Christmas Kraut

The traditionalists are rather upset with me for messing with the beloved sauerkraut, but this is every Christmas flavour in a jar. It just makes sense during the holiday feasting.

1 head of red cabbage, shredded

500g fresh cranberries

zest and juice of 3 mandarins

1 lemon, zest of 1 and juice of 1/2

5cm piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated

200g raw cane sugar (or coconut palm sugar)

1- 2 tbsp unrefined sea salt (1 tbsp for every 800g weight of vegetables)
1 tsp ground cinnamon or 4 cinnamon sticks

 

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.   Do remember the sugar is not for you, it is for the lactic acid bacteria which will dominate the jar and they are gonna love your it!  The mixture 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.

NOTE: if you are concerned about all that sugar, don’t be.  It is perfect food for the lactobacillus bacteria which will have a field day feeding of it and in turn create many many good bacteria for you and your tum!


Fermented Cranberry Relish

This makes all the feasting digestible, I promise it will add a zing to your plate where other relishes just provide another sugar dump.  Make your seasonal table cultured and covert the disbelievers that fermented foods can taste good.

  • ¼ cup candied ginger
  • 2 cups /200 grams fresh or frozen cranberries
  • ½ cup pecans, lightly toasted
  • 1 orange, zest of; then juiced
  • ½ cup dried cranberries
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground cloves
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  1.  Use a food processor to first coarsely chop the candied ginger.
  2. Add remaining ingredients and pulse until medium consistency.
  3. Pack the cranberry mixture into a wide-mouth pint (500 ml) jar, pressing relish mixture down tightly with a large spoon to force trapped oxygen out.
  4. Leave 1 inch/2.5cm of head space between the top of the cranberry relish and the top of the jar.
  5. Submerge if possible however it is a thick paste without much brine to sit below, so for the intended purposes this might not make long term storage.
  6. Close the lid and allow to ferment for 5-7 days.
  7. You may see air pockets develop as CO2 gasses are created. No need to worry.
  8. Enjoy with your seasonal feasting, Clearly it will go with the meat and do a great job at shelling your digest the protein , however, it can last for up to 6 months.

Probiotic toothpaste

In a healthy person the oral microflora is stable and diverse, and consists mainly of beneficial bacteria. Our modern lifestyle, however, has caused an ecological catastrophe in our mouths, referred to as dysbiosis.  New research suggest that the diversity of oral bacteria decreased dramatically when processed sugar and flour became widely available owing to the industrial revolution.  Restoring these reduced numbers of beneficial bacteria via probiotics might be of considerable benefit, it surely will not harm.  Not only does it this toothpaste thoroughly clean your teeth, but it also helps to detoxify your mouth.

  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 3 tbsp Bentonite Clay
  • 2 capsules of Optibac Probiotic
  • 10 drops of peppermint essential oil
  • 1 tsp of xylitol
  • 1 tbsp activated charcoal (optional)
  • 1 tsp Food Grade Diatomaceous earth (optional)

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Mix all ingredients together
  2. Put into a sealed glass container
  3. Brush teeth for 2 minutes 2 x daily

Worth noting, you only need a little amount of this paste when brushing.  It is not advisable to spit it down the sink either.  Instead spit into a tissue and pop in the bin.


Miso Mayo

I would never have considered mayo until my fermentation experiments lead me to using up excess brine juices and playing with different kitchen skills.  Enough said!

 

MAKES 1 X 250ML JAR

2 egg yolks
1 tbsp homemade fermented mustard or 1/4 tsp mustard powder
1 tbsp kombucha vinegar/ACV
1 tbsp brine juice
1Tbsp miso or 1/4 tsp sea salt
250ml grapeseed or mild olive oil (current preference is grapeseed oil)

All ingredients should be at room temperature before you start.

1 Place the egg yolks, mustard, vinegar, brine and salt in a food processor. Blend for about 30 seconds, until well combined.

