An Angel in the Kitchen is a real food and family recipe blog.
A place to be able to find our recipes again & remember how we made stuff!

Monday, January 11, 2016

Cultured Veges

Cultured foods are life giving, life changing staples in our house these days.
Variations of sauerkraut are made here on a regular basis & once matured last for a really long time if not gobbled up.
Sometimes I make a large bowl full, other times just a small jar.
Each batch has it's own character.
Our favourite basic combination is grated/sliced red cabbage, beets of some kind (the pink one is choggia) peppers, (any & all colours) fresh ginger, turmeric, garlic & sometimes a little chilli too.

Once all the veggies are prepared & in a nice large bowl add a good tbsp of real salt....moist sea salt, celtic or himalayan. Lots of ground black pepper. Some coriander seeds if you like & anything else that appeals to you at the time. 

I like to mix the whole thing altogether with my hands to get everything well distributed & the juices running in the veges.
Then cover & leave a few hours or overnight to soften up.
Next, spoon in to large (or small!).
 agee jars pushing it all down as you go.
Lastly, top up with clean water (unflouridated by choice)
Sometimes I add a sachet of Mad Millies or other cultured vege starter to maximise the vitamin k2 component, other times I just make it as is.
Press down some more to release any air bubbles, put on a lid tightly & leave on the bench where you can keep an eye on things
Very soon all will start to bubble & burp & overflow so pop a don't-care-if-it-stains-dish underneath it for the week. Check every so often & push it all down in to the liquid from time to time.
If necessary top up with more water & a little more salt.
After about a week it'll all calm down & start to taste & smell good.
In the next week it'll be great. 
Generally I keep my ferment in the fridge about now.
This method works just fine for me so I don't bother with air locks & fussing.
Probably don't use a metal lid though.
I bought some really good white plastic ones on Trade Me that fit the old agee jars.

Here's another combination that had carrots & celery in it.
Keeps for ages & tastes better & better as it matures.

I'll add some more pictures next time I make some more.
Why eat cultured foods?
Because: "If your gut is not healthy, you are not healthy. Period. Our immune system is rooted in our gut, and if it gets out of whack, it leads to a cascade of things that can create to impaired health and chronic illness. In addition, research is proving that there is a direct link between gut health and mental health indicating that those suffering from depression, anxiety, and other mental health disorders may have poor gut health. If we work to heal the gut, we can correct many of these conditions."
Quote from Delicious Obsessions

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Raw Strawberry Macaroons

I think these have to be one of the yummiest little sweet treats that I have ever made!
They are so easy to whip up & healthy too.
In my usual style I have tweeked the original recipe that I found just here.

~ 1/3 cup of cashews or almonds
~ 3/4 cup shredded coconut
~ 2 1/2 tbsp coconut flour
~ 1/4 cup diced strawberries
~ 2 large tbsp honey
~ 1 tsp vanilla extract
~ A good squeeze of lemon juice
~ A tiny pinch of salt
~ 2 tbsp of melted coconut oil

Blitz the cashews or almonds in a food processor until finely ground.
Add all other ingredients & process until well combined.

If you don't have coconut flour on hand then begin by whizzing 2 1/2 tbsp coconut to a fine powder before adding the nuts.
I had some slow roasted strawberries in the fridge so I used some of those too.
The flavour of them is intense but probably made the colour a little darker.
I had been given some freeze dried strawberry powder (but never managed to use it) so added a 1/2 tsp in to the mix to intensify the strawberry flavour & then sprinkled a little over the finished macaroons. The addition of the lemon juice really helped to bring out the lovely flavours.

Add a little more coconut flour if the mixture seems a bit soft.
They will harden up further as soon as they are put in the fridge.
I am sure that there are lots of other flavours that would work well with the same recipe too.

Perfect for summer sharing & celebrations.

Best left in the fridge.
My mixture made 18 decent sized balls despite the bits I ate along the way.
Passionfruit & Mango Version for Autumn
Use the basic recipe above to your own taste.

