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!


Sugar coated addiction

During the holidays it’s easy to overindulge in sugary treats.

The reality of this has yet to unfold BUT I feel it creeping with alarming force.

In the Autumn of this year I delighted myself by getting through a challenging 8 weeks without sugar.  I must admit I fell into by accident however if you want to mindfully consider it, it cannot recommend it highly enough.  Sarah Wilson’s I QUIT SUGAR programme is life changing.

Believing that I ate a fairly healthy diet, with a palate which predominantly favours things a little more sour than sweet, did not prepare me for the withdrawals I would experience by eliminating ALL sugars including fruit, refined carbs, the starchy vegetables, such as beetroot, carrot, sweet potatoes as well as any shape of the sweet stuff, healthy or not.  I even stopped drinking kombucha and water kefir during this time, just in case any residual sugars were lurking in the brew.

By week three, I was ready to kill for a sweet fix.

Yes, those sugar loving pathogenic bacteria were screaming for their last chance at some grub.

BUT I did not give in.  I would crowd out the thoughts with a strong will, a spoonful of fermented goodness and an additional supporting probiotic of Saccharomyces boulardii.  (It likes to chase after Candida, that sugar loving resident of our intestines).   In addition to this a tablespoon of coconut oil worked well or a tall glass of good old water.  (I need serious help in remembering the basics when it comes to water.)

The 8 weeks got easier and easier, they were bloody delicious too and 3 months later I still do well to avoid the stuff…………

..UNTIL this week!

WINTERS’ dark evenings have set in and my hibernating instincts have really appeared from nowhere, as have the sweets and treats.   Small Lindt milk chocolate balls made their way into my life and mindlessly, like I had no control, into my mouth.  Not just one but two, then three, then, I don’t know, i lost count!

Even after 3 months of relatively little sugar, a straight hit of pure sugar literally created havoc.

Literally in a day I went from feeling vibrant and energetic to lethargic and in need of more SUGAR, or anything that could be easily converted to sugar.   I am grateful that I can recognise this drastic swing directly attributed to consuming something which should be classed as a drug. It is widely thought to affect the brain in a similar way to cocaine, and now a new study has suggested people addicted to sugar should be treated in the same way as other drug abusers.  The addiction is real and it is only when you have literally been released from its deceptive grasp that you can see how easily it traps you.

 

Thankfully, my trusty ferments came into play again to crowd out the sugar craving candida bacteria and I am back, restored to my former clarity.

I would consider stocking up on your favourite ferments as one will need all the luck possible to navigate their way through the sugar coated holidays.  I am tempted to turn my attention to making some pickle juice turkish delight type treats as a kitchen experiment to suit my palate!  Not sure if the chemistry will allow it though.

 

‘The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads’…
and all that seasonal jazz!

 

Kimchi, seasonal kraut & master tonic will all be available on Thursday December 15th @Kiln&Loom Christmas market and carol service.  Otherwise, get something into a jar now…your Gut Flora deserves it. Balance is everything!

 


Throw some kimchi at it!

Kimchi has fast become one of those foods we have adopted into our culinary vocabulary.

I knew of it before I ever tasted it, let alone made it and really I can say that this was a life ‘before kimchi’. Now over the threshold, Life is remarkably enhanced ‘after kimchi’

Kimchi is a Korean dish of spicy fermented cabbage, an asian sauerkraut as another comparison.  So highly regarded is its culinary status that it is a national heritage food celebrated with festivals and museums in its honour.

So what is all the fuss?

It has to be the complete taste sensation of sweet, sour, salty, bitter and umami which make this a pleasant encounter coupled with the massive health benefits of a fermented food.

There is a probiotic load which exceeds any pharmaceutical offering and a nutritional hike up which takes the humble ingredients and supercharges them with more vitamins, amino acids and enzymes post-fermentation.

All this means digestive ease to you, a neat little adjustment of intestinal flora in favour of the good guys all the while nudging you into a happier place of less sugar cravings, less bloat, more nutrition per serving and super healthy food at relatively low cost.