2 With the food processor running, add the oil in as slow a drizzle as possible to emulsify into mayonnaise. It takes me at least three minutes to slowly pour in the oil drip by drip and complete the emulsification. Adjust the salt to taste.

3 Transfer to a clean 250ml jar and leave out at room temperature for two to three days, then transfer to the fridge, where it will keep for at least one month.


Master Tonic

As a winter protocol I start a batch of master tonic as a winter flu prevention that will keep the immune system fighting fit.  There is a bit of grating/processing but after your initial brew, you can make two or three more batches from the solid ingredients. After that, you can dehydrate all the vegetable matter.

Just arrange to be out of the house or at least wear goggles around your dehydrator, as that horseradish still burns! Once it’s dried you can grind it into a powder and use it as a seasoning for various meals, bearing in mind that it’s pretty potent. Alternatively, you can purée all the ingredients to make an interesting marinade.

The ingredients in the master tonic have been chosen for the medicinal qualities they offer.

  • Kombucha vinegar/ACV – probiotic, blood sugar balance

  • Ginger – reduces nausea, eases digestion and fights colds and chills
  • Horseradish – antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, sinus clearing, coughs
  • Onion – colds, bronchitis, antihistamine, high in vitamin C
  • Garlic – immunity, cardiovascular health, antibacterial
  • Jalapeño pepper – sinusitis, combats infection, breaks up mucous

     • Scotch bonnet chilli – circulation, breaks up mucous and fever relief

      • Turmeric – antioxidant, anti-inflammatory

 

MAKES 600ML

To make a batch:

600ml kombucha vinegar OR unpasteurised Apple Cider vinegar (ACV)

25g fresh ginger, peeled and grated

25g grated fresh horseradish (be warned that this can be much stronger than onions when grating!)

1 medium onion, diced
1 garlic bulb, cloves diced
4 jalapeño pepper, diced
4 scotch bonnet chillies, diced

Optional extras:

1 lemon, sliced

1 sprig of rosemary, left whole

1 tbsp ground turmeric or 50g grated fresh turmeric

1 Place all the ingredients in a clean 1-litre jar and pour in the kombucha vinegar to cover. Leave 2.5cm of headspace at the top of the jar. Close the lid and allow to infuse for at least two weeks, but steeping it for longer won’t make it any stronger. Strain the liquid into a fresh clean jar – this is your master tonic. (See the note above for ideas on how to reuse the solid ingredients.) Drink a tablespoon or more each morning or when you feel the sniffles coming on.

 


Miso Eggs

These are a favourite to have ready in the fridge, I like to do batches of six at a time.  They are a taste sensation.

PER EGG
2 tbsp white miso of your choice (maybe it will be homemade one day!)

1 tsp maple syrup

1 egg

1 Place your chosen number of eggs into a saucepan and completely submerge them in water. Include a good few centimetres of extra water. Turn the heat to high and wait for the water to boil. As soon as it does, cover the pot with a tightly fitting lid, turn off the heat and set a timer for 10 minutes. After the 10 minutes are up, remove them from the pan with a slotted spoon and cool them off immediately by placing them in very cold water. The cold water bath not only makes them easier to peel, but it also stops the cooking and will prevent a grey ring from appearing around the yolk. Peel the eggs and leave whole.

2 Mix the miso and maple syrup together very well to form a smooth
paste. Spread the paste over the middle of a piece of cling film or a ziplock bag that’s big enough to wrap the egg in. Put one egg in the middle of the cling film and wrap it around the egg. Twist the plastic shut at the top and squeeze until the miso is completely covering the egg. Place in the fridge for at least five hours but up to one week.

3 When you’re ready to use an egg, take off the cling film. The white of the egg should be a light to medium beige and the surface will be covered with a bit of miso. You can leave this on or wipe it off gently if you prefer.


Yangnyeomjang!

