I know this is not pretty, I took its photo poorly but it occurred to me this afternoon, either of these are the perfect meal when the weather is like this and everyone around you is dropping like flies with a cold. Even my GP is sick and he is never ill! He is also jewish and will I know, appreciate this meal, get well Steven and all others too.
Nancy and John, mentioned above were my surrogate parents, whom I adored, sadly neither are alive now but they will never be forgotten and they are no less loved. Nancy was a brilliant, clever cook and this was definitely just one of her signature dishes. Her family and I are making her shortbread, Christmas cake, plum cakes, cheesy canastables and more still.
I have altered the way I make these slightly, often I thicken the fish stock with kudzu rather than flour, you will need about 3 tablespoons dissolved in COLD water before stirring into simmering stock and cooking for 5 or so minutes, kudzu is a fine starch said to have medicinal properties, it is great for drying up a sniffle.
These days I might add a glass of good white wine or a splash of vinegar to the Chicken soup at the start. Also I now use those bones, to make extra stock, just add a few aromatics and root veg and your all set.
I would also recommend eating these with some cultured deliciousness, well, of course I would. Red cabbage juniper and orange or kimchi perhaps? A few slivers of preserved lemon or kumquat would also be good…
Happy warming, stay clear of the wind if you can.
Just chopped kimchee ©HollyDavis.
I spent the weekend chopping, scrunching and bottling vibrant, organically grown vegetables in preparation for fermenting kimchi (seen above), and various krauts and preserves for upcoming market sales and to give away at some of my book launch events; click here for more information about classes, markets and events. More about ferments in a mo.
Hector & me chopping & scrunching arame ginger kraut ©GabriellaCampbell
On Sunday I had help from the wonderfully named and delightful Hector Henderson. He is 23 and here in Sydney from London for a while, honing his kitchen skills. His parents are both famed and gifted restaurateurs but who young cares to learn all they could in life from their parents! Hector is working five fourteen hour shifts a week, he is focussed on becoming the best chef he can be and yet, he came to me on a precious day off, to chop for several hours. He did this skilfully and with great heart and I believe he would agree, that a good time was had by all, there was laughter and food and plenty of tales told. We chatted as we chopped and I was reminded of his Mum, who worked with me at Iku Wholefoods when she was Hectors age and I was 28 and laughter was a regular and loud part of food prep there. There is nothing like our or our friends children attaining adulthood to cause us to reflect on the passing of time. Mostly, I think we tend to reflect on what we think we’ve lost and on the less attractive aspects of growing older but sometimes, for a moment or in a moment there is the opportunity to reflect on what is good about becoming an elder in the world. Joy, I think, is brought about more by giving than receiving, when we can share with another what we know or have learned along the way. More joy is delivered when what we have to offer is seen to make a difference. Hector provided his youth and vigour and I a little know how in the art and skills of fermentation, with a few pointers for how to recognise what is happening when. Keep the contents submerged and airtight, keep the jar clean, keep them cool and not in direct sunlight, open now and then to allow excess c02 to escape and wait until they have become as sour and complex and delicious as you like them to be before eating them as condiments.
Kumquats with cassia and bay ©BenDearnley
I have been fermenting foods for many decades and for decades. I was the strange girl and then woman, who put ingredients in crocks and jars and over time filled the kitchen with their potent ponging; before offering one and all a swig or a bite. At last my lifetime of experience seems to have found its place, as the western world now recognises and acknowledges, the value of this ancient art and its products. When I wrote Nourish in 1999, I sought to have a range of fermented foods included but the publisher assured me ‘no-one will be interested’, the concession was the inclusion of a recipe for making sourdough bread. In macrobiotic philosophy, which considers ‘the order of the universe’ it is said, that everything has a polar opposite and with the passing of time, everything changes to its opposite. This is clear when we consider, night turns to day, warmth to cold, wet to dry and in the case of these Kumquats from so bitter and sharp they are unpalatable to quite sweet, mellow and divine, an excellent addition to a cheese board or slivered over a grilled oily fish. The reclamation of fermenting knowledge and skills is now recognised as a vital contribution to combat the myriad of ills caused to so much of our society, as a result of the degradation of food production, farming practises and animal husbandry.