What is best about Kimchi is you can throw it at anything.  Whilst the traditioanl recipes uses chinese cabbage, we can ‘kimchify’ (my word) anything really.  Think cucumber, carrot, Brussel sprouts, tomato, turnip, kohlrabi, radish, beetroot, courgettes, it is an allotment owners dream.

Not only that, but bar eating it straight out of the jar, you can serve it up with a host of many different things.

Kimchi pancakes, kimchi pizza, Kimchi rice, Kimchi stew, kimchi soup, kimchi frittata, kimchi sprinkle, kimchi butter, oh there is just so much you can do.

This is fast food the Slow food way!

I cannot wait to get some kimchi into you at The Savour Kilkenny festival, Bank Holiday weekend

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Dearbhla Reynolds from The Cultured Club will feature Kimchi recipes from her first book Fabulously Funky Fermentation Recipes on

When:  Sunday, 30th October 2016 

Time:    4.30pm

Where: The Food Stage

 

 

 

Recipe excerpt from The Cultured Club Fabulously Funky Fermentation Recipe book available now.


Brussel sprout kimchi

880g Brussel Sprouts
1 litre filtered water
3 tbsp sea salt
4 spring onions, cut into 1.25cm pieces

 

FOR THE PASTE:screen-shot-2016-10-25-at-17-54-00

4–6 garlic cloves, peeled

5cm piece of fresh ginger, peeled

1–5 tbsp Korean red pepper powder (gochugaru), depending on the desired level of heat

1 tbsp fish sauce (or kelp powder for a vegan option)

 

 

 

1 Peel the outer layer of your sprout and deeply cut an X at the bottom.  This will expose a little more surface area for fermentation. Dissolve the salt into the water in a large bowl and add the brussel sprouts to the brine. Leave to soak for up to six hours.

2 Drain the sprouts in a colander, reserving 400ml of the brine when draining. Place the sprouts in a large mixing bowl with the spring onions.

3 Blend the garlic, ginger, red pepper powder and fish sauce together in a blender or food processor until it forms a paste. Mix in with the sprouts and spring onions until the vegetables are nicely coated with the paste.

4 Pack the kimchi veg mix tightly into a jar and top up with brine if necessary, submerging the contents with a weight for successful fermentation.

*Note that the sprouts will take at least three-four weeks to ferment because of the chunkier cut than other kimchi creations.  If you wish for a faster ferment, then thinly slice your sprouts before mixing with the kimchi paste.  The more surface area you present for fermentation, the faster it will happen.

 


Good morning moringa.

After a summer love affair with chia porridge and morning smoothies, Autumn needs acknowledged!

It is time to soak the oats and heat up some porridge in the morning. (see my note on soaking below)

Breakfasts are my most considered meal of the day, as I like to eat for what I am about to do, not for what I have just done.   I am no gym bunny so this can be slow release energy, a blank canvas to which I can throw a heap of nutritional superfoods at.

My favourite addition has to be Moringa.   Bursting with vitamins, protein, iron, magnesium, you can lash it into your porridge for an antioxidant wake up bowl of goodness. The plant packs twice the protein of yogurt, three times the potassium of bananas and four times the calcium of milk, gram for gram.

As a sustainable crop it rocks.  The leaf, pods, roots, bark, flowers, seeds, and fruits are also edible.  What you will be purchasing are the leaves and this is favourite one here.

Soaking your oats the night before is an important part of the process.  Oats contain the highest amount of phytic acid of any grain, so proper preparation is important. Phytic acids binds with calcium, magnesium, iron, copper, and zinc, making it very difficult for you to absorb nutrients, but soaking grains reduces their phytic acid, which can make them easier to digest. Plus soaking them the night before means quicker cooking times.