Dipping Sauce

An indispensable condiment that will liven up anything from a simple rice bowl to fresh vegetables. It comes to the rescue if cooking something complicated is out of the question. Pair it with a kimchi pancake and you will never look back.
MAKES 50ML

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 (page 000)

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

 


Immunity Spice Blend

6 parts ground turmeric

2 parts cumin

3 parts coriander

6 parts fennel seeds

1 part ground ginger

1 part black pepper

1/4 part ground cinnamon

1 parts asafoetida (optional)

Toast the coriander seeds, cumin seeds and fennel seeds before crushing into a powder to release the aromatics.

 

To use cook 2 tbsp of this wonderful aromatic blend in a tablespoon of coconut oil/ghee and add to rice, soups, steamed vegetables, roast vegetables, salads dressings, potatoes…….  This has saved my life when all my children will eat is rice, pasta or potato!


Furikake

This Japanese seasoning will henceforth transform your rice dishes, but its joys don’t have to stop there – you can use it to season many other dishes as you please.
MAKES 1 X 500ML JAR

65g raw sesame seeds
1 tsp–1 tbsp sea salt
3 sheets of nori
3 heaped tbsp bonito flakes (optional) 3 tbsp milled wakame

1/2 tsp wasabi powder (optional) 1/2 tsp raw cane sugar (optional)

1 Heat a dry, heavy-bottomed skillet over a medium-high heat. Pour in the sesame seeds and shake to distribute them evenly over the surface of the skillet. Toast, shaking occasionally, until the seeds are fragrant and begin making little popping sounds. Immediately pour the seeds into a dry, clean bowl to cool, then stir in the sea salt to taste. Allow to cool completely before proceeding.

2 Use kitchen shears or clean, dry scissors to cut the nori into 2.5cm-wide strips. Stack the strips and cut them cross-wise into very thin strips over the bowl of sesame seeds. Use the kitchen shears again to roughly cut up the bonito flakes, if using. Add the wakame, wasabi powder and sugar, if using. Stir all the ingredients together, then transfer to a jar with a tight-fitting lid.

3 This is ready to use immediately but can be stored in a cool, dry place out of direct sunlight for up to two months.


Dukkah- spice up your plate

Now that it has entered my kitchen, life before dukkah seems bland in comparison. Dukkah is an Egyptian condiment consisting of a mixture of herbs, nuts (usually hazelnut) and spices. This lush recipe is from Maggie Lynch, Director of Cooking studies at the Irish Institute of Nutrition. Your house will smell amazing and you will not regret making a stash of it.  Makes an amazing gift too for the taste seekers in your life!

MAKES ABOUT 350ML

100g skinned hazelnuts or whole almonds or pistachio nuts, with their skins 4 tbsp sesame seeds
3 tbsp cumin seeds
1 1/2 tbsp coriander seeds

1 tsp fennel seeds
2 tbsp sunflower seeds
1 tbsp pink peppercorns
1 tsp nigella seeds
1 dessertspoon ground nori 2 tsp chia seeds
1 1/2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp ground cinnamon

1 Toast the nuts in a dry pan set over a medium heat for a few minutes, until their colour has deepened. Shake the pan constantly to prevent them from burning. Transfer to a food processor and pulse until they resemble a fine to a coarse crumble, then tip into a bowl. Alternatively, using a mortar and pestle for crushing the nuts will give you more control of the texture.

2 Using the same hot, dry pan, toast the sesame seeds in the same way and add to the bowl with the nuts, then lightly toast the cumin, coriander and fennel seeds. When their aroma fills the kitchen, transfer them immediately to the food processor.

3 Dry toast the sunflower seeds, as above, followed by the pink peppercorns and nigella seeds. Transfer to the food processor or your mortar and pestle. Pulse or crush all the seeds together, but don’t over-process. Finally, add in the ground nori, chia seeds, sea salt, smoked paprika and cinnamon to the nut bowl, then mix together with the coarsely chopped seeds. Store in an airtight container for up to a year, at the ready to sprinkle on everything, rice, eggs, steamed veg, salads OR whatever needs an upgrade!


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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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