We need to talk! PERIOD

“Aunt Flo”

“Time of the month”

Maybe it is even THAT time of the month?

Perhaps you are just having some Lady time?  Why can’t we just say PERIOD?

 

Lessening the shame that surrounds menstruation is a worthy goal.  So much anxiety around women’s reproductive cycles lingers in the old wives’ tales about how menstruating women shouldn’t be social,  bake bread, or pickle vegetables.  OK, I will admit the need to withdraw by choice is a noted feature.

So what’s with all my sudden menstrual anarchy and what had this got to do with gut health?

Turns out, ALOT!  Surprise surprise.

I got this gut health thing, trust me, It has been an experimental learning curve which has moved me through my internals.  I have gone from pain to gain and now that the noise of digestive discomfort has become a whisper, other areas want the same attention.

 

Hormonal health is a whole other complex system but the connection is evident. The microbiome is now considered an endocrine organ, some consider it even more powerful than the other endocrine glands – inhibiting or supporting hormonal balance.  If you have a microbiome in balance you are more than half way to having great hormonal bliss.

Bonus features include gut health being in a favourable position so those sugar cravings can be pinpointed exactly to hormonal weak spots!

 

 

 

Here I am in my 40’s, straddling between menopause and my daughters puberty!  She is 8 and the intrigue has begun BUT keeping quiet about it adds to the taboo.  I will not greet my girl’s first period with silence.  Want her to be confident that a period is nothing to be ashamed of.

It’s biology…..if you’re someone who menstruates, then you are always, at every minute of every day, experiencing some part of that cycle. It is a bodily function that can temporarily affect you, just like an allergy might. If you start to think of your own period symptoms as a health issue we should be able to speak about’.

It has only taken me near 30 years of menstruating to fully know that every day I am part of a cycle.  Why was this information denied.  I am grateful to the wisdom I received from Mayella Almazon, to fully appreciate and harness this cycle as being swept along in a pattern that effects everything: your courage, your self-worth, your attractiveness to others and your energy levels. The idea that you can use the knowledge to plan your life accordingly………….  It is Life Changing!

 

Here is a little glimpse of her infinite wisdom.

My cycle is mine,

I am in control

I decide what is best to do when.

I organise any public workshops accordingly.

There is no more PMT.

No more unconscious mood swings ( I am aware of my mood changes let’s say!)

No more battling through the continuing wave of emotions.

There is just surrender with complete awareness of where I am at in my cycle.

 

 

Imagine a period that is predictable, cramp-free, and is sustainable for both your health and the environment.

Imagine a period that is treated as a source of information about the overall health and welfare of your body.

Imagine a period that is not taboo.

 

Now I am off to ‘Surf The Crimson Wave‘ !!!????!!!!

 

You can join myself and Mayella for a day retreat to discover the joys of Women’s Wellbeing starting with AUTUMN, the first of four seasonal workshops:  If you know someone who might benefit from this workshop focussing on hormonal well-being please share.

Further information and booking availble HERE.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Agua from Aguás

There was one niggling little inconveniences of our recent travels, which actually is a pretty big deal, and that was WATER.

Without our regular source of filtered water from home, we spent the first week relying on buying bottled water from wherever we could buy.  We did try to be considerate and stick to the big 5L bottles until the tip of all travels tips arrived!

 

Water in Rural Portugal is convenient to access from public fountains which are dotted around the countryside or in little villages.  If it is non-potable, a sign will let you know.

To ease the conscience, you can pick up a fab glass wine bottle from the agricultural shops in the larger towns, they coat about €2 maximum.

‘8 MILLION TONNES OF PLASTIC FINDS ITS WAY IN THE OCEANS EACH YEAR’

I really dispise buying plastic, it is daily issue and this was worth it to reduce our use of plastics.  Fish and birdlife are starving on a diet of plastic bottle tops and other plastics as demonstrated by the compelling film Midway.

Whilst this was on my mind, this great initiative came upon my radar which really apealled to my WASTELESS aspirations! It is a wonderful bottle refilling initiative in the UK which really could be happening EVERYWHERE!

 

 

Refill is a free tap water initiative designed to reduce plastic pollution and promote healthy hydration by making refilling a water bottle easy, social and rewarding!  Check it out here and if there is not a scheme near you perhaps you can be the change!

