Monthly Archives: November 2013
How to make Kefir
Kefir is a popular fermented milk with many health benefits. The milk is cultured with kefir ‘grains’. It has a refreshing sour taste and can be compared to a drinking yoghurt, but it is easier to make than yoghurt, and also healthier.
Kefir contains many beneficial bacteria and yeast, which colonize the gut with good bacteria. This will boost the body’s immune system.
It is also very easy to digest – babies love it.
How to make your own:
Place ¼ -1 cup of kefir ‘grains’ into a clean quart (1 liter) canning jar.
Add milk until ¾ full. We prefer good quality raw milk, but you can also use hormone-free pasteurized full cream milk. Never use Ultra Pasteurized milk for anything.
Cover with lid, but don’t screw it on tightly. You could also use a paper towel or cloth napkin to cover it with, and then secure it with a rubber band. It should be able to ’breathe’.
Leave it on the kitchen counter for about 8–36 hours. It takes longer to ferment in winter, and shorter in summer.
You can gently shake it a few times during this time.
The consistency becomes thicker and the whey and cheese parts may even begin to separate.
The shorter the fermentation, the milder the taste.
The longer the fermentation, the more sour the taste.
You could put the whole bottle in the fridge, where it will thicken even more. It will continue to ferment, but at a very slow rate.
OR: you could directly go to Step 4.
Screw the lid on tightly and shake everything well. Pour the kefir through a plastic strainer to remove the kefir ‘grains’ from the drinking kefir.
Put the kefir ’grains’ in a clean glass jar and start all over again.
There is no need to rinse the grains with water.
We take our kefir with us on holiday, but keep a spare-culture in the fridge at home. (Just leave the kefir ‘grains’ with fresh milk in a clean jar to slowly ferment in the fridge till you’re back. Strain the kefir when you’re back, and start a fresh batch)
You will notice that your kefir ‘grains’ will increase with time. You can give some away if it becomes too much or ferment an extra bottle of kefir or compost it.
The drinking kefir is now ready to be used. This is the part that collected in the bottom container.
It stays good for a long time, but will become very sour after a week or two or three. Our chickens absolutely love our too-sour kefir! It keeps them healthy too.
How to use your kefir:
1) Drink as it is
2) Use it in smoothies (I like to cut up fruit and freeze it in little Ziploc bags. Saves time A favorite combination is 1/3 peeled banana, few pieces mango and pineapple)
3) Mix 1 tsp – 1 Tbsp (5ml – 15ml) of organic ground flaxseed and little bit of real organic maple syrup in. This is truly a potent Super Food drink. (Warning: start with very small amount of flax and slowly work your way up to a greater amount). I use a coffee mill to grind flaxseeds and store it in the fridge in an airtight container.
4) Use it to soak whole grain flour for baking muffins, crackers and breads.
5) It can also be separated into whey and fresh cheese by pouring it through a strainer, lined with a milk filter and refrigerated overnight. Whey will collect in the bottom container and cheese will remain behind. Both products could be used in recipes.
Liver is the most nutrient-dense traditional food. It should be eaten at least once a week. I found that even people who dislike liver enjoy liver paté.
3 Tbsp (30-45ml) good quality butter
2 onions, finely chopped
½ pound (250g) beef or lamb liver, cut into thin slices (preferably pasture raised)
6 cloves of garlic
Optional fresh herbs: parsley, thyme
¼ cup (60ml) thick, raw cream
Sea salt to taste
Optional topping: 2-3 Tbsp (30-45ml) melted butter
Fry the onion in the butter, until soft and translucent.
Add the garlic and liver and optional fresh herbs.
Keep on stirring until cooked through.
Let it cool for a few minutes.
Puree in a food processor with the cream, until smooth.
Add salt to taste.
Spoon into ramekins and cover with the optional melted butter.
Store in the refrigerator.
Makes 2 cups (500ml).
Traditional Indian Coconut Colostrum Pudding (Soyi Posu)
Colostrum milk comes from the first 5 milkings of a cow after she has had a calf. It is very rich in nutrients and is a Super Food for the immune system. It has a long history of use in all traditional cultures.
I found this recipe on an Indian website and adapted it a bit. (http://cuisineindia.wordpress.com/2008/12/12/posu-colostrum-milk-sweet-dish/)
3 cups (750ml) Colostrum Milk (You can add an extra cup of regular raw full cream milk if the colostrum is from the very first milking, because it cooks to an extra stiff consistency)
1 ½ cup (375ml) Desiccated Coconut (unsweetened)
½ – ¾ cup (125 – 180ml) Rapadura (Organic Raw Sugar)
15 Cardamom seeds, powdered in a coffee mill
½ cup (125ml) almonds, grated or chopped
Place the Colostrum Milk, coconut and Rapadura in a medium saucepan.
Cook on a medium heat until it becomes very thick.
Add the cardamom powder and nuts.
Can be served warm or cold.
I was really surprised at how tasty it is. I have to admit that I was a bit skeptical at first…
Makes 8 servings.
Barbecue Mini Meatballs
500g/ 1 lb good quality ground beef (pasture raised)
1 egg, pasture raised, lightly beaten
½ cup (125ml) soft bread crumbs, made from organic sourdough bread (use a food processor to make the crumbs)
¼ cup (60ml) raw full cream milk
1 finely chopped onion
1 tsp (5ml) good quality salt
½ tsp Worcestershire sauce
Olive oil/ Lard for frying
½ cup (125ml) organic tomato sauce
1 finely chopped onion
1/3 cup (80ml) raw honey OR organic brown sugar
1/3 cup (80ml) raw apple cider vinegar
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1/8 tsp (1ml) freshly ground pepper
Crumble the ground beef and mix in the next six ingredients.