Overnight oats

50g porridge oats

50g buckwheat groats

40g pumpkin seeds

2 tbsp whey, raw apple cider vinegar, lemon juice or kefir (this is your acid medium)

Moringa bowl

1 banana, chopped

60g chia seeds

40g coconut flakes

2 tbsp goji berries

1 cardamom pod (seeds only)

Water or milk of your choice, for cooking

2 tbsp moringa powder

TO SERVE (optional)

milk kefir
maple syrup or coconut sugar bee pollen
flaxseed oil
cacao nibs
hemp seeds

 

1 Soak your porridge oats, buckwheat and pumpkin seeds in a pot overnight with the acid medium.

2 In the morning, add the chopped banana, chia seeds, coconut flakes, goji berries and cardamom seeds to the pot along with some extra water or milk and cook over a low heat until creamy, then stir in the moringa powder.

3 Serve in a bowl and sweeten with maple syrup or coconut sugar if you like.  Not having much of a sweet tooth, I like to drown the bowl with lovely thick milk kefir and top with bee pollen, flaxseed oil, cacao nibs and/or hemp seeds.

 

*Moringa can have laxative effects in large quantities, so a safe dose to introduce it into your diet is no more than 2 tbsp per day.

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This recipe is featured in The Cultured Club, Fabulously Funky Fermentation recipes book, available on Amazon  OR  in all good book stores from October 14th

In The Cultured Club, Dearbhla will teach you the history and art of fermentation and how to turn simple ingredients into superfoods. Learn about gut health and basic fermentation techniques, and experience the vibrant flavours of foods and drinks such as kimchi, sauerkraut, fermented salsa, kombucha and kefir.

Eating fermented foods can have an extraordinary effect on your gut and your body, and has been shown to benefit a number of health conditions including IBS and digestive difficulties.


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


Invisible helpers

Today is World Mental Health Day, October 10th 2016

Today is the perfect day to share thoughts I have been wishing to express for a long, long time.

Thankfully today I am as happy as could be.  Life throws its usual surprises, joys, curses, and challenges, but deep in my head, heart and gut, I AM HAPPY.

However, I didn’t always feel this way.  In fact there were times I was so anxious I would miss the party.  There were times that it felt impossible to see the good in any situation or anyone.  A little cranky, a little shy, feeling unfulfilled in a big way and in the most part a low-grade anxiety that would send the day in the wrong direction.   I was good at hiding it with a big smile and surface conversation.  To be honest, I never really thought it was a problem.  It was just how it was, a general dull, predominantly negative state of mental health.

Then something remarkable happened.  I gained perspective through one small simple tweek in my life.

I had always been shy of the gym or anything involving too much physical exertion and although this is often prescribed as a remedy, it did not inspire me.  Lazy, guilt for feeling lazy, more laziness, it is a vicious circle.

I was also under the impression that I ate a healthy diet but through divine inspiration, I was about to up my game to foods that would propel me into a positivity I had never known before.  Like my head, my body was experiencing a state of health similiar to my head.  Nothing specific, nothing broken, just a low-grade average feeling.

I introduced Fermented foods into my diet.  

These foods are high frequency, healing foods and a lot changed.  My energy increased, I lost weight,  I had a vitality, my skin glowed, food fuelled me, it didn’t cause me digestive malaise and best of all my mind became an oasis of joy and positivity.  So much so that the thought of physical exertion thrills me now!

I am convinced the friendly little bacteria which proliferate in fermented foods did a great job of cleaning out my my head, pushing away any dark clouds and allowing in the sunshine.  You can imagine my delight when the studies started to come out to prove that this shit works!

The gut and the brain, they are intricately linked. Here is the info graph.

Things couldn’t be better, I have gained a fresh perspective over the years which allows me to view things in the positive.  I now clearly understand and see the effects of energy flowing where attention goes.  Even when challenging times arise, there is always something good to unfold.

My message is simple: EAT FERMENTED FOODS.  It was a tasty addition to my life with many benefits, plus it saved a fortune on therapy!  It is World Mental Health Day and if we can help, it is our human duty to do so.

Here are a few articles below for further reading:

http://www.choosehelp.co.uk/topics/mental-health/gut-bacteria-mental-health-microbiome

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/mental-health-may-depend-on-creatures-in-the-gut/

http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2015/09/09/the-brain-gut-connection-how-gut-bacteria-may-treat-depression/

 


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.

 


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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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