Fermented kraut and beets ©Samantha Mackie
When it comes to many fermented foods, the passing of time is a critical component for their deliciousness and their efficacy. Suspending the joy of eating lacto fermented foods is worthwhile. This is because these salt and acid tolerant organisms have a better chance of reaching our large intestine, where they offer support to our local residents there, when they have had time to become more acidic. Less acid tolerant strains then die off and the more acid tolerant strains take over, it is these that will then be unharmed by the acid environs of our stomach. It is possible to eat ferments from day one but there is great value in giving them time to mature. This process can be speeded up by leaving the ferment in a warm place but they will be most delicious with complex flavours and perhaps also most effective, when they are left in a cool place for longer, out of direct sunshine. Once opened keep the contents submerged and the top of the jar clean, pop them in the fridge where they will keep for months at a time.
Very much more detail and a diverse range of recipes can of course, be found in my book, which you can see a little of and preorder here.
Ferment A guide to the ancient art of culturing foods is about to be unleashed upon Australia and the UK. This book bears my name alone and the insignia of the publishing house Murdoch Books. It’s a fine thing to see this dream realised. Though I have indeed poured countless hours and many years into the research, writing, recipe development and editing, most especially the editing! this books owes its beautiful countenance and existence to a group of extraordinary people. Should you buy a copy and of course I do hope you will, please take a moment to turn to page 271 and 272, the last but perhaps most important pages. This is where those who contributed to me and the book are duly acknowledged. There was not room enough there for me to pour out my heartfelt appreciation to those that made this possible and as useful as I believe it will be. I found these images, which show a little of the story about the shooting of the images and the overall look and feel but before those folk, there is Jane Morrow who commissioned, oversaw and published this work and her wonderful team at Murdoch Books to applaud, I applaud you Jane, Viv and Katie and all who assisted you. Although it was a steep learning curve for me, it was such a great pleasure to learn from you while we worked. Your tireless efforts have resulted is something I will treasure forever. A manuscript is just the beginning of an inordinate amount of detailed scrutiny; so that what is known and written by an author, can be fully understood and utilised by its readers. Katie Bosher, gave this book and me so very much and I am very aware that it is far more useful to many more people as a result of your efforts. Viv your contribution to the layout and design have resulted in something I am delighted to hold and promote, thank you. Yolande Gray, seen above in her lovely home with photographer Ben Dearnley, introduced herself to me in 1997, as a ‘book designer’, I believe I said ‘what’s that’. She was interested to and did design my first book Nourish, Food By Holly Davis published in 1999, if you have one or can find one, you will see it has a timeless beauty and that it holds its own on bookshelves today. This is due to Yoande’s concept, fabulous design, styling and art direction and Geoff Lung’s superb photography. Yolande and I became friends in the process and my life has been touched by hers ever since. Over the years we discussed my writing a book about fermentation and I described my wish to communicate the ubiquitous presence of beneficial microbes. I spoke of the idea, which I garnered and adopted from another dear friend, Dr Rosalba Courtney, that traditional societies lived with a range of fermenting foods and as they looked after these and ate them, they seeded their digestion with the beneficial microbes that liked to consume the food groups they ate,I love this idea. (Katie, I know that last sentence is too long and it should probably be three.) Yolande, your ideas and execution, art direction and design have so perfectly expressed what I wished to convey. Witnessing you at work is a beautiful thing, how you hold the vision and ‘know’ what is required to make an image work is a marvel. Big love, appreciation and gratitude for all that my friend. So too for schlepping half your home to the shoot and providing your home to shoot in. I learned many years ago that it is a good idea to surround yourself with people who will demand more of you than you would yourself, you are that for me, for which I am also very grateful.Michelle Noerianto, happy in her work styled the food you will see and Ben photographed it and edited the photos to look just the way you see them. These two are quiet achievers calm and gentle whilst being consummate professionals, who make what is incredibly challenging seem like a snack! This is in Ben’s studio and Michelle is artfully placing Quick-Pickled Cucumber and Radish Shoyuzuke for the shot on page 123. Along with all the rest Ben and Michelle gave their all and went way above and beyond to create what you will see between the covers of Ferment. They were a delight to be with and again I learned a great deal about the play of light and ways with cultured cream. Michelle can make the impossible beautiful, without ever resorting to the kinds of things you might think food stylists get up to. No artificial anything was used including light and all the food was devoured with gusto once signed off. Yolande, Ben and Michelle, I could not have had a better time or been more fulfilled working with you all thank you.