Shape into 2.5 cm (1 inch) balls.
Brown the meatballs in a large pan over medium heat.
Place in a baking dish.
Combine all the sauce ingredients and pour over meatballs.
Bake, uncovered, at 180°C (350°F) for 50 minutes, or until cooked.
Makes 40 mini meatballs
No Flour Black Bean Brownies
(Adapted from The Daily Bean by Suzanne Caciola White, p33, Big, Bad Black Bean Brownies)
1 ½ cup (350ml) cooked organic black beans – properly prepared by soaking for 24 hours before cooking.
¼ (60ml) cup raw thick cream
¾ cup (180ml) raw honey
½ (120ml) cup high quality melted butter
½ cup (120ml) organic raw cocoa powder
1 tsp (5ml) organic vanilla
½ tsp (2.5ml) natural pink salt
1 Tbsp (15ml) instant coffee powder (optional)
4 pasture-raised eggs
¾ cup (180ml) chopped crispy pecan nuts (optional)
Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F).
Blend the black beans and cream in a blender until smooth.
Beat together the honey, butter, cocoa, vanilla, salt and coffee powder.
Add eggs, one at a time, beating between additions.
Beat in the bean puree.
Fold in the nuts.
Pour batter into a greased pan 20x20cm.
Bake for 30 minutes, or until toothpick placed in center comes out clean.
Cool and cut into squares.
Optional: I made a glaze with 100g 70% Lindt Dark Chocolate and 2 Tbsp (30ml) organic coconut oil melted together in double boiler, and then poured over the cooled brownie. I put it in the freezer for 1 hour to set, and then cut it into 18 squares. It was divine!
Whole Grain Seed Crackers
(Adapted from Nourishing Traditions, p518, Whole Grain Crackers)
2 ½ cups (600ml) freshly ground Organic Whole Wheat Flour
1 cup (250ml) Kefir
1 tsp (5ml) good quality natural salt
1 ½ tsp (7.5ml) Bicarbonate of Soda (Baking Soda)
¼ cup (60ml) organic sesame seeds – toasted in a dry pan, over low heat.
1 Tbsp (15ml) Poppy seeds
½ cup (120ml) good quality butter, melted.
Mix flour and kefir well. Make sure there is no dry flour left.
Place in a glass container and cover.
Leave for 24 hours on counter.
Place the soaked flour, salt, bicarbonate of soda and ¼ cup (60ml) butter in a food processor and process until well blended.
Add the seeds and pulse a few times to blend.
Roll out half of the dough at a time, on a floured surface, to about 1 -1 ½ mm thickness.
Cut into 3cm strips, and then into 5cm lengths.
Use a fork to make 3 rows of indentations on top of each cracker.
Preheat oven to 170°C
Place crackers on a greased baking sheet.
Brush crackers with the remaining melted butter.
Bake for about 12-15 minutes until crispy and lightly browned.
Store in an airtight container.
Makes about 60 crackers.
White Bean Baby Quiches (No Flour)
1 Onion, chopped
1 Red Sweet Pepper, chopped
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 cup (250ml) cooked Organic Cannellini Beans -properly prepared by soaking for 24 hours before cooking.
¼ cup (60 ml) raw full cream milk
¾ cup (180 ml) raw cream
5 pasture-raised eggs, cracked and whisked
1-2 tsp (5-10ml) mustard powder
½ tsp (2.5 ml) salt
½ tsp (2.5 ml) freshly ground pepper
¼ cup (60ml) chopped fresh herbs (parsley, oregano, spring onions)
200g grated good quality cheese, like Kerrygold (divided in ½)
Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F).
Fry onion and sweet pepper in olive oil in a pan till soft.
Blend the beans, milk, cream, eggs, mustard powder, salt and pepper in a blender until smooth.
Pour this mixture into a mixing bowl.
Add the fried onion and sweet pepper, chopped herbs and half the cheese and mix everything together. The mixture will be runny.
Spoon into greased mini muffin pans until about 3/4 full.
Sprinkle rest of the cheese on top.
Bake for 15-25 minutes.
Let it cool for a few minutes.
Remove from the pan.
Makes about 42-48 mini quiches.
Classic Chickpea Hummus
1 cup (250ml) cooked Chickpeas (Garbanzo beans) – properly prepared by soaking for 24 hours before cooking. Remove the skins by rubbing beans together in water.
2 cloves of garlic, mashed
½ cup (125ml) tahini (Sesame Seed Butter)
¼ cup (60ml) fresh lemon juice
¼ cup (60ml) organic olive oil
Salt to taste
Put everything in a blender or food processor, and process until smooth and creamy.
Add more lemon juice and salt to taste.
Add more olive oil and/or water if it is too thick.
Serve with vegetable sticks.
Coconut Cream Truffles
1 can of good quality, preservative-free Coconut Cream (400ml)
3 Tbsp (45ml) raw honey
1 Tbsp (15ml) good quality butter
1 – 1 ½ cup (250-350ml) organic fine desiccated coconut (unsweetened)
½ tsp (2.5ml) vanilla
Extra coconut for rolling
Mix coconut cream and honey in a saucepan.
Bring to a boil and then simmer the mixture for about 2 hours, until the mixture is thick and a light caramel color.
Add the butter, coconut and vanilla.
Cook and stir constantly for about 5 minutes until mixture is very thick.
Remove from the stove and let it cool.
Place in fridge for about 2 hours.
Measure about 10ml of mixture and roll into balls. A melon baller works well to measure with.
Roll each ball in coconut.
Store in the fridge or freezer.
Makes 25-30 truffles.