Chop 3 or 4 dried mango slices in to bowl.
Scoop out 3 ripe passionfruit & add the pulp to the mango pieces
Add 1 dsp chia seeds & the 2 1/2 tbsp of coconut flour (as above)
Juice of a lemon
1 tsp of vanilla essence
2 large tbsps of honey
& a pinch of salt
Let sit for 20 mins or so until all the liquid is soaked up.
Whizz the 1/3-1/2 cup of cashews or almonds in a food processor until fine
Add 1 1/2 cups coconut pulse again
Add everything else & work together
Pour in 2 large tbsp melted coconut oil or ghee or unsalted butter
Pulse together one last time
Roll in to small balls & in to coconut
Store in the fridge
Delicious!


Catherine x

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Kombucha

It seems everyone you meet these days has a different idea about what constitutes healthy eating, yet I've never heard more complaints about food allergies & intolerances & general pickiness. I no longer bother debating the ins & outs of these things, what I do know, is that it's all about the gut & who lives there! 80% of our immune system is tucked in there in our guts...trillions of bacteria both good & bad. So many things contribute to the balance between them all & how that works out for us. We've been taught all our lives that we get sick because bugs come along & jump on us but that's just not true. Those good & bad microbome that comprise our immune systems are effected by so many variables: antibiotics, diet, sugar, stress etc & if they get all out of kilter so do we.
We can give up meat & do the no more sugar thing, we can become vegan or go paleo but what really matters is the state of the trillions! 
Donna Schwenck of Cultured Food Life says it this way:
"The Trilogy! Kefir, Kombucha, Cultured Vegetables. My powerhouse team. When first starting out I recommend picking one and learning to make and consume it. They are very powerful and will detox your body like nothing else! Together they provide different strands of good bacteria and help heal the body in similar but diverse ways. The more diverse your gut bacteria, the healthier you are!"

So...let's begin with kombucha.
Fermented tea.
When we first began making kombucha we made it this way. The weird looking thing in the jar, floating in tea is the scoby (mother).
The thing about change or trying new things is we all tend to resist it (a bit) or flag quite quickly & then waste our resources.
So however we do it we need to find a way that we can manage...long term, 'cos that's what's going to make the difference. If you're keen you can look up kombucha making, join a group or read a book. This is the way that works for us & it is so very simple. It puts you right there in touch with your booch & you're not going to end up with exploding bottles or vinegar because you left your brew too long. However you make your kombucha you're going to need some good strong flip top bottles. These ones are Grolsch beer bottles found in various op-shops & at galas.
We brew our kombucha right there in the bottle.
So...if you've got yourself a little scoby like this one below, you'll need to brew some tea.
Black tea is best. Try it first before you go getting all fancy-pants about your flavours.
We have 5 2 litre bottles that we work through on a rotational basis.
As we get to the end of one bottle (leave a 1/2-1 cup at the bottom & the scoby) we boil the jug, grab the large trusty teapot stick in 3 tea bags & let it brew & go cold. Next time you see it sitting there tip the pot full of tea in to the bottle along with a 1/4-1/3 cup of raw sugar.
Flip down the lid & there you go!
Now here is the rhythm..each day or every second day you'll need to release the lid & "feel" the pressure (you can tip some out & taste it if you like so you know what's going on) After about 5 days (longer in winter, shorter in the heat of summer) you'll have a good fizzy brew that tastes delicious.
Start out small, (same bottles) drink small amounts & gradually build up the quantity so that you don't go & overwhelm your body & make yourself feel sick or feel burdened  about care-taking your brews. This stuff is alive & powerful. Kombucha is your friend!
About every six months we clean out our bottles & check the little scobies, halving them if necessary.
If you're going away & can't find a kombucha sitter just pop the bottles in to the fridge.
Once you've got clever & you're loving it, then you can start experimenting with the kinds of tea-adding juices or fruit to make a second ferment & so forth.
 If I've given you a scoby (or you've sourced one) & you're not quite sorted when you get home, don't worry it can just sit there in a jar with sweetened tea for quite a while 'til you're ready.

