan. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes until bubbles gradually pop over the surface of the pancake. Flip the pancake using a spatula and cook for a further 30 seconds before removing from the pan.

3. Repeat with the remaining batter using a little coconut oil each time and simply tuck in!

 

 

 


Cultured Butter

There are certain domestic achievements were you feel you are connected to a story.  A beautiful story of food and how it used be.

Some of these domestic moments have become regulars in the kitchen, as we buy less products yet have a fridge and pantry overflowing with delicious staples all made from scratch.

Butter is the latest to the list, as an abundance of cream  became cultured cream which then became cultured butter. (see the note below)

There is no comparison, NONE.  Bought butter and your own homemade butter are two completely different experiences.  Add a little culture in there and you are slipping back in time, when butter was the hug on the ancestral plate.

We are continually tweaking diets in search for the perfect way to get the most from our food but did you know that our vegetables need a little fat paired with them to help the body absorb valuable the nutrients found within?  In a salad this could be some olive oil or avocado based addition, but for the greener veg such as kale or chard which benefit from a gentle steam, I am thinking BUTTER…….probably with a generous garlic note.

 

To make CULTURED BUTTER first you want to  make cultured cream:

KEFIR SOUR CREAM

I love when you discover a shortcut in the kitchen and the precious ferment that you have been nurturing can perform another alchemic trick for you. Milk kefir is a living beverage teaming with good bacteria that can culture cream for you too, turning it into sour cream – it’s easy when you know how!

  • 1 litre double cream
  • 50ml milk kefir

1 Pour the cream into a clean 1-litre jar and inoculate with the kefir, mixing it well. Leave 2.5cm of headspace at the top of the jar. Close the lid and let this sit out and ferment overnight, then transfer to the fridge for up to one month.  Then with your cultured cream you can make cultured butter:

  • 500ml kefir sour cream
  •  250ml ice-cold filtered water

1 Sour your cream. Put half of it in a food processor and blend until it separates, then pour off the liquid. This is buttermilk, so set it aside and use it wherever buttermilk is called for in a recipe. The yellow solids that remain are the butter.

2 Pour some cold filtered water in with the butter and process again. This is called washing the butter. Pour off the water and discard it. At this point you can scoop your butter into an airtight container and store it in the fridge, but I prefer to go rustic and make rolls of wax paper. Take a sheet of greaseproof paper and spread the butter lengthways on it in a rough cylinder shape. Use the paper to roll the butter into a cylinder, then wrap it up in the paper and twist the ends. Chill until firm. To use, just slice off a disc of butter. It will keep for one month in the fridge.

 

I have had fun playing with butters.  We all know how to make garlic butter so why stop there?

I have added in kimchi.

I had added in avocado.

I have added in herbs

But this one has me.

It must appeal to my more “extravagant cook.”  The flavour profile is touching off every sense, now that I am collecting ingredients to venture into the world of Cafe du Paris butter, I guess I better find something other than a steak to plate it up with!

I have managed to sneak Chimichurri into a lot of places it has never been, similarily a garnish served with a steak in Argentina, so I am confident I will not be wasting my time on this one!

Ingredients

Butter
  • 1 pound, 5 ounces unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 ounce ketchup
  • 3 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 ounce capers, rinsed
  • 2 ounces shallots, finely diced
  • 1 tablespoon flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chives, snipped
  • 1 teaspoon dried marjoram
  • 1 teaspoon dill, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped thyme leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon tarragon leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon rosemary leaves, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 8 anchovy fillets, rinsed and finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon brandy
  • 1 tablespoon madeira
  • 1 teaspoon worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon Cayenne powder
  • juice of one lemon
  • zest of 1/2 lemon
  • zest of 1/4 Orange
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt

For the Cafe du Paris butter
  1. In a large bowl, beat the butter by hand or use an electric mixer set to slow speed, until it has a slightly creamy texture.
  2. In a separate bowl, combine all the other ingredients and mix thoroughly. Add this mixture to the butter and beat again until all the ingredients are completely combined.
  3. Place a double thickness of foil, about 12 inches long, on a flat surface and line with a similar-sized piece of silicone paper. Spread half the butter along one of the foil edges and roll up to form a long sausage shape — roll it with your hands like a rolling pin to get a tidy shape and eliminate any air pockets. Twist the ends to seal. Repeat this process with the remaining butter. Place in the fridge to chill before use.
  4. To use, slice a ½ inch thick disc of butter and place on top of a grilled steak (or a steamed spud). Traditionally, the steak is placed back under a hot grill (broiler) to soften and brown the butter, but I don’t reckon you need to do this, just let it melt from the heat of the steak.
  5. The butter can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for a few weeks or in the freezer for several months.