Behind the scenes Gabriella Campbell toiled tirelessly with me, cooking and cleaning, non stop for 10 days. Marly’s Toasted Macadamia and Banana Pancakes on page 55 and The Masa Harina Tortilla on page 35 were both made by her and the shiitake mushrooms across from Pickled Mushrooms and Celery on page 106 she bought on the other side of town, in peak hour traffic, that is no small ask. You are a gem Gabby and I am so happy to know you, thank you for every thing.
When you flip through the pages of Ferment spare these wonderful people a thought and know, it takes a whole lot of talented people to produce a beautiful book. My wish is that it bring you delicious and sparkling results and do you and those you love good. You dear readers, get a big thank you too.
These are the pages proofs of my very recently completed manuscript, for publication by Murdoch Books this September in Australia and October in the UK. Writing or rather the endless editing process, is at an end and it is now far away in China being printed. I could not be happier with what you can not yet see and I so hope you will be too. The images shot by the very talented Ben Dearnley are fabulous. It is packed with all you need to know; for successfully capturing and employing a wide range of the worlds ever present preservationist microbes. It is my wish that it inspire, inform and delight you all and that it travels the globe in search of homes where fermented foods may be enjoyed and perform their valuable work.
Since I am no longer consumed by writing I have joined the ranks of market stall holders at The Northside Produce Markets, in North Sydney. Click here for the Upcoming dates, at which my products can be found for sale. Yolande Gray is selling for me on June 3rd and 17th beside her Dishrag Linen stall while I visit my family in London. I will be back to sell there in person the third Saturday of the month from July 15th; on my return from the UK. I have made a range of hand cut, wild fermented condiments including krauts and pickles to delight and excite your taste buds and make your digestion sing. I recommend you get in quick if a good Indian lime pickle is of interest. The recipes for most of the products for sale, including that one will be found in my book Ferment- A guide to the ancient art of culurting foods, when it is released this September. Be sure to pick up an invitation to the launch at the market, more on that in future posts.
Here are 4 useful things to know, when giving a home to fermented foods.
1. When a ferment is culturing in the first few weeks it is a good idea to stand it on a plate to catch any possible leakage.
2. Bringing a ferment to warm room temperature is likely to restart fermentation and the product may appear to boil. Open the jar to release any excess gases and then close tightly and store in the fridge where fermentation will slow right down, with no harm done.
3. When using your fermented foods be sure to push what remains in the jar down, to keep it submerged in its own liquid, to protect it from potential spoilers and keep the jar above the product clean for the same reason.
4. A little white mould will do no harm and can easily be scooped away so you can consume the remainder but if you find a bright mould on the mix this means you need to discard the lot.
Choosing fish by price, likely means, choosing what is plentiful, local and a more sustainable option. This makes delicious, nutritious eating, guilt free.
It is getting harder and harder to feel good about eating much at all and fish eating is rife with concerns. Here are a few simple guides for choosing the freshest fish, to feel happy about eating. When it comes to wholefoods, one of the most oft heard comments I hear is, ‘it costs so much more to eat well’ well it can and perhaps it ought but that is a topic for another day. I made eating well a priority so long ago that it is now second nature for me to buy produce at prices way over the norm. I don’t do so to show off, I do so to put my money where my mouth is and prioritise, for the sake of our future, believing that animal husbandry, ocean management and soil care are vital issues. I pay more for just about everything but not for fish. When I shop for fish I look for the freshest, locally, wild caught and cheapest options. Small fish are generally plentiful, lower on the food chain and as a result carry less toxic load. Small oily fish like these Yellow Tail, Anchovies, Sardines Mackerel and more offer greater amounts of beneficial omega 3 oils, they are quick cooking, suited cooking with stronger flavours and are absolutely delicious. For one of my favourite ways to cook these species, see my recipe on Liveability.com.au you will find a new recipe of mine here each month and so much more about living a more sustainable life at home. My most recent Autumn recipe is also well worth a look, especially if you wonder how to cook Golden nugget pumpkins with millet and chestnuts for optimum deliciousness. To find more recipes follow the link on the home page click the Guide, Recipes,DIY tab. Cecille’s blog is an eclectic offering, she describes liveability this way, ‘It’s when health, efficiency, comfort and connection to community come together to create a more liveable home.’