Refill App to Help You Ditch Bottled Water

This app will help you ditch bottled water and could save you thousands of dollars!With City to SeaDownload the app and learn more here: wwwrefill.org.uk

Posted by Rob Greenfield on Thursday, May 18, 2017

Nearly two thirds (64%) of us rarely or never carry a reusable bottle when out during the day. As a mum, I usually have at least one rolling about in the car or at the bottom of the bag.  Getting water from public fountains was a wonderful pit-stop with the children and favoured greatly over visiting another boldly supermarket.  There was often a local filling up at the same time which led to efforts of communication which ranged from portuguese to french and lots of smiles!

I can only imagine that supporting an initiative such as this and affecting change would lead to all manner of new conversations and interactions with your area and the people in your community.

HAVE YOU GOT A WATER SCHEME IN YOUR AREA?

If not get in touch with Refill HQ

 

Staying hydrated on the go is absolutely vital for our health, here is why:


All you need is……..

In the most generalised, sweeping statement of all time, I guess the notion of a holiday is to break from the norm and remove oneself from a situation you are possibly not so fulfilled in, an effort to escape the banal nature of life.

When you remove yourself from your most comfortable place of existence in the burning quest for new adventures, it can feel a little compromising.  Unless you decide to make this adventure ALL about what you love to do.

And so, thanks to the nudging me the right direction bacteria once again, I put everything to sleep in the fridge, stored the epic collection of things fermenting in the coolest room of the house, (just in case the Irish summer should surpass itself and actually offer some heat) and headed to Portugal to share the skills I have been mastering for some time now.  With an open offering to spread the love of fermented foods, the requests to host such a thing have lead me to the beautiful people, in beautiful places, doing beautiful things.  That’s my kinda holiday.

 

So how complicated is this fermenting malarky?

 

I have really come to understand that the most complicated aspect to fermentation is our own perception and the moment that we let ourselves relax into the magic of the microbes, a deep ancestral light bulb goes off and life makes a lot more sense!

 

I have had the pleasure of witnessing these light bulb moments, as people experience them for the first time, further added to by the subsequent giddiness that ensues as the idea ferments in their mind and their gut!

 

Fermentation is integral to life, fermentation is part of so much of what we already enjoy and fermentation connects to so many other bigger concepts of life from philosophy to geography, history to cultural evolution.  It is truly alive and part of natures’ mystery.

 

It was intentional that I left Ireland minus all my kitchen comforts with little to set me up in Portugal, relying on what I could find easily there.  By this I mean starter cultures as I wanted to show how easy it all this is harnessing natures free starter kit!

I will admit that in my hand luggage, I skimped on the clothes and packed my nutirbullet and some electric scales.  You may note that in nearly every photo I am wearing the same ensemble!

I will excuse these because:

  1. I have children to feed and I rely on the nutribullet to make smoothies which in turn allows me to hide an aisle of whole foods & superfoods in there….. without them actually realising they are ingesting something potentially healthy
  2. I was going to be teaching and scales just make life easy.

 

These two items of choice were a small luxury, the rest, as intended I picked it up the day I arrived thanks to the unnecessarily large selection of goods at ‘Casa China’.  (Disclaimer: I am not a fan of Mr.China or plastic, I appreciate that the quality is lacking, but it was all that was available and I was sure that with some exploration I would eventually find a reputable shop selling some delicious glassware from Italy or the like!)

The inventory:

1 manual juicer € 2.25

1 knife                 € 2.95

1 flip top bootle  € 2.95

1 2L jar                 € 2.85

1 sieve                   € 1.95

1 funnel                €2.00

 

TOTAL                      € 14.95

 

For the small total of €14.95, I was ready to make at least one bottle of ginger bug lemonade and one big jar of whatever ferment of the moment, preferrable seasonal with a quick turn around……so that will be copious amount of Salsa thank you!  Clearly the contents are an additional shop.   Lemons/sugar/ginger/water will be required for the ginger bug drinks and some tomatoes, pepper, onion, garlic and salt needed for the salsa.  This wish list was for personal consumption and not workshops per say, BUT lucky for us the journey would take us to delightful permaculture projects and organic farms with a summer abundance of lemons straight from the tree, tomatoes from the vine and whatever else we fancied, particularily beetroots, oh so many wonderful beetroots.  More on the workshops another time!

 

There was one last item which money could not quantify and that was our day trip to the waterfall in the mountains near Benefeita, to search for fermentation weights a.k.a. river rocks. If this is a reason to start fermenting, then I would say get your swimmers on!