GRAB YOUR FREE PDF of this post HERE


Za’atar wha?

I love creating new flavours in my krauts, so it seemed a natural progression to include another kitchen love into the mix:  spice blends.

The joy of creating a spice blend not only fills my kitchen with a beautiful aroma, but having a little stash prepared means spicing up a simple dish is easy, fast and full of flavour.

For sometime now I have been making a Za’atar Kraut, and every time I list it, customers always raise the brow.

Za’atar what?

What’s that?

This unique spice blend is a staple in Middle Eastern countries for thousands of years, so I appreciate that unless you are an adventurous cook, you may not have encountered it.

The primary ingredients of a za’atar are thyme (oregano or marjoram may be used instead), sesame seeds, and sumac, a type of bright, red berry that grows on bushes in the Middle East.  Sumac has a tangy, lemony flavor that adds a hint of sour. Za’atar’s combination of thyme, sesame seeds, and sumac results in a spice blend that is nutty, tangy, herbal, and very versatile.  It is just as good as my other favourite Dukkah

Add this spice blend flavor to meat and vegetables or sprinkle it over bread with some olive oil.  Stir it into soups or yogurt or add to your favourite dips.  I am thinking any kind of hummus, baba ghanoush, or tzatziki.

Better still, mix it into your sauerkraut and let the flavour infuse!

 

To make your own stash combine:

2 tbsps sumac,

2 tbsps thyme (rosemary/oregano/marjoram options)

2 tbsps sesame seeds (I prefer to toast the seeds).

Cover the spice jar, shake it up, and store in a cool, dark place.

 

So the next time I say Za’atar Kraut, you can say “Yes, Please!”


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.


Orange, Ginger & Turmeric Kraut

 

This snappy, cheery, light little kraut is a perfect anti-inflammatory kraut which is easy to pair with lots of different dishes to make the plate jump.  When winter is in I cannot get enough of the bring orange foods, it must be indicative of the lack of sun.  Ginger and turmeric are juiced, added to soups, mixed into vegetable medleys and of course, added to a ferment.

1 head of red cabbage, shredded (800g-1kg weight)

1 orange, unpeeled and sliced into rounds

5 cm piece of turmeric, grated OR 2 tsp of turmeric powder

5cm piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated

1 tbsp sea salt

1 Remove the outer leaves of the cabbage it they are looking a bit grim. If they look good, wash them well to make sure there is to soil.

2 Shred the cabbage, cutting out the core. I like to shred it reasonably fine. Use your food processor for this if you have one.

3 Place the shredded cabbage in a large bowl and add the salt, giving it a quick massage through the cabbage until it starts to soften a bit. Let it sit for 30–60 minutes, until it starts to sweat. This does some of the hard work for you. Mix in the rest of the ingredients.

You might want to slip on a glove as the turmeric will stain.  It should be quite wet now.

4 Begin to fill your clean 2-litre jar or crock, taking a handful of cabbage at a time and pressing down very hard using your fist. With each handful you’ll notice a little more liquid seeping out.

5 Keep filling the jar until you have it filled to within 2.5cm of the top of the jar and the liquid is covering the cabbage completely. This provides an anaerobic environment within which fermentation can take place.

6 For successful fermentation it’s crucial to keep the cabbage submerged, so place a weight on it. Leave to sit for anything from one to six weeks. Taste it every few days to gauge the progress of the fermentation flavour. If you’re fermenting in an airtight jar, you need to ‘burp’ the jar every few days to release the build-up of carbon dioxide.

7 When you’re happy with the flavour and texture, store the jar in the fridge. The times will vary with room temperature and other factors. After a week the good bacteria are considered established and it’s good to eat, but if you want the maximum probiotics in your sauerkraut, you’ll want to let your sauerkraut ferment for up to six weeks.


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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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