River Cottage Spring Food Fair and a Week ‘Exploring the Microcosmos- New Paradigms from Microbial Communities’ at Schumacher College
The River Cottage Food fair and Sandor Ellix Katz. Sandor, Eva Bakkeslett, ecologist and scientist Phillip Frans and Steven Harding. Exploring the microcosmos takes place at Scumacher College in the Transition town of Totnes. Above is a photo of Sandor in Brisbane holding my Mango young country wine, a heady brew, unlike my usual range of lacto ferments. He was on the Milkwood Permaculture Sandor Katz Australian Tour, earlier this year. I was fortunate to make many of the samples required for the Sydney leg. The tour was a resounding success and provided a massive injection of fermentation revival for Australia’s East coast.
By my great good fortune and rather a lot of cooking I find myself back in the UK and off to attend these exciting events. It is springtime and rather beautiful here. The sun and rain combine to make green unlike anything we see in Sydney. Returning to the land I grew up in for the first time since my mothers death last year, is bitter sweet and heart opening. Again I experience the nostalgia of youth and the longing for the place I have come to know as home. I expect any dual citizen will relate. It is delightful to be back and working for the wonderful folk who took me in last year. I have completed another course of evening classes in Notting Hill, I have returned to work with Elisabeth who has happily transformed from her unwell state to radiance. Nothing gives me greater pleasure than seeing what love, friendship and dedication to holistic healing, can do to the state of a human being in crisis. I am returned too, to the most exquisite home in Chelsea where I am cooking twice a week.
I will be catering and teaching in the UK in July. July 9th I will be teaching a ‘Capturing Cultures’ hands on class at Rochelle Canteen in Arnold Circus E2. This is an excellent place to eat delicious unfussy food made from the best Britain has to offer. Margo Henderson and Mel Arnold Arnold and Henderson catering company too. If you are in need of an exciting event catered, these are your folk. I predict this to be an extremely fun evening with a delicious supper to follow the chopping and jarring of Kim Chi.
This was me catering Lizzie and Marks divine wedding in February on Pittwater. 18kilos of prime Glenburnie Black Angus, free range, grass fed and grass finished beef, supplied by Grant and Laura of Feather and Bone, purveyors of truly sustainable meat. It was a pleasure to cook and by the comments and guests returning for third, a pleasure to eat too! I roasted it at 70˚C for 7 hours and here I am finishing it off on the air conditioned barbecue.
This photo is the perfect representation of the winter months, dark, cold and mysterious. A time for bringing warmth to the core of our body to help us manage the colder weather. Any northern hemisphere reader might scoff, thinking that Australia never gets that cold. It is all relative and the 17˚C in my room today see’s me bundled up beside the heater!
I made Oden yesterday, Japan’s answer to winter warming nourishment; eaten on the icy winter streets and in bars. For those who have a copy, there is a recipe for this fabulous dish, in my cookbook Nourish. It is a very simple broth with these ingredients at least, mirin and tamari, kombu, shiitake mushrooms, daikon, carrots and tofu; all long slow simmered into a deeply delicious meal. This broth looks somewhat like the photo above, unfathomable, watery and dark.
In Chinese 5 element theory winter is a representation of the water element, dark red and black, saltiness and it is the season that requires we give attention to our water organs, the kidneys and the bladder. Cooking styles that best suit the season include long slow simmering, braising roasting sauteeing and preserving. It’s a great time for the slow cooker, the stock pot and the oven but dont forget, and I suspect you wont, we all love something sweet to eat and winter provides us some fabulous fruits. The quince above were transformed from rock hard yellow to meltingly soft, deep red sweetness by long slow simmering with only a very small amount of maple syrup. They were dense and toothsome. Top tip… just cut them in half and wait to core them after they have cooked. This makes it very easy to extract the hard core without leaving any behind and it saves the risk of a knife wound.
The recipe for these is included in my Refresh, Restore & Nourish in Winter 4 evening or 4 day course. The course provides the fundamental skills of cooking in this season with many supportive easy winter recipes and a menu plan that offers a broad range of breakfasts, lunches dinners and snacks. I ran this course in Rozelle a couple of weeks ago and got the following fabulous feedback.
Zoe said… Thanks for a great 4 days of cooking, eating and learning. I’m just about to qualify as a Naturopath and found 4 days with you to be more valuable and useable than all the nutrition classes I’ve done! You make it real- let food be our medicine, and medicine be our food.
Gabriella offered this…”Thank you again for such a wonderful four days of learning, cooking and discussions. You left me wishing I could bring you home and tuck you away in my kitchen. The amount of knowledge you have on eating nourishing, seasonal foods and healing with whole foods is incredible and I only wished we could have had more time.