 

As you can see, fermentation does not require much, no fancy equipment, no real specialised ingredients, just a little know how, lots of magic and patience.  Yes, unfortunately in a world of instant gratification, you have to wait for the magic part to happen BUT time makes wonders and the rewards are many.

 

Join me to discover just how easy all this can be….NEW DATES COMING SOON FOR SEPTEMBER 2017

 

****I will admit that I brought a small amount of milk kefir grains, because I was particularly in love with them at that moment.

It is common to fall in and out of favour with ferments from time to time and I see this as the body’s cue that it has had enough a particular profile of bacteria.  They actually ended up being the biggest pain, as raw, fresh milk is practically unheard of in Portugal.  It is pasteurised UHT all the way, I doubted that my clever little kefir friends would see this as food.

However, thanks to the wonderful people of the land I met along the way, I did manage to get some raw milk eventually.  It made some delicious, but strong milk kefir thanks to the soaring temperature of 40C, and it lead me to meeting some beautiful goatherders, who also allowed my children to do the milking.

 

In an ideal world, that how’s I would like it to be, so for this opportunity, I am grateful.

 


Moving in cycles and seasons.

The world doesn’t hang in the balance. It moves in circles, cycles and seasons and as the month completes once again, I am in full preparation mode for the arrival my monthly friend.

I am acutely aware of my cycle. In fact I plan my life and diary around it and make sure that I give my body what it needs both nutritionally and physically. This means harnessing energy when it is available and resting when it is most needed. I know when it is a good time to make a decision and when I should shut up and sleep on it.

I am more than happy to break the taboo on the topic because for too long menstruation has been, and continues to be, viewed as something dirty that must be hidden. In India, women are told to avoid cooking while on their periods, for they might contaminate the food.  In developing countries girls miss several days of school each month.  Closer to home, did you know that in addition to all toxic chemicals, commercial menstrual pads contain the plastic equivalent to 4 Plastic Supermarket Bags?

 

One Artist/Illustrator has given this topic great expression as you can see.  Maria Torres’ illustrations certainly point out that it is kinda ridiculous that we behave so awkwardly towards something that half of the Earth’s population has to go through every month.

Plus I would like to think that when it is time for me to take my menstrual pause, it doesn’t have to be one big hot flush.

However to matters most immenent! I have been a fish out of water, well out of my kitchen. I have been travelling in foreign lands enjoying the bounty on offer. Call it a holiday, call it an adventure, I happened to travel pre-menstrual (NOTE:I didn’t book the tickets) which made the budget flight even more uncomfortable than usual and the settling in, minus my reserved day of rest.

 

Lucky I had a few little empowering tricks which relieve discomfort and give some nutritional support.  BUT then came the holiday.  For the past month I have been pushing the boundaries of my usual dietary regime! From mindfully eating a sugar-free, wheat-free, fresh, vegetarian diet with a daily dose of fermented foods, this becomes a tall order when travelling.  My best efforts replaced the usual meals with living day to day on coffee (espressos to be precise), peaches, salad ensembles and tinned sardines, all washed down at the end of the day with some Portuguese wine!

 

Actually on the food front, it was not too bad. The produce in Portugal is great.  The odd unavoidable carb overload occurred BUT I am pleased to say some fermented foods featured in there.

BUT what is it about European countries, sunshine and espressos?

 

I am (was) a caffeine lightweight, but Jesus, I have just completed a months intensive training!  At least one, sometimes two, sharp hits of the black magic on a daily basis is going to take its toll AND this month I am in for it! Coffee is known to influence hormonal balance by causing more or less of a hormone to be secreted.

I know what my body is telling me!  The estrogen-to-progesterone balance is off.

Estrogen and progesterone are two of the key hormones that help regulate your menstrual cycle. Estrogen levels rise during the first half of the cycle, whereas progesterone levels rise (while estrogen levels slowly decline) during the second half of your cycle. An imbalance between estrogen and progesterone throughout this cycle, can contribute to emotional and physical PMS symptoms, menstrual cramps, bloating, acne, to name a few!

That translates to: The sugar cravings are on red alert, probably egged on by the potuguese custard tart tasting with aforementioned coffees and the obligatory peach a day….(not to mention those €3 bottles of wine per evening.)

 

I have had more sugar in the past month than in the last two years! I don’t know wether to ride it out and request that I get to sleep all of menstration day OR have a little PMS cry. I could say I need to feel fabulously again, instead of frumpy BUT I know is that this too shall pass.

