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!

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

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