You can also add kombucha to a smoothie, soak mustard in it, make it in to a jelly....
If you want to brew yours another way or need a bit of support there's a good New Zealand group on Facebook. You can find them here.

Good Luck!!
Catherine

Sunday, October 4, 2015

The Life Changing Loaf of Bread

A week or two ago I can across a recipe entitled "The Life Changing Loaf of Bread". 
An entirely different approach to making bread, one that doesn't use any flours or yeast & is amazingly easy to make.
Filled with seeds, nuts, psyllium husks & linseed this loaf is really weird & truly delicious.
It's so tasty as it is & even more fabulous toasted.
It fills you up but digests really nicely too.
And...there's a whole pile of actual nourishment in it.

Here is the original recipe:
Ingredients:
1 cup / 135g sunflower seeds
½ cup / 90g flax seeds
½ cup / 65g hazelnuts or almonds
1 ½ cups /145g rolled oats
2 Tbsp. chia seeds
4 Tbsp. psyllium seed husks (3 Tbsp. if using psyllium husk powder)
1 tsp. fine grain sea salt (add ½ tsp. if using coarse salt)
1 Tbsp. maple syrup (for sugar-free diets, use a pinch of stevia)
3 Tbsp. melted coconut oil or ghee
1 ½ cups / 350ml water
Directions:
1. In a flexible, silicon loaf pan combine all dry ingredients, stirring well. Whisk maple syrup, oil and water together in a measuring cup. Add this to the dry ingredients and mix very well until everything is completely soaked and dough becomes very thick (if the dough is too thick to stir, add one or two teaspoons of water until the dough is manageable). Smooth out the top with the back of a spoon. Let sit out on the counter for at least 2 hours, or all day or overnight. To ensure the dough is ready, it should retain its shape even when you pull the sides of the loaf pan away from it it.
2. Preheat oven to 350°F / 175°C.
3. Place loaf pan in the oven on the middle rack, and bake for 20 minutes. Remove bread from loaf pan, place it upside down directly on the rack and bake for another 30-40 minutes. Bread is done when it sounds hollow when tapped. Let cool completely before slicing (difficult, but important).
4. Store bread in a tightly sealed container for up to five days. Freezes well too – slice before freezing for quick and easy toast!

Many thanks for the recipe from here at My New Roots!!

My version:
~1 cup of sunflower seeds
~1 cup of broken cashews
~1/2 cup linseed (flaxseeds)
~1 1/2 cups oats...pin oats or rolled oats
~2 tbsps chia seeds
~1/2 cup psyllium husks
~1 tsp good salt (not refined crap)
~1 tbsp honey
~3 tbsps melted coconut oil or ghee
~1 1/2 cups warm water...otherwise the oil won't dissolve

In a large bowl put the oil, warm water & honey. Stir to dissolve.
Add all the dry ingredients & work it all through thoroughly.
Press in to a greased loaf tin.
Sit for at least two hours or overnight if it's more convenient.

Bake in a pre-heated oven at 175 degrees for around 20 minutes.
Turn out the loaf on to an oven tray & continue baking for another 30-40 minutes
Cool before slicing.
Fantastic toasted.

I like to prepare my sunflower seeds properly before eating them, which is to soak them in water overnight, tip away the water & dry them well in a low oven before storing.
There were quite a few comments about the yucky taste of the sunflower seeds on the My New Roots page, this didn't happen at all with my loaf so I suspect it was the soaking that was useful.

Do ensure that all the ingredients are fresh when you go to use them, as even one item that has gone rancid will really spoil the loaf.

I'll post new photos as I make it again.

Catherine

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Homemade Tooth Paste

We have been making this for so long now it doesn't even feel odd anymore!
This basic-idea-kind-of-recipe is excellent....lots of trial & error went in to the process to arrive at this combination.
There are lots of nasties in commercial toothpastes that most of us don't even think about even though we use them every day.
Once you get your head around it..it's all good.
One of the key ingredients is bentonite clay.
Great discussion about various kinds of clays just here.
 Fine ground is great but I got mine much cheaper in bulk like this & then just ground it to a powder.
So...
1 tbsp of finely ground bentonite clay.
Or 1 dsp of fine blue bentonite clay.