The cycle will repeat all over again (without the holiday binge) and I have no need to feel like I will lose a week of every month of my life! I can roll with this and put my down time to some creative use.

So what’s really happening during your cycle?

Everything That Happens During Your Menstrual Cycle

You need to know what your body goes through during your period.

Posted by Cultura Colectiva + on Sunday, July 23, 2017

It is wonderfully empowering to use this knowledge to your advantage.  It can seem that just when you get on top of things, your cycle takes you down again and you feel like you are constantly starting over.  We are constantly moving forward and it is hugely beneficial to do so in harmony.

If you are feeling that things have gone a little out of sync after your summer adventures then perhaps you would like to join us for a day of indulging in the beauty of your female cycle.

The Cultured Club will be collaborating with Yo Soy Gaia and LA YOGA to bring you a day of moving through the seasons of your cycle.  You will learn aninsightful way to keep track of your menstral cycle  and what you can do to support your body, mind & soul through the inner beauty of being a woman.

Women Wellness through the Seasons: Autumn

Sunday, September 10th, 2017

10 AM – 4 PM

The Zen Room, HIllsborough BT26 6PQ

BOOKING IS Available NOW via this Link

 

Just like a flower, everything has it cycle.

A seed becomes a plant

That has a flower

It transforms into a fruit

The fruit drops.

There is another seed and the seed grows again.

The flower is the moment that we live!

Understanding it will allow you to enjoy the beauty of every stage.

 

 


Being Wild in the Woods

 

There is a certain amount of trust and intuition that allows one to literally pack up and head to a country you know little about, except for the Algarve of course, with sheer curiosity.  Perhaps it is more of perceiving it as something you have just yet to know.

And so it is, this summer, The Cultured Club embarks upon an exciting trip to Portugal to meet wonderful people, discover wild landscapes, learn of new wild foods and finally be guaranteed some summer sun.

Really, The bacteria make me do it!

I am beyond excited to detail a very special course at out first destination in the beautiful mountains of Central Portugal.

We will be joining Lynn in A vida Fausto, a paradise where she has consciously chosen to live off the grid and to build a healthy habitat. I can think of now better playground to explore the world of fermentation and the foraging potential of the local terroir.

The Cultured Club is offering a 5-day retreat solely focussed on this lost skill with the added deliciousness of foraging walks and an abundance of organic food  for a happy gut, commencing on July 2nd.

You are welcome to arrive at A Vida Fausto on the Sunday from 2pm onwards.  With a relaxed getting to know each other and settling into our new environment, we will offer an introductory talk on the various aspects of Fermentation and gut health, followed by a shared dinner under the canopy of trees.   A very unique sleeping experience in the middle of nature awaits you as the evening closes.

 

Over the subsequent next four days we will have a morning and afternoon workshop on the practice of Fermentation.

This will include:

 

  • Making probiotic drinks
  • Capturing our own wild yeasts and bacteria from the forest.
  • Making vinegars
  • Fermenting food with a variety of techniques
  • Making fermented condiments
  • Improvising with foraged ingredients
  • wasting less in kitchen
  • Ways to serve and implement into gut happy meals
  • Exploration and understanding of Gut health.
There are no musts – you decide for yourself how much group and how much alone time you want.
╰☆ The Location
A vida Fausto is located on the foothills of the Sierra de Estrela mountain range, near Coja in Arganil. Read and watch more about these stunning surroundings on her website: www.avidafausto.net/well-being
╰☆ Accommodation
Lynn has transformed small green houses into comfortable bedrooms, which are placed in cozy corners around her Birdhouse. They are equipped with a twin or double bed, cabinets for clothes and a little terrace with 2 chairs and a coffee table. These greenhouses are transparent and provide you with a unique 5 billion star sleeping experience close to nature.╰☆ Facilities
At A vida Fauto there is a vermicomposting flush toilet, which isn’t any different from the one you use at home. The hot shower, fuelled with wood can be used in the morning before breakfast or at the end of the day before dinner. There’s unlimited drinking water straight from the natural spring. The birdhouse provides electricity to charge phones and laptops. However the use of hair dryers and other high power equipment is not possible.
╰☆ The Package
We offer this retreat for the friendly Early Bird price of 449 euro per person if you pay before June 1st, 2017. After that the pakage price is 499 euro per person.
The package includes:
☯ 5 nights accommodation in a shared greenhouse room
☯ 15 organic plantpowered organic gut friendly meals prepared fresh and with love
☯ 8 focussed workshops on fermentation
☯ A foraging hike exploring wild edible plants and flowers of the area
☯ trip(s) to the waterfall when it is just to hot to do anything else
☯ Bedsheets and natural soap (due to the water going straight to the land, we use only 100% natural products
☯ Tea and fruitwater during the day and in addition beer and wine in the evening
☯ Electricity to charge phones/laptops
☯ Wifi around the Birdhouse. Cafes in the village provide free wifi too.
╰☆ How to get there
It’s a 3,5 hour drive from Lisbon and 2,5hrs from Porto. Rental cars in Portugal are very affordable, it’s a fun roadtrip and we encourage carsharing. There are also great, convenient and fast public bus services (with wifi) running from both cities to the busstop Catraia de Mouronho.╰☆ Booking & Reservation
To reserve your spot send an email with in the description “Wild in the Woods” and your full name to avidafaustso@gmail.com and by transferring 100 euro as a deposit after receiving bank details.If you think one of your friends may be interested in joining us, feel free to invite them to this page. For further question you can reach me on here info@www.new.theculturedclub.com