I am running this course again, over 4 Tuesday evenings starting tomorrow, Tuesday 12th June, in Bilgola. There are a few places for the quick and keen. Send me an email asap if you want a spot. I will be running it in Melbourne at The Green Grocer in Fitzroy North, at the end of July. Please help me spread the news to Victoria. More details of this and this months Capturing Cultures classes and more can be found here
cacacacacacacacacacacacacacacacacacacacacacacacacacacacacacacacacacacacacacacacacaca These crab apples, opportunistically gathered after a catering job in Bowral, were way too sour to be edible when picked but with a slow simmer, the addition of a little spice and sweetness they have become deep red ‘roadside crab apple jelly’ which will last the winter long and beyond, though I have gifted half of it to friends already!
Here’s what I did, so you can too. There is something deeply satisfying about producing food from ‘found’ ingredients.
Recipe for roadside crab apple jelly
3 kilos fruit, washed but otherwise untouched, tipped into a large stew pan
covered in cold water and brought to a gentle simmer, pop in a split vanilla bean and a couple of cinnamon quills
simmered until the apples soften, about 30-40 minutes
the fruit and liquid are poured into a colander lined with two or three layers of muslin, over a large pot. Don’t press the fruit, allow it to strain overnight
Measure the juice and add the pulp to the compost
use 500gms light muscovado sugar or raw sugar per litre
simmer the juice and sugar until the temperature reaches 105˚C at this point it will gel beautifully
contain in sterile glass jars, cool and pour a layer of liquid bees wax over the jelly to seal, lid and store until you are ready to use- i’ll give you 3 hours max…
Something new. Exploring Winter Wellness Workshop. Yoga by Gwynne Jone, food by Holly Davis
Where I have been, a request and an offer; to celebrate the tawny colour, sweet flavour, crisp air and round ground fruits of Autumn
A month ago family needs sent me rushing back to London. As a result I had to postpone the March 29 Capturing Cultures class. My thanks to those of you that had booked and paid for this class for your understanding and flexibility. New dates are online now, see the May-September tab and let me know which dates suit you best.
In London I was met by blue skies, crisp air and warm loving arms. Twenty eight years in Australia, with most trips back over Christmas, caused me to forget the thrill of Springtime in the Uk. I was surprised and delighted by the effect a little sunshine has on the British public, while I layered up with cashmere, scarves, a borrowed coat and boots, London folk stripped off and got about in summer frocks and sandles and the news was of trips to the beach to enjoy the heatwave of 20˚C! I squeezed in a few fine foody experiences, the quality of food in England has changed, so much for the better. Good food, real food is on offer all over the country. Artisan producers abound and I was thrilled by some fantastic produce. I went to this fantastic winebar under the railway arches in Maltby Street, Bermondsey in London’s east end, this is a neighbourhood to visit and watch for fab food and excellent ales.
I also visited The Welbeck School Of Artisan Food on The Welbeck Estate in Nottinghamshire this is an extraordinarily well set up cooking school where traditional baking, cheese making and butchery are taught. I went to suggest that they might like to have me visit next year, as a guest, to teach the art of lacto fermented foods and drinks. There are also small producers on the estate making Stichelton cheese, this is similar to Stilton which comes from this area of England but Stilton is no longer produced from raw milk, Stichelton is and I can tell you it is damn fine cheese. The Welbeck brewery produces a small range of excellent ales too which are sold locally.
Now I am returned to the delights of Pittwater in Autumn, my favourite season here, where skies are brilliant blue, the water is crystaline and it seems to me now, as I gaze at the beach and many eucalypts, that everything has been outlined with a 4B pencil.
Growing Healthy Children Seminar was opened by a potent totem to remind us all how exciting life can be!
The Growing Healthy Children Seminar was declared a huge success. Over a hundred participants came to hear Dr Rosalba Courtney, Jude Blereau and me speak at Glenaeon Rudolf Steiner School. It proved to be an excellent venue, albeit that the wildlife moved in on the action as we were about to get started. A beautiful green tree snake wound its way into a camera bag at the front of the room and after I asked everyone to move away, it was resptfully returned to the bush.