 Add 1tsp of good salt: himalayan, celtic, or NZ sea salt
& 1 tsp baking soda
Grind all together or use a mortar & pestle...just so you don't have scratchy salt or lumps of baking soda in your final paste.
Add 1 tsp of dolomite powder (calcium?magnesium mix)
 Gently melt 1/2 C extra virgin coconut oil over hot water.
 Mix in the dry ingredients.
Add 1 tsp liquid minerals..lots of brands out there & the bottle will last forever.
10 drops of either essential oil of peppermint or anise &/or essential oil of cloves.
As the coconut oil solidifies give it another good stir so that the clay doesn't sit on the bottom.
And that's it.
You can add a tiny bit of xylitol or liquid stevia if you like.
Goes a very long way.
Next time around I will also add the contents of a probiotic capsule.
Great for plaque removal. Keeps teeth stain free. Helps to keep a good microbial balance in the mouth. Commercial toothpaste can really upset oral flora balance.
The baking soda is great for the ph factor & the salt helps keep your gums in good order.
They reckon that 90% of people have some kind of gingivitis so good toothpaste & right brushing technique is really important.
One thing to remember is that you need to run the hot tap when brushing your teeth so that the coconut oil doesn't block the drain! Coconut oils caprylic acid has really good anti-fungal properties, also useful in the mouth.
Every now & then I tip baking soda & white vinegar & hot water down the basin to keep it all clear.
Catherine

Monday, July 13, 2015

Healing Turmeric Milk

A wonderful, healing, nourishing & warming drink that is fragrantly delicious!
Turmeric is a wonderful anti-inflammatory spice & is so enhanced by all the other spices in this gorgeous, golden milk.

Mix: 1 tsp organic turmeric powder, 1/2 tsp ground cardamom, 1/2 tsp ground ginger, 1/2 tsp cinnamon & a grind of black pepper (helps the efficacy of the turmeric) to a paste with a little milk.
Leave to stand for 10 minutes.
Add 1 cup of whole milk, preferably raw (or almond, coconut etc)
Heat milk gently, stirring often.
Remove from heat just before it comes to the boil & add 1/2 tsp vanilla essence, 1 tsp of coconut oil & a tsp of honey.
Pour in to lovely mugs & sip nicely to nurture both body & soul.


The spices thicken & sit quite heavily towards the bottom of the cup...just so you know!

Double the quantities for two or make up to your own taste.


I now make up the spice mixture & keep it stored in a jar, to streamline the preparation time.

Please don't use trim milk & never, ever homogenised...it's dreadful stuff!


Catherine

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Honey Fermented Fruit

We love fresh fruit just as it is but, sometimes it's even better if it's fermented in a little honey. There is so much wonderful fresh fruit available just now. Fermenting small jars-full is a fabulous solution for using up fruit that needs to be dealt with quickly before it goes off, or savouring the amazing flavours & goodness of some of the wonderful summer berries around.  
All you need is a clean jar, then:
Add washed fruit...slice or dice larger pieces
Drizzle over a large tablespoon of liquid honey
(I adore Rewa Rewa honey from Arataki. It's only $10 a kilo, which I think is amazing value!)
Let the honey melt through the fruit.
Squeeze a little lemon juice over the top of peaches, apricots or nectarines to help stop the top layer going brown (although they still taste fine).
Pop on the lid & keep on the bench for about 3 days.
Invert the jar daily to let all the juices run through all the fruit & to release any pressure created by the fermentation process. Taste & sniff as you go & add more honey if required especially for tart plums etc.
Once fermented store in the fridge. It'll keep for weeks. I'll let you know how I get on after months.
Cherries, black raspberries (thanks to the marvellous Lesley!!), a few wine berries & some pineapple.
Apricots & strawberries.
The last lot of raspberries I made in to the most amazing jelly. The flavour was superb & gelatine is so good for you too. I will add to this post as I discover more about preserving & enhancing fruit through fermentation.
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