For practical questions about the accommodation, food and other things it’s best to reach out to Lynn (Loetje Loe on Facebook) directly via message or email avidafausto@gmail.com

Give your microbiome the holiday of a lifetime!


Eating the whole egg!

 

In all honesty, if it weren’t for eggs, I would be vegan.

I am quite particular about my eggs.  Having kept chickens (that’s them below!) for many years whilst living the rural life, they are a great feature of daily life and now that the domestic situation does not lend itself to this currently, I like to choose my eggs wisely.

 

This generally means they are more expensive and always organic.

With that in mind, I like to make sure that I am getting the most out of my foods, this goes across the board and I will always question if there is more nutrition to be gleaned than meets the eye!

My curiosity was aroused when I was occasionally feeding my kefir grains some egg shell, as a mineral boost.  Well if it is good enough for my bacterial friends, then it is good enough for me!  Egg shells are  are 95% calcium carbonate (incidentally, this is the main ingredient in an antacid to relieve heartburn, acid indigestion, and upset stomach) with one single egg shell containing around 2g of calcium.  In other words between two to four times our RDA.  Calcium has been shown to reduce pain and bone loss in women with senile osteoporosis

So next time your are breaking eggs, instead of throwing out valuable nutrition, boil up the shells firstly to remove any harmful bacteria. After the shells are nicely boiled, bake them in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes with the temperature turned up to 90C/200F to dry them out.  They will grind nicely into a fine powder in a blender for long term storage and as a great source of calcium to add into various meals.

I love to add it into smoothies for the kids, along with a host of nutritionally potent powders such as maca, camu camu and Diatomaceous Earth.  Little do they know!

 

 

 

Diatomaceous earth (DE) is a naturally occurring rock made from the skeletons of fossilized diatoms, a type of hard-shelled algae. When ground into a fine powder, diatomaceous earth works mechanically to destroy a wide range of pests, insects, parasites and pathogens by cutting through the exoskeleton, absorbing bodily fluids and causing them to die. Food grade diatomaceous earth is chemical-free and non toxic.

Diatomaceous earth has many uses including detoxification of the body — inside and out; protecting pets and livestock from parasites and insect infestation; and keep your yard and garden pest-free.

How to use it:

Add diatomaceous earth to your diet to detox parasites that can contribute to food intolerance, nausea, bowel discomfort, pain, itching, asthma, sinus infections, Morgellon’s disease, and a host of other allergic-type reactions.

DE detoxes mercury, cadmium, lead and other heavy metals; removes poisons from chemtrails, radiation and may alleviate the effects of GMOs. DE possesses antibacterial, anti-fungal and antiviral properties.

In addition to detoxing and destroying pathogens, diatomaceous earth helps to lower blood pressure and contributes to the production of collagen to improve skin tone, strengthening the tendons and joints.

To consume DE orally, start with half a teaspoon and work up to two heaping tablespoons. Mix thoroughly in four ounces of water. Drink immediately and follow with another eight ounces of water. Take on an empty stomach. Continue drinking water throughout the day, because DE can cause constipation.

Initially, you may experience a Herxhemier reaction, which can cause abdominal discomfort and flu-like symptoms. This is a normal response to detoxing, as parasites and pathogens die, releasing their toxins into your system for elimination. The symptoms disappear after a few days.


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.

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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.


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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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