During the afternoon Dr Rosalba Courtney from Breath and Body Osteopathic and Natural Health Clinic discussed the fundamentals of growing a healthy child, including the difference it makes for children to have a secure parental bond, attention paid to correct breathing patterns, the immense and theraputic effect of time spent in nature and much more. Jude Blereau from Wholefood Cooking covered what, how and when to feed children, with food that will heal nourish and delight them and I expounded on the virtues of lacto fermented foods, what they are, how to include them and ‘hide’ them, some of the variations on the theme available to us and of course, I encouraged everyone to come to one of my in depth classes, to learn how to easily and safely make their own range of fermented foods. Check out latest programme on the Classes May to September page.
For those who prefer to purchase these therapeutic vitals, we had Dominic Angelucci there, to sell his just launched ‘Life In a Jar’ Organic cultured vegetables. These were offered as part of our afternoon tea and soon sold out after that. Keep an eye out for them, Feather and Bone are a stockist.
Honest to Goodness provided us with fabulous helpers and offered some of their most relevant dry goods for sale. Our heartfelt thanks To Karen and Matt for their ongoing efforts in supplying Sydney with clean wholesome foods and to Lilli, Lauren and Emma for their work on the day.
A Request and an offer
If you have not yet liked my facebook page please would you? I am out to spread news of great whole food, whole food ingredients and of course my latest wholefood cooking class program
For new FB Likes this month, I will email you a delicious recipe. Just email me your preference for pumpkin, walnuts or chestnuts, or that you like them all? I will send you back the recipe that reflects your choice.
These ingredients grow together and certainly go together deliciously. Pumpkins below, fit for several feasts, well grown by my friends Antonio and Camilla who run Olive Green Organics. Chestnuts and walnuts collected by me at the beautiful Kookatonga Nut Farm in Mt Irvine in the Blue Mountains.
Put a trip there in your diary for next March.
“Bacteria are not germs, but the germinators – and fabric – of all life on earth… In declaring war on them we declared war on the underlying living structure of the planet – on all life-forms we can see – on ourselves”– Stephen Harrod Buhner The Lost Language of Plants
Lacto fermented foods are extraordinary and they have the power to restore to us rude health! These live life enhancing foods and drinks foods have been a passion of mine for many years now. My interest in Macrobiotic philosophy and food led me to start fermenting things back when I was just 14 years old! That’s a good long relationship with good bugs. My first cultures were Japanese Takuan radish pickles that stank and jars of miso and then there was a dairy kefir ‘plant’ I got from my cousin Greg. He christened his S.C.O.B.Y, that’s a Symbiotic Collection Of Bacteria and Yeasts ‘Jim’ he gave me what became and still is known to me ‘son of Jim’. Along the way, there have been intense periods of regular contact and periods when son of Jim has spent time dormant, in the freezer. When I am culturing using son of Jim I get a fresh, drinking style yoghurt that provides a wide range of beneficial probiotic bacteria and yeasts and I can also use him to turn sweet coconut water into a refreshing effervescent mineral rich drink. I can use the dairy kefir product as a drink or turn it into fresh cheese and even a very delicious all raw, all food cheesecake! I now grow a range of scobys, I have a Kombucha ‘mother’ which thrives on green, black red and or white tea and raw sugar, water kefir which produces a fabulous sparkling gingery drop. With these helpers at home I always have the makings of other fermented foods, using the product itself or by utilising whey from my dairy scoby. These can be used to make, amongst many other things, digestible nutritious deliciously light pancakes, pikelets, muffins and fruit compotes and vegetable pickles and by employing their probiotic powers they can be used to turn otherwise hard to digest foods into faster cooking,digestible nourishment.
There is something quite magical about vegetable pickles where you take a fresh ingredient and turn it into what equates to medicinal food; using naught but itself and a little salt.
I am including an article I wrote for Notebook magazine it might be of interest and could encourage you to get friendly with fermented foods. This month I have 2 classes I call ‘Capturing Cultures, get the good bugs’ where these foods can be seen and tasted and you learn the what, why and how of growing them safely and inexpensively at home.
Read my article on Probiotcs, written for Notebook magazine
Our Sourdough christmas cake is still on offer, with tea of course, to welcome in this new year. May yours be as deliciously, naturally sweet and nutty. I am currently unlaxing in Northern NSW, home of the macadamia, it’s beyond beautiful here, the perfect place to rest and remember the value of time alone. Yesterday I walked through rainforest to a secluded beach a few bays from Byron, but with 5 people to Byron’s 5000! On the way I ate a fabulous breakfast at Harvest a charming cafe offering excellent local produce made with care. All the staff were unusually committed to offering fantastic service; with warm smiles, this is not common in these relaxed, hippy environs. Harvest is at the site of the old Newrybar bakery, which was once run by my friend and sourdough baking teacher John Downes. I made my sourdough leaven in his class in 1983 and I share it with all who come to my baking classes; it makes extraordinarily fine fare. I have some dates to finalise before posting my next term of Sydney classes, apologies to those who are keen to make bookings. I am teaching a two day Sourdough Bread, Pastry, Biscuits and Cake Baking Workshop in Brisbane at Mondo Organics March 24th and 25th, bookings via their site. If you have friends or associates in Queensland who might like to come to this class, please help me spread the word. What whole food cooking classes and workshops would you like this year? I will be teaching in Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne and Perth and I am hatching a plan to be teaching classes in the UK mid year. I have added a Like me on facebook button, Like away please!
Please respect Copyright Holly Davis, these notes and recipe are for personal use only
Why might you make and eat lacto fermented foods?
The lactic acid produced by the lactobacilli preserves the vegetables or fruits and increases their digestibility. This also puts beneficial microorganisms in the digestive tract, which promotes the growth of healthy digestive flora throughout the intestine. This aids digestion and the absorption of other nutrients.
The fermentation process can increase the vitamin levels by as much as 100 times!
Useful enzymes are produced in this process.
Antibiotic and anticarcinogen substances may also be created.
Eating a little fermented food with every meal can aid digestion, particularly of fats.
Eating lacto fermented foods can also reduce the desire for refined sugars.
Oh and they taste fabulous and are a great meal enhancer!
Here is the basic recipe to lacto ferment vegetables
There are many variables when making these foods, always begin with the best quality freshest foods and avoid contaminants.
To make a batch of pickles you will need:
A good board and very sharp knife and / or a food processor with vegetable chopping attachments
Sterile glass jars with airtight lids.
Fresh vegetables clean and dry, chop according to your preference. Root vegetables and cabbages are ideal but softer veg can also pickle well.
Celtic Sea salt approximately 1% of total weight of the vegetables. (If you prefer not to use any salt make sure you add the whey or culture. The presence of the salt prevents putrefying bacteria growing while the beneficial bacteria increase their numbers) personally I prefer the flavour with salt.
Lemon zest is a favourite addition of mine, finely sliced
Spices of your choosing (optional) i.e.chilli, cumin, coriander, fennel seeds.
Home made whey, to introduce lacto bacillus more consistently and rapidly.
Plantarum bacteria culture (‘Culture’ is available from Donna Gates Body Ecology Stockists online at www.bodyecology.com )
Or my preferred method : With no addition of a culture, allowing for the capture of organisms present in your kitchen. Often this works well and occasionally you might lose a batch due to having caught some putrefying bacteria. (You will know if this has happened because your pickle will smell awful and possibly also have become slimy, there is no danger you will want to try them!)
Lacto fermented vegetables can be kept many months when stored correctly and in a cool dark place.
Red Cabbage lemon and ginger pickles
Copyright Holly Davis
1 large fresh organic red cabbage, sliced finely
1 knob organic ginger, grated
1 organic lemon, zest only
Sea salt (1% of total weight of cabbage)
Chop the vegetables
Add the salt and rub in a loving but vigorous manner; until the cabbage has released plenty of liquid
Mix very well with the other ingredients
Contain completely covered in liquid in sterile glass jars, push vegetables down firmly so they are tightly packed and covered in their own juices
Ensure there is a good 5cms between the top of the vegetables and liquid and the lid of the jar as they expand a little during fermentation.
Lid tightly and leave on the kitchen bench 4-7 days depending on the weather. 18-20˚C is ideal (fermentation takes longer when the weather is cold)
The mix will bubble and if you were to open it, it would smell rather unpleasant for the first few days, don’t open the jars now as the process is anaerobic and oxygen at this stage may cause them to spoil. With red cabbage you will notice it turn from purple to bright pink, this is due to the action of the acid produced by the lacto bacteria.
On about day 5 you can place the pickles in the fridge and store there as you use them. Be sure to use only spotless utensils so you dont contaminate the mix.
The flavours continue to develop over several months but these can be eaten any time after the fermentation process has completed, say around 5 days
Note re something course participants are often confused by: Lacto bacillus are not dairy food; though they grow happily in milk products. Lactose is the sugar in dairy food it is not present in lacto fermented vegetables unless you add a dairy product such as whey.